How many? A smartphone with a 108-megapixel camera is coming soon

Xiaomi Mi 9 review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Xiaomi will release a smartphone with a camera that will boast 108 megapixels. The company has teased the mega-megapixel camera at a recent event, providing a few pieces of technical information, along with the line, “See you later.” While the 108-megapixel beast’s arrival date is unknown, Xiaomi has also said it will launch a phone with a 64-megapixel camera before the end of the year.

Trending in Mobile:

The largest smartphone camera sensor, in terms of megapixels, available today has 48 megapixels. Most often this is the Sony IMX586, and it has been used in a wide variety of devices, including the Honor View 20, the Asus Zenfone 6, and the OnePlus 7 Pro. Xiaomi will better this with Samsung’s 64-megapixel ISOCELL Bright GW1 sensor, which will be fitted to an as-yet-unidentified Redmi-branded phone, likely among others, in the near future.

What about the 108-megapixel camera? Not much is known, outside of Xiaomi’s claim it will take photos with a 12032 x 9024-pixel resolution, which makes about 108 megapixels. However, Xiaomi’s U.K. Twitter account has said the sensor will be rated at 100 megapixels, while still stating the same resolution. A corresponding Weibo post from Xiaomi, which also introduces the 64-megapixel camera, highlights a partnership with Samsung. This may also indicate Samsung will create the 108-megapixel sensor.

Having such a highly capable sensor means also having a processor capable of handling the massive amount of pixels. Qualcomm’s processor specification pages state many of its chips, from the 6-series upwards, will support a single camera with 192 megapixels. In an interview, Qualcomm’s senior director of product management, Judd Heape, said 100-megapixel cameras will be here before the end of 2019.

As a headline, a 100- or 108-megapixel camera is a winner; but more megapixels do not necessarily mean better pictures. Like the 48-megapixel cameras available now, we expect a 108-megapixel mode to be available; but for the camera to default to a lower number and use pixel binning for improved low-light performance and other benefits. On-device storage capacity also becomes more of a concern when you’re taking multiple 108-megapixel photos.

Xiaomi has not indicated when the 108- or 100-megapixel camera will make its debut, other than that it’s coming soon.

Editors' Recommendations