This week we had the announcement by Samsung of the Galaxy S21 phone line which is the de-facto Android handset in most of the world. The Galaxy S21 Slow Motion has essentially the same feature set as the Galaxy S20 of 2020 when it comes to high-speed video. The Galaxy brand went serious with Slow Motion since the Galaxy S9 with the 960fps mode at 720p which we can still see here with somewhat improved resolution and recording time.
The S21 line is by almost any standard a refinement of the line with very subtle but important updates on the previous S20 phones. We get the Snapdragon 888 which is the brightest and fastest SoC in non-Apple land. We get 120Hz adaptive screen refresh rate and 108MP telephoto camera on the Ultra version with 10x hybrid zoom, and half that at 64MP on the regular S21 and S21+ which only offer 3x hybrid zoom. We also get 8k video recording on all of the phones at 24p which we will have to test if it is really delivering on the promise.
Two new handsets from Samsung should be released pretty soon. One is the overly leaked Galaxy S8 Active which will be an AT&T exclusive in the USA and the other is the long awaited Galaxy Note 8 which should be a clean slate for the company after the battery fire debacle last year which had the Note 7 removed from production.
The Galaxy S8 was kind of a let down in slow-motion specs with just the 720p 240fps as the really important metric. Absent was the 120fps 1080p mode of other competitive phones which is now becoming a must have for the video format. The Note phones have always pushed the specs forward in Samsung phones and we were waiting for the Note 8 to increase frame rate specs.
The new Samsung Exynos 9 Series 8895 Chipset for smartphones has impressive new specs. It claims the most advanced 3D and general processing performance for use in flagship smartphones. What interests us a lot is the direct claim that the chip can handle both recording and playback of 4k video at 120fps.
The UHD 4k resolution is 3,840 by 2,160 pixels or 8,294,400 pixels rounded up to 8.3MP per frame. At 120fps this equates to 995 Megapixels /sec or near one Gigapixel. This translates exactly to 480fps at 1080p full HD resolution or 1080fps at 720p. This is quite astounding for bandwidth specs for a phone and opens the door wide open for real super slow motion on Samsung Tablets and Smartphones.
Regardless of what the GoPro and Ambarella marriage can provide in tandem hardware it is clear the company wants to branch out of the fledgling sales of GoPro which have tanked in recent quarters and the stock price from a high near a $100 USD is now trading at a mere $12 which is half the IPO price. By branching out it seems they want their chips in many more imaging devices and be less affected by the GoPro product cycle.
The announced H2 and H12 chips are able to provide beefy 4k specs at high frame rates for mobile devices at a mere 2 Watts of power. As to 1080p frame rates it will remain to be seen how this powerful new chip can handle that in a camera design and how it is implemented to squeeze that performance. 120fps at 4k from the H2 in theory should be able to yield 480fps at 1080p just counting the Pixel processing. This however can be limited by the rest of the components like imaging sensor.
The specs for the newest and greatest ARM phone chip the A72, show that it is close to 3.5 times more powerful than ARM’s previously released Cortex-A15. It is also powerful enough to record and process 4K video at a rate of 120 frames per second.
While the specs of this 32 and 64bit capable chip look mighty impressive it is a predictor of things to come. These reference design chips are used for example by Apple in their A architecture because the company has an architectural license agreement with ARM; that has proved to be an amazing performer because Apple tweaks the design to perform incredibly fast in their devices sometimes above 50% from the reference design in some specific applications.
The Latest on Hi Speed Affordable Imaging!