So my journey has continued from iPhone through Sony offerings and I thought I'd settled on the ZTE Axon 7 (because Dolby Atmos and playback dynamic compression). However the size and weight of the Axon made it somewhat klunky in the pocket which was bugging my airninja-ness.
So I started looked for smaller, lighter phones that weren't the Sony Xperia X Compact (because the binaural mics on that phone are sub-optimally positioned). I happened across the Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 - a refurb at just £129, so I thought I'd take a punt after some critical listening to example video footage.
Bear in mind the A3 2016 does not have any optical stabilisation and is somewhat "stripped down" compared to more current smartphones - no fingerprint scanner, no water resistance, 16GB internal RAM - yes just 16GB internal RAM (ah but expandable by 128GB using microSD so perfect for my video needs!)
The camera is "only" 13MP but it is f1.9 which is great, but "only" records at 1080P @30fps (and does display some minor minor uglies in 50Hz lighting). The camera is however better than the camera in the ZTE Axon 7 (richer colours, snappier autofocus - though nowhere near Sony Xperia XZ snappy).
So for a phone that was released to the world in December 2015 it aint looking too shabby even now almost half way through 2017 - and it's "cheap", I mean £129, I've bought pairs of shoes that cost more than that! (Yes I'm an idiot).
I've been so pleased with the A3 2016 that I have now taken a punt on the A3 2017 model (released January 2017 IIRC) which also includes a fingerprint scanner and is IP68 dustproof/waterproof (can be in a metre of water for 30 minutes). Internal RAM can be expanded to 256GB and it's a USB-C connector.
Using relatively low cost equipment has been a goal of airninja for quite some time and it looks like I can finally put a tick in that box :)
Here's a couple of binaural stereo video recordings I made to test the Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 phone that cost me just £129 -
As always I'm happy to hear your own opinions in the comments so don't be shy!