A few days ago I pitched the new Sony Xperia 5 ii against the familiar Lumia 950 XL and I did promise an imaging head to head at the time. This is lockdown Britain and weather conditions haven't been ideal, but I do have enough comparison images and crops below to be able to deliver thoughts and a verdict. Tldr? The Xperia 5 ii wasn't quite as impressive as the specs and hype would suggest.
Cross posted here to AAS as well, because the Sony Xperia 5 ii is possibly the Android phone that most closely matches how I'd hope a classic Nokia smartphone would have turned out after half an extra decade of evolution. Think of it, perhaps, as a modern day Nokia N8 or how the Lumia series might have ended up if it gone down the multi-camera route. From display to multimedia to overall performance, the Xperia 5 ii is a bit special. Here's my initial impressions and specs round-up, watch this space for an imaging head to head as well.
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 thought this might be of interest, from someone who was all in on Windows 10 Mobile and Continuum (or Android and Samsung DeX) as the way forward four years ago. Even though Windows 10 Mobile had the rug pulled out from under its feet by Microsoft and then died the death of (lack of) a thousand apps, the dream of hot-desking lives on in other guises. Witness my data point below - it's not a perfect solution but it's technically elegant.
A week ago I compared the relatively small, brand new £350 Pixel 4a to the favourite Lumia 950, with quite a bit in common - now I do the same at a larger scale to the 4a's sister device, the (still mid-priced) 4a 5G, more equivalent in feel and size to the larger 950 XL. The Pixel 4a 5G goes get several component upgrades, mind you, over the smaller 4a, see the specifications below, and ends up hitting the sweet spot for most people, I think. Just the lack of Qi charging stands between this device and perfection at the price. Video review coming very soon!
What happens to a media-specialising smartphone when its OS runs out of steam? I explore this in 'pimping' the 2017 IDOL 4 Pro, one of my favourite devices, into limited but effective action in late 2020. A super screen, premium build, superb wired audio, and loud stereo speakers all impress. Who cares about the rest of the world? (I've left the original early 2019 comments in place, for interest!)
It's true that I've done a fair number of shootouts that include Google Pixels in the past - and the hardware here is the same as the main camera on the last few generations - but the software continues to be tweaked and, besides, the Pixel 4a is brand new to the UK (and compared generally to the Lumia 950 here), so why not pitch it against the natural single-lensed competitor from the Windows world? Neither of these camera set-ups are as flexible as the triple-lensed solutions available elsewhere, but they both still take great as-is photos...
Yes, yes, the Google Pixel 4a was released a couple of months in the USA, but it's only today that the device is hitting Europe, hence the timing of this feature. In theory it's a decent match for a Lumia 950 owner, having a great single camera, similar size and feel in the hand, and 3.5mm audio jack. On the downside, there's no Qi charging or Continuum desktop, but you do also get Android 11 out of the box and support until 2024, plus a larger display, way faster chipset, and lovely stereo speakers for media.