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Specialties of Some Extraordinary Phones

This article introduces some special smart phones, for example those are able to play exclusive VR games, and those can take underwater shots, etc.

Junxue Li, Blogger

July 21, 2016

7 Min Read

     I have been in the Mobile Game industry for many years, and I have posted numerous blog articles about mobile games. Only very recently, to my surprise I find that I haven’t written anything yet for the game carriers – the phones. So I decide to write one.

      If you buy a moderate smart phone, above $200 mark, regardless what brand it is, and whatever the OS is, you can use it to play the same causal games, use it to call taxi, buy things online… the using experience is just the same, fast and responsive. So much convenience this small piece of contrivance brings to your life, you may feel the boon of modern technology.

      And above these general functionalities, some phones were designed with extra specialties, which makes them much more than a phone. And one thing worth to note is that those features are not marketing gimmicks, let me show you:


Phone:  iphone series

Specialty: Games

     Nowadays it seems all mobile games have iOS and Android version, however if you’re a true game lover, an iphone is your only choice. For Android phones have myriad hardware configurations, there’s greater chance that certain games won’t run on the phone; And there’re many wonderful exclusive games on iOS.

      And if you’re in China, gaming with Android phones brings more complications. There’re hundreds of App Stores, you can’t tell if the game you get from certain store is official version, unofficial, latest version, or even copycat. For example, Candy Crush Saga, I can find the version by its legitimate Chinese publisher Tencent; And an unauthorized taken away from Play Store, unlocalized; And a version by a company I don’t know, I’m not sure if I make in game purchase, where the money would go. Nonetheless, there’s only one Apple Store in China, where your can find the latest official version.


Phone:  iphone 6 series

Specialty: Professional Street/Landscape Photography

     The sensor and lens of iphone 6 camera are good enough for professional photography, and it’s essentially a fixed 26mm, f11 camera. It’s good for wide angle street/landscape shots. In most of the time on streets, you may want neat 50mm shots, which is the human eye perspective:


      You can achieve this by attach an external lens. You would argue that most phones can attach external lenses. However, to my observation, for iphone 6 series, lots of phone lens manufacturers provided a case that you can attach the lens seamlessly to the phone.

     And for other brand of phones, for the standard is chaotic, the solution is to connect the lens by more awkward accessories: 

     So with an iphone 6, street photographers like to do 30~50mm shots could leave their heavy cameras at home.

     Tip: Shoot and edit your pictures with Lightroom app, the default shooting app is only for amateurs. 



Phone:  Samsung Galaxy S7

Specialty:  VR games

     Again you may argue that you can stick whatever phones into a VR goggle, and download some VR games from App Store, albeit they are not in triple A quality. Let me show you the difference of Samsung Galaxy S7.

     I have tested all the major professional VR gears: HTC vive, Oculus, and Galaxy S7+Gear VR. With them, the graphics synch to head move so fluidly, you won’t feel any dizzy, unless you perform some Yo-Yo like maneuver. 

      However, if you play the same games with ANY phone+ANY goggle, even if you stand in a virtual room and simply rotate your head to observe the surroundings, it would make you dizzy. Why, for ANY phones don’t have as good gyroscope and display card as S7, thus the prominent visual delay would make your head spin.

      So if you want enjoy some nice VR game experience with phone+goggle, Gear VR is the only choice (Galaxy S6/S7 are supported). And Samsung has its exclusive VR app store, it has some nice games such as Temple Run VR and Herobound.


Phone:  Samsung Galaxy S7 & most Sony phones

Specialty: Waterproof

     The water proof property of these phones are extraordinary, you can soak the phones in water for hours. To many this is almost an useless feature, and no one would take this as criteria for choosing phones. However in some special occasions it would save you much worries. Think about relaxing with your family in a beach resort, you want to take sweet family shots, but would worry to death to keep your phone free of water, if it isn’t waterproof.    

     And while you’re doing those activities, with a S7, you can shoot pictures and simply stick the phone into your pocket, without any precautions for water damage.

     And with a waterproof phone you can do some fantastic underwater shots. You know the waterproof case for a DSLR camera is quite expensive.


Phone:  Huawei P9 series

Specialty: Professional Creative Photography

     Huawei P9 is the new flagship series in 2016. Its most prominent feature is the dual camera.

     In normal shooting mode, compared to top phone cameras on iphone 6 and Galaxy S7, Huawei P9 produces pictures with less mega pixels, less sharp details, and more grain. However, P9 could beat them all by one feature: large aperture mode. 

     A trick in professional photography is to use large aperture to blur out the background, making the subject stand out. And you can’t do this with phone cameras, for it’s physically impossible to make a large lens on the phone. 

     Having the camera designed by Huawei and Leica partnership, P9 solves this problem nicely by another route. The dual camera design enables the system to take a picture with 3D depth info roughly recorded, and in post processing, the system would apply blur with this info. Well, the 3D blur isn’t exactly accurate as that produced by a real large aperture lens, I would say artistically it’s another type of blur.

      And as the 3D info is recorded in the photo, you can actually change the focal point in post processing. Below are the same picture, with focal point changed in post editing. Pretty nice huh? This is nothing a traditional camera could do.

      Below are pictures I take on the streets, I can’t do this with ANY other phone.

      And the default shooting and post editing app is well designed for pros, and easy to use, which makes P9 really a pro’s phone.

      And one downside of P9 camera is that you couldn’t attach any external lens in the market, the reason is apparent: the dual camera work together to take each picture -unless you can buy an external dual lens.



Phone:  Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

Specialty: VR movies

     This is the world’s first 4K smartphone, with screen resolution 3840x2160.

     Presently, if you see a movie on whatever VR gear: HTC vive, Oculus, Gear VR, or ANY phone+ANY goggle, you can see the picture’s pixels, for the screens simply don’t have enough resolution. Only with Z5 Premium you can enjoy the watching experience in a real cinema, seeing the pictures in its original full resolution. 

     You may doubt that most movies now available are at 1080p, then what is the use of 4K screen? Well, most VR movies now are dual 1080p, which means 1920x1080 for each eye. Z5 Premium’s 4K screen is able to deliver this resolution to each of your eyes, while Galaxy S7 with 2K screen is only able to send 960x540 to each eye, so the picture is pixelated. 


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