Hands On: Kodak’s nostalgic 21MP smartphone camera [VIDEO]


In a world ruled by over-the-top specs and cameras that are getting closer to DSLR quality, there’s not much room for niche devices, but that hasn’t stopped Kodak from trying. Originally announced back in October, Kodak introduced the Ektra to everyone as the company hoped to hit the nostalgia button.

Besides coming from a brand with such recognition as Kodak, the Ektra looks to be for those who don’t necessarily care about the smartphone aspect, but want an excellent camera in their pocket at all times. Speaking of which, the camera Kodak has packed into the Ektra measures in at 21MP, which may seem like overkill at first, but once you look at what it’s capable of, you may change your mind.

Inspired Design

Before getting into the capabilities of the Ektra’s camera, let’s take a look at the overall design of the device. The Ektra smartphone’s name is derived from the original Kodak Ektra camera which was released back in 1941. This is where much of the design inspiration came from for the Ektra smartphone.

When looking at the front of the device, there’s not much to make note of, with the 5-inch 1080p display gracing the front. Since the camera is the centerpiece of the Ektra, it’s no surprise that there’s not a higher-resolution display. However, there is a 13MP front-facing camera nestled above the display next to the front speaker.

The right side of the Ektra features all of your main controls, including the volume rocker, power button, and shutter button for the camera. Then comes the camera bump. In order to help bring back some nostalgia, the camera bump houses the 21MP main shooter. 

However, as you look further towards the bottom, the Ektra has a slight curve on the bottom of the device. This helps to create a bit of a handle for when you’re trying to take some good photos. Add on the fact that the back of the Ektra is made of leather which will add some grip so the phone won’t slip.

Retro Case

Furthermore, Kodak has created a “case” for the Ektra, which is made completely from leather. This case also includes a cutout for the camera lens to sit, with the rest of the case folding over top and protecting the lens itself, while keeping the device secure.

Due to the various buttons around the case, you can peel the cover back to take a quick photo. However, you can also take the top folding part of the case all the way off, while keeping the Ektra secure in the case while using the attached strap to keep your camera at the ready.

Under the Hood

Now for what’s under the hood, the Ektra won’t blow anyone’s socks off. The device comes with a 5-inch 1080p display, while being powered by the MediaTek Helio X20 processor and 3GB of RAM. Additionally, Kodak has included 32GB for storage, but you can upgrade that via microSD if you need store more images and videos.

Kodak Ektra Specs:

  • Display: 5-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS @ 441ppi
  • Processor: MediaTek Helio X20
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB expandable
  • Front Camera: 13MP
  • Rear Camera: 21MP
  • Battery: 3000mAh non-removable
  • USB Type-C Charging Port

The Ektra also includes a 3,000mAh non-removable battery which should last a decent amount of time. If you’re planning on going for a photo shoot, then you may want to pack a portable charger, but you should be fine otherwise. Plus, the USB Type-C charging port is another welcome addition, so at least we know Kodak isn’t fully stuck in the past.

One area where the Ektra is stuck in the past, for now at least, is the software. The Ektra was released with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and we have heard no word as to whether the device will be upgraded to Android 7.0 Nougat. Luckily, there isn’t much of an overlay on the Ektra which would distract from the main purpose of the device.

Camera Features and Samples

Now for the fun part. We’ve already mentioned the camera, but let’s dive a bit deeper into what’s offered. The camera measures in at 21MP, but includes an array of software features to help mimic the feeling of a traditional camera.

There are different shooting modes which can be accessed by the click wheel in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. From here, you will receive a vibration response every time you change modes and you can even rotate around to get the old-school feeling.

The modes themselves range from automatic mode, manual mode, panoramic mode, and the ability to shoot video in up to 4K. After you’ve captured the perfect shot, you will then be able to edit the photo right away thanks to shortcuts that have been added to the gallery application.

Kodak was kind enough to share some of the images that have been taken with the Ektra, and some of which have been edited through Snapseed.

This first image is a panoramic photograph that was taken with the Ektra. This image shows the range of colors that can be captured through the 21MP lens, along with the range that the camera is capable of capturing.

The Ektra offers a different take on panoramic images compared to other smartphones. Certain devices require you to take panoramic images with your device handled horizontally, however, the Ektra does this while holding your phone vertically. The reason for this is due to the ability to capture more images, creating a larger image.

This next image gives us a look at the Bokeh mode that is available on the Ektra. As you can see, all of the foreground items are perfectly in focus, while the nothing in the background grabs your attention.

There are some more images that we’d like to share with you, and would like to hear your feedback as to what you think of the Kodak Ektra’s capabilities/

Is it coming to the US?

The short answer is yes. The device was initially launched in the UK and Europe for £449, but the company has confirmed it will be launching in the US in April. Unfortunately, pricing and availability information was not shared, so we’ll have to wait a little bit longer to know how much the Kodak Ektra will take from our wallets. 

Is the Ektra a device that you would be interested in purchasing? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.


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