The world of iPhone

There are plenty of reviews out there that compare the new iPhone to every other phone. Without a doubt a lot of people love the iPhone and the eco system it brings with it. The Apple eco system is a juggernaut that brings applications, services and even custom hardware.

What happens when you take someone who has been using Nokia phone since day zero into the Apple world? I am used to Nokia since the day they brought coloured phones, internet access,  mobile sites, coloured displays, digital cameras, video recording, even a portable hard drive into the phone. Whatever you can imagine it was already done by Nokia.

That was the old world, what about the current world? The new world, is going to be different, Nokia will no longer make mobile devices as we know it. Nokia sold the entire division to Microsoft for nearly seven billion dollars.

The start:

Wow. The first feeling you get from the iPhone 5s box is premium. Compare that to the packaging for the Lumia 920 or Lumia 925, it shows that it is a class above. It is the first interaction as soon as you own the product and it is a great start. There is a clear distinction here.

There are “Recyclable” symbols everywhere on the Nokia packages and includes a lot of cardboard, Apple have definitely gone for a more premium feel and look.

The Boxes

The Boxes

The phone:

After using the Lumia 920 for a while, I am used to a heavy phone. There has been a lot of praise for the iPhone being able to deliver a brilliant weight reduction while adding technology over the generations. This is a definite win for the iPhone 5s against the Lumia 920, however when comparing to the new Lumia 925 the weight problem just doesn’t exist.

Why are only some of the fields in the roller clickable?

Why are only some of the fields in the roller click-able?

iPhone 5s

iPhone 5s

The build:

The iPhone 5s is built well, great use of glass, metal and polycarbonate. And there is a problem. The materials used are now the same on the Lumia 925, glass, metal and polycarbonate. When compared to the Lumia 925, iPhone 5s offers a smaller screen with a lower resolution and lower PPI.

Lumia 925/920 also claim to have a higher refresh rates however using the devices I am unable to get the sense of one being smoother, both are butter smooth.

Harsh edges or smooth blends.

Harsh edges or smooth blends.

One big shock with the iPhone 5s is the actual shape, after years of smooth edged phones such as the N8, N9, Lumia 800, Lumia 820, Lumia 920 and now Lumia 925. The iPhone 5s is harsh, the design of the metal band and glass panel on the front leave a lot to be desired. It feels out of place and uncomfortable. At the same time, the iPhone 5s does a much better job with the buttons compared to the Lumia 925, the buttons are more flush to the side and do not feel uncomfortable.

The display:

Choose the settings that make the display perfect for you.

Choose the settings that make the display perfect for you.

As mentioned before the iPhone 5s does have a smaller screen with lower resolution and PPI. It also lacks customisations to make it look perfect for your tastes. Technically the Lumia also has PureMotion HD which is giving you a higher refresh rate and thus better movement on screen. The iPhone 5s screen rates better in colour accuracy with Lab tests.

Sound Quality:

Unfortunately the iPhone is again let down with not having an option to make audio suit your tastes. It does a good job (and technically better quality output in lab tests) but just can’t match the Lumia as I tweak the equaliser. The Lumia also has the Dolby Headphone Enhancements.

Sound Options

Sound Options

Instagram:

Yes, everyone’s favourite application. Windows Phone has had Instagram access for a while now through brilliant third party applications such as 6Tag.

With Nokia World just a few days ago, the official application will also be launched on WP8. Overall the Instagram experience seems better on WP than iPhone.

6Tag allows you to have live tiles for many things, including your account so that you can see your latest news updates. It also allows you to pin other accounts to your start page, if you use Instagram a lot this pinning save times, increases ease of use and provides a better user experience. On top of this 6Tag also allows for custom sound notifications for events.

Pin your favourites to the start, add multiple accounts to the application.

Pin your favourites to the start, add multiple accounts to the application.

6Tag vs Instagram, more content visible on 6Tag. Auto hiding menus.

6Tag vs Instagram, more content visible on 6Tag. Auto hiding menus.

Smarter Phone:

Once again, it’s strange for me to see that there are no live notifications on the screen with iPhone. If the phone is on your desk you have no idea what has happened while you were away or busy with other things.

The Lumia 925 is shipping with Glance Screen, this shows you without any touches or actions what has happened. Currently it shows the time, your batter status and your volume/vibrate/silent status. At Nokia World an updated version was talked about which seems to show pretty much everything. Again focus on the user experience and getting more out of your phone.

Glance Screen

Glance Screen

The Music:

There was a lot of talk about iTunes Radio and sadly it just isn’t here in Australia. Compared to the options already available in the Lumia range, iTunes Radio looks like it may fall short. The Xbox Music application is available on the iPhone which is great. This makes it easy to move from one platform to the next. The thing missing was Nokia Music and Mix Radio. Mix Radio is bundled in with the Lumia 925 allowing custom or ready-made playlist streaming and also an option to save up to 4 mixes completely offline. A nice touch of entertainment.

Mix Radio, Nokia Music

Mix Radio, Nokia Music

Thoughts:

The iPhone is a cool device; it has an absolute lead in application count and third party options. The iPhone App Store has now hit a million applications while WP is at 160,000. Microsoft also states that it has 80% of the top 25 Paid and Free applications in WP store.

At a hardware level, the iPhone 5s fails to keep up with the options available in the Lumia range, thinking of newer full HD screen resolutions, bigger screens with even better PPI. Boasting newer screen technologies for better outdoor usability as well. The Lumia 920 and 925 already surpass the iPhone 5s screen.

The ease of use with the Lightning cable is a second best compared to wireless charging and wireless backup of your content daily. Why plug in when you don’t have to?

The Camera question still remains; OIS gives the Lumia range and edge in Low Light and Video. This leaves the typical daylights shots up for review. Depending on your tastes you will prefer one over the other. If you were camera focused a Lumia 1020 would be a better choice but it reintroduces the problems of bulk and weight.

For my use, the iPhone 5s fails to offer enough value that would cause me to change. Maybe next time Apple.

Lumia 925 Australia Launch Event – Lumia 625

About a week ago was the Lumia 925 / Lumia 625 Launch event in Sydney hosted by Nokia. I was lucky enough to go to see what has been going on with this new launch for the Australian market. The Lumia 925 has been extensively covered and loved by people around the world, it was great to see it and play with it here in Australia.

It was an interesting setup for the event with a space that was lit enough to create dramatic lighting effects and making you realize that it is all about the low light capabilities of the Lumia 925. The Lumia 625 was also on display along with JBL and Monster accessories. Nokia also brought out the “Here” car to the event and it was interesting to see passersby take photos of the car.

Here Car

Here Car

The differences in the Lumia 925 really stand out from the Lumia 920 as soon as you pick up the phone. The new slimmer, lighter profile and the mixture of Aluminum and Polycarbonate make the Lumia 925 feel premium while retaining solid build you get with the Lumia 920. Nokia has done a good job creating a range that will carter to the different tastes and requirements of the end users.

Nokia Lumia 925

Nokia Lumia 925

The Lumia 925 will come preloaded with the Amber update, giving you Data Sense, Smart Cam and Glance pre-installed. For Symbian and N9 users who wanted to have a “Sleeping Screen” this is now a standard inclusion. When charging Glance will show the profile icon along with the charging icon. Double tap to wake also works like a charm.

The Lumia 925 is available in retail outlets already! The RRP is $699 AUD. Telstra is expected to carry the phone on 30th July, 1st August for Optus. Vodafone will be launching very soon with an exclusive 32GB version. All colours are expected in Australia, availability will be dependent on carriers. The wireless charging shell will be available for $39.95 AUD RRP.

Lumia 625

The Lumia 625 was also on display and is expected to hit the retail channels and carriers towards the end of August.

The 625 drops the wireless charging and NFC capabilities; however it brings along options of an SD Card and changeable back covers. The phone itself feels good in the hand and you can easily notice the larger screen along with slight loss of sharpness due to the lower resolution. Considering the price point it will hit, I think it is a good balancing act.

It is expected to be carried by Telstra, Optus Business and soon after by Virgin Mobile. The RRP for the Lumia 620 is $399 AUD.

This post was also posted on MyNokiaBlog.com (http://mynokiablog.com/2013/07/25/nokia-lumia-925-and-lumia-625-hands-onlaunch-event-in-sydney-lumia925au/)

N8 vs L920 vs L925

There is a lot of debate between the 808 and 1020. I thought what about the next step? The 808 and 1020 are without doubt the kings of mobile imaging, and it is great to see that they are both from Nokia.

The N8 was before the 808 and known as a great camera smartphone. In its time (even today) set high standards for mobile imaging. How does that champion compare today?

I carried out a simple test in good sunny conditions to compare. The N8 Image was down sized to match the size of the Lumia images. I have taken three crops to compare. They are from different parts of the full picture. What do you think?

Shots from N8, L920 & L295

N8, Lumia 920, Lumia 925 Shots – Click for 100% Image

F2.4/F2.0, OIS and no OIS Lumia920 iPhone5 explained

A lot of has been said about OIS from Nokia on the Lumia 920 and also the F2.0 Lens compared to the new F2.4 Saphire Lens on the iPhone. Honestly, based on how light works, how camera’s work it can be worked out what will happen.

We also have to remember that both phones are using the latest generation of BSI sensors, we know that Lumia uses 1.4 micron pixels on the sensor, the iPhone 5 is 25% smaller. Now we don’t know if that is a newer way of packaging the optics and sensor or do we have smaller pixels on the sensor. If we have smaller pixels on the sensor (25% less) they would be 1.05 microns only. This has to have a negative impact on light hitting the sensor if both sensors are the latest generation BSI.

But what does it mean? See the image below, with NO OIS you would hope to keep the phone steady for 1/15 of a second

F Numbers and OIS

Same light different results

  • Shot 1: 2.5 F Number with NO OIS. iPhone simulation.
    • The Shutter speed has be kept FAST to avoid blurring from shake. No OIS.
    • The Amount of light hitting the sensor is less due to the F number blocking light
  • Shot 2: 2.0 F Number with NO OIS. Lumia simulation.
    • The Shutter speed has be kept FAST to avoid blurring from shake. No OIS.
    • The Amount of light hitting the sensor is better due to the F2.0
    • Better background blur due to the F2.0
  • Shot 3: 2.0 F Number with OIS. Lumia 920 OIS simulation.
    • The Shutter speed is slower as OIS handles the shake.
    • The Amount of light hitting the sensor is better due to the F2.0
    • Better background blur due to the F2.0
    • Better shot results as we can keep the shutter open longer and get more light.

Compare the shots, we can see the real colour, not just dull dark objects.

You could say, iPhone has better software but does it? All the shots have been processed using Auto conditions in Photoshop so yes, they have been processed to lift the image quality.

No matter software, in Photography hardware matters!

GPS MeeFo 1.5.1

Jeez, this was hard. Basically there is a new QA policy over at Nokia Store HQ which is great. However, in my case they want me to add an option to disable GPS if the user wants to.

Hang on! Disable GPS on an app that only shows GPS details? How is this going to work? Well, QA doesn’t care, I must add a button that the user clicks to enable GPS use. So instead of making it a horrible UX roadblock I tried to make it into a nice Intro Page. (I think it is nice)

GPS Logger Qt – Finally

Had the GPS Logger sitting there doing nothing. So finally thought I should complete it, currently it works on Symbian Belle. I will make the MeeGo version shortly. Few screen shots below. It includes upload to web for better viewing via Nokia Maps web API.

 

GPS Info Qt 1.4.8 to the store

Its been a while. So quickly, GPS Info Qt 1.4.8 is on the way to the store, the changes are:

  • Added Change Log in App
  • Privacy details
  • Fix for themes button
  • Option to create custom SMS
  • Option to pick numbers from contacts

The new version does not use the old LIBS way (thanks to @talv) to provide split screen view, it uses the Qt Components method for split screen input. I hope it works for all as per the code.

Screen shots:

 

GPS MeeFo 1.2 on the way to the store

Just finished updating GPS MeeFo for the N9 and N950 to be able to control theme and measurement formats. Still need to work on this to catch-up with the Symbian version which can SMS your location.

Screenshots of the new menu below.

Light Theme and other options

Light Theme and other options