Xenon flash is no more in the limelight on powerful camera phones like it used to be years ago. But the best camera phones still have it.
If you are new to smartphone photography (and photography in general), Xenon may sound like a term from a futuristic movie. You are probably more familiar with terms like LED flash, screen flash, true tone LED, dual LED, and the like. If that is the case, you are missing out on the best thing since sliced bread: Xenon flash. As such, in an ideal world, a xenon smartphone is the way to go.
Xenon is the kind of flash used in professional cameras. The benefits include: better illumination and faster illumination (hence cleaner frozen shots). You can read up some more here: Nothing beats Xenon flash yet. That article was written in 2014, and till now in 2017, nothing still beats it. All the gimmicky stuff being done with LED flash still do not compare.
4 Smartphones with Xenon Flash
If you are anything like me, you are definitely pining for a smartphone with Xenon flash. The problem is that modern smartphones have opted to go with LED flash for various reasons, including: they fit in smaller space (hence thinner phones), they can be used as torchlight (Xenon works as short bursts), and they are much cheaper.
But if you really do want a Xenon smartphone, they all belong in the 2010-2014 era, and these phones still are the elite squad of cameraphones. Please, forget what you have heard about your iPhone having the best camera. That’s marketing bullshit (cough!). The best cameraphones have Xenon. Here are 4 relatively modern smartphones with Xenon flash:
Nokia Lumia 1020
4.5-inch display. No memory card slot. 32 GB internal storage. 2 GB RAM. 41 megapixel camera. 2000 mAh battery. 2013 device.
Samsung Galaxy K-Zoom
4.8-inch display. MicroSD card slot. 8 GB internal storage. 2 GB RAM. 20 megapixel camera. 2430 mAh battery. 2014 device.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
4.3-inch display. MicroSD card slot. 8 GB internal storage. 1.5 GB RAM. 16 megapixel camera. 2330 mAh battery. 2014 device.
Nokia 808 PureView
4-inch display. MicroSD card slot. 16 GB internal storage. 512 MB RAM. 41 megapixel camera. 1400 mAh battery. 2012 device.
Using a Xenon Smartphone in 2018
As you have noticed, using any one of the above smartphones comes with trade-offs. For one, they all have smaller displays by today’s standards. Don’t expect great performance o battery life from the two Android smartphones on the list.
Both the Lumia and the Nokia 808 offer better battery life and performance because of the OS they run. But then, again, you can forget about up-to-date apps on them. While Android OS has more apps, don’t forget too that the Galaxy smartphones here run Android 4 Kitkat.
In other words, there is no way to use a smartphone with Xenon flash in 2017 without some pain. A way out is to not use any of them as your primary smartphone and just carry it along for photography only. Again, for someone like me, that is an inconvenience: I prefer to travel light and carry only one device on me at any time. Bummer.
Anyway, you have been informed. Are you a smartphone photographer? Do you own a Xenon smartphone? Does Xenon flash interest you or do you believe it should be forgotten about and consigned to the dustbin of mobile history?
PS: Where is EyeBeeKay? I suspect he will have something to say about this subject 😉
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.