Having done a camera head to head between the brand new Asus Zenfone Zoom and the classic Lumia 1020, on the grounds of zoom capability, what about widening the comparison to include the full gamut of what a smartphone can do? But which Lumia to compare the Zenfone to? Given the size similarity and the way I rated the all-round imaging of the Lumia 950 XL so highly, I went for this pairing - see below for my blow by blow comparison.
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Never mind taking in a whole scene - what happens when you want to get closer to the action, the details, to shoot more intimately? It's amazing how a little bit of zooming can help. Not that most camera phone owners would know, since most digital zooms aren't stellar. However, the Lumia 1020 (now over two years old) offered genuinely lossless 3x zoom, thanks to its underlying 41MP sensor. And the brand new 2016 Zenfone Zoom, from the Android world, goes down a whole different route, despite the cosmetic similarities, with integral 3x optical zoom. So, tech vs tech, here's how they trade blows in the search for a cameraphone zoom king.
Ah yes, the professionally-rated best camera phones of the world. In this case, DxOMark calling the shots. Here's a quiz: what have the still cameras in the Nexus 6P, Xperia Z3+, iPhone 6s, Blackberry Priv and Nexus 6 got in common, as tested by DxOMark? Answer, they're all way ahead of the Nokia 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 for still photography. Eh? What? I contend that DxOMark's testing is rooted in cloud-cuckoo-land and that a new 'realMark' is needed. (© Steve Litchfield, 2016!)
The arrival of [deep breath] Windows 10 Mobile 10586 Build 63 a couple of days ago prompted me to examine the potential upgrade process for a generic Windows Phone 8.1 device, in this case a Lumia 640, expected to be in the vanguard of phones getting the over-the-air upgrade later this month. After worries over a poor update experience on previous builds, it does seem that, as of build 63, most of this is behind Microsoft and that we're close to an OS that can indeed be shipped to existing Lumias. (Caveats over older S4-based devices notwithstanding.)
One of the most common questions about the Lumia smartphones and their cameras is what to choose in settings in terms of resolution and capture. Oversampled? RAW? Full resolution? Under ideal light conditions, I thought I'd shoot a distant but detailed subject and look at the pixel level - and beyond - is there an obvious winner in terms of the quality/memory trade-off?
A video-centric test, or at least a data point. As judged from deficiencies below and on older phones running the Windows 10 Mobile Insiders Build, there's clearly work to do in Camera's video capture capabilities. So, here at Christmas 2015, at least is what Windows 10 Camera (can and can't) do. Summary: susceptibility to wind noise, unconvincing stereo and an auto-focus that will not stay 'off'.
Maybe the headline is slightly disingenuous, since I'm only looking at a single set of data points from two specific devices, but the results are typical of the Windows 10 Camera 'automatic' Rich Capture and the Android Camera (with HDR+) applications and functions, common to many smartphones. More to the point, the shots got me out in the fresh air during the traditional Christmas merriment...
One common question fired at us over the last month has been how the new QHD-screened, Snapdragon 808/810-powered Lumias fare in terms of day to day operations, against each other and compared to yesterday's flagships in the Windows Phone world. Below, I attempt to answer this question with my usual real world benchmarks. The results are very surprising, though also good news if you already own a Lumia 930, Icon or Lumia 1520.
Judging from my postbag (ok, email-bag, these days) and from comments here on the site, I'm not the only one racked with doubt about the way to proceed in terms of these new Lumias. A while back, after my first few days with the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, I pronounced the 950 the one to go for. Then the Mozo arrived and I was then leaning towards the 'premium' 950 XL. And then I picked up my old Lumia 930 again. Sigh. See what you think after reading my thoughts below. Which one would you go for?
Having pitched these two smartphones head to head in terms of imaging (spoiler: the 950 wins by quite a way, though with some caveats), I wanted to pitch them against each other across the board, function for function. The LG G4 is a flagship from earlier in 2015 that's now an absolute steal at £320, while the Lumia 950 is... well, you know, you're reading AAWP after all! See my 950 review here.