The funeral industry of the past might have convinced you that installing cameras or complex a/v systems is the only way to live stream funeral services. In 2023, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
New mobile devices perform faster than most computers and record better than most cameras, so why wouldn’t you use such a powerful tool to simplify your job? Paired with the right streaming apps, it's a no-brainer.
In this article, we’ll compare the best smartphones for live streaming funerals and memorials. After reading this, you'll hopefully find a setup that fits your needs.
Things to consider when choosing a live streaming device
In order of importance, the most relevant aspects of any live streaming device are:
- Its ability to stay connected securely to the internet
- Image quality
- Battery life
- Operating System and live streaming apps available for it
Internet Connectivity: Getting a good signal
The best part of live streaming with a mobile device is that they offer the very best connectivity you can find. You don't need expensive equipment to make it work, and both WiFi and LTE allow you to go live with outstanding results.
Even though smartphone antennas are fantastic, these are the devices that set the bar for the signal category:
- Samsung Galaxy S22+
- Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
- Apple iPhone 11 to 14
- OnePlus 10 Pro 5G
These phones include strong antennas and offer better reception than others in the same category, but this doesn't mean that the phone you might already have won't do a great job. It's most likely that the phone you own is more than enough to get started with live streaming funerals.
Image Quality: Live streaming in HD
Almost every phone released after 2020 does a fantastic job at live streaming on location, but there are some differences you will notice depending on the available light and contrast of the scene.
When live streaming a memorial inside a funeral home or dimly lit church, high-end phones do a much better job than affordable ones. They are able to capture more light in the scene while creating an enjoyable experience for grieving families at home.
If image quality is what you’re after, these phones can compete with any modern camera that costs four times as much:
- Apple iPhone 14 Pro / 13 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
- Google Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 7
- Huawei P50 Pro
- Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
As live streams compress the video slightly for real-time viewing at home, the differences between these phones and a previous model won't affect your quality as much as you'd think. If you have the funds to invest in any of these, the iPhone 14 Pro is in a different league when it comes to video recording and live streaming events.
Battery Life: Be able to live stream without interruptions
While using a smartphone to go live is an easy and hassle-free experience, there might be some inconveniences. The main one is battery life.
If the device you’re using isn’t fairly new or the battery life isn’t great to start with, you might want to have an affordable battery pack at hand. These cost anywhere from 20 to 50 USD and will get you out of trouble right away.
Assuming that you’re getting a device for this specific purpose, going for a bigger model will give you extended battery life without the need for accessories.
Let’s see which ones perform best:
- Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
- Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
- Apple iPhone 14
- OnePlus 10 Pro
As you can see, there are not many Android phones in this category. While some of them -such as Galaxy S22+ or S22 Ultra- offer good battery life, it’s hard to recommend them when the iPhones usually lasts 20-30% longer with a single charge.
On the positive side, most Android flagship phones tend to charge faster than iPhones, which is important when you arrive at the service with an almost empty battery.
For reference, a Samsung Galaxy S22 ultra charges to 67% in 30 minutes with a fast charger, while an iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max only reach 57% and 40% respectively in the same amount of time.
Best Smartphone for Live Streaming Funerals & Memorials
I’d like to start this summary by saying that this is going to be a subjective recommendation, as I have used a few Android Phones and iPhones during the past few years, and there has been a significant difference in terms of quality and reliability.
For me, battery life is a deal breaker. For that reason alone, I’d say any phone from the iPhone 14 or 13 lineups are better than 90% of the alternatives for live streaming. There is a noticeable difference in battery life (20 to 30% increase), especially compared to Samsung and Google flagship phones.
After battery life, image quality seems to be the second most important aspect of our list. While Samsung and Google Pixel phones do an outstanding job with still images, they fall slightly behind on video autofocus, stabilization, and low light capabilities.
iPhones 13 and 14 are noticeably better at capturing video, which translates to better live streams and more enjoyable memories for families at home. The Samsung S22 Ultra comes close in second, and the Pixel 6 Pro falls to a distant third spot.
My recommendation for a live streaming mobile device
You can't go wrong with an Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max:
It is noticeably better than it's competitors at the time of writing this post, especially when it comes to image quality and battery life. The stability of its operating system is also a bonus, as live streaming is all about reliability and not so much about video features.
Runner-up: iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Galaxy S22+, Google Pixel 6 Pro / 7.
The iPhone 14 lineup comes on top of this comparison and it is the perfect phone for live streaming in 2023 in my honest opinion. You can also get a more affordable iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 and still reap most of the benefits listed here. For Android users, the Samsung Galaxy S22 lineup, Pixel 6/7, and Xiaomi 11/12 are good alternatives.