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i-mobile flaunts IQ X and IQ XA Android smartphones with 8MP front and 18MP rear cameras, laughs at megapixel myth

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Once upon a time (2007) in a land far, far away (Thailand) lived the i-mobile 902, a pseudo Sony Ericsson W800 clone featuring a trick five-megapixel autofocus camera with a Sony-made CCD sensor and xenon flash. At the time, it produced shots with the most detail and best low-light performance we'd ever experienced on any cameraphone, ever -- make no mistake, it took several years before CMOS-based shooters caught up. It was a well made handset, but fell somewhat short in every other area besides imaging. Fast-forward to yesterday, when Thai phone manufacturer i-mobile published a series of pictures of the IQ X and IQ XA, a pair of thin, handsome-looking Android 4.2 devices with a 4.7-inch 720p display and MediaTek's quad-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A7 SoC (MT6589). Read on and we'll run through some of the more curious specs -- not least the resolution of the cameras.

At first sight, these resemble other current mid-range smartphones until you see the camera specs: 8MP in front and 18 (!) megapixels in rear, both with BSI sensors and autofocus lenses. Of course, we all know photography isn't just about pixel count -- besides, the i-mobile 902 was marketed as an 8MP shooter despite only using a five-megapixel sensor (it scaled images up to 8MP when that resolution was selected in the settings). So perhaps i-mobile is only using a 13-megapixel sensor on the IQ X and IQ XA and exaggerating the specs? Regardless, both handsets come with 1GB of RAM, 4GB of built-in storage, a microSD card reader (up to 32GB), dual-SIM slots (one micro, one mini) and dual GSM 900/1800MHz radios (although it's likely one is quad-band). The IQ X supports HSPA+ 42Mbps on 850/2100MHz, while the IQ XA swaps those bands for 900/2100MHz.

Based on our past experience with the i-mobile 902 we're rather intrigued by what the IQ X and IQ XA have to offer, especially when it comes to that 18MP rear AF camera with dual-LED flash. Plus, at 8,990 baht (about $300) unlocked, it's not going to break the bank. So, if you live in Thailand, let us know -- we might just have you ship one of these devices our way.

[Thanks, Arpit]

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