I'd never have expected to write this piece so soon, but with the launch of the Surface Duo 2 last week we - surprisingly - have a true competitor to Samsung's all-conquering Galaxy Z Fold 3. I use the term 'all-conquering' with caution, of course, because these are hyper-expensive devices that won't approach mass market volumes. But it's still fun to pitch them head to head and see which comes out on top. Plus I look ahead to the Surface Duo 3. Yes, you read that right!
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An odd one this, since I'm comparing two smartphones in terms of imaging where so much is nominally identical. The brand new Sony Xperia 5 iii has the exact same main camera as last year's well-thought-of model, but the telephoto arrangement is totally different, which is where the main interest lies - does the new dual factor zoom system offer a significant benefit? Don't worry, I'll test the main cameras too, since the chipsets and image signal processors are different, plus so is the software - Xperia 5 iii has an all-in-one application with different algorithms. [Cross-posted to AAWP for interest, and because AAM isn't errr.... finished yet!]
Last year's Xperia 5 ii (read as 'mark 2') was almost a perfect match in terms of specs and expectations for a classic 'Nokia/Windows phone' user - excellent audio, excellent imaging, not too large or heavy, fully water and dust proof, and so on. But we now have the brand new Xperia 5 iii, sporting internal upgrades plus (nominally) the same dual-focal-length telephoto camera from the Xperia 1 iii - let's hope it performs better at its upper zoom factor than the flagship did! Here's the specs breakdown, anyway. [Note that this is cross-posted to AAS as well, as it's a modern equivalent to the best of the old Nokia Nseries, I contend...]
Here, I'm not going near indvidual image pixels - the aim here is to look at the smarts in the multi-frame image processing from both Apple and Google (iOS and 'pure' Android) in terms of them helping out to render tricky scenes and lighting. After all, the vast majority of regular people's photos are only ever seen at 'screen' resolution, so let's look at photos as-is and not get too hung up on pixel level purity. Just this once, eh? As a benchmark for vanilla photos without any smarts or modern processing, I'm also throwing in some (by necessity) single exposure Lumia 1020 shots taken at the same time.
Nine and a half years apart, we have two phone camera systems with near 1" sensors. Yes, it has taken the rest of the phone world a decade to catch up to the Nokia 808 PureView in terms of sheer sensor size. But a lot has changed in terms of processing power and multi-frame capture, enabling true HDR and night modes. So how, in terms of photo results, does the 2012 808 PureView match up to the very latest 1/1.12"-sensored Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra?
This phone camera shootout has been hotly anticipated, not least because the 2021 Xiaomi flagship promises 'PureView' quality images and with a larger (1/1.12") sensor than even the legendary Nokia 808. Add in top notch image processing and immense power, plus a high megapixel 5x periscope telephoto, and going into this first test with the Mi 11 Ultra should see it triumph overall. A lot will depend on how much emphasis I place on zooming, of course, but let's keep things sensible and balanced - for now!
It's not often that a camera-equipped smartphone comes along that goes so far 'up to 11' (pun intended) that even running through the imaging specs needs an article of its own. But with the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra in for review at All About Towers over the next week or two, it's probably a good idea to lay the imaging bare, especially for fans of classic Nokia imaging phones like the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 - the Mi 11 Ultra is right up in the same ballpark, at least in theory, while having massively more horsepower and massively newer components. Which should bode well...
Yup, it's the new Nokia - ruggedised, fully specced, and - well - rather huge. There's a lot to like, but there's one big question for old-Nokia, Lumia and Windows fans: how does its camera arrangement perform? Given the Nokia name, I just had to return to a Lumia as the comparison, my trusty 950 XL, which I pitched spec-for-spec against the new Nokia last week.
What's this? A Lumia up against a new Nokia? Yep, and it's something rather different this time round. The XR20 has all the gadgets one might expect from a flagship smartphone for 2021, plus it's utterly milspec durable. Yet it starts at under £400 inc VAT. What's the catch? Screen technology, mainly, but if lack of AMOLED isn't a showstopper for you then the XR20 might very well be the large and tough 2021 contender you've been waiting for.
There's a video capture question I have for you to answer, and it's this. Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do you? With apologies to Dirty Harry, it does seem as though there are two approaches to video capture on phones and it's not something we've ever covered before. Do you let the hardware and software work their auto-magic or do you take charge of everything, as if your smartphone was an old fashioned video camera or DSLR? The two approaches are completely opposite but are worth exploring, in terms of pros and cons.