In our previous head to head shootout between the Nokia Lumia 920 and the Symbian-powered Nokia 808 PureView, concentrating perhaps more on static, lower light situations, the newer 920 just failed to pip the larger-sensored 808 to the crown. Since then, there has been some justified criticism of the 920's image processing for bright daylight scenes - now fixed for many people across the globe with the PR1.1 update (firmware starting 1232.5951...), which dials back the noise reduction and also fixes some messaging and Wi-fi issues. With the camera fix in place though, I headed out on a winter's day and put Nokia's latest Lumia 920 fix to the ultimate test...
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Picture the scene.... The snow falls gently, settling around the cars and houses.... The fire is lit and the living room is nicely warm. Your nearest and dearest are gathered round, talking and giving presents and enjoying the day. Kids are playing, excitedly. When all of a sudden... FLASH! A sheet of white light, illuminating the whole room. Not, as it turns out, accompanied by angels singing, for this isn't a divine event but a clued up geek using his smartphone with Xenon flash. Yes, it's that time of the year again, a true Christmas tradition. It's time for Steve's Xenon rant. And with more impetus than ever this year, now that standalone cameras have been all but eliminated from homes across the world.
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.
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?
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.
Here's a question for you. Which Symbian-based handsets deserve a place in the pantheon of usable smartphones going into 2013? Where do we draw the line going back and how do the current generation of devices fare when looked at in the cold light of Android day? I try to give some honest opinions below but your comments and input most definitely welcomed. What will you be putting your SIM card into next year?
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.
Nokia has been consistently at the top of the camera phone tree for a decade now, but many people were curious about Nokia's choice of using 5 megapixels as the default capture resolution for the 2012 Nokia 808 PureView. The claim is that the pixels themselves are 'pure' and that most people don't need more than 5mp, but I wanted to quantify the 808's claims in the best way I know possible - by comparing directly with Nokia's own 5mp Xenon-equipped imaging flagship from five years ago, the N82. Let the shoot out commence!
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.