“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 - Hardware
No, no, I haven't got an iPhone 6 - but reader Vlado Grouev has been doing some detailed shootouts and I wanted to delve deeper into his data. The units tested, under various light conditions, were the iPhone 6 (not the 6+) and the Nokia 808, running in its 8MP PureView mode. Which one has the better camera? Go on, have a guess. A wild guess.
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....
Look, I get it, there are plenty of Symbian enthusiasts here - I'm one of them. But every single time something breaks in terms of compatibility with a particular Internet service, we see the same comment from multiple people: "But Nokia promised us support until 2016!" That was indeed what was promised on stage at MWC 2011. But then you have to look at both what the word means and what's happened to the company itself since then. I'm not apologising for Nokia's multiple faux pas and for the current situation in 2014, but let's at least be realistic.
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....
I'm a sucker for power solutions on mobile. So when Michael Krikheli, pictured below, got in touch about his company's innovative new 'key ring charger', recently successful on Kickstarter (it completes in a couple of days time), I couldn't resist the chance to ply him with some questions. The only bad news is that retail gadgets are still a couple of months away, so you won't be using the Megalo Mini on your summer vacation.
One of the most frustrating things about marketing and branding, from my engineer's standpoint, is that technologies get brand names assigned to them (which is fine) and then the brand name gets used elsewhere, for something totally different. Which is where the aforementioned frustration comes in, of course. Let's call a spade a spade, etc. And a fork a fork.
Guest writer Sabby Jolly takes us on a decade-long tour of the glory and the pain of Symbian software and hardware. 2002 to 2012, all in the one feature, almost 4000 words and a (seeming) lifetime of experience. Save this for a coffee break and then nod along with Sabby....
Guest writer Rick den Ridder writes: “De dag die je wist dat zou komen.” It’s a (pretty bad) Dutch translation of “the day you knew would come." I wish it wasn’t so, but have to admit it: my Nokia E7's BL-4D battery has trouble to make it through the day. That means I have to make a decision. I either have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to replace my sealed battery and be able to keep my phone for another year, or I spend some more and get a brand new smartphone instead. It seems like an easy decision, but it’s not at all. Saying goodbye to my phone would also mean that I have to leave a form factor behind.
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?