These are the only few (relatively) modern smartphones with a Xenon flash

These are the only few (relatively) modern smartphones with a Xenon flash
What's the difference between an LED and a Xenon flash? Well, without getting technical and specifying what the two are made out of (diodes and gas, among other things), these two types of flashes have their specific advantages and disadvantages.

The case for the LED flash is fairly straightforward. First and foremost, an LED flash can be made considerably smaller and cheaper than a Xenon flash. Second, LED flashes are still far superior to their Xenon counterparts when it comes to power consumption – quite important with smartphones – and are also generally more reliable. Further still, an LED flash also doubles up as fill light during video capture (something the Xenon flash on a smartphone cannot do) and also helps with auto focus.

That's a lengthy list of pro's for the use of LEDs over Xenon flashes, but it doesn't at all mean that the latter is without advantages, too. Sure, they draw more power and require more space to implement, but in return you're getting a vastly superior illumination in comparison with LEDs – especially handy if you're into low light photography (usually a no-no with smartphones). What's more, Xenon flashes are famous for their ability to "freeze" a moment and prevent blur, as seen in the comparison shots below. Again, this is especially helpful in low light environments. 

So both have their strengths and weaknesses. That's probably why virtually all modern (and relatively modern) Nokia smartphones that have a Xenon flash also sport an LED one. Samsung's cameraphones, on the other hand, rely solely on Xenon. Check out the smartphones that qualify below.

* Smartphones prior to 2012 omitted.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom

"What if we made a smartphone that is camera first and smartphone second?" That must have been the thinking over at Samsung's labs when they came up with the Galaxy S4 Zoom – a device that looks like your typical Point-and-Shoot camera from behind, and your smartphone from the front. 

To entice photography hobbyists, Samsung also threw in a Xenon flash to complement that 16-megapixel, 1/2.3" sensor. The S4 Zoom, as the name suggests, is capable of 10x optical zoom (F3.1-F17.8), and the unit is also optically stabilized.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

Samsung dropped the S line-inspired naming convention for its "Zoom" cameraphones, and instead introduced a separate category with the Galaxy S4 Zoom's successor – the Galaxy K Zoom. 

Styled after the current Galaxy S flagship, the S5, the K Zoom improves upon its predecessor with a more pixel-dense, 20.7-megapixel, 1/2.3" sensor, while keeping the 10x optical zoom (F3.1-F6.3), the Xenon flash, and the optical image stabilizing gizmo.

Nokia Lumia 928

The Nokia Lumia 928, for the most part, is nothing more than a Verizon-exclusive re-brand of the Lumia 920. But there's one important difference – instead of relying on a dual LED flash combo like the Lumia 920, the 928 replaces one of the two LEDs with a Xenon flash, complementing its 8,7-megapixel (1/3") sensor and F2.0 lens

In result, the Nokia Lumia 928 has the best of both worlds – an LED flash to help it focus better and provide light during video capture, and a Xenon flash for when maximum illumination or "freezing" of a moment is required.

Nokia 808 PureView

Nobody really knows what possessed Nokia to create the 808 PureView, but whatever it was – fans certainly were happy about it.

Instead of adopting Microsoft's Windows Phone platform, the 808 PureView stuck with Nokia's Symbian OS, which was a disappointment, but the camera sensor on board was (and still is!) so awesome, that one can't stay mad for long. Underneath that enormous hump on the back of the 808 lies a 41-megapixel, 1/1.2" sensor with F2.4 lens – the second biggest camera sensor found in a phone (recently dethroned by the Panasonic Lumix CM1's 1" unit). To complete the package, Nokia also included a Xenon + LED flash combo.

Nokia Lumia 1020

The Nokia 808 PureView had reached an exalted status in the Nokia community as far as its imaging capabilities went, but Nokia knew that it needs a product that is more consumer-friendly than that.

Thus was born the Nokia Lumia 1020 – a smartphone that retains the 41-megapixels of the 808, but those are fitted within a slightly smaller (but still very large), 1/1.5" sensor. At least the lens, at F2.2, are wider.

Like the Nokia 808 PureView and the Lumia 928, the Lumia 1020 also comes with a Xenon + LED flash.



1. teenaxta

Posts: 42; Member since: Sep 10, 2014

808 is not MODERN !!

4. Rydsmith unregistered

It's like they used the word "relatively" or something.

5. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

I got a chuckle out of title myself. Then your post. +1

6. Sun_Wukong

Posts: 5; Member since: Mar 14, 2012

The 808 was way modern. With a 41MP camera that uses Pureview tech (pixel-binning), the smartphone's camera power is way ahead of competitors during its time (Android and even Windows Phone doesnt support 41MP then). Even till now, it still holds up well when compared with other newer smartphones. Not only that, Symbian then was still a well featured smartphone OS (especially after the Belle update). Its only when Stephen Flop made the fateful announcement that Symbian became neglected and obsolete.

8. hemedans

Posts: 762; Member since: Jun 01, 2013

iq wise 808 beat all current smartphone. can open 40+ apps without lag or any change in perfomance can record 1080p video with single core processor(no android/ios/wp smartphone can do this) 3.though 808 has 41mp and single core but it is faster than 1020 and the like in taking pictures 4. usb otg, you can use terabytes of storage in this device 5.micro hdmi, you can connect with your tv with hdmi cable 6.1000 nits, 808 display is brightest screen you can find, 7.second largest sensor in smartphone this phone has set many standard which current phone fail to break them.

10. needa

Posts: 205; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

that is all well and good, but why does single core mean anything? the only thing on that list that has any value in this day and age is the 1000 nit screen. which has nothing to do with the 'iq' of the smartphone. i am not dissing the pure view. i almost hit buy now on several occassions. but lets be real.

11. Deaconclgi

Posts: 405; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Don't assume what you deem "of any value" stands true for everyone. You don't speak for everyone and everyone does not hold the same opinion as you.

12. needa

Posts: 205; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

name something else on that list that today's smartphones cannot do and i will agree. i don't have to assume... i just checked things off and 1000 nits was the only thing left.

23. Deaconclgi

Posts: 405; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

You said: " the only thing on that list that has any value in this day and age" That is your opinion and you didn't insert "for me" after "value" so a reader can conclude that you are assuming that you know what has value for other people or as if your opinion is absolute. It's only your opinion and should be stated as such because people may value things that you couldn't care less about and vice versa and it is arrogant to speak with closure on value when your very thoughts on the subject may not represent the absolute value for the next person. I'm not going to name anything on anyone's list as my list may be different and who cares if you agree or I agree on a list. Like what you like and others will like what they like and I cannot tell you what I see is the only thing of value in your device because what I may think is the worst thing ever or not needed in your device, it may be the most important feature for you. Think about this, not everyone would check everything off that you did so that means your assessment of just for you.

17. tasior

Posts: 265; Member since: Nov 04, 2012

8. FM transmiter 9. Screen always on 10. Lossless 3x zoom

19. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

1000nits screen??? are you serious or joking? I own 808 from last 4 months and I am reading many interest things from people about 808 which I didnt find in my handset. My huawei media pad x1 is more brighter than 808 at peak brightness and I am dead sure media pad is not above 700nits. From where you people are coming from? I think most people who are commenting blindly about 808 doesnt own 808.

27. Rod74

Posts: 7; Member since: Nov 15, 2014

It sure is! It took 3 years for Samsong to catch up With the note 4. And its not ergonomically correct in your hand it like holding a tile. These Tile phones need a holster just to carry. Not cool. Not practical. You can not beat the oversampleing of pureview technology. and the advantage of having a flash and led.

2. kaka_ruhi

Posts: 4; Member since: Jul 12, 2013

Lumia 1020 ❤

3. GalaxyS5

Posts: 430; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

Ummmm, never thought about xenon, and cameraphones never interested me .. but it was a nice read anyways .. the 808 may have an awesome camera but it's terrible software wise and I mean it. dad's friend has a white 808 and sometimes I download stuff for him on it or help him with this and that, it's truly a "headache". for me the 1020 is a 1000 times better ...

20. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

symbian is a nightmare in current time. You can only bear it if you have not used any other OS beside symbian.

7. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

So only Samsung & Nokia stick to Xenon flash for their camera flagships

9. PhotoPixel

Posts: 32; Member since: Feb 11, 2014

Nokia 808 Pureview - is 100% cameraphone! Still Number ONE

18. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Still Number One???? who told you that? I own 808 along with note 4. Note 4 takes better photos than 808. Note 4 is way better point n shoot than 808 with better results and easy camera interface. 808 does hold the superiority when you zoom in, only then you can see more captured detail in some less notice able objects. But which moron zoom in each n every photo? I accept that 808 is still "one of the best", but not the best. However symbian is a nightmare to use, no wonder why there is no nokia in mobile phones any more. They deserved it or earned to be doomed. I purchased 808 by reading comments from thousands of crazy people who praise 808 like hell and sound like there cannot be any other better camera phone. People become blind folded when they start running their mouth with praise. Indeed it was the best in its time and still better than many flagships in camera but now it is surpassed by many other camera phones.

26. razraptre

Posts: 168; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

I'd say it's no.2, but only in regard to the 1020. And yes, the 808 trashes the Note 4 anyday. You simply cannot compete with a 5MP image with an oversampled ratio of 7:1 pixels.

13. LessThanDoug

Posts: 54; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

Its pretty amazing when I compare my K Zoom, 808, and 1020. Damian Dinning and his team really put together a beast of a phone when they made the 808. That flash blows away both the K Zoom and the 1020, and it rarely screws up white balance. Those of us who own the 1020 know how the flash can completely throw off coloring to the yellow side no matter what the white balance setting is. It's the only one out of the three I can trust the most to get me the photo I want. Too bad it doesn't have the "reframe" capability of the 1020 though, and the better UI. It does have more settings to adjust though which is nicer.

14. surethom

Posts: 1748; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

There are no android phones with a Xenon flash (Samsung k zoom does not count, it is a camera with a phone attached) when will we have have the choice. Xenon flash is always better than an led flash.

15. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Xenon is the only way to go for highend camera phones. If not, your night pictures are simply dull and usually blurry...making those 600+ phones worthless except for daylight.


Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

808 is a monster, still makes better pictures compared to newer phones! I own a 1020, but screen glass broke after it fell for the 10th time :( Even the old N8 takes better pictures than current phones from other brands! But i made lot of pictures with my 1020 and people who said that pureview is just marketing are so WRONG, man the pictures are just amazing also the loss less zoom is just awsome! No other brand van do that!

21. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

I agree. Nokia was expert in camera BUT only in camera. 808 still kick the ass of many flagships. whenever I want editing, I usually take photos with 808 and then transfer to note 4 or mediapad or to the computer.

22. tasior

Posts: 265; Member since: Nov 04, 2012

and yet, You say: "Still Number One???? who told you that? I own 808 along with note 4. Note 4 takes better photos than 808." I don't get Your point....

24. Deaconclgi

Posts: 405; Member since: Nov 03, 2012


25. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

you didnt get the point because you have'nt used both together, simple. 808 have more resolved detail specially when zooming in and croping but note 4 take better pictures over all. Note 4 have better colors unlike bit coldish colors of 808. For editing more mega pixels are better, thats why 808 is better in this regard. 808 has a focus problem which no one mentioned. It takes little blurry photos when the object is very close. While note 4 takes perfect close ups. So over all note 4 has a better camera, in all type of situations. If 808 is better in some situations, I will praise it for that which is making you confused, although there is nothing to be confused in it. Think broadly with open mind and you will not be confused.

28. Rod74

Posts: 7; Member since: Nov 15, 2014

Symbian belle was a great improvement. face the fact that Symbian is not a power hungry Os so you did not need a Tile Phone. plus did you ever use the apps that came with the phone. 1) Nokia maps: no internet needed or data use. 2) Radio+transmitter 3) Alarm clock. it works with the phone turned OFF. 4) Run many apps at the same time= beat that 5) office mobile( excel,powerpoint, word, onenote, bradcast off the bat. Remeber that symbian smart phones were around sense the early 2000's i had I R remote as a remote control back in 2005 On My Nokia e61. All of the sudden it is a inovation for the Tile phone users

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