During the past years, several smartphone applications have been developed for radiation detection. These applications measure radiation using the smartphone camera complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor sensor. They are potentially useful for data collection and personal dose assessment in case of a radiological incident. However, it is important to assess these applications. Six applications were tested by means of irradiations with calibrated X-ray and gamma sources. It was shown that the measurement stabilises only after at least 10–25 min. All applications exhibited a flat dose rate response in the studied ambient dose equivalent range from 2 to 1000 μSv h−1. Most applications significantly over- or underestimate the dose rate or are not calibrated in terms of dose rate. A considerable energy dependence was observed below 100 keV but not for the higher energy range more relevant for incident scenarios. Photon impact angle variation gave a measured signal variation of only about 10 %.