I've compared the Lumia 830 and 930 before, of course, as part of the review of the former, but with Lumia Denim almost upon each device officially (only out for a few product codes) and with Windows 10 announced for later in 2015, a question on Twitter spurred me into a fresh appraisal of the two Nokia phone-sized Windows Phone 'flagships'. They're so different - in the light of Windows 10, which is the best to go for?
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The mid-range really does seem to be 'where it's at', in terms of value for money these days, with almost flagship specs at half the cost of the cutting edge. Nokia's (ok, now Microsoft's) Lumia 830 is now down to about £250 all in, while the brand new HTC Desire EYE is, in theory, a lot more, but can be found at around £330 right now if you shop around, so the two devices aren't a million miles apart. And, with the 830's camera not using any oversampling, the EYE's output should be pretty comparable in terms of resolution. Close enough for an AAWP head to head anyway.
With Lumia Denim rolling out as I write this (you saw the promo video introducing the main features), I thought it would be useful to clarify which top end Lumia is getting which feature as a result of the update, and also tackle a few Frequently Asked Questions. Denim, including Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, is a huge update to all Lumias, not just the top end devices.
I do realise that simply changing the colour of an item of technology is utterly trivial in one sense, but it's also very satisfying when it's you that has to live with it day to day. Back in the mid 2000s, Nokia introduced the idea of Xpress-On covers for many of its Symbian smartphones, changing the look and feel 'according to your mood'. And, with Nokia's/Microsoft's Windows Phone low and mid range, the same is now true for almost every handset. You just have to know where to find the various colours... Me? I ended up with a Lumia 830 that looks altogether more classy...
AMOLED is the technology used in Windows Phones like the Lumia 1020, 925 and 735 (among others) and has a number of big advantages, not least true 'blacks', faster frame rates, more saturated colours and potential power savings if dark themed applications are mainly used. However, you'll have noticed that quite a number of other Lumias (and other manufacturer Windows Phones) tend to use LCD displays, with the advantage of more consistent power output, more neutral colours and slightly lower cost. But - the key thing I wanted to know was - are worries over AMOLED screens not lasting as long warranted?
With no imaging articles for a good two weeks, you might have thought I'd shut up shop for the winter. However, a late afternoon Christmas walk with fellow geek (and my nephew) Laurie turned into a bit of a photo taking contest. I wanted to pitch the Lumia 830, with the new style non-oversampling camera and next-gen algorithms, against the existing camera champion, the Lumia 1020. I gave Laurie the pick of the devices and he went for the 830, so it was me and old faithful as we headed out into the wintry weather. With no brief for each of us, except to get the best shot of each subject that was called out. With our famed comparator, which device's snaps do you prefer?
There has been quite a bit of bile addressed to Microsoft after the rumour/leak from GeekOnGadgets that there wouldn't be any high end smartphone from the company until next Autumn (2015), but I'm pretty sure I know the thinking behind such a strategy. Trying to get inside the Lumia team's collective brains, here's my analysis. And, while I personally might lust after a new flagship with cutting edge camera, with a business hat on I think I'd do exactly what Microsoft is currently doing...
Supremacy, as used in the headline above is about absolute superiority over all others. Whether it's a kingdom or sportsman or, in this case, a range of smartphone cameras. The thing is that over the last decade I've been so used, at every stage, to my Nokia flagship smartphones having superior imaging built-in, that it has been something of a shock to realise that, with the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the competition has caught up. Or at least, got close enough that for even technophiles there's no real difference in quality of results. Have the Nokia 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 been dethroned? Not exactly, but the thrones are now looking within reach of a pack of status-seeking courtiers....
We usually don't comment on rumours, but sometimes there's enough evidence and momentum behind one that to not mention it would be remiss. Happily, the FCC data and import documents discovered here do imply that a Microsoft (née Nokia) Lumia 435 will soon be joining the Lumia range, giving me the opportunity to revisit, update and extend my comparison table for current budget Windows Phones. How will the 435 compare with what already exists and what are its chances?
Following on from yesterday's (apparently controversial!) feature looking at seven test scenes in the unprocessed 16MP output from the Lumia 930 and the native 16MP (processed) output from the Galaxy Note 4, I present part 2 of the feature, moving away from 1:1 crops at sensor level and looking at 5MP versions of the same test scenes. Oversampled in the 930's case, downsampled (by me) in the Note 4's case. And, while I realise that this may do the latter a slight disservice, as it turns out, the Note 4's images are improved too - so it's a win-win. Literally!