- Mar 1, 2011
First, I'm not sure it's helpful to engage in this philosophical debate regarding whether a flagship, or expensive phone, absolutely must have a large camera hump in order to have a good camera. However, I will say that a flagship phone should be able to take good, reliable, competent pictures.
I got a funny coffee mug for my birthday (because I'm at the age where people gift you coffee mugs). I decided to take a picture to send to my other friend. Now, I could have grabbed my Lumia 1520, my LG V20, or this Pixel 4a and either one of those would have taken a usable picture. But I didn’t use any of those phones. I used by Duo.
Even in a room full of lights, the Duo would not focus on the mug. After several attempts I admitted defeat and accepted that a blurry image was the best I was going to get. Additionally, the colors were woefully inaccurate. Overall a bad image, and I can see why Microsoft wants to fix this for the Duo 2.
The hump on the Duo 2 looks comparable to the hump on the Galaxy Fold 2 and I’m not convinced it needs to be that large. Despite their various ages, my other phones all have one thing in common; a very tiny camera hump. In fact, the 4a has one of the tiniest humps while also taking some of the best pictures of any phone out there. Therefore, I'm not convinced the Duo absolutely needs a large camera hump, or even a multi camera setup in order to take good pictures.
I also have a Motorola One Zoom and S10 Lite, both with small camera humps, and both take good pictures. Granted, both phones are noticeable thicker than a single side of the Duo. However, we've only seen prototype images of the Duo 2, so that hump size isn't a guarantee. If Microsoft can get the hump as small as those phones then I don't think we have anything to worry about. Even without a bumper, the phone would be thin enough to comfortable use in single screen mode.
But if the hump is actually that big then I think we need to have a conversation around perception. Does anyone remember the infamous Nokia N-Gage? The taco phone! Nokia choose form over function and was properly mocked for it. Microsoft might be headed in the same direction.
How do you think the general public will perceive a folding phone that can’t fully fold? IMO, general consumers will see that as a design flaw. I think a lot of tech/Microsoft enthusiasts might give it a pass, but I’m having a hard time seeing how everyday people will do the same.
From my own experiences with the Duo 1, adding a large hump would affect everyday usage in a negative way. Yes, I can still leave the phone single screen(ish) on my table, but now I have to be extra careful not to let something lay on top of it because that might put too much pressure on one side of the screen and crack the glass or destroy the hinge. Which also means it might not be as safe to put it into my pocket since my jeans could also flex the screen. And because I take multiple calls a day, I’d also have to get use to holding a phone with a noticeable gap between the screens. Never mind how other people might think it looks to awkwardly hold a phone like that.
IMO, I think a small hump with just better camera software is the superior option. Again, I’m not convinced the Duo 2 needs a hump as large as the prototype shows. The problem with the Duo is that it takes bad pictures no matter what price you paid for it. I think people would be fine with an expensive folding phone that only took good pictures. A good quality camera matters to people, but I don’t think the camera matters as much as the tech blogosphere acts like it does.