Kodak Ektra unboxing and hands-on review: The Kodak Ektra was a surprise entrant into the 2016 smartphone race, originally breaking cover back in October. Just over a month later and we have the real thing to unbox and test out for ourselves.
Kodak Ektra: Specs at a glance
|Screen resolution||Full HD (1920×1080)|
|OS||Android 6.0 Marshmallow|
|Front camera||13-megapixels w/ PDAF|
|Rear camera||21-megapixels w/ dual-tone LED flash, PDAF, OIS|
|Processor||2.3GHz deca-core MediaTek Helio X20|
|Storage||32GB. Expandable via microSD|
Kodak Ektra: Unboxing and hands-on review
Bullitt Group – the company responsible for the Ektra, have opted to draw on brand’s company’s signature aesthetic and heritage for the packaging as well as the phone itself. The phone comes in a yellow on black box with the company logo in red across the top face and the Kodak name embossed in the various styles and fonts that have been used over the years.
Instead of a spec sheet or a disclaimer, the underside of the box has a couple of paragraphs dedicated to the story of the company’s founder and the ideals of the Kodak brand relating to the photography-first smartphone inside the box.
Lift the lid and there’s a black card insert, embossed with Kodak’s name in much the same way as the box’s lid was, save for a sizeable circular cut-out, which reveals the phones huge primary camera lens and metal surround.
The insert actually forms a protective shelf around the Ektra, which folds up to release the phone from the packaging. Everything side of the phone comes in protective adhesive plastic, with the front piece highlighting the phone’s hardware controls and ports.
Putting the phone to one side and removing the tray it comes packaged on, there lies another card divider that hides the rest of the box’s contents. Lift it out and you’ll find a USB to Type-C USB cable, a SIM tray removal tool, a lanyard wrist strap, a power adapter, warranty information and a multilingual quick-start guide.
Moving to the phone and the Ektra looks to be a bit of a head-turner thanks primarily to the fact that it’s dressed in a retro-styled outfit that takes elements from some of the company’s signature snappers; most notably the 1941 system 35 camera of the same name.
As smartphones go it’s undeniably chunky, with the sides protected by brushed metal and accented by a heavy chamfer. At one end lies a cylindrical bulge that serves as a camera grip, but also plays host to the phone’s Type-C USB port. The phone’s left side features the hybrid SIM and microSD tray as well as a metal loop for the included wrist strap, whilst the right houses the phone’s finely milled metal hardware controls. There are individual circular volume buttons, a dedicated power key and near the base, a large dual-detent shutter button with Kodak logo etched upon it.
The rest of the phone is covered in a black leatherette finish, embossed with the Kodak logo on the back that also hosts the phone’s mammoth rear 21-megapixel camera and dual-tone LED flash. The lens features an optical coating designed to enhance low light performance and reduce grain when shooting at higher ISOs, whilst around the lens itself are details of the camera’s hardware; namely its f/2.0 aperture and the fact that it includes dynamic PDAF (phase detection autofocus) backed up by a six-axis OIS (optical image stabilisation system).
On paper and in person, the Ektra looks to boast some serious photography chops, not just because of its primary camera. The front 13-megapixel sensor also employs PDAF too.
On the inside the Ektra sports a 3000mAh battery, MediaTek’s Helio X20 deca-core chipset, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal space and on the front you’ll find a 5-inch Full HD display with three capacitive keys underneath that let you glide around the phone’s near-stock take on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
There are some choice alterations, such as an audio profile switcher in the settings menu, but the pre-loaded suite of Kodak apps are really the primary talking point. As well as a gallery and a help application, the camera app lets you change mode by way of a digital scene wheel, there’s a prints app so you can order physical copies of your snaps (for delivery or collection) right from the Ektra and there’s the Super8 app, designed to emulate shooting on a classic Super8 camera, with the option to render footage out on various stocks as well as giving you the novelty of shooting through a faux Super8 viewfinder/interface.
So, on first impressions the Kodak Ektra looks to have a lot of promise, the hardware and software aren’t design to go toe-to-toe with market leaders, but the camera technology and pre-installed apps tailored to make the most of it look as though they might make a potent combination that could give the likes of the Sony Xperia XZ and the other top mobile snappers cause for concern.
The Kodak Ektra is available now for £449 and we’ll be back soon with a full review.