Kodak brings back fond memories of my early days in photography, but like a lot of other people, I probably contributed to its demise by moving into a world of digital imaging.
The company may have since gone the same way as other well-known brands, including Polaroid, another company similarly affected by the digital revolution, but now it’s back (sort of) with the Ektra smartphone.
I say sort of, because the phone is made by Bullitt Group, a company merely licensing the use of Kodak’s name. However, the difference here is that it looks like the Ektra could be a very good phone, which is more than can be said for what happens when other manufacturers use well-known brands to sell speakers, televisions and other accessories.
Perhaps that’s because the same firm was also behind the rugged Cat 60 phone, which I found to be a very good quality phone as tough as old boots, and also came with a rather intriguing thermal imaging camera to benefit target customers.
Bullitt Group is also behind other brands entering the consumer tech space like Land Rover, Ministry of Sound and Ted Baker.
The company actually works to come up with a product relevant to the brand, rather than just slapping a badge on any old cheap bit of hardware. Asda, Argos, Tesco etc take note.
First of all, let’s start at the back where the camera is. After all, that’s what the Ektra is all about.
Nobody is going to miss the camera on this thing, although the camera isn’t quite the same as on a standalone point-and-shoot.
Specs wise you have a 21-megapixel image sensor with f/2.0 aperture, phase detection autofocus (PDAF), optical image stablisation, and a dual-LED flash.
Even on the front, users get a 13-megapixel camera with PDAF and f/2.2 aperture for selfies.
As a testament to the old style Kodak cameras, the interface includes a virtual scene selection dial, including multiple modes; smart auto, portrait, manual, sports, bokeh, night-time, HDR, panorama, macro, landscape, and video. Video, incidentally, supports recording up to 4K/Ultra HD resolution.
A manual mode allows full control of all the key camera parameters. Better yet, the phone has a two-stage shutter button, a feature so commonly lacking on smartphones these days – with the exception of Sony.
There’s even a Super 8 video recording mode for real retro appeal, while the phone also gets photo editing software from Snapseed to help enhance photos before sharing, or printing.
Talking of which, there’s a high quality printing app included on the phone too.
The Android Marshmallow phone has a 5-inch, full-HD, display and is powered by a MediaTek Helio X20 2.3GHz decacore processor with 3GB of RAM.
Unlike some chipsets with fast and slow cores for better power management, the Helio X20 chipset has three clusters, which MediaTek equates to being like a car with different gears. In this case, three gears for light, medium and heavy loads.
I am yet to review a phone using this chipset, so can’t really give an opinion at the moment, but the concept is sound and will be interesting to put to the test later.
32GB of internal storage is accompanied by a memory card slot, while a 3,000mAh battery should help keep you going for a full day. And if not, charging is available via the USB-C port with support for fast charging.
Oh, and there’s a 3.5mm headphone socket up top too!
Customers will also be able to buy two types of accessory, in a choice of colours. First is a Ektra case, the second a more simple pouch-type case.
The phone goes on sale later in the year at a retail price of £449.
More info: Kodak Phones
(Supplied by manufacturer)