“What an oddball pair of smartphone cameras to compare!” I hear you say. “One from several years ago, one with greatly different ambitions from the current month!” Indeed, though the question I was really asking myself was whether improvements in sensor technology and image processing since about 2011 could compensate for a seven times smaller sensor. In other words, could refined tech and intelligence trump physics?
Recent Features - Windows Phone 8
I may get mocked for my 'party' mock-ups when testing smartphone cameras, but my tests represent a better look at real world photos, i.e. of people indoors. Moreover, I also take into account facilities like lossless zoom, whereas this slightly questionnable set of test results from the usually reliable DxO mark folks shows the new Apple iPhone 6 models to both be top of the tree, with the classic Nokia 808 in 6th place and the newer Nokia Lumia 1020 down in 10th place overall! Remind me to take the DxO testers down the pub sometime and explain how to really test phone cameras....
As part of a continuing series of features taking a good long look at the state of mobile, and aiming to be as brutally honest as possible, here I use my experience in the mobile industry to tackle the really tough 'what if' questions that have probably been in your brain for the last three or four years, as 'All About' readers. Hopefully my answers will provoke debate in Disqus below, too - why not get involved?
The clue is probably in the generic term 'camera-centric', really. However much people in the tech world like their phone cameras, having just a little too much emphasis placed on imaging - enough to warrant a significant bump on the back - seems to be the death knell for a device long term. In part though, this is more down to the time needed for R&D, but the end result is (yet again) a device which seems destined to be sidelined a little....
What happens when you set out to create an ultimate camera phone, when a hump is not a dealbreaker, when Xenon flash is a must and when no compromises are involved? From 2012, 2013 and 2014 come the two Nokia PureView camera phone flagships, plus - hot off the production line - the new Samsung Galaxy K Zoom. The latter, unlike the monstrous S4 Zoom from 2013, is streamlined and eerily similar in form factor and scope to the Nokia couple. But which will win out?
1998 was the year. I got myself a second-hand Psion 5, running the grand daddy of mobile OS - EPOC, that evolved into Symbian. Yeah, the OS that we all love and hate in almost equal proportion. For the last 5 years, I have been exclusively on Symbian - Nokia 6120 Classic, E63, E72, N8 and finally, 808 PureView. Yet, mid 2014, it's time for a major change.
"It's just got to get me through the day" is something often heard in relation to smartphones. And it's something that's very true - almost everyone has at least one opportunity in each 24 hour period to plug and charge a smartphone up. But, in an effort to assess complaints about battery life in the Developer Preview of Windows Phone 8.1, I set about a little scientific data collection - and uncovered the scale of how much Windows Phone needs to improve in terms of battery life... [updated]
Microsoft, Nokia, Lumia, HERE, all brands and names that are prominent in the world of 'All About' writing. Yet I'm fascinated by the timing of the various name and brand changes - it's clear that every time something changed, whether Maps/Drive or from Nokia's Symbian smartphones to something more future-proof, the writing was on the wall for anyone with eyes to see....
No apologies for the continued shootouts - these are frantic times in the world of smartphone cameras - and we haven't even got to the Samsung K Zoom yet! In this case, comparing the champion Lumia 1020 with the Oppo Find 7a, which has a 13MP camera that also claims to shoot in 50MP UltraHD(!) As is often the case, I also throw in other devices, for comparison, in this case the new Galaxy S5 and the older Nokia 808 PureView.
Guest writer Keir Brython reports back on his four months with the Nokia Lumia 1520 after a year with the Nokia 808 PureView. It's safe to say that he didn't find the journey from one platform to another all plain sailing and it's telling that he now has to carry around both smartphones, since the Windows Phone won't yet let him do everything he wants a smartphone to do.... Brickbats and bouquets abound in this real world testimony.