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.
The apparent duplication in having both Windows Phone 'Photos' and 'Lumia Storyteller' on most Lumias is a little confusing, but a little investigation reveals that the latter can on the whole be used as a replacement for the former, and with significant extra features and tie-ins. It doesn't make much difference for the everyday Lumia, but for the Lumia Camera 5-compatible smartphones, it's very worthwhile making the switch, opening up the full gamut of modern features.
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.
Group tests of Twitter clients on any platform are always a little transient on any platform because of Twitter's own (crazy) client token limits, meaning that any third party application that gets really popular effectively gets shut down when it gets to 100,000 users. Such was the fate of several applications on Windows Phone, with Mehdoh and Rowi bowing out for this and other reasons. Begging the question at the end of March 2015, with a very serviceable first party client for the platform, of whether it's worth going third party at all any more and if so, which application to choose? This is my much updated look at Twitter clients, now with six apps in the mix.
The story so far, I looked in detail at the image processing differences between the 'old' Nokia/Lumia Camera (Classic) and the new Lumia Camera 5 here. Summary? Greater saturation of colours, less noise reduction, increased contrast. Pros and cons all round. But we cheated slightly, using different devices, plus we should also factor the possibility of Rich Capture. Exactly which of all these gives the best photo results?
In their latest blog post, the folks at AdDuplex have painted a picture of the low end of Windows Phone dominating more and more as time goes on, i.e. in terms of price and spec. While this is an interesting data point, it certainly doesn't tell the whole story, and I thought some balancing caveats were in order. Just what are the proportions of Windows Phones/Lumias out there?
You may remember that, back in Autumn 2014, I did a couple of companion articles, looking at 10 reasons why anyone WOULD choose a Windows Phone over the competition, and then 10 reasons why they WOULDN'T? Things change fast in the smartphone world, with Windows 10 now a reality and the competition fiercer than ever, which is why I thought an update of both lists and a new verdict was in order....