LG’s phone with two front-facing cameras is the latest move in an ongoing battle to deliver sexier self-portraits
The war over camera megapixels has moved from the back of the phone to the front as smartphone-makers like Samsung, Apple, Asus and now LG scramble to outfit their handsets with clever and capable tools to make vanity shots look as good as they can on a typically weaker, cheaper front-facing lens.
Selfies, the common slang for self-portraits taken with the front-facing camera, have surged in popularity. Google counted 93 million selfies per day taken from Android phones around the world at its annual developer’s conference, Google I/O, in 2014. From celebrities and heads of state posting selfies at events, and devotees posturing with the Pope, sharing self-portraits on social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter permeates every pore of popular culture.
LG’s V10 is one of the first phones to place not one, but two camera sensors up front: one lens with an 80-degree viewing angle and the other with a wider 120-degree viewing angle, meant to fit in more people for a group photo. Before you snap a photo, you have the option to choose which 5-megapixel lens to use by tapping on the phone screen.
For LG’s Ramchan Wu, vice president of product strategy, the front facing cameras’ extra wide-angle hardware has one other added benefit in framing the shot to work in more of your background and friends.
“We don’t want you carrying a selfie stick anymore”, he said.
Solving for selfies
Selfie cameras in their current state pose a few photographic problems that vendors are trying to minimize, and thereby win you over to their team. To combat accurate-but-unflattering skin tones and textures, phone-makers employ tools to smooth your skin and in some cases, reshape your eyes and chin.
Most of the time, though, it’s bad lighting that’s a selfie-taker’s worst enemy. Apple cleverly uses theiPhone 6S screen as a flash, and the HTC Desire Eye and Sony Xperia C3 paved the way with front-facing flashes. For example, the Asus ZenFone Selfie punches back with a 13-megapixel front-facing selfie cam, which is a common resolution for rear cameras, too, plus a dual LED flash that’s meant to light your face more naturally than harsh flashes you often see.
Lenovo tackles lighting letdowns with an awkward glowing ring attachment, which you have to plug into the headset jack and then turn on if you want to use. While an accessory technically works, it isn’t a good built-in solution, especially if you have to buy it aftermarket.