Up close with Starmobile’s new dual-camera Android smartphone

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

When Starmobile began brainstorming about its new brand identity and the product that will carry it forward, one of the questions raised was how can the company make the digital lives of consumers come to life. The answer apparently lies in mobile photography.

So it only follows that Starmobile’s upcoming flagship phone, the Knight Spectra, sees an increased focus on imaging, as opposed to other facets that make a smartphone nearly indispensable for many.

But you don’t need me to tell you that; I mean, just flip the phone on its face to reveal not one, but two Toshiba camera sensors peering from the rear. There’s a 13-megapixel module with f/2.0 aperture and a secondary 2-megapixel unit that gathers depth information and uses the data to set a focal point.

By having two cameras, shutter lag is reduced significantly and manual refocusing is possible after the fact.  I also found that bokeh shots can turn out nicely.

Starmobile offers a simpler explanation of how the dual-camera setup works on the Knight Spectra: The 2-megapixel sensor “does the thinking” for the main shooter so the latter can just worry about, well, shooting.

By having two cameras, shutter lag is reduced significantly and manual refocusing is possible after the fact. I also found that bokeh shots can turn out nicely, thanks to the Knight Spectra’s ability to simulate a very low aperture of f/1. The rear- and front-facing cameras are pretty decent overall, and having two cameras around the back certainly ups the ante in the macro-shooting department.

Starmobile Knight Spectra (1)

Below are sample shots taken with the Starmobile Knight Spectra’s 13-megapixel camera. Notice the heavily blurred background in some of the images? Those photos have been manually refocused after they have been snapped.

Starmobile Knight Spectra sample photo

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Note: The photos have been resized to 1,000 x 750 pixels.

The hardware itself takes its design cues from the Starmobile Knight Elite, which is to say that the phone is well-crafted and looks posh. You can even argue that the Knight Spectra — with its rounded corners, metallic edges, and flat, dual-glass exterior — is pretty much the Knight Elite stretched in all directions, especially when viewed from certain angles.

The 5.5-inch, full-resolution AMOLED display, on the other hand, is a joy to look at and produces the rich colors and deep blacks you expect out of a display of this type. The Knight Spectra also supports digital-TV services when paired with a tuner that connects to the phone’s headphone jack.

It seems Starmobile is doubling down on efforts to come up with phones that have live-TV capabilities, and I’d say that’s a move in the right direction as more consumers in the Philippines adopt an increasingly digital lifestyle.

If price isn’t a pressing concern, the Spectra warrants serious consideration as a cameraphone that lends plenty of possibilities to macro shooting.

Powering the entire assembly is a 64-bit, LTE-capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, alongside 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. While the processing package is par for the course for a midrange offering, you’ll be happy to know that the handset is quite capable of delivering a usage experience that leans towards the higher-end segment.

Starmobile Knight Spectra (3)

And, of course, there’s the price: P14,990. For that amount, I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to look somewhere else, as there are plenty of excellent alternatives out there that retail for the same price or less. However, if price isn’t a pressing concern, the Starmobile Knight Spectra warrants serious consideration as a cameraphone that lends plenty of possibilities to macro shooting.

Starmobile Knight Spectra

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Starmobile Knight Spectra specs (Price in the Philippines: P14,990):
* Dual SIM
* LTE
* DTV tuner
* 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor
* 3GB RAM
* 32GB internal storage
* 5.5-inch AMOLED display (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash; 2-megapixel rear camera
* 8-megapixel front camera
* 3,500mAh battery
* Android 5.1 Lollipop

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Ramon Lopez

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Reviews editor: Ramon "Monch" Lopez has 15 years of professional experience creating and editing content for print and digital publications such as Yahoo. He headed the gadgets-merchandising division of one of the Philippines’ largest retail operators somewhere in between. His latest addiction is the comments section of viral Facebook posts.