You would have noticed by now that smartphone photography has been making rapid strides. This evolution is engined by computational photography and grinding hardware limits. In just a 365 day span, we saw the jump from 48MP to 64MP and wait for it a stupendous 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 microns.
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.
But it ain’t just the pros, there are few downsides too. For starters, here are few impediments to consider –
- If you have used the 48MP or 64MP camera phones, you would know that the de facto output is pixel binned to a quarter, i.e. 12 and 16 megapixels. And even if you use the veiled ultra-megapixel option, you would end up with a bigger file size and maybe storage woes.
- Even those whopping Ultra HD panels can project around 8.3 megapixels.
- The software algorithm plays a big role in tinkering and tweaking the finished output. So, if genuinely used, AI can be more than theatrics.
List of Best 108MP Camera Phones in 2020
Here are some of the best options with a 108MP camera that you may consider.
1. 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 of 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.
ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Review
True to the Ultra moniker, it boasts the creme de la creme of specs including stuff like Snapdragon 865 Plus, up to 512GB storage, 12GB RAM, and a 4500mAh battery.
2. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is now official and it uses a custom version of a 108MP sensor that merges a cluster of 9 pixels into a single pixel (unlike 8-to-1 in other quad-Bayer sensors).
The S20 Ultra also has a periscope-style 40MP zoom camera that delivers 10x lossless zoom and up to 100x digital zoom. It’s a big phone with a 6.9-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 120Hz Display and a 5000mAh battery.
ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy S20 Review
3. Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
Mi 10T Pro is using the older ISOCELL HM1 sensor measuring 1/1.33 inches and 0.8-micron pixel size. It is armed with PDAF autofocus. You can record up to 8K@30fps videos with it. The rest of the Mi 10T Pro’s triplet houses a 13MP ultrawide shooter and a 5MP macro snapper. The selfies are handled by a 20MP sensor.
The phone is a strong budget flagship from the company. It ships with Snapdragon 865, a 144Hz display, and a 5000mAh battery with a 33W charger.
4. Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro and Mi 10
Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro are the first Xiaomi phones to be powered by Snapdragon 865 octa-core chipset and also the first from the company to feature a punch-hole notch and LPDDR5 RAM. Both phones support wireless charging, have dual-mode 5G, 90Hz refresh rate display, Wi-Fi 6, and can shoot 8K videos.
Apart from the main 108MP sensor with OIS, the Mi 10 Pro has a 20MP ultrawide angle shooter, a 10x Hybrid Zoom camera and a 12MP 2x zoom camera that also helps enhance portraits.
The non-pro version, Mi 10, replaces the two zoom cameras with a basic 2MP depth sensor and 2MP macro camera. Xiaomi has confirmed that these phones will launch in India, Europe, and Indonesia.
5. Motorola Edge+
Motorola Edge+ lists an impressive set of specs and features, which include a 108MP primary rear camera and 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.
6. 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.
7. 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
For now, you are limited by choices. But, it won’t be very long before others hop the bandwagon. For instance, the Realme CEO has confirmed its forthcoming 108MP camera phone. It is expected to compete against the Mi Note 10 Pro. However, when and whereabouts are not known at the moment.
Rest, if and when these phones premiere, 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.