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Dual-Camera Chinese Smartphone: Buyer’s Guide 2017

There are several trends in the smartphone market now. The manufacturers have started making handsets with larger screens that come with narrow bezels. Apart of this, they focus on better front cameras that will allow users to take greater selfies. Many of those companies pack their devices with dual-cameras while the rest of them come in with enhanced hardware and software. Another important feature of any smartphone is the battery. It should charge quickly and keep the phone alive for a day or more. So many manufacturers have designed their own fast charging technologies such as Qualcomm’s Quick Charge, OnePlus’ DASH, Oppo’s VOOC, or MediaTek’s Pump Express. Finally, the fourth direction many smartphone makers look forward is the dual-camera. Seems if a smartphone doesn’t sport a dual-camera, no one will take a look at it. But we know dual-camera technologies differ from each other. That’s why you can find a dual-camera on a top handset as well as on a low-cost device. So there are many features you have to take into account when buying a dual-camera smartphone. We are offering you to get acquainted with our Dual-Camera Smartphone Buyer’s Guide 2017 and learn which smartphone meets your requirements the most.

Though there are too many Chinese smartphone makers, not all of them are capable of making good devices. I am not talking about dual-camera handsets. But as for the top brands, they just HAVE to come in with at least one smartphone sporting a dual-camera. Fortunately, the most popular Chinese smartphone brands are leaders in this market.

Xiaomi Mi 6

The Xiaomi Mi 6 is the first 5.15-inch screen smartphone in the globe that also supports optical zoom. This is one of the best improvements made in its camera. But to understand what this means, we have to take a closer look at the sensors the phone is packed with. First, the Mi 6 features a dual-camera – 12MP wide-angle lens + 12MP telephoto lens. These are almost the same sensors found on the iPhone 7, but they are customized for Mi software.

Thanks to a number of software and hardware improvements, you can find many useful camera features such as 4-axis OIS, portrait mode supporting SLR-like background blurring, binocular stereoscopic vision and depth learning algorithm, Smart Beauty 3.0 recording and analyzing facial information and providing great photos. As I said it supports 2x optical zoom, which works even for the panoramic mode.

Read: Xiaomi Mi 6 Review

OnePlus 5

Many accuse the OnePlus 5 in copying the iPhone 7 design. This is another topic for conversation, but what we are interested in is the camera it comes with. Like its ‘founding father’ the OP5 is packed with a dual-camera of 16MP f/1.7 regular and 20MP f/2.6 telephoto lenses. This is the same camera system in comparison to the iPhone 7 Plus, because it has canceled the ‘one RGB and one Monochrome sensor’ system. But regardless the fact how good it is when taking regular photos, the OIS doesn’t work well for dual-camera handsets.

OnePlus 5

Read: OnePlus 5 Review

Obviously, the camera is the selling point of all R-line handsets. But this manufacturer focuses more on the front shooters. So we can say this is the first time when Oppo has decided to place a dual-camera on the rear. So it’s a quite reasonable why designing the image processor of this handset took up to 18 months. Oppo and Qualcomm have been working on it for such a long time to come in with the first dual-camera device sporting a Snapdragon 660 chip (Spectra 160 ISP).

Oppo R11

The Oppo R11 is packed with a 16MP+2MP (wide-angle + telephoto) rear camera with f/1.7 aperture, 2x zoom, portrait mode and many more. But unlike many other handsets, the R11 comes with hardware enhancements as well as software improvements. Thanks to hardware-level optimizations it has a 6-layer noise reduction algorithm, better pixel compensation technology when focusing, and 2x double-zoom. Plus, Qualcomm has become the first chip maker to use the Hexagon Vector eXtensions (HVX) on its 600 series chips. If you are not aware, it supports high-performance low-power shooting process, while providing better quality camera experience.

Read: Oppo R11 Review

Huawei P10

The Huawei P10 was announced at the beginning of this year along with its sibling the P10 Plus. Though many think the Huawei P10 is the cheap clone of the iPhone 7, we tend to think many features of this handset are a head higher than Apple’s product. Say, the Leica optics can beat any sensor.

Huawei P10 Greenery

Last year Huawei and Leica extended their cooperation setting up a new research and development laboratory. A bit later Huawei launched the first handset featuring Leica optics. The Huawei P9 was praised a lot. So the company decided to launch the continuation of this amazing smartphone dubbed Huawei P10.

The P10 sports a dual-camera at a 20MP monochrome and a 12MP RGB sensor and f/2.2 aperture. The first sensor is used to capture BW photos as well as to focus in low-light conditions and improve the clarity. Moreover, unlike the iPhone 7, you can zoom at any point between 1x and 2x of optical zoom.

Actually, there is list of camera features you’d like, undoubtedly. But I want you to focus on the 3D facial tracking system. The smartphone recognizes a face via more than 100 identification points to determine the location of all facial elements. Then it removes skin defects and imperfection of makeup gets rid of overexposed areas and comes in with the bokeh effect.

Read: Huawei P10 Review

Nubia Z17

The Nubia Z17 features a dual camera on the back with a 23MP + 12MP sensor. Those lens support F/1.8 aperture, CMOS 1 / 2.55 inch, 1.4um pixel, 2x dual zoom, 10x dynamic zoom and 0.03 seconds fast focus. The hardware sounds quite attractive, but what’s more interesting the phon is also equipped with NeoVision 7.0 image engine. The latter brings a lot of fun including a larger resolution, zoom algorithm, scene recognition, and dual-camera 3A algorithm. It highlights portrait mode, stereo camera, electronic aperture 3.0, WiFi camera and many other interesting and easy to use camera features.

Nubia Z17

Dual-camera appears not only on high-end smartphones but also on devices from a lower category. This means the technology has become available for all kinds of devices. However, as you guess it will differ from model to model (from brand to brand). So let’s find out which Chinese smartphone maker could design a handset sporting a dual-camera and packing mid-range hardware.

LeEco Le Pro 3 AI Edition

The biggest difference from the original model is considered to be the dual-camera on the back of the phone. The LeEco Le Pro 3 AI Edition comes with a 13MP (f/2.0 phase detection AF, dual-LED flash) + 13MP (monochrome) setup. It is combined with LeEco’s ‘LE IMAGE AI Engine’ that produces clear and sharp images even in low light conditions. The rear camera setup supports 4K Video at 30 fps and 720p at 120 fps.

LeEco Le Pro 3 AI Edition

Read: LeEco Le Pro 3 AI Edition Quick Review

Smartisan Nuts Pro

When this phone was out many have been thinking this manufacturer didn’t bring anything new to the market. Those who had been aware of this brand via the Smartisan M1 were thinking the Smartisan Nuts Pro is a shoddy of the aforementioned smartphone. But a quick look at the technical characteristics of both handsets showcases these are quite different models. Particularly, the M1 sports a Sony IMX318 sensor at 23MP, while there is an IMX328 13MP sensor on the Nuts Pro. So no matter how identical they look, these are two different handsets with different purposes.

Smartisan Nuts Pro

However, this is the first dual-camera phone of Smartisan. Plus, the manufacturer has decided to pack its phone with different camera lens depending on memory – the 32GB variant sports 8MP+2x13MP cameras, while the 64/128GB models come with 16MP+2x13MP camera modules. Though this is a dual-camera phone, its lens is not divided into ‘black and white + color’ ones or ‘wide-angle + telephoto’ ones.

Read: Smartisan Nuts Pro Review

Huawei Nova 2

This phone also comes with a dual-camera on the back, but unlike many other Huawei handsets, they are not Leica optics. Anyway, the Huawei Nova 2 (and its sibling, the Nova 2 Plus) comes with a 12MP wide-angle camera and an 8MP telephoto sensor. Apart of this, the cameras support OIS, portrait mode, and lots more. It enhances the picture quality depending on the environment condition under which the camera photo needs to be shot.

Huawei Nova 2 Plus

Ulefone Gemini pro

The Ulefone Gemini pro is packed with a 13MP monochrome sensor for more detailed shots as well as a 13MP chromatic sensor to register the in-depth colors with an f/2.0 large aperture. Thanks to such a combination of camera lens the phone is capable of creating bokeh effect (Change in depth of focus).

So we can state one of the first Ulefone handsets sporting a dual-camera is packed with Sony IMX258 sensors. They are not the best camera modules in the market but are the most popular ones. If not aware, the Sony IMX258 can be found on devices from different niches – Nubia Z17 mini, Umidigi Z Pro, or LG G6.

Nubia M2

This is the first dual-camera smartphone of the company. In some sense, it’s a ‘prelude’ for the Z17 and Z17 mini. But the M2 was greeted with cheers. So we decided to put it on this list as well. As you guess, the highlight of this handset is the dual camera with 13MP sensors placed on the back. The manufacturer claims they are using a custom depth camera setup from Sony (one RGB camera sensor + a black and white sensor). Another feature of the camera includes a mixed focus mode comprising of PDAF + contrast focus. It also features a built-in NeoVision 6.5 photography system, which has been customized for this phone.

Nubia M2

Bluboo Dual

Many think there is a trick – though the Bluboo Dual sports a dual-camera, one of the modules come at 13MP lens, while the second one is only 2MP. This sounds tricky, but actually, we are dealing with a low-end (or at least, low-cost) handset. And it’s reasonable why its dual-camera is not what we used to see on top devices. Anyway, the first sensor comes our way from Sony and it carries a model number of IMX135. The second one is a Sony IMX219 sensor with fixed focus functionality. These modules are accompanied with a dual-LED flash in order to take clearer photos in dark or low-light conditions. Bluboo has also optimized and customized the camera app, and now the phone can focus on any object and blur the background easily. It is implemented at a hardware level in real-time. Finally, this dual-camera has an aperture of f/2.0.

Bluboo Dual - Rear top

Read: Bluboo Dual Preview

Cubot Rainbow 2

The selling point of the Cubot Rainbow 2 is the dual-camera on the back. Thanks to a 13+2MP lens combination you get two advantages when shooting via this handset: first, you can determine the distance between certain objects; second, you take photos twice faster. Shortly, you are able to blur the objects in the background and increase spatial perception and give priority to the focused object. However, when it comes to actual experience, you should know the Rainbow 2 is capable of focusing only an oval area around the focused point. At last, according to the official statement, the Cubot Rainbow 2’s camera comes with an aperture of f/2.0.

Read: Cubot Rainbow 2 Review

Gretel GT6000

If you want to learn how dual-camera technology works, this is the best option to test anything on it. The Gretel GT6000 is known for two key features – a 6000mAh battery, as the name suggests, and a dual-camera on the rear. Thus we can say we are dealing with one of the first large-capacity batteries that come with a dual-camera. However, the term ‘dual-camera’ should be taken carefully for this device. The Gretel GT6000 sports a 13MP Panasonic MN34172 sensor for the main job and a 1.3MP secondary sensor to determine the distance between objects. The latter is done to blur the background. And though the second lens is not capable of doing anything else, there is a laser focus for faster and clearer focusing process. It’s mainly seen on flagships.

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