By popular demand, another camera phone head to head using our comparator. With the launch of the Lumia 640 XL with '13MP' ZEISS camera, in a budget phablet frame, quite a few people seem to have been eyeing up the 640 XL as a cheap replacement for their older high end Lumia. The obvious comparison is the mid-tier 830, which also uses ZEISS optics and also eschews oversampling. And then I threw caution to the wind and chucked in the cheaper Lumia 640 as well. Read on for my verdict...
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With the main review of the Lumia 640 out of the way, it's time to pitch it against one of its main competitors from the Android world, the Honor Holly, roughly the same price (depending on where you look), almost identical specifications, and yet still plenty of detail to differentiate the two handsets, not least the choice of OS.
After my last batch of camera phone imaging comparisons, there were a few requested in the comments and, with some nice weather in the UK spring, I wanted to tackle a few over the next few weeks. Starting with the classic Lumia 1020 (no compromises but a little old and slow) versus the Lumia 930 (fitted out with the latest Lumia Camera 5, blazingly fast, background processing and 'next gen' algorithms).
Mentioned in passing in all the Windows 10 Insiders fun at the weekend was that for many Windows Phones, the transition to '10' couldn't be achieved without an intermediate update, to Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2. Which is interesting for several reasons, not least because this wasn't scheduled to come to most handsets (outside the USA) at all. And because it provides a unique opportunity for anyone with a Lumia 930. Grab it with both hands.
Yes, yes, don't shout at your screens or blow a gasket, on the face of it this comparison is an almighty mismatch of ambitions and target market, but hold on. Both the Lumia 640 XL and iPhone 6 Plus have 5.5"-5.7" screens, both are the same height and weight, both have great cameras, super contrasty screens, great speakers, plenty of software (yes, yes, coming to that below) and both cost £700. No wait, that's just the iPhone. The Lumia costs just over a quarter of that, making the comparison rather eye opening.
With the One M9 in for review, from the Android world (here's my main general 930 vs M9 comparison), the very latest iteration of HTC's famous design but with, for once, a traditional high megapixel camera, an obvious test was to pitch the device against the similarly specced Lumia 930/1520 camera unit. Now that HTC has moved from its disappointing 'ultrapixel' units to something more competitive, does it leapfrog the 930/1520 by virtue of being newer, or is the old Nokia unit still more capable? Let's find out.
It's fair to say that the Lumia 930 is already looking long in the tooth - yet it remains the 5"-screened flagship in the Windows Phone world. Go pester Microsoft about there not being anything newer! In the meantime, the arrival of the HTC One M9 for review (and with a guess that a Windows 10 version of the latter might just turn up in the Autumn) gave us the chance to put the two smartphones head to head in traditional fashion.
A slightly belated head to head, but with Denim arriving for the 930, it's worth taking a look at the wider world beyond its Cyan launch. Overshadowing things this time is a massive price difference though - the Lumia 930 is now just over £300 in some places, under this if you shop around, while the Apple iPhone 6, not that much newer, hasn't really come down since launch and still sits at a whopping £619*, both SIM-free etc. Windows Phone or iOS - that's part of the equation, of course, but there's plenty of component choice to comment on below.
No time machine this time, just a little crystal ball gazing. Microsoft has said from the MWC stage that a flagship Windows 10 (for phones) smartphone is coming, has said elsewhere that it will be powered by a Snapdragon 810, that Windows 10 itself will arrive 'in the summer', and we can guess a time frame of very early Autumn 2015 for mobile hardware. But what else will be in the presumed 'Lumia 940' and what chance will it stand in the marketplace?
Announced today was the Moto G 4G, over in the Android world, a stunning mid-tier handset. How do I know it's stunning? Because I'm holding the 3G version in my hand, and it's 99% identical. What about an equivalent in the Windows Phone world? The obvious choice is the Lumia 735, which I reviewed here, but I'm also going to throw in the new Lumia 640 too - it's a veritable mid-tier fight!