I've done a lot of smartphone camera shootouts over the last five years on All About Symbian and All About Windows Phone, each revolving around taking the same shot with a number of different test units and then (at some point) cropping in to look at pixel-level detail. And each time I get called out for doing this: "Real users don't crop in to the level where they can see pixels". Here's my defence, aided by some rather nice example photos from a mystery device...
Recent Features - Windows Phone 7
Sitting in my office, taking the backs of a number of Nokia phones (as you do), it struck me that something was missing - holograms. For the last five years or so, the presence of an official Nokia hologram has been a pretty good indication that a battery is genuine (and not some Far East-sold fake). Yet Nokia has been shipping phones over the last 12 months with hologram-less batteries. Photo proof below, but I have to ask - not for the first time - how on earth one might be able to tell these new official batteries from the replacement fakes?
Throughout the history of PDAs and smartphones (so we're talking 20 years), one particular design battle has been raging, seemingly without a victor. From which you have to conclude that the battle is quite evenly matched. Yet I disagree, arguing that, from the user's point of view, there's a very definite winner, while manufacturers have a different preference and slant on this particular aspect of design.
It's fair to say that most people agree that Windows Phone 8 is a great, if not perfect, starting point for people who are new to smartphones - it's slick and everything the beginner needs is there from the start. What's more contentious is how well Windows Phone 8 works for anyone coming from a Symbian or Android handset - such people are used to a lot of flexibility in terms of interface, hardware and the interaction between applications. Can Windows Phone 8 currently satisfy, as at the end of February 2013 with the 'Portico' update now rolled out to all? How much is still to come? In this heavily updated article, here's my honest assessment, based on months of use of both the Symbian-powered Nokia 808 and the Windows Phone 8-powered Nokia Lumia 920...
It's true, I'm something of a rebel - you can count on me to disagree with the accepted wisdom of the rest of the smartphone world fairly often. Camera phones with real Xenon flash, for example. And I've mused on the trend towards ever-bigger phones before, but with CES 2013 now upon us and 5" and 6"-screened 'phones' now a reality, I find that I just can't stay silent. These monstrosities may well be 'phones' to the well-heeled twenty-something geeks, but to every day mums and dads, and to people who really are mobile, the size rather gets in the way. Having tried everything on the market, I'm convinced that the sweet spot for me is smaller. A lot smaller.
I've published several 'how to' pieces in the past dishing out general smartphone photography tips, but for this 'how to' I wanted to take the example of a single great photo and put you inside my mind as I prepared for it and captured the moment. Hopefully some of the things I cover will help you take your own great photos, whatever smartphone you own (the example here was captured on the Nokia Lumia 920, but there are several other phones with great photographic hardware).
I've commented before at length (and quoted below) on the pros and cons of having sealed batteries in our smartphones, i.e. batteries which can only be removed or changed at your manufacturer's designated service centre. My stated bullet points are all very well, but I've now had direct experience in the last month that strongly leads me to declare having a sealed battery as a showstopper, for me personally, at least. Below is my tale of woe and a handy table of which smartphones are vulnerable to potential disaster in this way.
Guest writer Mark Johnson has been deep in real world test territory, trying out the Symbian and Windows Phone versions of Nokia Drive, both in planning, execution and on the road over an identical 110 mile journey. Here's his report. Although the latter version ends up a little less mature than its predecessor, it's worth noting that Nokia Drive and Maps and set for a big overhaul for Windows Phone 8, due out in a month's time. It'll be interesting to see Mark revisit his article in the New Year, perhaps?
This is the fourth in a series of articles giving real world, honest feedback from Symbian users of varying levels of expertise who have tried moving to Windows Phone in general and the Nokia Lumia 710 in particular. Here uber-power user James Honeyball, despite generally being very open in terms of mobile platforms, finds a few showstoppers for him, at least, with many astute observations along the way. Here's his attempted move from Nokia N8 (and then 808) to Windows Phone on the 710.
This is the third in a series of articles giving real world, honest feedback from Symbian users of varying levels of expertise who have tried moving to Windows Phone in general and the Nokia Lumia 710 in particular. Here Stephanie Brear, admittedly a user quite far from the Symbian cutting edge, finds that the 710 is a 'massive improvement' from her 5230 - perhaps not surprising, but a good example of the type of user upgrade that Windows Phone is perfect for.