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    Categories: EditorialsNewssmartphones

The Rise of Dual Camera Smartphones: From HTC One M8 to Honor 6X

Cameras in smartphones have come a long way over the last few years and its hard to ignore the fact that the overall image quality has drastically improved over a period of time. Now, with the introduction of dual camera phones, the mobile photography experience is going to reach a different level.

Our smartphones are growing bigger on RAM, battery, powerful SoC, and all we need is a camera which can put any point-and-shoot cameras to shame. 2017 has just begun and we already have a new entrant in the dual camera smartphone segment. After Coolpad launched Coolpad 1 with dual-camera setup last year Huawei accepted the challenge and has finally entered the market with Honor 6X.

The USP of Honor 6X is its dual rear cameras. While Coolpad Cool 1 was officially launched in China in August, Honor 6X was launched in October.

Cool 1 is priced at Rs 13,999 with beautiful 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display (1920 X 1080 pixels resolution) and the Honor 6X packs 5.5-inch screen and has full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) resolution.

The Honor 6X smartphone is a rival to the newly released Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and Coolpad Cool 1. It sports a 12-megapixel sensor with PDAF alongside a 2-megapixel sensor right below it and a LED flash. Honor 6X is available in two variants in India – 3GB RAM + 32GB inbuilt storage priced at Rs. 12,999, and 4GB RAM + 64G inbuilt storage at Rs. 15,999.

If you have got your hands over these three dual-camera smartphones, then you’ll notice that they are focused on similar photography features. Coolpad Cool 1 demonstrated that their rear camera is much better than the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. Bokeh effect is one such feature which can be found in iPhone 7 Plus, Cool 1 and Honor 6X.

If we recall, it was HTC that first came up with a dual rear camera back in 2011 – the Evo 3D. However, the lens pair of the Evo 3D was used to create stereographic 3D images and HTC One M8 became the first smartphone that captured true depth information.

Old wine in a new bottle

Phones are struggling to excite us anymore and most of them are packed with the same specs, same cameras, and storage size with few tweaks here and there. Our herd mentality is highly visible in all the smartphones which are present around us. Phones need something new to stand out and dual-camera smartphone is the new fixation.

Many smartphone photography enthusiasts suggest that DSLR is a dying breed. The Internet loves death and it is full of nerds who glorify new technology by killing the old. I do believe that technology gets old and is replaced just like the way we replace our cars, refrigerators and now smartphones. However, we haven’t come across any smartphone camera which has the potential to make the compact point-and-shoot cameras obsolete leave alone DSLRs.

Dual camera smartphones adoption

While it’s true that the HTC One M8 was the world’s first smartphone to feature a dual camera that captured depth information but HTC missed the opportunity. This moment can perfectly be described as a Kodak moment. In the history of technology, there are times when brands introduce a cutting-edge innovation something which looks very promising and all it needs is the right technology and some time to mature.

Last year, LG already introduced LG G5 with a main 16-megapixel sensor and a second 8-megapixel sensor. The second lens had a wide-angle and with a 135-degree lens on the rear for that 8MP camera, the G5 can shoot wide-angle photos to great effect.

Later, Huawei joined the fray with P9, in partnership with Leica. With two cameras sitting on the back, Huawei’s big selling point was monochrome. Honor 8 was launched later with twin 12-megapixel cameras, one with an RGB sensor, the other with a monochrome sensor.

After Apple purchased Israel-based camera technology company LinX Imaging, which specializes in “multi-aperture imaging technology” for DSLR-quality images we knew that the Cupertino giant is working on improving its imaging technology to be added to the new line of iPhones – the iPhone 7 Plus. As expected, Chinese smartphone manufacturers have joined the party and cheap dual-camera smartphones are the new norm.

Forget VR, forget mobile payment – dual-camera smartphones are the new norm and this is where phones will be this year. The addition of an extra camera in the smartphone is already proving itself valuable to the consumers who want the power of a compact camera in their hands and we are sure that dual-camera systems are going to take mobile photography forward.

Sidharth Shekhar: