The day has arrived. Kodak, yes, Kodak now has an Android phone. The Kodak Ektra is now available for purchase in Europe for €499/£449. Now, you would be forgiven for feeling a little like Alan in Jumanji right now, what with BlackBerry, Nokia and Kodak all over the headlines. But with mainstream Android phones getting a little, dare I say, boring thanks to generally being excellent, a few whacky sideshows are always welcome.
And the Kodak Ektra is certainly a sideshow. When veteran phone companies like Nokia and BlackBerry are struggling to make inroads into the tremendously competitive smartphone market (especially at a time when the industry shows all the signs of plateauing), a bizarre offering from a camera company stands very little chance of succeeding. Especially when it has decidedly mid-range specs and a high price tag.
As if the industry, specs and price weren’t bad enough, Kodak’s smartphone reputation is utterly untested. So with a price this high the Ektra is only likely to be bought by the wealthily curious or devotedly Kodak-committed. Considering you can pick up an Honor 8, ZTE Axon 7 or OnePlus 3T for less than this price, the Ektra has some very stiff competition indeed.
I’m sure the Ektra’s camera performance will be great – after all, why would Kodak even bother releasing a smartphone in this environment unless it was? – but there are a lot of great smartphone cameras around right now. And on phones made by companies consumers already know and trust with their smartphone dollar.
Regardless of how well the Ektra actually goes, I have to give Kodak credit for taking the plunge. It’s phones like the Kodak Ektra, Xiaomi Mi Mix, LG G Flex and Galaxy S4 Zoom that keep things interesting, even if they rarely pay off.
On the plus side, if you decide to pick one up, you’ll get a voucher for 150 free (6″x4″) photo prints, and “great further discounts on future deliveries of photo prints and photo books”. But, unfortunately for North American Kodak fans, the Ektra will only support data access over Wi-Fi in the U.S. and Canada.
The Kodak Ektra features a 21 MP fast-focus camera with PDAF, OIS, f/2.0 aperture and dual LED flash. The front-facing camera also sports PDAF and comes in at 13 MP with an f/2.2 aperture. A full manual mode, ‘Super 8 VCR’ video filter and scene selection hardware dial complete the picture.
Other specs include Android Marshmallow out of the box, a deca-core Helio X20 chipset clocked at 2.3 GHz, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB ROM with expandable storage, a 3,000 mAh battery with USB Type-C and fast charging. There’s also a fancy retro-styled leather camera bag, I mean, phone case, for €69.99/£59.99.
What do you think of the Kodak Ektra? Can Kodak compete with the likes of Samsung and Google?