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....
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!
The number of ways you can shoot a photo on a modern Lumia, such as the 830, 930 or 1520, is multiplying. Leading to possible confusion and I thought a tabular breakdown of typical subject matter, scenes and conditions might be helpful. Which mode is it best to use for each? How simple can I make it?
‘Never settle’, ‘Never Compromise’, and so on are phrases often used in smartphone marketing, the idea being that nothing was sacrificed in the journey to bring you, the customer, the perfect device. OnePlus’s recent One (in the Android world) and Microsoft's Lumia 532 are good examples of this, yet I’m afraid I have some bad news for you - every single smartphone ever designed represented a compromise.
Do not go straight to Windows 10, do not collect £200, etc. Well, yes, you may be able to try the Insider programme and enjoy an early build of '10', depending on which device you own, but the more stable path seems to be to wait for a new major build of Windows Phone 8.1.... 'Update 2'. Potentially this could involve a matching 'Lumia' package, so maybe my predictions of a 'Lumia Emerald' in the past won't be too far off? Anyway, here's my curated list of what we should expect in Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2.
So far on All About Windows Phone 'imaging' has all been about the rear-facing cameras on our smartphones, i.e. taking a photo of something. But what about the other camera - the one that points back at you? Now that 'selfies' are officially a thing (though I draw the line at special 'sticks'!), I thought a comparison, in terms of specs at least, of the front-facing cameras on Windows Phone hardware was in order - though it quickly becomes apparent that there's a 'sweet spot', beyond which it really is a case of diminishing returns. There is precisely zero point in a 13MP front facing camera. Really.
Yes, I know that Nokia's market research team told them that bright orange would be well received. But it wasn't in this household. So, despite having an orange 930, I set out to find a replacement back that was black - the colour all good smartphones should be(!) Here's my pictorial tale...
The idea of grabbing stills from video footage has taken on a new trendiness in recent times with the likes of the Lumia 930 and 1520 able to shoot 4K video and take out useable 8MP JPG photos - shoot a kid or pet or sporting moment and then worrying about the exact frame to use as a still later on, etc. The 830 gets in on the act with 2K video and 2MP stills, but what about the older hardware? It turns out the Lumia 920, 925 and 1020 can match the newer 830, extracting images of similar quality.