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?
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Guest writer Shibesh Mehrotra takes us on a trip into the past with his rosy retrospective of the Nokia 701 Symbian powerhouse - a classic device that never really received the credit it deserved.
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.
I remain constantly surprised by the lack of knowledge of basic physics by those who write 'battery saving' articles across the web, in the context of smartphones. By far the most common bit of advice - reduce the frequency of email, PIM and social sync - seems to be given for all phones and all platforms and it's actually highly misleading. The underlying physics is far, far more important, if you want to keep your precious battery life while travelling. For 2G/3G/4G certainly - but also, almost counter-intuitively, for Wi-fi too.
Having a 'proper' Xenon flash in your smartphone (we're talking Nokia 808 and Lumia 1020 here) doesn't necessarily give you better low light shots of people - you have to know how to use the technology to best effect too. After criticism from some quarters about 'missed shots', I thought a 'how to' guide to Xenon might be in order, whichever of Nokia's flagship camera phones you own.
No, not quite the same as Nokia's famous "More than your eyes can see"(! here's that pop video) - more, in this case, matching what your eyes can see. As someone who swaps devices on a fairly regular basis, I have observed something in my own behaviour, about how and when I use the camera in my smartphone. Judging from the comments of a few others in the tech world (notably James Pearce), it seems that I'm not alone in having my photographic imagination realised by the hardware in my pocket.
It's all very well seeing phone manufacturer after phone manufacturer adding faster image processors and (ever so) slightly larger sensors in their smartphone cameras. It's all very well them proclaiming in their marketing "the best phone camera ever". And, in extreme cases, even adding two lenses and two sensors. But, ultimately, physics wins. It always wins. Never mind the tiny sensors used in even the likes of the brand new Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2, use a large sensor like that in the Nokia Lumia 1020 and photos are immediately better, especially when allied to Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) and (when needed) also to a proper Xenon flash.