What just happened? Chinese smartphone maker Tecno has unveiled a new flagship smartphone featuring what it calls the world's first retractable portrait lens. The Tecno Phantom X2 series broke cover at a flashy media event in Dubai on Wednesday and is headlined by the aforementioned camera, but more on that in a moment.
The flagship Pro model features a 6.8-inch, 120Hz AMOLED display (1,080 x 2,400) coated in Corning Gorilla Glass Victus that's driven by a 4nm MediaTek Dimensity 9000 chip alongside a Mali-G710 GPU, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage.
The star of the show is the portrait shooter, which captures 50MP images using 1.28µm pixels and an f/1.49 aperture lens with a 65mm focal length. With that much reach, it can also double as a decent telephoto. The idea of the pop-out lens is to provide natural bokeh rather than doing it artificially through software.
Mechanical camera components on smartphones aren't new, but they've never really taken off either.
Samsung's Galaxy S9 featured mechanical aperture blades, for example, and the Galaxy A80 used a pop-up, flip-around camera. The OnePlus 7 Pro also had a pop-up selfie camera. The problem with these and similar implementations is that they are just another potential point of failure. Mechanical components will inevitably wear out over time, and you can almost be certain that they're going to attract the attention of children that will want to fiddle with them.
The portrait shooter is flanked by a second 50MP main camera with f/1.85 aperture and a 13MP ultrawide camera with f/2.2 aperture. Up front is a 32MP selfie camera with f/2.5 aperture.
Other noteworthy features include a 5,160mAh battery with 45W fast charging, an under-display fingerprint sensor and dual SIM support. Notably, the phone doesn't carry an official IP rating and there is no expansion slot for memory cards.
The Tecno Phantom X2 series is due out later this month in select overseas market. We're still waiting for Tecno to add the Phantom X2 series to its website but according to Engadget, the Pro variant will command around $930 at launch.