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Selfie Smartphone Guide



The guide for the right device

Selfies have become extremely prevalent these days. What used to be a niche practice of taking self-portraits with the camera has now become a must-do trend for all thanks to how pervasive smart devices
have become. But wait – how does one define a selfie? Well, the old ways required just three things: a camera, some experience with snapping self-portraits, and luck. The latter will determine if the shot turned out great or be a mixed-up mess. If the alternative happens, then it’s a matter of trying again until the shot is just right. That’s all there is to it. Of course, that is not the case anymore thanks to the proliferation of these
camera-equipped smart devices.

From mobilephones to tablets and those that sit in between, they all now come with fancy front-facing cameras that immediately enable everyone to snap a selfie – a pretty decent one at that. Even cameras got in on the act as they now come with swivel displays that, when moved to specific positions, gives these larger snappers the ability to take selfies. Strange in execution but it works well
enough and is mostly on par with selfies that are taken on a large tablet. As it is, there are so many ways to take a selfie. However, for this special focus guide, we look at the one device we all cannot live without – the smartphone. In this case, we’re fiddling with the mostly self-declared selfie smartphone and its ability to snap excellent self-portraits.

So, what would be considered a selfie-enabled smartphone? Certainly not the innards and even physical size is not counted. As a selfie smartphone guide, it is imperative that the focus lay on this one fact: the device must be able to take great selfies. And thus, there is only one factor that has to be kept in consideration – the front-snapper must have a large enough sensor. At the very least, the Megapixel count should be 5MP. Here are five smartphones that rock such a feature. Paired with unique designs and innovative concepts, each can be regarded as suitably impressive in the selfie department. This is mostly due to the features, which are considered as the very best for a great selfie experience, they are packed with.

The Fully Loaded – HTC One (M8)

HTC One (M8)

What more can be said of this flagship smartphone? Beyond awesome specs, an exceptional user experience, and the bundle of innovations thrown onto the HTC One (M8), there is still, indeed, even more to share about. This being the selfie smartphone guide means the main emphasis will be on the 5MP front camera that this executive platform offers. Keep in mind, this article is done before HTC announced the HTC Eye Experience so it will not cover the latest ideas HTC came up for self-portraits.

Overpowered Shooter

The build quality of the HTC One (M8) speaks volumes of its premium design. Hence why the cameras used on this device are specifically made as equals. Thus, it does makes perfect sense for the 5MP front-
facing camera to be packing in some real heat. From a BSI sensor – a system more associated to proper camera systems, to a wide-angle lens, then HDR functionality, and even 1080p Full HD recording, the front
snapper has fielded the very features many have come to expect from a flagship.

Intuitive Controls

Fully complementingthe superb cameracapabilities are enhanced functions the HTC camera app comes bundled with. While it may seem complicated, it isn’t as HTC made sure its primary camera app is easy to use and smart enough to help users do what they need to get that great selfie. This includes the handy countdown timer, quick access to image tweaking controls, and easily engaged pre-/post-shoot camera functions. If anything, the HTC One (M8) is the easiest to use among the recommended.

Big Easy

Packed to the brim with sophistication yet made to be easy for users to get into, the HTC One (M8) is, by far, the most intuitive and user-friendly selfie powered smartphone on the list. With the upcoming update for the camera app, many are expecting the selfie features to be ramped up by leaps and bounds. By the looks of it, a grand photo-taking experience is definitely on the cards for this Taiwanese device maker.

The All Rounder – Huawei Ascend P7

Huawei Ascend P7

So what does this 5in wunderkind have to offer besides enough raw power to scare some of its direct market rivals? Well for starters, the 5in screen and 6.5mm (measured depth) chassis makes for a really sleek profile. Its slimness, along with the 5in-like profile, ensures that there would be a firm grip. In fact, many wouldn’t have any trouble reaching and engaging the indented power button and volume rocker.

Big innovations

How big is the front-face camera? Well, it’s definitely the largest in its class as the Huawei Ascend P7 rocks an 8MP BSI shooter that comes packed with a 5-piece aspherical lens camera, Blue Glass infrared
sensor, and updated overall usability. The Blue Glass concept improves low-light performance and enhances image clarity while the latter includes functions like beauty mode, panoramic selfie, watermark inclusion, audio tagging, and creative camera filters. The former is great for selfies as it naturally smoothens out most blemishes. All of them come together to offer a well-made and decently performing front-located camera – definitely worth every cent spent.

Clear snap

The 8MP BSI-type camera that the Huawei Ascend P7 uses for its front- facing photo-taker has no known rival in this space. On its own, the 8MP shooter is exceptional – colours, visual clarity, and  white/black/primary hues look great! This perfect mix of colours is suitable for filters that are made specifically to tweak the colours, mood, and composition of the selfie. Even in dark environments, pictures turned out great and usable for editing/filter application.

Decent overall

If one phrase is used to describe the Huawei Ascend P7 as a selfie device, it can only be – well balanced with some getting used to thrown in. Its empowered innards, high calibre functions, and ultra-sleek
design fully complement the exceptional camera systems and deviimage-taking capabilities. Shooting in the dark is a non-issue with this fellow.

The Easy-Goer – Lenovo S850

Lenovo S850

This 5in entry from Lenovo S850 is one of the more stylish entries from the S Series as its 8.2mm chassis comes with an all-glass exterior and near-flushed design. The size is just about right and most would find it fitting in their palms easily and not falling out of the same hands so quickly. There are also the non-issue with the button placements as they are parked at ideal locations.

Straight Shot

Complementing the clean and minimalistic look of the S850 is the 13MP rear-facing and 5MP front-facing cameras. Of course, this is a selfie smartphone guide, thus the focus will solely be on the 5MP shooter.
Unlike the other recommendations, this forward-located camera doesn’t sport any fancy features or innovative functions. Instead, like the chassis, it’s as clean as it can be as the optics are tuned to capture
great looking selfies.

Powered Apps

It’s in the camera app where Lenovo has placed all of its bets. The user interface is the easiest and most intuitive to use as there are no confusing toggles and controls to fiddle with. Just turn it on, tweak the ‘beauty settings’ and it’s good to go. The app even comes with a smart preview mode that shows the selfie it had snapped, something that many would appreciate. Sweet!

Just right

While there isn’t much in terms of bells and whistles, the front-facing camera of the Lenovo S850 performs well enough as it snaps decent selfies. Of course, this easy-to-use user experience, which will be the winning factor for many, and the smart user controls found within the app are the ones that make this device stand out as a good selfie smartphone.

The Ultra-Compact – Nokia Lumia 735

Nokia Lumia 735

Seeing is believing and with the Nokia Lumia 735, being the most colourful on the list, really lives up to market expectations as the stand-out entry. Being priced affordably is one but the main point of
attraction is its slick and compact build, equally as gleaming specs, and powered usability. It is the smallest on the list in terms of size though it does not fall short in any aspect.

Quick Fire 

Don’t let its compact form factor deceive you as this mid-range entry is anything but slow, especially in the graphic rendering and multi-tasking department. Of course, the same can be said of the 5MP front
camera it uses, as the autofocus and pre-shot tweaks on the Lumia 735 are pretty quick. One tap and everything on the f/2.4 lens sharpens immediately, tapping again releases the shutter, and – boom – the selfie
is ready.

Variable apps

Where the other entries into this selfie smartphone list bundle with one specific app that seem to be packing loads of features, the Lumia 735 comes with a varied list of camera apps to pair with the
front-facing snapper. From Nokia Camera to the straight up Camera app, and being able to load up third party photo-taking apps to make use of the camera system, this compact selfie platform seems to be
the most versatile.

Truly personal

Being the smallest in the list – a mere 4.7in – can be a good thing as slipping out the device in speedy succession to grab a selfie is easier to do than with a bulkier smartphone. The better handling, more varied app control, and intuitive camera functions ensure the user experience is kept simple, fun, and, most importantly, personal.

The Big and Flashy – Sony Xperia C3

Sony Xperia C3

Being the largest entry in this guide means expectations are also running high for this device. Indeed, the Sony Xperia C3 lives up to its reputation for doing everything in a larger-than-life fashion. In playing up
the big concept, and to accompany its 5.5in chassis design, the 5MP front-located camera comes with a big 25mm wide- angle lens and, get this, a soft-type LED flash. Definitely huge in every way possible.

Light Up

Of all the entries into the list, only the Xperia C3 packs a LED flash with the forward camera. That shows how much emphasis Sony Mobile has placed on the selfie phenomenon. With the accompanying flash, there will no longer be any badly lit selfies. That means users need to only focus on their photo-taking skills and always keep in mind to not over- expose the shot.

Truly packed

Beyond the wide-angle lens and LED flash, the Xperia C3 also comes loaded with advanced photo-taking features for the front camera. This includes the SLR-like Superior Auto Mode, which provides some level of automated control for different styles of photography via the 36 scene types it works with; the Exmor RS for Mobile image processing system; and SteadyShot optical stabilisation platform. It’s like using a proper camera system that is crammed into a smartphone body.

Aim Wide

With the front-face shooter of the Xperia C3 having, more or less, SLR capabilities, it is definitely one of the entries fully driven by the selfie trend. The Sony Mobile proprietary creative and sharing apps that are installed on the device further lends credence to it as it serves to expand and enhance the concept of selfies. This is the closest any smartphone will ever get to being a camera.

What to choose?

Keep in mind of the following when you make the choice:

– The Megapixel count has to be 5MP minimum to produce great selfies – the bigger it is, the better.
– Wide-angles are best as that means you won’t be getting any messy picture cropping.
– Smart, seamless, and fast connectivity to social media is a must, so that quick uploads of selfies can be arranged.

– Convenient handling is important too as it means lesser chance of dropping the device and having a better time to tap the shutter.

Most importantly, it’s always good to have a light source (natural is best) when taking selfies.

Of course the performance of the smartphone, which includes battery life, screen output, and storage space, all play a part as well. All five entries in this list can be considered decent in terms of hardware as they are classified as flagships in their categories. Plus, each are designed to specifically suit the user’s needs and enhance their experience in taking selfies.