Friday, November 01, 2019

Let's Talk The Best 2019 Smartphone

Subtitle: About the Computational Photography

If you watched the Made by Google announcement 2019 reference was made to Computational Photography  (minute 46 and onward).  

We all recognise that the optical lens of a Smartphone has neither the quality, nor depth of glass of a traditional DSLR, yet it's the camera that we all by definition choose to carry around almost all of the time.  So the race is on to narrow the gap between Smartphones and DSLR and as a byproduct put those vendors out of business.

In 2019 Apple is now copying many of the techniques made popular with Google's GCAM  (Google Camera), techniques that were first pioneered by Nokia and surfaced in volume on Microsoft 950 phones et al.

In the Android world then I surmise it comes down to this:  Either you own a Google Pixel phone that comes with gcam or your enthusiast community has ported it, features and all to your smartphone platform.

Apple Users

Deep Fusion

Without a shadow of doubt the Apple iPhone 11 Pro is one hell of a phone.  If you don't mind all that Apple copying :-),  are comfortable with the relatively high price, and / or are already wedded to the Apple ecosystem then there is practically no other phone I would recommend.

Apple, Google or Other
Le me be clear.  For the ultimate smartphone photo quality, you have just 3 choices

a) Apple iPhone 11 Pro
b) Google Pixel 4 (or 3 if your budget is limited)
c) Android Phone with Google GCAM Port.  But, But and But.
Installing and tailoring the gcam, searching for the version that works best with your Android phone is often a laborious and error prone experience.   You might very well have better things to do or a lack of technical expertise or patience.  I'm just indicating that it's time consuming and not guaranteed.  So then you are back to options a) or b)

Marcus and the Oneplus 6T
As of November 2019 Marcus is still the proud owner of a Oneplus 6T phone running gcam 6.x  But every day, and I mean every day I look for a better port of gcam to my smartphone platform, and I wonder when gcam 7, as used in current Google Pixels might leap in a stable form to the Oneplus 7T.  The 7T is the latest Oneplus smartphone, with a 48MP lens, but with precious little gcam ported software.

What Counts?
To Marcus my Smartphone screen resolution is already way past the human eye,  the multi core processor is usually running at about 20% or less than capacity,  the Smartphone storage is nowhere near used.  In effect the only major component that can improve on a 2019 Smartphone iteration is the camera   (5G infrastructure is nowhere, so please lets no go there!)

Gcam for the 6T  (663 pages!!)
Gcam for the 7T  6 pages today

If you tread through the links you will see that gcam7 is nowhere near stable on the 7T and so logically this smartphone is not a useful upgrade for anybody who owns a OnePlus 6T or thereabouts  (so for example a Oneplus 7 either)

I wait patiently and observe.