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BlackBerry Mercury tipped to use Google Pixel camera sensor, run Snapdragon 625

The BlackBerry Mercury has been tipped to use the same Sony IMX378 camera sensor used by the Google Pixel. But hardware is only part of the story.

Published onJanuary 28, 2017

I’ll be honest: I haven’t been as excited about an upcoming Android phone as much as I am for the BlackBerry Mercury in a while. Amidst the samey goodness of most recent Android releases, the BlackBerry Mercury is weird, wonderful and increasingly looking to be a compelling prospect. On that front, the latest rumor claims it may share the same camera sensor used by the smartphone camera king du jour, the Google Pixel.

The information comes from typically reliable leaker Roland Quandt, revealing the Mercury will use the Sony IMX378 sensor with 12 MP resolution and support for 4K video. On the front, there will reportedly be one of two sensors used, either a Samsung S5K4H8 or an Omnivision OV8856, both with 8 MP resolution, 1.12 micron pixel size and supporting Full HD video at 30 fps. Quandt also reconfirms what Evan Blass reported six months ago, that the Mercury will be powered by the Snapdragon 625 chipset.

Of course, as we’ve all learned from past experience, camera hardware is only half the equation where picture quality is concerned. Poorly implemented software processing can utterly gimp a smartphone camera’s capabilities. Take the wheels off a Ferrari and its top speed won’t blow your mind either. So the quality of the Mercury’s camera in relation to the Pixel will entirely hinge on whether or not BlackBerry/TCL Communications are able to nail image processing.

When we spent some time with the BlackBerry Mercury during CES 2017, we weren’t able to do much on the software front, and offloading pictures shot on its camera to a laptop for analysis were definitely off limits. So we’ll be very excited to see how good the camera software is at MWC 2017 next month and to see what other software goodies TCL has for us. Stay tuned for more.

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