You love smartphone camera shootouts - you know you do. Especially with champions in both the Symbian and Windows Phone world. We've compared most of these devices to one of the Android world's camera champions before - the Sony Xperia Z1, but that device was hampered by poor initial firmware and reports of the most recent Z1 update have been promising. Which means (in conjunction with reader Adam Pino) a new head to head: Nokia N8 (12MP, Xenon flash, Symbian), Nokia 808 (5MP oversampling, Xenon, Symbian), Nokia 1020 (ditto, Windows Phone) and the Z1. Fight!
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I had a crazy idea a while ago, after trying to get a decent 'panorama' shot on my Nokia smartphone and finding the stitching flaky and the resolution low every single blessed time. Yes, yes, calm down Apple fans, I know the iPhone does this out of the box, but here I'm talking Nokia. Symbian and Windows Phone, and the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 specifically, since the high resolution available (typically 7700 pixels-ish wide) opens up the possibility for a huge, massive cheat. As [cough] detailed below.
That Nokia has been in forefront of mobile imaging is surely not in doubt, whatever you think of the operating systems the company has chosen at each stage (Symbian and then Windows Phone). In fact, it's a testament to how good and ground breaking the Nokia N95 was in its day (the first 5MP camera on a smartphone etc.) that it can even hold its head up here in 2013. But seven years has seen quite a bit of innovation in sensor quality, resolution and image processing - which is why I thought a 2006-2013 data point might be in order. Here's the legendary N95 pitted against the latest Nokia Lumia 1020 across six test scenes/uses.
Please accept this generic rant across the All About sites, but the subject matter applies to all platforms to various degrees. In-app purchasing or, more specifically, in-game purchasing is the current fad in game development and it's time enough people took a stand and said 'No'. And not just writing editorials and blog posts on the subject but actively boycotting such titles and recommending alternatives that rely on the traditional 'buy it once' model. Does it sound like I'm over-reacting? Maybe - it depends on exactly who's playing the games on your phone(s)?
The battle to preserve personal and secure data across mobile platforms goes on. You may remember that I went on an exploratory trip around every secure database system recently, with no satisfactory conclusion. Is it too much to expect to be able to take my PINs, my ID numbers, my software serial numbers, my secrets, from platform to platform? It may be too early to call off the search completely, but a solution is emerging that looks future proof and promising.
I wrote, a while ago, about possible showstoppers for people moving from Symbian to Android or Windows Phone, but a lot has happened in the intervening months, not least the arrival of the Nokia Lumia 1020, offering a more or less direct equivalent to the camera-centric flagships in Nokia's previous Symbian world. What I wanted to explore here was each aspect of smartphone functionality, from the point of view of matching what each generation did - and does. The overall picture may surprise you, though (as usual) there are a few caveats along the way.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 reigns supreme in terms of still photography in the 2013 smartphone world, it seems, but challengers do keep popping up. In this case the LG G2, with 13MP sensor and OIS, inset into a sleek and large-screened body. It was only natural to compare the cameras of each, in this, part 1 of a two part shootout, though I added a couple of extra reference points to the mix in the older Nokia 808 (sorry, couldn't help myself) and the mainstream Lumia 920. I then shot the same nine scenes and subjects with all four, to place the phone cameras relative to each other.
NFC (Near Field Communications) is something we've only touched on briefly on the All About sites. You know it as a way to pair quickly with compatible Bluetooth accessories and to tap-for-info on an object, but the scope of NFC is widening all the time. In the first of several articles on NFC, I explore the world of NFC tag writing, looking at some common practical uses. Comments welcome if you can think of ways the technology would enhance your life too.
Regular listeners to the 361 Degrees podcast will have heard many times of Rafe's legendary 'six year rule', when referring to smartphone platforms and ecosystems. With Blackberry seemingly imploding before our eyes, with Nokia having been snapped up recently by Microsoft and with Symbian increasingly being forgotten in the marketplace, I thought it worth both expanding on Rafe's rule of thumb and also charting it graphically. A mosquito lives for a week, a hamster for a year or two, smartphone operating systems about six or seven years, and (happily) human beings about 70 to 80 years. Life and death, all in 1000 words? It can only be an All About (sites) editorial....
It's a fair cop, I'm firmly in camera geek territory again here. We see a lot of smartphone camera comparisons online (not least here on the All About sites), but all this talk of optical formats and pixel sizes rather gets in the way of the man in the street understanding the simple physics involved. To help out, I've summarised all available data on smartphone camera sizes and apertures and present the result graphically. So the Lumia 1020 has a 1/1.5" sensor - what does this mean? And how does it affect the ability of the device to gather light? This and much more below...