Perhaps matching the debate on sealed vs replaceable batteries as a design trend for our time is that of sealed memory. In other words, flash storage for applications, files, documents and media, which is of a fixed size and with no options for user expansion. Is sealed memory ultimately acceptable and, if so, is it possible to calculate a healthy minimum for 2014 devices?
Imaging enthusiasts like me live and breathe resolutions and jargon like 'oversampling' and 'Back Side Illumination', but it's easy to lose track of more mundane questions and issues from those for whom their smartphone camera isn't one of the biggest features. In this case, I'd had emails in asking why their 12MP (i.e. 12 megapixels) camera was only outputting 9MP and their 8MP device outputting 6MP. Why were their smartphone cameras performing under par? I thought a little clarification was in order.
While the N8 is ancient in the smartphone world, it still has an impressive camera, with native 12MP output. So much so, that it's still the benchmark by which we at All About Towers judge all other cameras. Even though media attention on phone cameras looks at the Lumia 1020 or HTC One, the N8 still stands up favourably against these modern phones. With that in mind, I took my N8 out to look skywards, with the help of a telescope, and photographed The Moon. Read on to see how well it did and how it stacks up against modern phones like the iPhone 5 and Windows Phone-powered Lumia 925 too.
Most readers know me as someone prepared to enter into debate on the subjects of form factor and smartphone design, but also having my own distinct preferences. You'll remember an in depth feature I did on the subject of sealed vs removeable batteries? It's fair to say that, personally, I come down on the 'removeable' side of the fence - yet I find myself, in December 2013, using a sealed design for my primary device. In this feature, hopefully of interest to both AAS and AAWP readers, I examine my objections to 'sealed' and ask which of them, if any, are still showstoppers.
Here's a thought. Instead of wasting a brand, instead of making an implicit promise of quality and failing to deliver, instead of giving hope to gamers out there, instead of teasing us that something interesting might happen... Xbox Live on Windows Phone should simply disappear. The lack of engagement from Microsoft and third party developers is frankly embarrassing, and the service needs put out of its misery.
You love smartphone camera shootouts - you know you do. Especially with champions in both the Symbian and Windows Phone world. We've compared most of these devices to one of the Android world's camera champions before - the Sony Xperia Z1, but that device was hampered by poor initial firmware and reports of the most recent Z1 update have been promising. Which means (in conjunction with reader Adam Pino) a new head to head: Nokia N8 (12MP, Xenon flash, Symbian), Nokia 808 (5MP oversampling, Xenon, Symbian), Nokia 1020 (ditto, Windows Phone) and the Z1. Fight!
In this video-based feature we compare the camera speed of the Lumia 1020 and 1520 in terms of both start-up time and shot-to-shot time. While some of the differences between the two devices can be explained by the relative size of the camera modules (41MP versus 20MP) the processor powering each device (Snapdragon S4 versus Snapdragon 800) is also an important factor.
I had a crazy idea a while ago, after trying to get a decent 'panorama' shot on my Nokia smartphone and finding the stitching flaky and the resolution low every single blessed time. Yes, yes, calm down Apple fans, I know the iPhone does this out of the box, but here I'm talking Nokia. Symbian and Windows Phone, and the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 specifically, since the high resolution available (typically 7700 pixels-ish wide) opens up the possibility for a huge, massive cheat. As [cough] detailed below.
The Lumia 625 is an interesting addition to the line up of Windows Phone devices. It makes some assumptions about the form factors that customers would want (specifically around the size of their smartphone), and applies every trick in the book to bring the cost down to a level that allows networks to offer the large screened handset at a minimal up front cost. Retailing in the UK for 'free' with a £20-£30 monthly contract, that goal has been achieved. But is the Lumia 625 a handset that works in practice?
In the screen section of our Nokia Lumia 1520 review we noted in passing that Microsoft has, in the Windows Phone 8 Update 3 release, changed the way some of the apps apps are displayed on devices with large screens. The most obvious example is the addition of an extra column of Live Tile on the Start screen, but there are a number of other more subtle change too, as demonstrated in this video-based feature article.