Kodak Ektra review
Photography first smartphone
Our Kodak Ektra review finds a smartphone that is aimed at those who are more likely to post-edit images, than those who snap away all day log. The big question however, is at £449.00 SIM free, is the Kodak Ektra’s camera any better than the best smartphone cameras already in the market?
We will attempt to answer that question later on in the Kodak Ektra review.
Design - It looks like a camera
The Kodak Ektra makes the point that it is a camera first device straight away, through its design. The familiar camera design offers a camera type grip through a bulge on the right-hand side, when used in a landscape orientation.
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The Kodak Ektra has a camera-traditional textured leather rear. From this protrudes a rather bulky steel-rimmed camera lens module. In fact, this is so bulky that the already chunky 9.69mm thick body swells to 14.02mm at the camera lens.
The sides are metallic and hold a dedicated shutter button, power key and volume buttons. The 5” Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels / 441 pixels per inch) display is protected behind Corning Gorilla Glass, as too is the camera lens.
Overall, on the negative side we see a not so pocket friendly body, verses the positive of durability.
Phone Set Up
Getting started - Memory and security
Getting started is pretty simple with a fairly generous 32GB of internal memory, ready to hold any apps, data and media that you may want to transfer over from your old smartphone. The 32GB memory can be boosted if needed with a microSD card of any value up to 128GB.
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There is no fingerprint scanner on the Kodak Ektra, so PIN, password or pattern are the only ways to secure the camera phone, from unauthorised access.
User experience - Ten core processor
The Kodak Ektra does provide a good lag-free user experience and it should, when we consider that it has a MediaTek Helio X20 2.3GHz deca-core processor with 3GB RAM.
The is no lack of functionality as the Kodak Ektra uses the Google Android Marshmallow operating system. This means that you can download and use apps from the Play Store. For extra functionality, Kodak has pre-loaded the MobiSystems Office Suite app and the AVG Anti Virus app.
Camera & Video
Photography - The good
The Kodak Ektra has a very high definition 21MP camera with a Sony-made sensor. The phone mimics a dedicated camera with an on screen DSLR dial, that uses haptic feedback as you rotate the dial.
The Kodak Ektra further mimics a dedicated camera by having a traditional two step shutter release button. The camera uses Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF), HDR imaging and 6-axis optical image stabilisation, to capture well exposed images.
As expected with a camera first device, the photographer has control over everything, including the shutter speed, ISO, exposure, focal length and white balance. The photographer can also select Smart Auto or pick the correct scene type using the DSLR dial and these includes Macro, Landscape, Portrait, Sport, Night-time and Panorama.
The Ektra also has a dual LED flash, 13MP selfie camera and 4K quality video recording with film grains, Super 8 filters and vignettes. Google’s superb Snapseed app is pre-loaded for editing and image tuning and the app goes far beyond other image editing apps.
Photography - The bad
The Kodak Ektra misses a trick by not including an optical zoom. Throughout recent history, camera first smartphones have included an optical zoom and it is hard to imagine that camera enthusiasts are going to be willing to ditch their dedicated camera for a device that doesn’t have optical zoom.
It easy to understand that Kodak wanted to keep the size, weight and expense down, but personally I think that no optical zoom is a big mistake.
The Kodak Ektra has an f/2.0 aperture and although the aperture won’t pull in the amount of light as the camera on the Galaxy S7 (f/1.7 aperture), it does at least have a special lens coating, which draws light in, instead of reflecting it away.
Bokeh mode is driven by software, through taking two photos captured at different two different focal points. Once again this is a disappointment, when we consider that phones like the Apple iPhone 7 Plus have dual lenses for capturing a genuine bokeh effect.
Photography - The verdict
Earlier we asked is the Kodak Ektra’s camera any better than the best smartphone cameras already in the market? And, the answer is no.
I am not saying that the camera experience isn’t excellent but we have to remember that the Sony Xperia XZ has a 23MP camera, the Snapseed app can be downloaded for free onto any smartphone and that the Samsung Galaxy S7 has an aperture that will let in more light.
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Power - Fast charging
The battery on the Kodak Ektra is excellent and has a 3,000mAh capacity. Fast charging using a USB 3.0 Type-C charger is possible and the phone is Pump Express ready. Pump Express reduces overheating during charging with automatic management of temperature and voltage.
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Written by: Michael Brown