It's the one you've been waiting for. The highest end (in terms of imaging) iPhone ever against an AAWP stalwart. Last year's iPhone 11 Pro managed to win out against the Lumia 950, thanks to triple camera, restrained image processing, loads of horsepower, and some very clever multi-frame software. So the 12 Pro Max, with larger sensor, new OIS system, and longer lensed telephoto should do even better, right? Well... Let's find out.
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It's the big one... the largest iPhone ever with the largest, most sophisticated camera ever. In an iPhone, at least. But it looks pretty good so far - an imaging shootout is coming next (of course), but in the meantime here's a specs feature. Yes, the 2015 Lumia's outgunned, but it gives me an opportunity to go over what's in the new iPhone flagship against a known bookmark.
Despite Apple's (and then Google's) attempts to quosh the humble wired 3.5mm audio jack on modern smartphones (and copied by many others), plenty of decent smartphones are still sold with jacks and with DACs feeding whatever wired headphones you care to plug in. Potentially higher quality, and certainly no issues with drained batteries or lost AirPods (etc.) In this update of an article from 18 months ago, I test some of the 'jacked up' smartphones that I've had in for testing in 2020. Any conclusions, any winners?
Something a little different here, with a three way test - just because I have the very latest from Google and Apple here. Pitched against the classic Lumia 950 (from 2015), because this is AAWP, after all, I've taken a number of test scenes in all light conditions - which will be the purest of PureView cameras? Do note that the 'big one' on the iPhone 12 imaging front is November's 12 Pro Max, so that'll have its own camera showdown in due course...
OK, it's a fair cop, the comparisons are starting to get a little stretched now in terms of raw power, but the brand new (out today) iPhone 12 is almost the same size as my trusty Lumia 950 and might well be a device that many are aiming for, or at least aspiring to. No, it's not the iPhone 12 Pro Max with the next-gen camera stuff, but it's not a million miles off. So how does it spec up to a Lumia that you'll all know and love?
It's a fair cop, the Lumia 950/XL wasn't the very first smartphone (or indeed device of any kind) to use USB Type C, but it was in the first handful. A 'LeTV' phone got there first, a few months earlier, then the Google Nexus 5X and 6P pipped the Lumias by a month. But, for a change, back in 2015, Microsoft's Lumias were just about on the cutting edge. And now Type C is back in the headlines, controversially so, though the adjective 'courageous' is possibly apt... this time around.
I last gave some smartphone choices in February 2020, but a lot has changed in the last seven months! 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 2021 as Windows 10 Mobile is now long unsupported and as services gradually start to wind down. I've tested just about everything on the market and here's my updated verdict in terms of functionality, future viability, and value for money. Four of the five are new from the last selection!
I've been a long time proponent of Qi wireless charging, starting with the Lumia 920 back in 2012 and then spreading through other Lumias out to the Android world (notably Samsung and LG) and then even to iPhones in the last three years. And it's still ultra-cool and more or less a must-have on any smartphone over about £500 these days - pop your phone on a wireless pad and bingo - it's (trickle) charging away. But many people are now arguing that we have to be careful - if three billion people end up using Qi as their primary charging system then the undoubted power inefficiencies inherent in the technology may become a big problem at that worldwide scale.
Almost six months ago I came up with four suggested replacements for a Windows phone, at various price points and with suitable caveats and observations. All of which are still decent shouts in late July 2020, but I wanted to go further and deliver an overview of the entire smartphone world this time round, at least as seen from a Western (UK) perspective. What do I think of the ever increasing brands and models? There has never been so much choice, one might argue, but I'd also point out that there's a huge amount of commonality as well, and that anyone buying in mid-2020 needs a decent degree of discernment.
The arrival of genuine homescreen 'widgets' in iOS (see the screenshots below) has prompted more thought about the concept and about which mobile OS has mastered them, if any. Symbian and Android both had home screen widgets in 2009, while Windows Phone reimagined the idea completely for its 'live tiles' in 2010. And, a decade later, the iPhone joins the widgets party. But have any of these mobile OS really delivered? I say no. Or at least, not yet, with iOS 14's new implementation looking promising for the future.