One common thread in my head-to-heads here on AAWP is that the option of going to Android isn't appealing because of privacy concerns - of Google knowing too much about us. While I'm not that paranoid, I understand the mind set and - here - present perhaps the perfect smartphone for someone worried about Google. This is a top spec Android flagship that doesn't use Google services at all. Thanks to Trump in the USA and a spat with China, of course, but anti-Google buyers benefit (perhaps). As a bonus, you get perhaps the best camera system ever put into a phone. Ever.
Recent Features - Hardware
So... the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is in for review. With 108MP giant main sensor and 9-to-1 oversampling. Sound familiar? And then there's the use of PureView-like smart cropping to provide zoom on both the main and telephoto systems. Loads of Lumia similarities, even if the tech is much faster now, and I couldn't decide which Lumia to do the comparison against. So I picked both of them, the 1020 and 950. And threw in the champion iPhone 11 Pro for good measure!
Following my detailed look at specs across the board on the new Galaxy S20 vs the classic Lumia 950, here's the much awaited imaging comparison. Zooming is quirky on both, but there's plenty to compare on the main cameras - in 2020, have Samsung learned their lesson and managed to reign in their enthusiasm for sharpening and enhancement? Let's find out.
There are two points through the year that really matter in terms of comparisons. One is the release of a new iPhone, the other the release of the new Samsung Galaxy flagship. In this case it's the S20, arriving here in the next day or so for review by me, and I'm choosing to compare the smaller (non-Plus) version because there's almost no spec compromise for going 'cheaper and smaller' this year - and I'm comparing to the Lumia 950 because it too is very close to its XL counterpart while remaining pocketable.
Guest writer Richard Yates follows on my own Continuum-based NexDock 2 coverage with his own take on the accessory, both in conjunction with Windows 10 Mobile and Android. It's fair to say that he's not convinced overall, though he does find hope in the upcoming touch-enabled successor, the NexDock Touch...
This is somewhat obvious if you think about it, but it's worth expanding on anyway, since it almost caught me out yesterday. There are a number of readers with older phones - Lumia 640/XL, 730/735, 830, 930 and 1520 is a good (though not definitive) list - which started out on Windows Phone 8.1 but which were offered Windows 10 Mobile, at least via Microsoft's Upgrade Advisor utility. And have been running W10M smoothly. But now in 2020, in the event of problems, don't even think of using long time stalwart utility WDRT (Windows Device Recovery Tool) to restore your phone's original OS in order to 'rebuild'. Let me explain...
Four months is a long time in the phone world - I last opined on this topic in October, yet my picks have changed significantly! I've pitched this as my top picks for smartphones to replace a Lumia 950/930 or perhaps an IDOL 4 Pro or Elite x3, going forwards into 2020 as Windows 10 Mobile is now unsupported and as services gradually start to wind down. I've tested just about everything on the market and here's my updated verdict, with just one eye on price and value for money as well (though this isn't critical).
Android smartphones come through my hands at a fair old rate - and only the best are really deemed recommendable, especially for an AAWP reader used to, say, a Lumia 950. And, unusually for me, I'm not talking imaging here - I'm looking at the overall design and construction - but the new Fairphone 3 reminds me in sooo many ways of the classic 950. See the photos and comments below and then let us know what you think!
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?
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(!)