Realme enters race to ship a smartphone with a 64MP camera

Chinese smartphone-maker Realme has showcased a new flagship with a 64MP camera using a Samsung Isocell sensor launched in May.

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Several companies are expected to release smartphones with 64MP cameras later this year, with Samsung and Xiaomi being among the leading contenders. But Realme – a Chinese smartphone company that had made an impact in India – has just thrown down the gauntlet, with CEO Madhav Sheth posting some images on Twitter.

Sheth's tweets

While the images don't prove anything, Realme says it will use Samsung's 64MP Isocell Bright GW1 sensor in its forthcoming flagship phone.

Samsung launched the 32MP Isocell Bright GD1 and 48MP Isocell Bright GM1 sensors in October 2018, and announced the 64MP version in May. (See Samsung launches first 64Mp image sensor for smartphones.)

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Sony has also shipped a 48MP sensor in the form of the IMX586. This has been used in smartphones such as the Honor View 20, OnePlus 7 Pro, and Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro. However, like Samsung's sensors, it's designed to combine groups of four pixels into a single pixel to generate a good quality 12MP image. This is known as "pixel binning".

One of the problems with shooting 48MP and 64MP images on a smartphone is that the pixels are becoming very small, which means that each individual pixel doesn't collect a lot of light. Pixel binning solves that problem.

However, users should be able to get 64MP images in bright conditions, if they want them. In the GW1, Samsung's Tetracell technology does the pixel binning, while its re-mosaic algorithm is used to produce full resolution images. Samsung says: "GW1 can produce bright 16MP images in low-light environments and highly detailed 64Mp shots in brighter settings."

Realme was founded in China in May 2018. It launched a single "mid-range flagship" smartphone, the 6.3-inch €199 Realme 3 Pro, in the UK on June 5. It is now also available in France, Italy and Spain from the website: https://www.realme.com/eu/

In another tweet, Sheth said: "And to all our dear fans: I promise you #realme will launch this real camera beast first in India before anywhere else. #DareToLeap"