The name Ektra should sound familiar. And not because you’ve just binge-watched Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix.
Get your comic book lore right - Matt Murdoch’s sai-spinning assassin/love interest was Elektra.
No, Ektra should ring bells for serious photography nerds: Kodak’s classic 35mm rangefinder was as cutting-edge as cameras got in the 1940s. And now it’s back.
Well… kind of.
Kodak is resurrecting the name for a smartphone with a serious photo focus. Throw in some retro-inspired design touches, and it should (on paper) stand out from the crowd.
Beyond the retro appeal, though, it’s tough to see exactly what (if anything) the Ektra does better than any other flagship phone out there right now.
KODAK EKTRA DESIGN: TIME MACHINE
Black leather, a stainless steel frame, and giant camera lens. The Ektra is about as subtle as a sledgehammer.
It looks like any number of retro-styled SLRs and compact cameras doing the rounds at the moment, which is no bad thing - it’s really distinctive, and there’s no chance your fellow commuters will mistake it for yet another iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.
At the same time, though, it doesn’t have the weight or build quality to back those looks up. It feels too light in your hand, lacking the substance you’d expect from something supposedly built from metal.
It feels pretty plasticky, too - if that really is metal around the edge, it’s paper-thin. That’s a real shame, as the bulging bottom is really unique. It’s rounded for a perfect grip when you’re snapping photos, putting your index finger in perfect position above the dedicated camera shutter.
These stumbles are easily forgiven in a sub-£200 phone, but the Ektra costs more than double that. Not a great start.
KODAK EKTRA CAMERA: BIGGER AIN'T BETTER
The Ektra’s camera should be able to turn things around - after all, it’s the main reason you’d consider picking one up.
Unfortunately, it’s nothing to sing and dance about.
You might think that massive f/2.0 lens on the back was covering an equally massive sensor, maybe like the 1in one you’d find in a Panasonic CM1. No such luck - it’s merely the same 21MP, 1/2.4in sensor you’d find in Motorola’s Moto X Play.
OK, so that’s not quite all - Kodak has also added a few welcome extras.
Phase detect autofocus should help speed up how quickly the sensor locks onto subjects when you hit the shutter button, and unique six-axis optical image stabilisation (OIS) should keep things looking pin-sharp - even when your hands are shaking from the winter cold.
These sound great on paper, but the phone is just too much of a slouch to put them to good use.