Recent Features - Hardware

The speed gap to 2020 flagships, quantified

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It's an obvious trend that smartphone processors get faster with every year's new launches. True, their operating systems also grow in size and complexity, but usually at a slower rate. So, overall, things get snappier. Back in the day, Windows Phone 8.1 was itself very fluid and snappy, but the move to Windows 10 Mobile introduced a more heavyweight OS and a more sluggish experience - I wrote about all this here, back in 2015. We haven't had new first party hardware from Microsoft since early 2016 and then third party hardware later that year - so how does Windows 10 Mobile on 2016 phone hardware compare, speed-wise, with the best of 2020?

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Head to head: Lumia 950 XL vs f(x)tec Pro1 (plus Nokia E7)

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It's... another head to head article for AAWP... with a difference. Because the smartphone here is different, a direct descendant of the Nokia E7 (2010, running Symbian) and N950 (running Meego, which ended up still-born). Now, a spec comparison between 2020 and 2010 would be farcical, so I'm still going to compare the f(x)tec Pro1 to the Lumia 950 XL, so that specifications are at least in a similar ballpark. But I'm throwing in plenty of Nokia E7/Pro1 comparisons in photo form too, hence the AAS cross-post(!)

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The Lumia 1020 (/920) and continuing Store access in 2020 via W10M...

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With the Store for Windows Phone 8.1 stopping working in a couple of weeks, users of the very popular Lumia 1020 have a problem. Yes, being love-smitten on the 1020 is an issue in itself, though you might also now consider the iPhone 11 Pro. But if you want to give the 1020 (or 920) a little more life in terms of applications then force-upgrading it to Windows 10 Mobile is about the only option, since the W10M Store is 'good' until at least 2021. My own 1020 has flip-flopped a few times between 8.1 and W10M, I always got put off by the latter's restrictions for the 1020 hardware, but it seems like Microsoft is now forcing our hand for good.

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The (crowd-sourced) Top 10 Windows-powered phones... ever!

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Exactly two years ago I presented my own 'Top 5', but the ecosystem is about to start winding down, the last branch of Windows on phones is about to receive its final update, so now would be a good time for a massive update to the idea. This time going with crowd-sourced data and not just my own prejudices! You might still not be surprised at the no. 1 below, but at least it's not just my own PureView love affair - several hundred others voted, with results below.

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By popular request (really): 2012's Nokia 808 PureView vs the best of 2019

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Yes, yes, this is being cross-posted on AAWP and yet there's no Windows Phone component. But in the AAWP comments on Lumia 1020 stories I've had a mountain of people wondering what the original Nokia 808 PureView would have made of the test shots. That 1/1.2" sensor, for a start, plus the most sophisticated oversampling system ever seen in the phone world (still). So here goes with some challenging shots and crops. [Updated]

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Camera head to head: Lumia 950 XL vs Nokia 7.2

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Something a little different here, in that we're not talking about a 'flagship' device. The Nokia 7.2, despite being the first Nokia-branded phone to have a 40-plus Megapixel camera since the Lumia 1020, is unashamedly a budget smartphone, £230 RRP or less than £200 if you catch it on offer. It's pure Android, updated for three years, for an absolute song - see my head to head here. But what about that 48MP camera? Time to test it, I'll use the Lumia 950 XL, since that's close in form factor.

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Replacing a Lumia with a new Nokia: the 7.2, a cheap way to try Android?

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Most Lumias were produced under the Nokia brand, of course, with the final generation under 'Microsoft'. But I still find it interesting how the Nokia name has risen back up into the public consciousness under the seemingly capable hands of HMD Global, still based in Finland. I've covered the (disappointing) Nokia 9 PureView here before, but I now have in for review something that sits at the budget end of the spectrum (£230), yet is robust (plastic chassis, think Lumia 1520) and capable. And still has a 48MP camera. Here's my first look at the 'Nokia 7.2'.

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The new 1020? My vote goes to the iPhone 11 Pro

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Out and about with the new (and diminutive) iPhone 11 Pro (i.e. the smaller variant), I get the same feeling as when I used to carry the Lumia 1020 - a desire to take photos. The idea that every time I see something that I'd like to snap I know I'll be able to get the shot, quickly and comfortably. No precarious perching of a phablet-sized phone, just a pocket-sized smartphone with the best camera in the world doing what it was born to do. 2013 to 2019 should mark a lot of progress in image quality, so let's try and quantify that with some challenging 1020-esque test shots. I think you'll be surprised.

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Audio matters: late 2019 video data point

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In my video stabilisation feature here, I was asked in the comments to do a test of audio capture in video mode - i.e. how good are modern microphones in smartphones? The short answer is: very good. Gone are the bad old days of Nokia being the only manufacturer that cared enough about audio to put decent high amplitude microphones in its smartphones. See below for video and audio proof.

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