It’s hard to keep up with the pace at which smartphone cameras are evolving, and it’s safe to say that rear cameras in particular have reached something of a peak.
Cameras today, even in the med-premium segment that we’re looking at today, feature high resolution sensors with features like pixel-binning and some form of night mode. And we aren’t even talking about the multiple accompanying cameras, including ultra-wides, macros, and more.
What about selfie cameras, though? We were taking 93 million of those per day in 2014. Today, seven years later, when we’re likely taking orders of magnitude more, we still don’t have a camera that does those selfies justice. Or do we?
This latest smartphone from Vivo has one of the highest resolution selfie cameras we’ve seen in a while, and it’s the first front camera ever to come with OIS or optical image stabilisation. Paired with a dual LED flash system, support for night mode, and 4K recording, you’re looking at what could be a vlogger’s dream camera
The 64 MP rear camera, while supporting OIS, also includes support for double-exposure shots and is supported by an 8 MP 120° ultra-wide and 2 MP macro. The ultra-wide helps with depth-sensing as well.
The selfie camera supports AF and uses multi-frame de-noising – a night-mode shooting technique normally limited to rear cameras – to deliver clean, long-exposure shots at night. With both OIS and EIS (electronic image stabilisation) enabled.
Lastly, the phone supports a dual-view video mode that allows you to record footage using the front and rear cameras simultaneously. Again, an excellent option for vloggers and even journalists covering events.
All this camera goodness is packed into a slim (7.29 mm) body that weighs a mere 176 grams. The images can be viewed on a large, bright 6.44-inch AMOLED that supports HDR10+, an FHD+ resolution, and a 90-Hz refresh rate.
The phone is powered by a MediaTek MT6853 Dimensity 800U chip with a 5G modem and Mali-G57 MC3 GPU. The two variants on offer both include 8 GB of RAM and with er 128 or 256 GB of storage.
Officially, the base model — in the 8/128 GB combo — retails at Rs 29,999, while the 256 GB model retails at Rs 32,990. Several bundled offers can significantly cut down the price of the phone.
Purchasing the phone online will net you an additional Rs 3,000 off when exchanging an older phone and no-cost EMI for up to 12 months. You’ll also get additional protection against damage with V-shield. Oh, and HDFC card holders get an instant Rs 2,000 cashback.
Buying the phone in stores via HDFC or Kotak Bank payment options gets you a 10% cashback and complete mobile protection via V-Shield. This offer is valid till 12 May. Additionally, from 13 May to 31 May you may avail yourselves of a Rs 2,500 cashback and a free 1-time screen replacement offer via these same banks.
If you choose to pay via Bajaj Finance, you get up to 10% cashback, or a one-time EMI cashback via an IDFC First Bank Offer. These offers are valid till 31 May.
Xiaomi Mi 11x 5G
If you’re looking for a phone with a large, fast display, the Mi 11x is a great option. You get a 120 Hz, 6.67-inch AMOLED with a Snapdragon 870 and its Adreno 650 GPU pushing pixels.
For cameras, this phone features a 48 MP F1.8 primary, an 8 MP F2.2 ultra-wide, and a 5 MP F2.4 macro. The selfie camera is a slower 20 MP F2.5 affair that supports HDR recording at up to 1080p 30 fps.
These cameras are good, but the USP of this phone is its stunning AMOLED display that covers the DCI-P3 colour gamut (the same as an iPhone 12), and hits a peak brightness of 1,300 nits. The 360-Hz touch sampling rate and 120 Hz refresh rate really help with responsiveness. That Snapdragon 870 is, of course, amazing for gaming.
The phone is 7.8 mm at its thickest and weighs 194 g. It’s 4,520 mAh battery supports fast-charging via the bundled 33 W charger.
The Mi 11x 5G is available in 6/128 and 8/128 GB RAM/storage options.
Samsung Galaxy A72
Samsung’s mid-range A72 is a fine choice for those looking for a powerful, high-resolution rear camera and great battery life, not to mention the allure of the Samsung brand.
It also helps that the phone has a gorgeous 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a punch-hole camera in the centre. Speaking of, that punch-hole selfie camera is quite powerful and supports a resolution of 32 MP. It’s also one of the few selfie cameras that can manage 4K 30 fps recordings.
The rear is where the real magic lies. The A72 is packing a quad-camera array starring a 64 MP F1.8 primary camera with PDAF and OIS support. An 8 MP F2.4 tele and 12 MP F2.2 ultra-wide take care of zoom, while a 5 MP F2.4 macro is responsible for close-ups. Additionally, the cameras support Samsung’s signature 30x ‘space zoom’ feature.
The 32 MP selfie camera manages some great pics and Samsung’s AI camera features help with bokeh.
At 8.4 mm and 203 g, this phone is a bit thicker and heavier than the competition, but you get a solid camera system and a nice, vibrant OLED screen. Oh, and the phone is also packing a massive 5,000 mAh battery that supports fast charging.
The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 720G chip and offers 6 or 8 GB of RAM and either 128 or 256 GB of storage. It’s available in 4 colours.
OnePlus Nord 5G
The OnePlus Nord 5G is a do-it-all phone with great gaming performance, good cameras, and some interesting selfie features.
For selfies, OnePlus has gone with not one but two cameras. A 32 MP F2.5 wide takes care of most pics, offering a sharp image and high resolution, as well as an 8 MP F2.5 ultra-wide that features large, 1.12 µm pixels. The 32 MP camera can also record 4K 60 video and supports HDR.
On the rear, you get a quad-camera array comprising a 48 MP F1.8 primary paired with an 8 MP F2.3 ultra-wide, a 5 MP macro, and a 2 MP depth sensor. A dual-LED flash helps where needed, and a gyro-EIS system helps keep footage from the rear camera more stable.
The Snapdragon 765G is an older but still very capable chipset that’s been optimised for gaming. With up to 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage on offer, you know where to go if you’re looking for a sub-35k gaming smartphone.
At 4,115 mAh, the battery is a little bit smaller than the competition’s, but it charges via a 30 W fast-charger and can hit 70% in just 30 minutes.
The Nord 5G is a pretty phone that looks more expensive than it is. At 8.2 mm, it’s a little on the thicker side, but it uses Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and rear, and somehow manages to keep the weight below 190 g.
Whether you’re looking for great selfies or a great gaming experience, these sub-35K smartphones certainly give premium phones a hard time. Do let us know what camera you ended up going with.