Update: The stated 24 hours have expired, and so the answer to our first smartphone guessing game lies below! Scroll down and be amazed (or not, depending on your guess).

When it comes to analyzing the quality of a smartphone’s camera, there are two main approaches. There’s the guided approach:

“We had a gander at the new [Smartphone] from the fine folks at [Smartphone Manufacturer], and we took its camera out for a spin to see how it performed under a variety of lighting conditions. When it comes right down to it, this camera is [excellent][great][good][not so good][horrendous] … and here’s why.”

And then there’s the choose-your-own-adventure method:

“We took [Smartphone] for a test drive to see how its camera performed, and rather than taint the results with our own prejudices, we thought we’d dump the raw material here, so that you can make up your own mind.”

Both approaches are certainly valid, but if you’re familiar with our typical review style, you know we at Pocketnow tend to go for the former method. While we do provide the raw photos for your viewing pleasure, we like to tell you what our experience with the camera was like, to lend context and to explain away any anomalies. After all, even the best camera can take a horrible shot under adverse conditions, and even the worst shooter stumbles across some gold on occasion.

The camera that captured this gem, for instance.
… the camera that captured this gem, for instance.

But what if we took this out of the context of a review? What if we stripped all or most of the “tells” from a bunch of photos taken with the same smartphone and asked you to identify the device? Would you be able to figure it out, or might you be surprised by our little smartphone guessing game?

Let’s find out.


The evidence

The twelve photos below were all taken with the same smartphone. The pictures have been resized, renamed, and their EXIF data has been stripped – but they’re otherwise unaltered. You can click each one to see the full-size shot and download it …

… or you can view enlargements on this page by clicking these:

Photo 12Photo 11Photo 10Photo 9Photo 8Photo 7Photo 6Photo 5Photo 4Photo 3Photo 2Photo 1


The clues

the clues

“This is no fun if there aren’t any clues,” said a frustrated Taylor Martin after I stumped him with this very photo set earlier today. So here’s a few nuggets of truth about the Mystery Smartphone to guide your journey:

  • It’s a device we’ve reviewed within the past 12 months;
  • It’s not the device in the title image (that’s a Palm Pre 2 HP Pre 3, if you’re wondering)
  • Its camera prowess has been specifically highlighted by its manufacturer;
  • It’s a device one of the Pocketnow team members has carried as a personal phone (i.e., not just as a review device).
Remember, there are nine of us.
Remember: there are nine of us.


The answer

… lies just a few lines below, so if you’re still looking to guess, scroll no further! But if you really want to know …

[Danger: spoilers below]

… then feast your eyes …

[Really – that can’t be stressed enough]

on the smartphone responsible for those shots!

[The answer is mere pixels away!]


Say cheese.
Say cheese.

That’s right; the beautiful (and again, unmodified) photos above were snapped by none other than the humble Moto X! Quite a few of you -more than I expected- guessed correctly, but the range was truly epic, with stabs ranging from the HTC One to members of the Lumia family all the way down to the Galaxy Gear!

Even though the contest is over, there’s a lot to talk about – like just how a smartphone camera so universally panned managed to fool a lot of folks into thinking it was a much higher-end shooter! We’ll have some more thoughts on that later; for now, please share your own surprised/alarmed/flabbergasted reactions down in the comments … and stay tuned for another round of Guess the Smartphone Camera, coming soon. Thanks for playing, everyone!

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