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Realme’s next cheap flagship phone will use Samsung’s 108MP camera

Realme has shared a look at its upcoming flagship smartphones, which comprise the Realme 8 series. Following the Realme 7 series, the company is looking to innovate and improve on its camera performance from the last generation, and it’s doing so with Samsung’s 108-megapixel, ISOCELL HM2 camera sensor. Realme is another phone company from the BBK Electronics stable, alongside OnePlus, Oppo, and Vivo, and is getting a reputation for making incredible value devices.

Launching a generation after Samsung’s ISOCELL HM1 camera found in the Galaxy S20 Ultra, the ISOCELL HM2 predates the ISOCELL HM3 camera in Samsung’s new S21 series by just a few months, but it’s still impressive. Samsung says the “image sensor is perfectly engineered for today’s thinner, lighter smartphones, so you can carry a pro-grade camera right in your pocket wherever you go”.

Why would you want a 108MP camera? The explanation can be quite technical, but it comes down to producing high-quality photos in more lighting conditions, and with a greater degree of detail. When combined with clever software, the results can be outstanding, just like we’ve seen with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. When high-megapixel count phone cameras first arrived, the pixels were so tiny you’d lose a lot of clarity and detail in processing, and cameras like the ISOCELL HM2 are designed to avoid that.

Realme also notes an unusual 3x in-sensor zoom feature. In essence, it’s a digital crop feature enabled by the overall higher resolution of the camera and pixel binning technology, where multiple pixels are gathered together to make one, even bigger pixel to let in more light. Realme says it will capture eight 12MP photos and combine them into one, producing an image it claims will show more detail than some optical telephoto cameras. Other features of the camera include the ability to take time-lapse videos of starry skies and a set of new filters for portrait shots.

The 108MP camera is expected to arrive on the forthcoming Realme 8 Pro. While the 108MP camera will capture headlines and attention, getting the most from it requires competent software running behind the scenes. Most mainstream phones today come with a 12MP camera, including the highly capable Google Pixel 5. Even Samsung struggled to capitalize on the 108MP camera’s potential at first, as seen on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, so it will be interesting to see how Realme — still a newcomer in the mobile world — handles it.

Realme has not confirmed the launch date for the Realme 8 series phones, at least one of which will come with the 108MP camera, but if it’s talking about the camera, the release may not be far away. The fast turnaround is a surprise, as the Realme 7 series only arrived in October 2020. Realme sells its smartphones in the U.K., Europe, and Asia. It has so far not announced a U.S. release for its phones.

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Michael Allison
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