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An upcoming phone could offer a ridiculous 160MP periscope camera

HONOR could up the zoom ante in a big way by offering a 160MP periscope camera.
By
December 11, 2023
HONOR Magic 5 Pro camera housing close
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • An upcoming HONOR flagship phone could bring a 160MP periscope camera.
  • This would blow current phones out of the water in terms of resolution.

There are loads of flagship phones with great camera zoom capabilities on the market, such as the Google Pixel 8 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, and OPPO Find X6 Pro. Now, it looks like another brand could join the party with some frankly ridiculous telephoto camera specs.

Leaker Digital Chat Station has revealed some specs for an upcoming flagship phone on Weibo. The tipster didn’t outright name the phone but mentioned Porsche branding. This strongly suggests that we’re looking at an HONOR Magic 6 series device given the leaker’s previous claim that HONOR and Porsche Design are working together.

In any event, the leaker claims that this apparent HONOR device will offer a 160MP periscope telephoto camera. This would be the highest-resolution telephoto camera we’ve ever seen on a smartphone, beating 48MP, 50MP, and 64MP periscope cameras seen on rival handsets.

Is a 160MP periscope camera overkill?

Higher-resolution sensors on periscope and telephoto cameras can enable much better long-range zoom in theory, owing to all those extra pixels delivering increased detail. We’ve already seen the benefits of this approach with phones like the Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 8 Pro, using cropping and Super Res Zoom to offer 12MP 10x pictures from the 48MP 5x camera. So even a 3x 160MP camera could use cropping alone to potentially deliver 6x shots at 80MP or ~13x shots at 12MP.

The one potential downside to a 160MP periscope camera is that the sensor and its pixels could be very tiny. This can adversely affect the camera’s light-gathering capability, resulting in increased noise, reduced dynamic range, and poor low-light zoomed shots in general. But pixel-binning technology would be able to help improve image quality.

How important is camera zoom to you?

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In saying so, leaks point to the rumored vivo X100 Pro Plus potentially outdoing HONOR in this regard. These leaks suggest that the upcoming vivo phone will pack a monster 200MP telephoto camera. Indeed, Samsung Semiconductor has also called 200MP telephoto cameras the “next big thing in smartphone photography.” But a smartphone with a 160MP periscope camera would still be a major resolution upgrade compared to current devices.

Otherwise, Digital Chat Station adds that this HONOR phone will also bring 3D face unlock, an Omnivision OV50K one-inch main camera, variable aperture support, and an OV50H secondary shooter (presumably for the ultrawide). So we could be in for a potent camera phone whenever this device launches.