Back in January 2011, almost two years ago, and just before the infamous decision by new CEO Stephen Elop to switch Nokia's strategy away from Symbian and Meego and towards Windows Phone, I identified 5 things Nokia was doing wrong with their smartphone hardware and no less than 10 things it was doing wrong with the software. Below, I take a look at how Nokia did, set in the context of a company somewhat crippled by moving resources away, throughout the two years, from Symbian (as discussed here) to its newly adopted platform.
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You can't move in our corners of the Internet without some debate springing up about which is best: hardware keys, virtual keys, T9 or Swype. It's almost a religious thing, with devotees of one solution or another. So I thought I'd devote a little effort to a data point for each system, in my hands at least. Yes, personal preference will play a huge part in the solution you end up with. But which, from a statistical point of view, is fastest at the end of the day?
In my latest comparison, I take the Lumia 920, which I've now used for a month, the Nokia 808, which recently had its upgrade to Belle FP2, and the hot-off-the-press Google Nexus 4, an Android flagship in terms of pretensions and core specifications. Three platforms at different stages of their lives, three different form factors and user experiences. Let's put them head to head...
As you know, I've taken lots of photos with lots of camera phones and thus have some experience with using the different form factors. While, camera performance comparisons-aside, you can take acceptable photos with almost any phone these days if you know how to hold it and use it right, that doesn't mean that all camera phones are made equal in terms of physical usability. Heck, even all but one of the Symbian-powered camera-centric brigade fall down by my exacting standards. All but one. The One.
One curious quirk of the modern phone world is the way the humble SIM card has slimmed down - annoyingly, it's not quite so easy to swap SIM cards between phones as it used to be, with half the phones using 'mini SIM' (the old standard) and most of the rest using 'micro SIM' (and yes, a few iPhones being different and using 'nano SIM'!) Now, when dealing with SIM holders which are low-tech and/or 'open', sticking a micro SIM into a recommended adapter is usually problem-free, but devices with sprung SIM slots like the N8 and C7 are a different matter. You may remember David's disaster story here? Happily, there's a very low-tech workaround, as detailed below by guest writer Paul Sargeant...
The feel of cold hard metal in your hand - there's nothing like it. The quality, the sense of something very special. I reviewed the Apple iPhone 5 recently and declared it as much an item of jewellery as a phone, which got me thinking. Which Symbian-powered phones from the last decade have impressed as being utter triumphs of fashion over functionality? Not necessarily metal (though that plays a part), but smartphones which have looked a million dollars and not really lived up to the valuation. Here's my top 10. Or should that be bottom 10? I guess it depends on your priorities!
If there's one comparison I keep getting asked for, it's putting the cameras of the Nokia N8 and Lumia 920 up against each other. And for good reason - the N8 is now two years old and those on contracts, in particular, are wondering if now is the time to jump from the End Of Life Symbian to the latest Windows Phone 8, buoyed up by the hope of 'PureView' photos from the 920's camera. Here, then, is a blow by blow real world photo shootout between the two phones, aided by a rough and ready scoring system, just to try and keep things objective.
In part 1 of this feature, I introduced the concept of ISO adjustment and showed some rather extreme examples to illustrate how the apparent sensitivity of the sensor is increased. In this, part 2, I take a couple of real world use cases and look closely at the difference ISO adjustment makes. Although demonstrated on the 808 here, the feature is applicable to any good camera phone that allows you to manually override the ISO setting.
With light levels going down every day, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, it's perhaps only natural to start experimenting with some of the Nokia 808's and Lumia 920's 'Creative' controls for getting better photos despite the absence of strong light. But what effect does fiddling with 'ISO' have? In part 1 of a two part feature, I look at how ISO adjustment works, with the aid of some extreme low light photos from Siraj Hassan Mohideen....
Of course, the very title is somewhat contradictory - if you're a fan of something then why would you switch? But there's a question that's been on all our minds for a year or two now: "Given what we currently do with our Symbian-powered smartphones, if we had to jump mobile platform then which one would suit us best?" Now, there may well be hardware-focussed reasons for buying a phone on another platform (Nokia's cameras spring to mind), but - purely on the strength of the software itself - which of iOS 6, Android 4.1 and Windows Phone 8 is the best fit? In other words, which provides the most improvements and least number of omissions? I focus on ten key areas below.