14 October 2021

ZDNet: “Hey, Apple and Samsung, stop fixating on cameras! My dream phone gets work done”

Smartphone makers want you to spend a lot of money replacing your current phone with the latest, helping you take slightly better photos. When you then share these photos on social media and the quality is compressed, I’m sure you’ll be very excited that you spent over $1,000 to capture a photo no one really cares about.

As Apple iPhone sales indicate, most people simply want a smartphone camera where they can point, shoot, and share. If you want to get a bit creative, then there are many affordable and capable Android phones with accessible modes to enhance your creativity. Don’t get sucked into the marketing hype and think you will challenge professional reviewers or photographers with your expensive smartphone. Good photos and videos are a result of skills — not just the hardware.

Matthew Miller

I am not precisely a typical consumer in this regard, as I own a semi-professional Canon camera for most of my ‘serious’ photography, but I do agree with this article. The race among smartphone manufacturers in recent years to add multiple focal lengths and lenses to their flagship products feels more like a marketing gimmick to push people to spend more on devices and to upgrade them more frequently. Other features, such as screen quality, battery life and fast charging, are more important for the user experience, but are talked about less, probably because progress is slower and less tangible from year to year.

I have little interest in video features, and I rarely use the camera on my smartphone – even less so in the past year and a half, between less travel because of the pandemic and working from home. Instead of photography, I use the mobile cameras for videocalls and to capture images for various tasks, like image recognition in Google Lens, or as a mobile scanning replacement for paper documents – neither of which requires a state-of-the-art setup.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review Keyboard on the bottom with Office on the top
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: Keyboard on the bottom with Office on the top

Further down, the article devolves into not so veiled promotion for folding phones. Personally, I don’t see an urgent need for a much larger screen on a smartphone, nor to spend twice as much money on a product that may break easier because of its more complex design. I expect folding phones will fill a small niche for some professionals travelling extensively, but as a mainstream device there are better and cheaper options that mostly fulfill the same needs.

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