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.
Please accept this generic rant across the All About sites, but the subject matter applies to all platforms to various degrees. In-app purchasing or, more specifically, in-game purchasing is the current fad in game development and it's time enough people took a stand and said 'No'. And not just writing editorials and blog posts on the subject but actively boycotting such titles and recommending alternatives that rely on the traditional 'buy it once' model. Does it sound like I'm over-reacting? Maybe - it depends on exactly who's playing the games on your phone(s)?
It's fair to say that I've been critical of some aspects of Windows Phone in the past, all documented on these pages and in the various audio podcasts, but at the same time I find myself using a Nokia Lumia 1020 on a daily basis. Yes, the camera is super, but away from that I'm still finding that Windows Phone does, more or less, everything I need a smartphone OS to do. Which got me thinking about why other mobile enthusiasts have ended up with a far more negative view of the OS. What exactly didn't they like and how valid are their criticisms?
As the Windows Phone user base continues to grow, so does the number of applications available through the Windows Phone Store. As the land-grab for apps continues to gather pace, there is a growing undercurrent of applications that push the edge of morality in terms of naming, look, functionality, and cost. Is this an issue that has to be tolerated, or should Microsoft take a more proactive stance to keep the Windows Phone Store as safe and habitable as possible?