With all the COVID 19/Coronavirus news it seems out of place to fret over smartphone maker decisions. However, we have to mention the latest Sony smartphones which prioritize photo and video quality with one gigantic omission. All of the new lineup from Sony the Xperia 1 II, Xperia 10 II, and Xperia PRO 5G lack super slow motion features. Yes, the 960fps 1080p mode is gone and the only spec remaining is a paltry 120fps 1080p Full HD pseudo-slow-mo frame rate.
If you recall in years past, the Sony brand was incorporating their Motion eye™ technology which pairs a sensor with ultra-fast memory on the same package to allow for large datarates and super slow motion capture. In the lab, the phones were able to shoot up to 1000fps at full 1080p HD with excellent quality. What came out in the Xperia phones was a somewhat odd translation of 0.1 seconds recording time at 1080p 960fps/1000fps which came out to be extremely short and a kind of useless feature. Now that has been abandoned.
The recently announced Galaxy S20 phone line has been making some waves with impressive specs especially related to the camera modules. As always we are only interested here in the high speed video specs here at HSC “not even the new 8k video spec” and the new phones are an improvement over the S10 and Note 10 lines. However, it is important to note that not all S20s will share the same slow motion specs and that is what this post is about.
You may think that the S20 Ultra 5G will be the easy choice here but it is hardly as straight forward as that. The amount of technology packed in the Ultra phone along with four camera modules and one of them at over 100MP means they prioritized photo resolution over video shooting in their sensor selection. The Ultra will not natively support the 960fps spec but default to only 480fps.
The Huawei Mate 30 Pro has been out for a few weeks outside the US, mainly in China and India and we have gathered 15 video samples from its slow motion mode which as of today is the best performing high-speed phone ever developed. We had some shortcomings about the way the phone reaches the highly hyped 7,680fps mode which is 1920fps multiplied by 4x in software from a small snapshot of the video memory.
We also had some suspicions that the 1080p 960fps mode was also interpolated but looking at the samples we gathered it seems that was a premature call. The phone is actually capturing the full frame rate at 1080p or close to that. The real max mode is 1920fps at 720p which is then interpolated to 7,680fps with good success by the new Kirin 990 chipset. Your mileage may vary and the results depend on the subject matter more than anything as organic slower motion looks much better than fast unpredictable bursts that break the interpolation algorithm.
Huawei has just launched the Mate 30 Pro and Mate 30 Pro 5G Smartphones which sport an impressive camera module with a large sensor array that shoots at 40 Megapixels. We had rumors sent a couple of weeks back but had our reservations due to the less than optimal slow motion in the P20 and other Huawei Smartphones. The phone is now untouched by the competition as it can shoot a half-second at 1920fps 720p or 960fps total which translates to 32 seconds on a 30p timeline.
The headline slow motion feature of 7680fps is not real as it is derived from the 1920fps 720p half-second which the phone then uses AI selection to isolate a 0.12 seconds segment of the capture then finally interpolated by the Kirin 990 Chipset to the full 7680fps. So it does a 4x slow motion on top of it to get the great-looking result.
The Galaxy Note 10 is Samsung’s most expensive flagship phone yet and as it should be it is also the most capable. We recently saw some slow motion samples that we wanted to share and why this phone is the best quality slow motion a Samsung phone has ever been able to produce. Sure the quality difference between the Note 10 and the Galaxy S10 is very small but it is there. We see less moire and aliasing than on the S10 and the detail retained is also better.
We were disappointed at first that 720p was still the top resolution for slow motion. But the only 1080p phone alternative the Sony Xperia Series like the Xperia One is only recording 0.1 seconds of slow motion at 960fps 1080p which is next to useless. Furthermore, the supposed 1080p quality looks just a tad better than the Samsung which is not particularly high quality either.
Samsung has released the Galaxy Note 10 and 10+ with even a 5G variant which was probably the most leaked phone of the year aside from the iPhone refresh coming next month. The phone has some beefed up specs and an impressive screen with a center cut upper camera punch-hole that love it or hate it is here to stay for now.
The video specs and photo specs look similar to the Galaxy S10 but with better color, dynamic range, lens elements and better overall video compression which looks very nice. The Galaxy S10 was no slouch in video mode but the Note 10 has the better compression and color processing that makes it a notch above. The slow motion spec remains the same as last year’s Note 9 and Galaxy S10 so Samsung is also stagnating in this respect.
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