In each of my previous camera shootouts from the phone world, I get people asking about the older, 2013 Lumia 1020 and even more so the 2012 Nokia 808, so why not throw these head to head with the state of the PureView art in 2021? 'PureView' was always about combining multiple pixels into one, about computational photography, to keep images as 'pure' as possible. Arguably, Google and Apple have done the best here in terms of keeping up this tradition, combining pixels in the time (as opposed to physical) domain. So here's a big 4-way shootout, for your interest and enjoyment!
New ideas in phone imaging don't come along very often, but Samsung hit on something three years ago, with 'Single Take', that's worth talking about. Most Galaxy phone users don't even know the mode is there, but Samsung is just starting to push the idea in marketing, begging the question whether this is the future of phone imaging or just another gimmick? For 'normobs', just maybe the former, for you and I (AAWP, AAM) probably the latter.
So... it's 2021 and Windows 10 Mobile has been out of support for well over a year. But plenty of AAWP readers still have Lumias, notably the 950 and 950 XL, plus the IDOL 4 Pro, Elite x3, and even older phones like the Lumia 930 and 1520, upgraded. In search of some games to while away the time until Spring and the end of lockdown, I thought I'd round up my favourites that are still available in the Store, for new installation. See if you get inspired to put on your gamer hat!
A few weeks ago I penned 'In hindsight... Microsoft really should have stuck with Windows for Surface Duo', pointing out that the crossover between trendy consumer Android applications and an enterprise/productivity-centric dual screen device is very small indeed. And to try and make this point more visually I’ve gone down the (ahem) slightly jeuvenile route of physically taping two Windows 10 Mobile phones together and videoing the result. I know, I know, rather cheesy. But my video embedded below makes the point. If this form factor had been released running the Windows and UWP apps you love, wouldn't you have dipped into your wallet?
One of the things I 'do' is roundups of cases for the various smartphones. For example, here for the Galaxy S21 Ultra and here for the iPhone 12 Pro Max. I couldn't countenance using any of these 2020/2021 smartphones without wrapping them in TPU - which got me thinking. I can't remember ever using ANY Windows phone in a case. Why would modern phones be so different in terms of carrying and casing, I wondered?
Though it's not a smartphone as such (though you can get a LTE version), the Surface Go range is eminently a) ultra-mobile, being small and light, and b) Windows and UWP-powered, so I contend it's still of interest to the 'All About' audience. Despite some initial misgivings on launch (the use of Type C and cost, mainly), I've ended up loving my Surface Go and it - quite literally - goes on all trips with me. What's curious though is the Surface Pen, which I initially dismissed as a bit of a gimmick - but which I now also take with me, magnetically attached or in my briefcase pen holder. Here are my suggestions on what you can do with it - add everything below up and I think you'll agree that it's virtually a must-have.
One of the requests in the comments on my previous camera shootout was to have the iPhone 12 Pro Max thrown into the mix as well, and in full-on ProRAW shooting mode, i.e. side-stepping a final JPG and edge enhancement processing stage. Given that this phone/mode triumphed previously, I think this is a good call. And timely, with the Galaxy S21 Ultra getting a major update since my previous article. With the Lumia ready as my reference and with the new genuine budget contender, the Redmi Note 9T thrown into the mix as well, what we have here is a full-on four way contest.
It's uncanny in some ways. Look at the similarities. Plastic body, large battery, oversampled camera sensor (with no telephoto backup), card expansion, 3.5mm jack. And coming it at (now) amazingly cheap prices - the Redmi Note 9T is just £179* inc VAT in the UK. Yet the two match up pretty well, with the usual caveat about the Lumia being five years old and out of support(!)
Having already pitched this year's new Samsung flagship darling (and arguably with good reason), the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G against the classic Lumia 950 XL, as usual for interest's sake, it's time to turn to imaging. The S21 Ultra claims the earth, but is its camera system as good as the marketing suggests? Upsampling and some computational strangeness do cast the odd doubt. And, as ever, a lot will depend on whether you need its mighty 10x periscope telephoto system.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is the pick of the last three years of Samsung flagships, I contend. Imaging, performance, this gets almost everything right... at a price, both financial and in size and weight. I haven't done a straight 'head to head' for a while on AAWP, but the time seems right to feature the S21 Ultra, alongside the usual big Lumia favourite.