It's a constant in the smartphone world that software updates arrive to improve camera performance - this has applied to many Lumias in the past, it applied to the last two generations of iPhones (Deep Fusion and then ProRAW), and it seems to have applied to the Sony Xperias. Nine months after my initial imaging comparison with the Lumia 950 XL, it's evident that Sony has fine tuned its algorithms and the tri-camera-ed Xperia 5 ii is due a re-test. Except that now we have All About Mobile*, I feel justified at using the iPhone 12 Pro Max as my imaging benchmark rather than my beloved Lumia 950 XL, which is now looking at little archaic with just the single camera/lens...
Recent Features - iOS
Yes, yes, I've included these devices in previous camera shoot-outs, but I haven't done one for a while, plus the Google Pixel 4a 5G here (with the same camera system as the 'flagship' Pixel 5) is now running on Android 12 and with a very different feel to the Camera app and some of the under-the-hood plumbing. But has it improved the 2020 Pixel's imaging output? I'm sceptical. Meanwhile, my iPhone 12 Pro Max has had numerous software updates, with Apple tweaking imaging all the time. So, for what it's worth, here are some end-June 2021 data points for my overarching 'SteveMark' table.
Having used the classic Lumia 950/XL phone camera as the baseline for almost forty (count 'em) imaging articles here on AAWP/AAM in the last half decade, with pixel by pixel comparisons against a wide spectrum of smartphones from all quarters, it occurred to me that it would be fun to do the maths and generate some deltas and some averages. With my article-by-articles scores, which are/have been the best smartphone camera systems of the last five years?
So we've moved on from Symbian, Blackberry OS 10, Windows Phone (in various iterations), not to mention Palm OS even further back. But which modern smartphone OS should you settle on, i.e. what are the pros and cons of each? I'm purely thinking about the two giants here: Google's Android (including Google Mobile Services) and Apple's iOS, both of which are in the middle of a major new version reworking. Note that this isn't an attempt to chat about niche OSes that almost no one uses, and that includes the China-only Harmony OS, based on Android Open Source Project, or indeed other Android forks and implementations. Maybe that's a feature for another day...
Please excuse the click-bait title, but the article's content is very real. I've tried to condense down my advice to friends and family in readable form. When I try and educate these people verbally I get loads of eye rolling and mockery, but deep down I know that their photos could and should be better. So, in case it proves useful to you - or to your contacts - here are my top 10 tips for improving your smartphone camera results.
Chancing upon a very old smartphone industry magazine from 2009 while having an office clearout, I thought it would be interesting to pluck out half a dozen data points, especially in terms of review coverage. A lot has changed in 12 years, but there's still enough here that's recognisable. And, although I used to write for Smartphone Essentials myself from time to time, I'm not quoting any of my own material here - I'm checking to see how right or wrong the opinions of other writers of the time proved(!) Highlights? Verdicts on the Nokia N97 and N96, loads of Windows Mobile 6(!), an iPhone, and the earliest Android handsets.
I've been casually interested in flight sims for years, but always struggled to find time to do anything serious in this direction in terms of equipment or time. But the sweet spot here is probably 'mobile', with the power of modern phone processors and graphics, with the convenience of always being 'with you'. So I've picked (arguably) the four best mobile flight sims (Aerofly FS 2021, Infinite Flight, Rortos RFS, X-Plane 11) and pitched them head to head, for your interest and entertainment!
In the latest in our occasional series on smartphone photography, I may have moved on from a Lumia as a day to day phone, but the ideas and ambitions are still there. In this example, I deliberately spurn the main camera in my phone in favour of a depth-of-field trick, to deliver striking detail at all depths in the frame.
I know what you're thinking. I'm about to parrot other journos by declaring that the smartphone world started in 2007 with the launch of the Apple iPhone. Err... no. Not even close. Although the iPhone gets a small footnote below, smartphones were a 'thing' several years before, culminating in the period from July 2006 to August 2007 when three devices came along in quick succession that knocked me for six. They all ran Symbian OS in the guise of 'S60 3rd Edition', but they had very different characters and USPs. In each case, I was left breathless with excitement in even touching them. Hyperbole? Maybe, but let me expand...
Almost all mobile operating system implementations have some form of 'night shift' baked in these days - an optional 'yellowing' (actually less blue, but you get the idea) of the interface to help reduce eye strain in the evening in dimmer light. I'm a big fan, though there's an extra question which an American study has tried to answer - does the use of 'night shift' visual effects help you sleep once you put the phone down? See below for some quotes plus comments - the studied question didn't really pan out, but everyone agrees that there are still significant benefits.