Once again I'm on the road (Junior Eurovision), but unlike other trips, something is a little different. With no current Windows Phone device ready to be reviewed, or interesting and notable devices from the other platforms, I had a free choice on which handset to pick up. And it has to be a handset that I trust. Just as countless people walking into a phone store to buy a new handset, trust is a key component in any piece of mobile technology, and something that Windows Phone still needs to work on.
It's all very well shooting 5 or 8 megapixel photos on your Windows Phone, but don't assume that all the pixels are making it online when you share your photos or send them on to others. In fact, your photos are almost certainly being dramatically shrunk - I do a little investigating and offer some tips below. Why settle for second best?
In this video we offer a summary review of the Nokia Lumia 1520, complementing our in-depth hardware review and editorial coverage from last week. The video starts with a brief unboxing, before going on to offer an overview of the hardware and new software features of the device. Also included is some commentary on the practicality of size of the device, illustrated by a comparison with the Lumia 925 and Lumia 620.
That Nokia has been in forefront of mobile imaging is surely not in doubt, whatever you think of the operating systems the company has chosen at each stage (Symbian and then Windows Phone). In fact, it's a testament to how good and ground breaking the Nokia N95 was in its day (the first 5MP camera on a smartphone etc.) that it can even hold its head up here in 2013. But seven years has seen quite a bit of innovation in sensor quality, resolution and image processing - which is why I thought a 2006-2013 data point might be in order. Here's the legendary N95 pitted against the latest Nokia Lumia 1020 across six test scenes/uses.
It's... another head to head, sparked off by the arrival at All About Towers of the Motorola Moto G, the company's astonishingly good value new Android mid-ranger. Bringing to mind Nokia's own offerings in the same space, the long established Lumia 620 and the newer and larger Lumia 625. The prices and target markets match exactly, but what exactly are the pros and cons and is there an overall winner? Has Windows Phone just got itself a big competitor to one of its budget stalwarts?
As we noted in our in depth review of the Lumia 1520, Nokia's most recently released smartphone is the first Windows Phone device to be powered by a Snapdragon 800 SoC. The quad-core (2.2 GHz) processor is clearly a significant upgrade from the dual-core (1.5GHz) processor used in the previous generation of high-end Windows Phone devices, but the critical question is what impact does this have on overall performance?
Aside from being an intriguing title for an article, the idea of trying to photograph the moon on a phone camera is somewhat startling. Have a try with your own phone and you'll see what I mean. It's very, very hard. Even the Lumia 1020, with its huge sensor, large optics and plentiful camera capture options only just manages a decent moon shot by the skin of its teeth. But the point is... if you can photograph the moon, then surely anything else on earth is a piece of cake?
Is the grass greener on the other side? Last week I spent four days in America, and two days travelling there and back again from the UK, and while I did have my Lumia 925 in my bag (it was carrying my British SIM), the Windows Phone was inside a protective cover, with a little bit of security tape over the flap of the case. This trip would be a chance for me to find out how well the iPhone 5S and iOS 7 would compare to the competition.
Apple's famous mini-slogan "It just works" is well known to all and, on the whole, it's true, with the company having complete control of the hardware, software and accessories, so there's little left to chance. Turning to Windows Phone 8 and using it as something of a power user, I'm reminded of the slogan but have to confess that I'm tempted to amend it to "It almost works"...
You know, there are times when the team at All About Towers don't quite see eye to eye. Steve's editorial yesterday on the horrors of in-app purchases (IAP) saw his declaration to boycott any game which survives on the freemium styled model - this is one of those times. Far from destroying the app ecosystem, I would argue that in-app purchasing is the saviour of the mobile app economy.