Chinese smartphone and selfie app maker Meitu was in the center of a media storm a few weeks earlier. In keeping with Asian beauty standards, the beautification algorithms would alter photos to make a person’s skin seem more pale. When Meitu entered the West, some asked: is an app that makes people more “white” racist? Does it have serious implications for society, or is it just a harmless bit of fun?
Meitu has become China’s largest photo-editing app company, with 456 million monthly active users, and its apps installed on 1.1 billion unique devices worldwide. It gained its popularity by improving selfies to flawless pictures with functions such as auto face-lift, auto retouch, and slimming. The app is not alone though, as there are smartphones specifically targeting selfie takers. AllChinaTech has picked four good-looking selfie-suitable smartphones to give a glimpse of this niche market.
Huawei Honor V9
Leading smartphone maker Huawei’s Honor series smartphones target younger consumers. Honor in February this year launched this phone and priced it starting from RMB 2,999 (USD 434). The Honor V9, the first flagship smartphone in 2017, is thin, delicate, and elegant in appearance.
Its rear camera has dual 12 megapixel lenses: one lens allows for rich color, while the other lens is in monochrome to give its owner more light and increased sharpness. For selfie takers, its 8 megapixel front-facing camera and “Perfect Selfie” mode enables users to customize their beauty settings.
Huawei Mate 9
Compared with Honor, the Huawei Mate Series targets a different group of consumers: businessmen and government officials, mainly from China’s third or fourth-tier cities. Still, the Mate 9 is a potent competitor of the Honor V9, as their target consumers still overlap to some extent. Additionally, these two share the same specifications in some aspects, like Random Access Memory (RAM) and battery. The Mate 9 is around RMB 1,000 (USD 145) more expensive than the Honor V9.
It is worth mentioning that the Mate 9 is one of the smartphones that benefited from the Huawei-Leica partnership. Its photos have exceptional sharpness thanks to the Leica dual-camera image rendering.
Its 8 megapixel selfie camera has autofocus and a range of features to help its owners take speedy selfies. Users can set the camera to take a photo when they smile, or place the finger on the fingerprint sensor to activate the shutter. A new facial enhancement algorithm automatically detects a user’s face and applies custom beauty settings.
Meitu in February unveiled the RMB 3299 (USD 477) T8; the smartphone sold out within a very short time.
The company claimed that “Meitu is the first company to apply Artificial Intelligence beautification technology into smartphones, compared to other companies.
This phone offers different beautifying solutions according to a user’s face, age, and gender. It also offers other features, including teeth whitening and complexion improvement. To catch up with the tide of live streaming, it can beautify users even when they go live streaming.
OPPO emerged as the most popular smartphone maker in China’s market in 2016, as the company saw its shipments at 78.4 million last year, according to IDC.
OPPO, priced at RMB 2,799 (USD 405), partnered with Sony and developed a 16 megapixel camera sensor, with a supreme f/1.7 aperture to effectively reduce noise in shooting in a dark environment.
The 16 megapixel front camera supports beautification 4.0 to cater to its female buyers.
Meizu Pro 6s
The RMB 2,699 (USD 390) all-metal smartphone offers four colors: moonlight silver, rose gold, starry sky grey, and champagne gold.
This smartphone uses four-pixel optical anti-vibration features and supports camera beautification. For camera modules, this smartphone uses the Sony IMX386 CMOS. It also has a unique eBack button with fingerprint recognition features, to facilitate selfie taking. According to the company, it also moved the front camera slightly inward to make a selfie look more natural.
(Top photo from Flickr)