Kin One and Kin Two camera

Kin One sample pictures (slide show):

Kin Two sample pictures (slide show):

After unboxing Kin One and Kin Two and briefly using the ill-fated devices, I switched my attention to the cameras, hoping to find some redemption there. I didn’t!

What I did find was more of the same half-baked recipe – mostly decent hardware hindered by poor software and crappy user experience. More after the break…

Kin One features a 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus, LED flash, and 640×480 (VGA) video recording at 30 fps. Kin Two features an 8 megapixel camera with auto-focus, LED flash, and 1280×720 (HD) video recording at 30 fps.

Both phones have a dedicated two-stage shutter button, which is welcome. However, Kin Two’s camera key lacks tactile feedback and its auto-focus is temperamental. As a result, Kin One’s camera is generally easier to live with, and uses a wider angle lens to boot.

Pictures taken with Kin One are pretty nice overall, and pictures taken with Kin Two are actually quite good. Beyond the resolution advantage, Kin Two exhibits marginally better color balance and lower amounts of noise than Kin One.

Both cameras have the same user interface, which is unintuitive, not to mention slow. For example, it’s almost impossible to capture shots in low light without first enabling “night” mode.

Kin Two steals the show in terms of video recording, with solid HD (720p) results, while the Kin One acquits itself with adequate VGA performance.

Kin One sample video (download original, 640×480 @ 30 fps):

Kin Two sample video (download original, HD, 1280×720 @ 30 fps):

Getting the original pictures and videos off the phones is a nightmare. The only way to access the content unaltered is via the Kin Studio, which provides absolutely no mechanism for batch downloads.

In the end, both cameras show a lot of potential, just like the Tegra platform the Kin devices are based on. Unfortunately, this potential now appears relegated to the dustbin of history – it’s a real shame.

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