Amazon Firephone: Amazon enters the Smartphone market with its first device

69
DxOMark Mobile

Introduction

Amazon has dived head-first into the competitive Smartphone market with its first device — the Amazon Firephone. Offering a 4.7in 1280×720 resolution screen, 2GB RAM Snapdragon 800 chipset, and Amazon’s own Fire OS, the Firephone is available in either 32 or 64GB memory options. Featuring a 13Mp front camera with a 2.2Mp version at the rear, LED flash, and 1080p/30fps video, how well will its image quality compare with the well-established competition? We’ll fill you in with the DxOMark Mobile scores and results.

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Ranked in joint 18th place on the DxOMark Mobile database alongside the HTC ONE M8, image quality on Amazon’s Firephone is behind the latest flagship offerings from Apple, Samsung and Sony

Amazon Firephone: Amazon’s first Smartphone off the pace for image quality 

With an overall DxOMark Mobile score of 69, the Firephone ranks in joint 18th place for image quality alongside the HTC One M8. A score of 69 is significantly off the pace compared to the latest image quality results from flagship Smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone 6, which was the first camera phone to break through the 80 points barrier to become the current leader on our database. You can read the in-depth analysis of our iPhone 6 image quality results HERE. Disappointingly, the Amazon Firephone’s score also ranks behind older-generation camera phones such as the Sony Xperia Z2, the Samsung Galaxy S3, and the Apple iPhone 4S, all of which achieved scores in the 70’s.

 

Breaking down the DxOMark Mobile Score into its Photo and Video subscores, we can see the Firephone’s performance for video actually outshone its image quality results for still photos with sub-scores of 72 for Video, compared to 68 for Photo. In terms of its Photo sub-score, the strongest aspect of the Firephone’s performance was Exposure & Contrast, where well-exposed images were captured in both good and low-light conditions, with a good level of recorded details, particularly in good light. Exposure wasn’t perfect, however, with some failures noticeable under tricky high-contrast scenes where the Firephone accurately exposes for the brightest highlights, resulting in a loss of detail in the shadows. White Balance under good lighting conditions was also highlighted as an issue for the Firephone, with a yellow-greenish cast visible on images shot in strong sunlight and strong colors being over-saturated, too.

Scores in other Photo sub-categories such as Color, Texture, Noise, and Artifacts were consistent with the Firephone’s overall DxOMark Mobile score. Shooting in bright light and into the sun, strong flare was noticeable, as was heavy Chromatic Aberration along lines of high contrast. For Texture and Artifacts, Moiré was evident when trying to resolve very fine details in good light, and shooting under low-light conditions, image detail was difficult to discern.

 

The areas of most concern, however, were Autofocus and Flash, for which disappointing sub-scores of 52 and 61 respectively dragged down the Amazon Firephone’s overall Photo score. Although fast in bright light, we found the Firephone’s autofocus to be a little inaccurate and unstable under low or average light conditions. This autofocus inaccuracy was particularly evident when focusing close-up on macro subjects. For flash, heavy corner shading is evident when using flash as the only light source, resulting in a bright image center, and when mixing flash with other light sources such as tungsten, White Balance and color became inconsistent between consecutive shots.

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a strong showing for Exposure & Contrast a relatively weak performance for Autofocus and Flash has reduced Amazon’s Firephone overall DxOMark Mobile Photo score.

Photo Imaging Results in picture: Best in well-balanced good light

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Shooting in good light strong colours tend to be over saturated

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Shooting outdoors White Balance is yellow/green on some sunny pictures

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Shooting in bright light conditions images are mostly well exposed but failures do happen with high contrast scenes with some loss of detail in the shadows.

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Under extreme low light conditions images tend to be slightly underexposed, although this is often the case with most mobile phone cameras

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In good lighting conditions preservation of detail is good, although some luminance noise is visible in areas of block colour. Crops at 100% scale.

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Shooting under lowlight conditions details are hardly distinguishable and strong luminance and chrominance noise are noticeable. Crops at 100% scale.

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Levels of sharpness are noticeable different between the center and the edges of the image. 100% crops: Crops at 100% scale, left image = centre, right image = edge.

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Shooting into the sun under strong pink flare is noticeable

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Along lines of high contrast strong Chromatic Aberration or colour fringing is visible

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At 100% scale Moire is visible in areas of very fine detail

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Shooting only using flash, strong light attenuation, or darkening in the corners, is evident.

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Mixing flash and tungsten lighting the White Balance is inconsistent across two consecutive shots

DxOMark Video Subscores

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Exposure and Contrast as well as Noise are good aspects of video capture on the Amazon Firephone but poor autofocus and stabilisation for video reduced its overall score.

Video Pros:

  • Good overall exposure when using static lighting conditions
  • Good color rendering in both good and low-light conditions
  • Nice details with low levels of noise under good lighting conditions
  • Effective stabilization for hand-held motion when stationary

 

Video Cons:

  • Autofocus is unstable and inaccurate in lowlight – especially at macro distances
  • Noticeable step changes in exposure under varying lighting conditions
  • Noticeable step changes in White Balance under varying lighting conditions
  • Stabilization not perfect for walking motion with some changes noticeable
68
DxOMark Mobile
photo
72
DxOMark Mobile
video

Photo Pros

-  Nice exposure in both low and bright lighting conditions

-  Good preservation of detail when shooting with outdoor lighting

-  Fast autofocus in bright light

Video Pros

- Good overall exposure when using static lighting conditions

- Good color rendering in both good and low light conditions

- Nice details with low levels of noise under good lighting conditions

- Effective stabilization for hand-held motion when stationary

Photo Cons

-  White balance is yellow/green on sunny pictures shot outdoors

-  Sharpness is different between the center and the edges of the image

-  Strong flare visible in sunny backlit shots

-  Strong color fringing noticeable

-  Unstable and inaccurate autofocus

-  Strong light attenuation in corners when using  flash

-  Inaccurate White Balance when mixing tungsten and flash light sources

Video Cons

- Autofocus is unstable and inaccurate in lowlight - especially at macro distances

- Noticeable step changes in exposure under varying lighting conditions

- Noticeable step changes in White Balance under varying lighting conditions

- Stabilization not perfect for walking motion, with some changes noticeable