Having already reviewed the Billy 4's big bother device, the Billy 4.7, the smaller, cheaper, more lowly specified device is always going to seem like an anti-climax. And, in truth, much of what was said about the 4.7 is also true here, but in miniature. What of the Billy 5S LTE? We're working on getting that one in, too....
Recent Reviews - Hardware
You'll remember that I recently went on a quest to find a source of the in-ear, stereo 4-pole headphones that ship with the best Lumia handsets? I came up trumps, with the replacements costing only around £6, but the quest itself made me aware of how generally unsatisfied I was with the audio quality at this end of the headset market. Hence this review, taking the next rung up the quality ladder with the new ROCK JAW Arcana v2 - with good results.
It's sleek, it's colourful, it's cheap, and it doesn't come from Nokia or Microsoft - it's the Yezz Billy 4.7, in hand at AAWP Towers. I've been looking at it in detail and it's stunningly thin and light. In terms of functionality and performance it's - in theory - exactly halfway between the Lumia 535 and 735, I'd say. Which would put it in pretty good company, were it not for the unforgiveable lack of attention by Yezz to the finer details of getting going with a new (to the company) operating system...
It comes to something when the worst things I can say about the brand new Microsoft Lumia 535 are that the colour and finish on the case plastic are not to my taste. Glossy orange would not be high up my personal wish list. However, away from that factor, it's hard to argue against the balance of budget components and features in the 535 - it's finely pitched to impress as much as possible for as low a price as possible and, in that regard, succeeds.
Launched at IFA 2014 and available for just over a week now, here's my review of the new 'Nokia Lumia 830' - if you look very, very closely at the small print, there's mention of 'Microsoft Mobile' (expect future Lumias to have Microsoft much higher in the mix though). Billed as an 'affordable flagship', the 830 does get most of the way to fulfilling this claim, perhaps only falling short at the moment because the software that enables much of its main USP is currently missing in action.
Launched at IFA 2014, the Lumia 735 is the new lower-mid-range handset from Nokia (actually Microsoft Mobile now, of course), with the marketing tag of being all about 'taking better selfies'. Regardless of this specific angle, it's a very capable Windows Phone that could be picked up quite inexpensively. And yes, the camera's pretty good (for the money). Following on from Ewan's first impressions, here's my more detailed review.
The Nokia Lumia 530 is here - and, showing the long time scales upon which phones are developed, there's no mention of 'Microsoft Mobile' anywhere on the box - you actually have to remove the battery to see the first evidence of Microsoft's involvement in the hardware. It's the new bottom end of the Windows Phone range and in some ways it shows, but there's still plenty of value for money for buyers.
File this absolutely under 'cool gadgets that you don't need but really, really want' - the Kickstarter-funded Torso has now hit production and I've been reviewing it in the context of AAWP and Windows Phones, almost all of which have their microUSB jack centrally mounted on their bottom face - happily, for the Torso's vision, as you'll see. Summary? It's a terrific little smartphone accessory, with only one main caveat.
The successor to the 'classic' Lumia 920 (see here for my comparison), the 930 had quite a lot to live up to - not least keeping Windows Phone competitive in a specifications arms war being waged by Android armies, led by the likes of the Galaxy S5 and LG G2/G3. The Lumia 930 does top the 920 quite comfortably (with one notable exception) and does bring Windows Phone up to the level of performance expected in 2014. Is it enough, though?
Yes, Rafe reviewed the Nokia Lumia 1520 'phablet' back at the end of 2013, but with what's almost certainly going to be the 'final' version of Windows Phone 8.1 now on the device (via the Developer Preview programme), I contend that it's high time the device was re-evaluated. Partly because the huge OS update transforms the device and partly because I wanted to have my say - not least because I've had six months of phablet use in the form of the popular Samsung Galaxy Notes to act as a reference point.