Kodak Ektra is my first disappointment of 2017. As an experienced photographer, I was genuinely excited to review this phone. Wow, did it let me down.
The Ektra’s combination of a shoddy plastic design, clunky camera interface and poor battery life were frustrating enough. But the worst part is that this photography-focused phone doesn’t even take great photos.
When I first got this phone at the end of last year, the camera was effectively unusable. Shots were rarely in focus and even then photos still looked dreadful. A last-minute software update has since fixed the focus issue, but the camera and the phone itself still struggles.
Kodak isn’t the only company to blame here. Its partner Bullitt actually manufactured the phone. I would be more forgiving if the Ektra were cheaper, but at £450, it’s far from affordable. (It’s yet to be announced for the US or Australia, but that converts to about $555 or AU$735.)
That’s the same price as some of the best phones around — you can get the Samsung Galaxy S7 for around £455 ($503, AU$949) on Amazon, while the brilliant OnePlus 3T is £399 ($439) — but the Ektra falls behind the competition in every conceivable way.
The Ektra’s camera disappoints
The Ektra’s last-minute software update might have saved the phone from a total beatdown in this review, but it’s still not a great camera.
Even now that images are in focus following the update, its heavy-handed image processing makes fine details on brickwork, trees and grasses mushy. Even in broad daylight, shaded areas are often filled with image noise, and white balance and color fidelity are sometimes off. The pictures are fine for viewing on Facebook, but get up close and the problems become crystal clear.