AMOLED is the technology used in Windows Phones like the Lumia 1020, 925 and 735 (among others) and has a number of big advantages, not least true 'blacks', faster frame rates, more saturated colours and potential power savings if dark themed applications are mainly used. However, you'll have noticed that quite a number of other Lumias (and other manufacturer Windows Phones) tend to use LCD displays, with the advantage of more consistent power output, more neutral colours and slightly lower cost. But - the key thing I wanted to know was - are worries over AMOLED screens not lasting as long warranted?
As is traditional, just in case you've done a Rip van Winkle and slept all year, here are some of the main news stories and reviews featured on the site through 2014, with links, quotes from our story intros, and some commentary at the end. A good year for Windows Phone? A bad one? See my verdict!
With no imaging articles for a good two weeks, you might have thought I'd shut up shop for the winter. However, a late afternoon Christmas walk with fellow geek (and my nephew) Laurie turned into a bit of a photo taking contest. I wanted to pitch the Lumia 830, with the new style non-oversampling camera and next-gen algorithms, against the existing camera champion, the Lumia 1020. I gave Laurie the pick of the devices and he went for the 830, so it was me and old faithful as we headed out into the wintry weather. With no brief for each of us, except to get the best shot of each subject that was called out. With our famed comparator, which device's snaps do you prefer?
There has been quite a bit of bile addressed to Microsoft after the rumour/leak from GeekOnGadgets that there wouldn't be any high end smartphone from the company until next Autumn (2015), but I'm pretty sure I know the thinking behind such a strategy. Trying to get inside the Lumia team's collective brains, here's my analysis. And, while I personally might lust after a new flagship with cutting edge camera, with a business hat on I think I'd do exactly what Microsoft is currently doing...
Supremacy, as used in the headline above is about absolute superiority over all others. Whether it's a kingdom or sportsman or, in this case, a range of smartphone cameras. The thing is that over the last decade I've been so used, at every stage, to my Nokia flagship smartphones having superior imaging built-in, that it has been something of a shock to realise that, with the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the competition has caught up. Or at least, got close enough that for even technophiles there's no real difference in quality of results. Have the Nokia 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 been dethroned? Not exactly, but the thrones are now looking within reach of a pack of status-seeking courtiers....
We usually don't comment on rumours, but sometimes there's enough evidence and momentum behind one that to not mention it would be remiss. Happily, the FCC data and import documents discovered here do imply that a Microsoft (née Nokia) Lumia 435 will soon be joining the Lumia range, giving me the opportunity to revisit, update and extend my comparison table for current budget Windows Phones. How will the 435 compare with what already exists and what are its chances?
Following on from yesterday's (apparently controversial!) feature looking at seven test scenes in the unprocessed 16MP output from the Lumia 930 and the native 16MP (processed) output from the Galaxy Note 4, I present part 2 of the feature, moving away from 1:1 crops at sensor level and looking at 5MP versions of the same test scenes. Oversampled in the 930's case, downsampled (by me) in the Note 4's case. And, while I realise that this may do the latter a slight disservice, as it turns out, the Note 4's images are improved too - so it's a win-win. Literally!
With the Galaxy Note 4 in hand, armed with a first for Samsung on pure phones, OIS, it seemed appropriate to pitch it against a Windows Phone in our interactive comparator. But which one? The obvious choice is the Lumia 1520, i.e. also a 'phablet', but the Note 4 is quite a bit smaller than the 1520, with smaller bezels, it turns out that it's just as close to the Lumia 930. Given that we haven't featured the 930 much on AAWP since the initial review, and given that the cameras in the two units are identical, I thought I'd give the 930 a crack at the competition this time.
I was interested to see the availability, a few days ago, of GFXBench, a cross-platform utility that hammers the processor and graphics systems of smartphones and tablets and then reports back. The core use is to compare devices in the Android and iOS worlds, I suspect, i.e. the mainstream, but with Windows Phone availability, I thought it might be interesting to compare the metrics for some of the various generations of Nokia Lumia that I have lying around...