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

“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.

smartphone guessing game
… like the one that took this gem.

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

Below, you will find 18 photos, all of which were taken with the same smartphone. All the pictures have been resized and renamed, and all the EXIF data has been stripped. Otherwise, they’re untouched. In the gallery view, you can click to see the full-size shots and download:


The clues

smartphone guessing game

When Michael first told me he was starting this series, I told him it wouldn’t be any fun without clues for you ladies and gents to at least go off of. This is meant to be difficult, a challenge – not impossible. As such, I’ve included a few, tiny hints to help you on your journey.

    • It’s not the device in the title image (that’s an HP Pre 3, if you’re wondering), nor is it the background picture in the title image.
    • It’s powered by a Snapdragon 800 SoC.
    • It’s not any of the devices we’ve featured in previous guessing games.
    • At some point, some of the Pocketnow team have carried it as a personal device.
    • It’s a device we’ve reviewed within the past 12 months.


The answer

Keep scrolling through this protective padding for your answer!



Keep going …



Almost there …



nexus 5

That’s right! The Nexus 5. Out of the 71 comments, 27 guessed it was the Nexus 5.

Funnily, this smartphone guessing game turned out to be easy for those of you who pay very close attention to detail. There was a reflection in the picture of the shiny blue ball that clearly showed the distinctively large camera bump of the Nexus 5. So much for secrets, right? Next time we’ll pay closer attention and avoid shiny objects.

Thanks for participating and congratulations to those who guessed correctly or did the legwork to find the reflection. To those of you who simply placed your answer after reading through the comments … for shame!

Keep studying pictures and camera quality, because next time, we’re turning up the difficulty! Until next time, folks.

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