It feels like it has been ages since the first modern smartphones came to be back in 2007. In an industry characterized by mind-blowingly rapid progress, we've quickly gotten to a point where the initial A + B + C equation to what makes a great smartphone is now absolutely inadequate. In fact, it has grown into something our word editor can't even properly display. The process has gotten insanely complicated, in other words.
And while we're mostly talking about different approaches that, inevitably (with flagships, at least), lead to a great outcome, it would be completely wrong to assert that one can produce an objective, one-size-fits-all, device that is better at everything than the rest. Indeed, the nuances are there, and different manufacturers invest in different aspects of the package that smartphones have grown to represent. One such major aspect is the camera.
Yep, no big surprises there – pretty much without exception, flagship cameras are the object of the most sizable investment for manufacturers, and that's understandable. And yet, the main focus is on image quality. Pursuing that is a perfectly-understood necessity, but that's hardly all there is to a shooter. As you gleaned from the title, we believe that the time it takes you to power on your camera, focus on your object, snap a picture, and have your phone save it to its memory so that you're ready to shoot again, is also a factor when it comes to what makes a great cameraphone. That's especially important when you get one of those unexpected, "Hell-I-need-to-take-a-picture-of-this-right-now" moments, where every second counts.
So which modern flagships excel in this field? Let's find out!
Which flagship takes photos the fastest?
Which flagship takes photos the fastest?
With a recorded average time of 3.2, the Meizu MX4's 20.7-megapixel camera is as quick as the one found on the Xperia Z3.
With a time of 3.2 seconds, the Sony Xperia Z3 performs well overall in this category, but it did fall behind in comparison with its predecessor, the Xperia Z2, which clocked 3 seconds.
The Galaxy S5 Active edition may not be as quick as the standard S5, but it is still plenty fast – it managed 3.13 seconds in our testing.
Chinese Oppo's Find 7 flagship is no wuss either -- it needs 3 seconds to capture a snap.
At 2.9 seconds, the Note Edge needed 100 milliseconds longer than its brethren, the Note 4, to go through our test.
Motorola's hardware-packed DROID Turbo is pretty quick, too – it also needs 2.8 seconds on average to power on its camera app, focus, shoot, and save the results to its memory.
The Mate7's optically-stabilized, 13-megapixel camera delivers very agreeable results and needs little time to serve them: just 2.8 seconds.
Despite its powerful hardware, at 2.8 seconds, the Note 4 still needed just a tad longer than its predecessor, the Note 3, to fly through the camera app-shoot-save process.
At 2.7 seconds, the LG G3 is just as fast as the Note 3, and that's very impressive.
Yep, the Galaxy Note 3 is no joke when it comes to speedy capture, either. It only needs 2.7 seconds to power its camera, focus, snap, and save.
Another HTC handset made it into the top, and this one actually takes respectable, 13-megapixel stills, so it's not just about image size. The Desire EYE clocked 2.5 seconds on our proprietary test, which ties it with the Galaxy S5.
Often criticized for its less-than-speedy TouchWiz software, the Galaxy S5 actually proves quite fast when it comes to taking snaps in the flash of an eye -- it needs just 2.5 seconds.
That's right. The latest HTC flagship in the One M8 is at the top of the food chain when it comes to taking snaps as quickly as possible. Put in numbers, it takes the M8 2.3 seconds to power on its camera app, focus, snap, and save.
Obviously, the fact that it only takes 4-megapixel snaps helps with the saving part, but that's nevertheless a very impressive result.
Similarly, Apple's 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus phablet also needs very little time to open the app, fire, and save – only 1.93 seconds!
Apple's iPhones have traditionally held the crown in this particular metric, and the new, 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is no exception. With it, you'll need just 1.9 seconds to start the camera app, take a picture, and save it to its memory.
When it comes to smartphone imaging, it's hard to ignore the Nokia Lumia 1020 and its giant, 41-megapixel sensor. And while that one promises an insanely detail-rich snaps, speediness is definitely an area in terrible need of a boost. Put into numbers, the Lumia 1020 needs the whopping 10 seconds to fire up its camera, take a snap, and save.
That's the price to pay for such massive pictures.