OnePlus has carved up a reputation for 'no fuss, affordable Android flagships' and this makes it a prime candidate for a starting Android handset for someone coming from a different ecosystem, such as Windows 10 Mobile. Yesterday I pitched the OnePlus 6 against the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro, this time I wanted to pitch its rather good camera against one of the best, the classic Lumia 950 XL. Buckle up, for this one's closer than you might think!
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In our continuing efforts to provide comparisons for those trying to match up Windows 10 Mobile smartphones to possible Android-running upgrades, here's the latest, with the last sold Windows phone (Wileyfox Pro aside) pitched against the very latest OnePlus 6.
It's tough to compare large numbers of camera phones at the same time - four is about the limit in terms of coverage on the web. But it's perfectly valid to pick out interesting groupings. In this case, the classic Lumia 1020 and 950 (this being AAWP, and yes, I'm still flip-flopping on which is 'best' for imaging) versus modern flagships which have just had updates. The Galaxy S9+ has just had its second system update, while the Pixel 2 XL hasn't been tested here for six months and now runs a whole new OS, Android P(ineapple), and with its 'Visual Core' chip activated. Whatever happens, it's going to be a power imaging shootout...
Every time I pick up a Windows phone there's a certain air of 'getting things done' - it's that sort of OS. But even Windows 10 Mobile is limited in the applications it can run, whereas most predictions of the upcoming 'Surface Mobile' (Andromeda) are for full Windows 10 on ARM in a folding experience. But for the moment, what if you were to do without the 'folding' bit?
Brand new this week is the Honor 10, which - despite its sub-£400 price tag - boasts a ground-breaking new 'AI-based' camera. Software-based stabilisation, analysis of scene details to adjust processing for each interpreted depth layer, and to enhance subjects according to how people like seeing them. But how does all this hold up to the classic Lumia 950 - can all this new computational tech beat a quality classic?
Just to ring the changes, with a new mid-priced 'flagship' coming along from the Android world, I had the usual choice of what to compare it to from the Windows side - in the end, I plumped for the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro, being of similar size, weight, style, and with similar levels of err... compromise. They're a good match overall, I think. Yes, Android is the smartphone OS of the modern age (90% market share?), but how does the Windows 10 Mobile offering compare?
By popular request, and in particular response to the arguably incomplete results coming out DxOMark in the last few years, I immodestly present what has come to be called 'SteveMark', as in a compilation of results of the real world tests I've been doing with a wide range of smartphone flagship cameras. Is there a top dog? Unsurprisingly, it depends on what you want from a phone camera, and also unsurprisingly, I present to you not one, but two Top 10 lists. Take your pick!
Somewhat handily, just as the cameras in the Lumia 950 and 950 XL are identical, so are those in the Sony XZ Premium, XZ1, XZ1 Compact (shown below), XZ2, and XZ2 Compact. So a range of sizes and general specs then, for anyone to pick from. And, with the chance to do a shootout, I grasped the bull by the horns, as it were...
18 months ago, in May 2016, I wrote about staying with Windows Phone 8.1 in an era of Windows 10 Mobile, in the context of some services working better on the old OS than the newer one. Since then, we've had Windows 10 Mobile mature and fill out, though there's one phone for which I stand by my original piece 100%. You may not be surprised that it's the classic and much-loved Lumia 1020, from 2013, which still feels 'right' on Windows Phone 8.1. If you have this Xenon-flash, monster-camera-ed device then here are the pros and cons, plus suggestions for use in the modern age.
In the past, I've mentioned a few examples of possible smartphones to consider jumping to if you reach the end of the road with your Windows phone, but I wanted to amplify this and give you the full picture. Yes, Windows 10 Mobile still has at least a year of updates and support left, but at some point even enthusiasts may reach the point where it becomes appropriate to wonder what might be next in our lives...