Smartphones with 4K video recording (2015 edition)
While true 4K means 4096 x 2160 pixels, what most smartphone makers mean when they say their devices can record 4K video is that they can shoot UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels) videos. There's an exception to this, though: last year's OnePlus One can actually record video at 4096 x 2160 pixels. Anyway, even if we're talking about UHD 4K video recording, this remains a feature that's seen only on high-end handsets, so you won't find any cheap smartphones to offer it. At least not for now.
It's interesting that all the handsets that currently offer native 4K video recording are running Android. But we assume that, later this year, iPhones and Windows-based handsets will join the party. We'll update the article when new smartphones with 4K video recording are announced anyway. Until then, check out this year's models, in chronological order (the date of their announcement):
The first handset on our list is the G Flex 2, which was announced in early January as LG's second curved and flexible smartphone. The G Flex 2 has a 13 MP rear camera that can shoot 4K video at 30 fps, while also offering optical image stabilization, laser auto focus, and dual LED flash. You can buy the LG G Flex 2 in the US from AT&T, Sprint, and US Cellular.
Xiaomi's latest high-end smartphones, the Mi Note and Mi Note Pro, have similar designs and similar rear cameras: 13 MP units with 4K, 30 fps video recording. The handsets are powered by Snapdragon processors (801 in the case of the Mi Note, and 810 in the case of the Mi Note Pro), and sport 5.7-inch displays with 1080p (Mi Note) and Quad HD (Mi Note Pro) resolutions. The Mi Note and Mi Note Pro have not been released in the US.
Announced and launched in March, the One M9 is the first HTC smartphone capable of shooting 4K video (at 30 fps), thanks to its 20 MP rear camera. The One M9 is widely available around the world, and can be bought from all major carriers in the US.
Also announced in March (the same day as the HTC One M9), the Galaxy S6 obviously features 4K video recording, too. This isn't surprising, since the Galaxy S5 also had this capability. However, the camera of the S6 is undoubtedly better than that of the S5, thanks to its new 16 MP sensor with optical image stabilization.
While it looks different when viewed from the front and sides (due to its curved display), the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge shares most of its features with the regular Galaxy S6, which means it packs the same 16 MP rear camera with 4K video recording and OIS.
HTC in March announced its second 4K video-capable smartphone: the One E9+. This has the same 20 MP rear camera of the M9, but it's larger, thanks to a 5.5-inch Quad HD screen, while also being powered by a MediaTek processor, instead of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 that's powering the M9. The HTC One E9+ isn't officially available in the US, but you can buy a version without US LTE from Amazon for $470.
Officially unveiled in April, the One M9+ looks like a slightly larger M9, and has several different features, starting with the rear camera, which is a dual one (20 MP + 2.1 MP), though it still offers 4K video recording. The One M9+ sports a 5.2-inch Quad HD display, and it's HTC's first smartphone to have a fingerprint scanner on the front. Just like the E9+, the One M9+ can be ordered via Amazon (without US LTE), but it's more expensive: $640.
The G4 is LG's current flagship smartphone, and packs one of the best rear cameras the company has ever made: a 16 MP one with laser auto focus, optical image stabilization, and - of course - 4K video recording at 30 fps. Powered by a 6-core Snapdragon 808 processor and sporting a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, the LG G4 is available via all major US carriers.
Check out page 2 for 8 more handsets!