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Samsung Unveils 12MP Phone with Optical Zoom

Gordon Kelly


Samsung Unveils 12MP Phone with Optical Zoom

My distain for 12 megapixel camera phones is well known, but Samsung's latest ludicrous resolution handset does have one redeeming feature...

The 'SCH-W880' - yes, for some reason Samsung is recycling model numbers after just two years - has officially broken cover and it is possibly the most camera focused (pun intended, naturally) mobile phone we've seen to date.

Like the Pixon 12 therefore, the W880 has an utterly daft 12 megapixel sensor which really should be turned down to five megapixels if you're even half way sane (see often repeated reasoning). Despite this, where the W880 does separate itself from the competition is the inclusion of a 3x optical zoom over the pointless-as-12-megapixels-in-a-phone digital zoom. This isn't the first handset to do this, the G800 offered the same early last year, but it is a welcome if long overdue return.

Why is digital zoom so hopeless? It doesn't zoom closer, it just zooms into your image. In effect doing little more than making a blurry mess. You're better off simply cropping your full size image later on.

Anyway, back at the ranch and you'll also find photos enhanced by autofocus, face detection, a Xenon flash and image stabilisation plus a compact digicam style grip. Aside from its camera aspiration, the W880 brings with it 720p HD video recording at 30 frames per second, a 3.3in AMOLED 800 x 480 pixel touchscreen display (no word on what type) and TouchWiz UI. The usual high end handset features also make an appearance: WiFi, GPS and HSDPA, plus a healthy 4GB of onboard storage, Bluetooth and a microSD expansion slot.

Samsung will initially release the W880 in Korea, though it hasn't given away a price or release date. Quite when or if the UK and European markets will see it is unknown, but either way it certainly hints at a brighter camera phone future to come... (pun? yes, of course)


via Samsung Hub


September 30, 2009, 4:43 am

More a phonecamera than cameraphone. But I like!


September 30, 2009, 12:43 pm

The digital zoom might not be pointless - if you can select a lower output resolution than 12MP, you might have the chance to apply digital zoom without causing any resampling (so proper cropping), and it could be achieved before the JPEG compression starts making a mess of things.


September 30, 2009, 3:13 pm


< "Why is digital zoom so hopeless? It doesn't zoom closer, it just zooms into your image."

Ah, but what if you're only taking a sensible 5MP image with your ridiculous 12MP camera? The phone *should* (ideally) use the extra pixels available to maintain a true 5MP image as you zoom in. This being camera phones though, it's entirely possible they aren't that sensible...

For the most part though, this megapixel war is just marketing-driven nonsense.


September 30, 2009, 3:21 pm

@Chris, sorry, doesn't work that way. You assume the 12 megapixels are all full of extra image detail - not with such a small sensor on a camera phone they aren't, it's just wasted resolution.


October 1, 2009, 2:47 am

DrDread nailed it.

If the camera is of any real use this device will be quite appealling, I never thought I would say that of a phone with a camera included, OK, needs a viewfinder, I always say that.

If it is released here and a review sample comes your way, please, please, give the job to Cliff Smith.


October 1, 2009, 2:25 pm

You can find a preview here (not final hardware or software):


What's really impressive is the HD video recording.


October 3, 2009, 1:18 pm

So what does anyone think is the best camera (my top priority) - phone out there and currently available? The 12mp offerings get great reviews and yet there seems to be agreement that such high resolution is more marketing gimmick than anything else....

Many thanks for your thoughts.


October 4, 2009, 4:20 am

Without doubt this will be the best camera phone once it becomes available in Europe. What Samsung seem to have done is use their high end point n shoot cameras and added phone functionality. Not vice versa which is the norm.

A 5 to 8 megapixel is more than sufficient for the small lens used inside phones. More megapixels doesn't mean better quality sometimes it can mean worse. The best thing to do is read reviews on the net and find plenty of shots taken by the phone camera. Judge for yourself...

IMHO the Nokia N86 or the Samsung Pixon 12 is currently the best.

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