T-Mobile MyTouch Advertises An Extra Megapixel That Isn't Really There

T-Mobile’s MyTouch and MyTouch Q are nice little baby smartphones. Sure, they don’t have all of the features of their fancier cousins, and they run a relatively ancient version of the Android operating system, but they’re relatively cheap ($50) with a new contract and have enough features to entertain most people. They have a dirty secret, though. T-Mobile boasts that these phones have a 5-megapixel camera. They don’t. Even if they technically do.

Our lab-coated colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports have been testing these new versions of the MyTouch, and they noticed this oddity while testing the cameras. It doesn’t matter in the end how good the phones’ cameras are, since the software locks users into taking their pictures with the same 16:9 aspect ratio as the phone’s screen. Most cameras take photos at a 4:3 ratio, which is still rectangular but more square. Limiting users to a 16:9 ratio produces photos that are, at most, 2,560 pixels by 1,536 pixels. Not the 2,560 by 1,920 that a regular old point-and-shoot 5 MP digital camera would capture.

The areas cut off the top and bottom? Cut the image’s actual resolution from 4.9 megapixels to 3.9 megapixels. It’s not a huge difference, but good to keep in mind if you plan to take a lot of photos with your phone. That could be fixed with a software update, but the engineers also report that the MyTouch doesn’t have a great camera compared to other phones at the same price level.

Cameras on T-Mobile’s myTouch smart phones have less resolution than claimed [Consumer Reports Electronics]