Photography in the mid-range segment has improved a lot in the last few years, thanks to the large resolution sensors that combine light gathered by 4 or more adjoining pixels. This evolution is also engined by computational photography and grinding hardware limits. Thus we saw the jump from 48MP to 64MP and eponymous 108MP camera phones!
Now the relevance of a 108MP sensor is debatable for sure. Nonetheless, brands are quick to grab the tech and package it as their selling proposition. Xiaomi was the first to do so. It launched 3 smartphones with 108MP camera sensors, while Samsung (which BTW is the maker of this MEGApixel sensor) and a few others have followed suit.
With that intro, let’s have a look at some of the current and upcoming smartphones with 108MP cameras:
Do you need the 108MP Camera Sensor?
Foremost, let’s see what it is and then delve into the existential question.
As stated above, Samsung is the developer of the first, and currently only, 108MP camera sensor. The South Korean giant debuted the optics back in August 2019. It’s called the ISOCELL Bright HMX sensor. The sensor uses Tetracell technology aka pixel binning technology, which outs an effective 27MP image. Specs-wise, the pixel size is 0.8 microns and the sensor sizes to 1/1.33-inches (Mind you, this is touted as an industry-first).
Samsung unveiled the ISOCELL HM2 in September of 2020. It is the brand’s third iteration of a 108MP sensor. It still employs 9 to 1 pixel binning and is capable of up to 3x lossless zoom. There is also support for 4K @ 120 fps video recording and Super-PD autofocus. The HM2 (1/1.52″) sensor is smaller than the HM1 (1/1.33″). And even the pixel is as small as 0.7μm.
In 2021, Samsung has the HM3 sensor that supports 12-bit colors and has 0.8μm pixels. It also has SuperPD plus technology to accelerate Auto-focus speeds.
A higher MP count means the output can be presented on a bigger canvas without dropping on quality. And the 108MP clearly boasts a fairly large pixel resolution. But do numbers translate to result? Let’s delve.
Samsung underlines the large sensor size’s ability in capturing very good details even in menial lighting conditions. This in tandem with a functional Night Mode should play well. There is also a Smart ISO feature that lowers ISO in bright areas for vivid photos and propels ISO for lesser noise in underexposed areas of a scene.
The bigger the sensor surface, the more light it captures. The same correlation applies to pixel size and light. Apart from this, this sensor also gives you the support of 6k video recording at 30fps, so it is going to be quite good for the video creator.
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List of Best 108MP Camera Phones in 2021
Here are some of the best options with a 108MP camera that you may consider.
1. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (review) is equipped with the latest Isocell HM3 sensor with a large 1/3.3-inch size. The sensor bins 9 pixels to 1 and supports 12bit colors. The Galaxy S21 Ultra also includes 3x Zoom and 10x Zoom cameras and can handle up to 100x digital zoom.
Other highlights include a 6.9-inch 120Hz Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED Display, Exynos 2100, Wi-Fi 6E, and a 5000mAh battery.
2. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
The Samsung powerhouse is decked with a 108MP primary camera. It is an ISOCELL HM1 sensor with 1/1.33 inch size and bears pixels measuring 0.8-microns. The company has equipped the phone with Laser AF, PDAF, OIS for focus and stability. Note 20 Ultra’s camera setup also comprises a 12MP 5x optical zoom telephoto lens, a 12MP ultrawide shooter. As for the video, you can shoot up to 8K30fps from the main sensor and 4K60fps from the front one.
3. Xiaomi Mi 11
Mi 11 is equipped with a 108MP Samsung ISOCELL Bright HMX camera, accompanied by a 13MP ultrawide sensor with 123° FoV, and a 5MP tele-macro lens. You get to record videos up to 8K HDR10+ resolution. The camera also comes with some interesting goodies like Magic Zoom, Time Freeze Frame, Parallel World, Time Freeze, Night Time Lapse, and Slow Shutter.
On the front, there is a 20MP snapper that lies within a left-aligned hole. The panel is of QHD+ resolution, AMOLED, and stretches 6.81-inches diagonally. Other display traits include a 120Hz refresh rate, 1500 nits peak brightness, and HDR10+ support. There is Corning Gorilla Glass Victus protection too.
Mi 11 running on a 5G-capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset clubbed with up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 internal storage.
4. Realme 8 Pro
Realme 8 Pro (review) gets you the 108MP megapixel goodness without burning your pocket. It is a Samsung HM2 sensor. Other sensors in the lot are an 8MP 119° ultra-wide, a 2MP macro, and finally a 2MP B&W lens. In the meantime, a 16MP snapper handles the selfies and video calls upfront.
The frontier holds a 6.4-inch, 2400 x 1800, HDR10, sAMOLED panel with a 60Hz refresh rate. The underlying processor is an 8nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G. Other internals includes 6GB/8GB LPDDR4x RAM, 128 UFS 2.1 storage, and a 4500mAh with 50W SuperDart Charge. Realme 8 Pro comes with Realme UI 2.0 based on the Android 11 platform.
5. Xiaomi Mi 10I
Xiaomi Mi 10I (review) is the most affordable 108MP camera phone. It employs Samsung HM2 that uses 9-to-1 pixel binning to churn out sharp and vivid 12MP images.
The Xiaomi Mi 10I is powered by Snapdragon 750G octa-core chipset paired with LPDDR4x RAM and UFS 2.2 storage. Other highlights include stereo speakers, 5G support, 120Hz display, and a 4820mAh battery with fast charging support.
6. Redmi Note 10 Pro Max
Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is also a fairly affordable 108MP wielder in the list. This is a Samsung ISOCELL HM2 sensor. It leads a quad-camera setup at the back comprising an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens, a 5MP super macro lens, and a 2MP depth sensor.
Rest, the phone packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G coupled with an Adreno 618 GPU, up to 8GB LPDDR4x RAM, and up to 256GB UFS 2.2 in-built storage. On top of this hardware, you get MIUI 12 based on Android 11. Upfront, there is a 6.67-inch 2400×1080, 120Hz refresh rate display with a punch hole in the middle. The selfie snapper is a 16MP sensor.
7. Motorola Edge+
Motorola Edge+ lists an impressive set of specs and features, which include a 108MP primary rear camera and a 6K video recording. The 108MP sensor is paired with an 8MP camera with OIS and Telephoto lens (3x zoom), a 16MP ultra-wide-angle camera, and a ToF sensor for depth mapping.
The Edge+ is powered by Snapdragon 865, has a curved AMOLED display that refreshes at 90Hz, and is powered by a 5000mAh battery with wireless, reverse, and fast charging support.
8. Mi MIX Fold
Xiaomi’s foldable outing aptly named Mi MIX Fold comes with a 108MP Samsung ISOCELL HM2 sensor. But that’s not even the highlight of the triple camera setup. It features an 8MP telephoto sensor with a Liquid lens that lets the device zoom up to 3x optical magnification (80 mm equivalent focal length), whilst also go close to macro subjects up to a 3cm distance. Ah well, there’s a 13MP ultrawide snapper as well.
Other highlights of this foldable include a 20MP selfie clicker, Snapdragon 888, AMOLED screens on both inside and out, 90Hz on the cover display, 60Hz on the interior, a side-mounted fingerprint reader, 5020 mAh with 67W fast charger, among other things.
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9. Mi Mix Alpha 5G
Xiaomi was the first to adopt the first 108MP camera phone vis-a-vis. Mi Mix Alpha. Besides the primary shooter, you a 20-megapixel ultra-wide snapper, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens too.
Upfront, it exhibits a 7.92-inch OLED display with a staggering 180% screen-to-body ratio. The Mi Alpha also ships with a 40W fast charging support, an in-display fingerprint sensor, 5G connectivity, 12GB RAM, up to 512GB storage, etc to highlight a few of its features.
10. Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro (Mi Note 10 Pro)
Next up, we have the Mi CC9 Pro, which is technically the first 108MP camera phone to hit the market as Mi Mix Alpha was showcased as a concept. In it, you have a 108MP primary camera followed by a 5MP (50x digital zoom) telephoto lens, 12MP portrait lens, 20MP ultra-wide lens, and 2MP macro lens. So, a Penta camera setup.
Apart from the camera, you also get features like Snapdragon 730G chipset, 8GB RAM, up to 256GB storage, Gorilla Glass 5 protection, a huge 5,260mAh battery, 30W fast charging support, and MIUI 11 software.
Also, the Mi CC9 Pro launched as Mi Note 10 Pro in Europe.
Best phones with 108MP Camera Sensor to buy in India
While many of the aforementioned phones are available to buy in India, there are still some that are yet to make their entry into the Indian market. Still and all, if and when these phones launch, you’ll find them on the list. So you may as well bookmark this page for future reference. Also, tell us your take on the rising megapixel count.