Is a dual-camera setup still special if this $90 phone can have it?

Is a dual-camera setup still special if this $90 phone can have it?

Dual cameras on smartphones have become somewhat commonplace – if you are looking strictly at high-end models. Therefore, we still associate them with premium devices and regard them as a piece of advanced technology not yet meant for the mass market. Of course, having choices for an affordable dual camera phone is merely a question of time and falling component cost. We know it will happen, we certainly didn't think it would happen so soon, but there you have it – the Blackview A9 Pro is a $90 phone and it rocks a duo-cam! How could this be?!

If it seems impossible, that's because it is. Dual cameras – quality ones, with high-grade components and rigorous R&D behind them – are not budget phone material. The A9 Pro's duo-cam setup consists of a – wait for it – 0.3MP secondary camera, doing God knows what in tandem with an 8MP cam. Silly Apple with their dual 12MP cameras and telephoto lens and image processors and everything! All it took to pull off a respectable duo-cam is a puny 0.3MP sensor and some image stitching algorithms! Yeah, right.

While we're genuinely curious how this cheap, unabashed imitation of a dual camera setup fares in real life, we don't expect to be blown away. Any 0.3MP camera is, and always has been woefully incapable of remotely adequate picture quality. We cannot possibly see how its presence could contribute anything meaningful at all to the 8MP sensor's output.

Rather, we can't help but think the 0.3MP secondary cam's sole actual purpose is to literally be there so Blackview can get hype for selling a $90 duo-cam phone. The only way to come across as even more blatantly desperate for sales is to straight-up clone high-end models, like those rascals at Elephone do.

Just like metal bodies, fingerprint sensors, high-resolution screens, and big batteries, duo cameras – actually useful ones – will eventually trickle down to mid and low-tier devices. In the meantime, anyone who over-promises is more than likely to under-deliver.

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18 Comments

1. iushnt

Posts: 3060; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

It's not about dual cameras or single, it's about taking good photos irrespective of the number of camera sensors.

5. Bankz

Posts: 2491; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

It depends on what it has. Like optical zoom, OIS in both cameras, quality of their f/stops etc.

10. sgodsell

Posts: 6851; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Personally I like different types of lens, like the LG G6 and G5. Regular and wide angle lenses.

18. OscarHUGar

Posts: 21; Member since: Mar 10, 2017

I have an A8 AGM (i think is better xP ) but I admire the "PPR" approach that BV is trying to give to its medium lines: realistic competition and fair price is something that could desaturate the market dominated by overpriced cof cof - cof iphone - Cof - Sansumg- cof cof ... But again: an android 7 , ip68, strong battery, durable Phone for 160e ?? A-MA-ZING!

2. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

$78 Cherry Mobile P1 Google it.

3. luis.d

Posts: 354; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

Never heard of this one before. I guess the people behind this phone can negotiate a mean image sensor deal!

4. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

You basically called it in the article. All dual cameras are not created equal.

8. ayylmao

Posts: 34; Member since: Mar 10, 2017

i can confirm that is true. Cherry Mobile is a local phone brand here in the Philippines. and P1 is just a poor dual-cam phone if i say. quite pathetic shots as what i've read in a local review. i wonder if Settings is a Filipino. lmao

6. LovesCameras

Posts: 51; Member since: Dec 02, 2015

Even if that 0.3MP sensor has no use the 8MP primary is pretty much acceptable to smartphone standards.

7. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

It was never special because it doesn't bring anything new to the table. The best second lens would be a lens with mechanical zoom capabilities.

9. AlikMalix unregistered

If you can have mechanical zoom capabilities - why would you need a second camera lens? Why not just put it on primary?

11. sgodsell

Posts: 6851; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

If you have two separate cameras. Then the best uses are something like LG's regular lense and wide angle lens. The other use would be 3D or depth sensing camera. I would love to see a smartphone with two 16 mp cameras, one camera pointing forward and the other camera pointing at the rear, and both cameras have fisheye lenses. So you could get 360 pictures or video.

12. cmdacos

Posts: 3873; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Was it ever special? I haven't seen implementation yet that causes people to go wow I need that.

13. monoke

Posts: 1144; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

Never was special. If I wanted 2x optical zoom, I would just take 2 steps forward! lol. If it's gonna compromise looks of some phone designs, I'd probably prefer to leave it off. imo.

14. poptart574

Posts: 223; Member since: Feb 29, 2016

Why don't you guys review it before passing judgement and keep Apple out of it. The best dual Camera smart phone in China is the Vivo xplay 6. Why don't you guys review that one while your at it. Smartphones are made in every corner of the globe yet PA makes it seem like the only market that matters is in the US.

15. vazzzz

Posts: 64; Member since: May 09, 2014

Well there are even $60 Chinese smartphones with dual cameras. So it's not about hardware. It's more about software and picture processing. Although I've tested sub $100 Chinese smartphone with dual back cameras and it works pretty well

16. poptart574

Posts: 223; Member since: Feb 29, 2016

My thoughts exactly.

17. OscarHUGar

Posts: 21; Member since: Mar 10, 2017

For me the Chinese models are realistic options for people who want something very punctual: if the battery is urgent and nothing more: maaaaybe a blackview is ok . Generally though: I think the X1 is way more balanced in specs and case ; such an excellent performance / price ratio. Curious thing the phone, however.

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