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It's no secret that phone imaging features online (not least at AAS and AAWP) are hugely popular. And for good reason, we all take loads of photos on our phones and we want them to be the best that they can be. But just how far do we take our definitions of 'best' here? And when we start involving manual/Pro settings adjustment, tripods, RAW files and Adobe Lightroom, haven't we gone a bit too far? Between casual snaps for Instagram and "just take a DSLR instead" there has to be a happy prosumer medium, surely?
MWC 2019 has wrapped, but not without echoes of MWC 2012, where Nokia took the wraps off something it had been working on for five years, the 808 PureView, much to everyone's astonishment, not least that it ran Symbian, considered 'old' even in 2012. The big reveal was the use of a 41MP sensor, of course - and here I want to reminisce about the aims of 'PureView' and the resurgence of the brand and also the technology. Not necessarily in the same phones!
Back in early 2010 I was part of a panel of people giving feedback on different aspects of phone functions, software and hardware, run on behalf of Nokia. The latter section was about handling a variety of unmarked (non-running) prototypes and saying what we thought about the physicality. Two, in particular, caught my eye, with QWERTY keyboards and slide'n'tilt displays. One went on to become the Nokia E7, running Symbian, the other (larger, which I preferred) went on to become the Nokia N950, running MeeGo. And now, in 2019, inspired directly by these designs, we have a new Communicator, shown off at MWC.
Rafe's over at MWC, though you don't have to wait for his comments to know that there is a new 'PureView' device released, exactly seven years after the Nokia 808 and six years after the Lumia 1020 - and from the new Nokia, run by HMD Global. Consider this the latest phase of the original PureView if you will, but the only real link other than the use of ZEISS lenses is that there's lots of computational photography going on.
Guest writer By Michael 'Mivas_Greece' (surname withheld by request) brings us the first part of a tale of prototypes (one of which he has access to) and what might have been, featuring some of the various uses of Nokia's 'Pre-Touch' technology. A Lumia 1030 anyone? Part two of this feature will be published in due course.
What would you say to a Bluetooth speaker that really delivers in 2019? 40W of music power, USB Type C fast charging, NFC Tap-to-pair, IPX7 water andand sh proofing, microSD and Aux input, all for less than £50? That sounds a lot like the Tronsmart (slightly pretentiously named) 'Element Force'. Yes, it's a Bluetooth speaker, but on steroids.
Bluetooth headphones have existed for years, of course, though anyone who really cared about audio quality usually stuck to the traditional wired headphones and a phone's 3.5mm jack (this being AAWP, the DAC and output in the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro is exceptional). But over the years, with new codecs (e.g. aptX HD at the high end) and faster and more capable chipsets in both phone and accessory, quality has been rising, prompting me to experiment with the mass market 'state of the art', exemplified here in the Tribit XFree Color.
The SIStore team, the most active developer team in the Symbian world, has just released - as a Christmas present to the world(!) - a whole new Delight Custom FirmWare (CFW) OS release for these three popular Nokia smartphones from the 2010-2012 era. All the details are below, though note that I personally haven't installed this, so the usual caveats apply in terms of risk. Mind you, if your six to eight year old smartphone's in need of updates and a complete refresh then look no further!
A debate on Twitter earlier in the week (see below) put up one of THE most frequently asked questions about phone imaging. Why do I/we both pixel peeping when most phone-shot photos are only ever seen on 5"/6" phone screens? It's a good question, but I think I have a great answer. If you're a phone imaging enthusiast then you'll know where I'm going with this already, but for the casual user, here's why I do what I do and here's why enthusiasts care...
With the Pixel 3 in for review for a short period, and with a glimpse of sun here and there in November in the UK, I wanted to pit PureView phase 1 (Nokia 808) and phase 2 (Lumia 1020, adding OIS) with the Pixel's (as good as) PureView phase 3, doing all the pixel combination in the time domain rather than across a high-res sensor. There's a lot to compare, it's our biggest and longest imaging comparison piece ever, so let's press on and do allow time for the page to fully load!