Category Archives: Microsoft

1take – Microsoft buys Nokia for US$7.2 billion

Nokia is now Microsoft
Microsoft aquires Nokia

Just my first quick take on this news. It was bound to happen. I always expected it as Microsoft couldn’t pull it off on their own I thought. I’ll keep a close eye as always on what Microsoft does with Nokia technology. I hope they become more bold and daring and release a phone that shows them what they are capable of. PureView cameras are good but it’s not good enough to win the market. They need to make at least one flagship product that has every technology that they can jam into with no cut corners. To make it look better than the best of Samsung/LG/HTC even on paper (spec wise) is VERY important IMO. Just having a phone with an amazing camera but nothing much else special isn’t going to cut it really. Be bold Microsoft(Nokia). You need to make something that makes even the owners of the S4/5s want to switch!! Well, it might be a bit too late now so I hope they have something that will really entice the S5/iPhone6 buyers come mid-2014.

Nokia Lumia 920 Camera Review Part #1 – Quick Impression

Nokia Lumia 920 with PureView 2 Camera featuring Optical Image Stabilization


This first part of my review on the Nokia Lumia 920 camera will not have a lot of information other than some full size sample photos taken with it while I got to use my cousin’s nice looking grey unit for a few hours as well as some first impressions. Nothing fancy, just simple shots while I was out and about. =)

Camera Specification

Nokia Lumia 920 has a PureView Phase 2 camera with the following key specs:
– 8.7MP 1/3″ BSI sensor (Pixel size 1.4 µm)
– 26mm equiv. FoV (at 16:9) Carl Zeiss lens with fast f/2.0 fixed aperture
– Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
– Mechanical 2 stage dedicated shutter button
– Powerful fast-pulse dual LED flash
– Min. 1/3 second shutter speed in Auto mode and 1 second shutter speed in Night mode.

On paper, the specs are very good. In fact, other than Nokia’s very own camera-centric 808 PureView and N8, there is no other smartphone currently in the market that has better camera specs than the 920.

First Impressions

I’ll keep it short and simple for now as I haven’t had any extensive use of the Lumia 920 yet.

1.  Camera feels speedy enough when taking photos with the physical shutter button. I did not notice any significant lag from when the shutter is pressed to when it actually take the photo. Once I get more hands-on time with it, I will post some more info about its speed.

2. Without any case for the Lumia 920, I didn’t feel confident in holding it with my right hand single handedly to take photos like a normal small compact camera. I guess it’s due to the round shape of the sides and the relatively small protruding shutter button. I’m sure it would improve if you get a case for it that allows for a more secure grip.

3. Daylight image quality is nothing to really boast about due to its heavily post-processed look to them which I am not that fond of. However, once the photo is resized to the more commonly used web-use sizes smaller than 2MP (1600×1200 or less), it is not any different to any other high-end competitor smartphones out there right now. Also, Nokia did state that they will work to improve the quality with future software updates.

4. In terms of low-light images, due to its hand-shake reducing OIS, the fast f/2.0 aperture lens combined with a very slow 1/3 second shutter speed support in Auto mode, Lumia 920 can take some seriously well exposed photos at night hand held that most other smartphones just cannot do. (Most smart phones don’t go slower than around 1/15 seconds in Auto mode using the default camera app) The level of noise is also very well controlled with low chroma noise while keeping enough detail even at ISO 800. More samples with various ISO will come in my upcoming part #2 review.

The central dark grey metal surrounding the lens is actually made out of Ceramic zirconium which is virtually scratch proof. Same material is also used for the volume, power and camera shutter button!

My gripes with the default camera app
– No exposure lock during focus lock (while shutter button is half-pressed)
– Exposure compensation is very fiddly to get to and use.
– No sharpness or contrast settings.
– No metering mode options. (this was a problem for some photos seen below)
– No JPEG compression settings.
– No customizable UI elements.
– No setting to turn off OIS (would be handy for reviewers at least. =p)

I will stop here for now as I am planning to post Part #2 later on with full sized ISO image comparison shots and night shot comparisons.

Sample Photos

– Click on the photos for untouched original image files straight off the Lumia 920.
– I did try to ensure I got good focus lock before taking each shot.
– I made sure that the lens was kept clean at all times also.

Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung ATIV S – Spec Comparison

Samsung ATIV S vs Nokia Lumia 920

Here is my take at comparing the latest high end Windows Phone 8 phones from Nokia and Samsung via their specs/news etc. Although the hardware specs have been finalized, the software part can still change until their release date. So this comparison will mostly focus on what we can currently compare and that is the hardware specs. I’ve tried to be as neutral as I can but as there are far more information and buzz for the Lumia 920 than the ATIV S, I had to make a few assumptions for the ATIV S based on Samsung’s current phones such as Galaxy S3. Anyways, let’s begin!



– Lumia 920 is 2mm thicker, 0.3mm wider but is 7mm shorter in height than the ATIV S. Lumia 920  is 50g heavier.

My Take – ATIV S looks very similar to the older Galaxy S2 but with some nice Aluminium touches around and back of the phone. Lumia 920 on the other hand looks much like the previous Lumia 900 but is a little bigger and heavier due to the bigger display and screen. Overall, the ATIV S will be considered easier to hold and pocket due to it being thinner and lighter. In terms of looks, it’s all up to personal preference really.

Samsung ATIV S
Nokia Lumia 920 comes in various colors


– ATIV S has a 4.8 inch 1280×720 (HD) resolution Super AMOLED (Pentile Matrix)with Corning Gorilla Glass 2. (Same display as Galaxy S3) Lumia 920 has a smaller 4.5 inch but higher resolution 1280×768 (WXGA) resolution PureMotion HD+ IPS LCD with Super Sensitive touch and Corning Gorilla Glass 1. (unless Nokia says otherwise, I see no mention of it being Gorilla Glass 2 so far)

My Take – This is a tough one. I actually really like AMOLED due to its super high contrast and deep blacks which LCD’s just can’t compete with. In terms of daylight visibility, I can only assume Nokia’s new display will be noticeably better as Nokia is really advertising how special it is and even releasing a white paper with the technical details about it. Basically, Nokia has implemented a very high quality polarizing filter that reduces internal light reflections. Samsung does use something similar but expect Lumia 920 to edge out here.

In terms of size, ATIV S wins here. Keep in mind that, even though ATIV S has a bigger display, the phone itself isn’t any bigger and is actually easier to grip. In terms of resolution difference, it’s not huge although Nokia has the edge here. Some will care about the higher PPI of the Lumia 920 but in reality, the difference should be pretty much invisible to the eye so take it with a grain of salt. So in terms of text readability, the bigger screen of the ATIV S may actually be better even though it has a lower PPI due to the text being larger.

Samsung uses the same Super AMOLED HD on the ATIV S as the Galaxy S3
Lumia 920 uses Puremotion HD+ 4.5″ IPS LCD with Super Sensitive touch screen


– Both ATIV S and Lumia 920 are using the same Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus SoC (MSM8960) with dual core Krait CPU and Adreno 225 GPU. Both also have 1GB RAM on board.

My Take – Speed wise, don’t expect anything different as they both use the same CPU and GPU with same amount of RAM. Both should be blazingly fast as each other.

Both phones uses the same Snapdragon S4 Plus processor


– Samsung ATIV S has a seemingly standard 8MP camera with single  LED flash. Lumia 920 has a PureView branded 8.7MP camera with 26mm equiv f2.0 Carl Zeiss lens and high pulse high power dual LED flash. Front camera wise, ATIV S has a 1.9MP camera (Full HD) while the Lumia 920 has a 1.3MP camera (HD).

My Take – Going by experience, it seems the camera on the ATIV S will be practically identical to the camera on the Galaxy S3 and iPhone4S. It’s not a bad camera by any means but it’s not anything to really brag about either as it’s nothing new now. On the other hand, the camera on the Lumia 920 is technically superior in nearly every way. It has a faster (brighter) aperture “brand name” Carl Zeiss certified lens, a slightly higher resolution sensor and something NO OTHER mobile phone camera has which is the Optical Image Stabilization. (OIS for short) This OIS allows you to reduce hand shake blur during low light situations resulting in a sharper image the first time. It means you can take sharper photos of food at dimly lit restaurants, nicer looking night portraits with more visible back scenery etc. Also, Nokia claims that the dual LED flah that Lumia 920 has is a newer generation LED that has a shorter burst with a higher output allowing for closer-to-xenon flash performance. (well, not quite xenon still but yeah…)

Both phones (thanks to Microsoft) has a dedicated 2-stage physical camera shutter button like a “normal” camera on the side of the phone. This allows for a more secure grip, easier self-portraits and just a more natural way to take photos single handed. This is once thing the ATIV S has over the Galaxy S3 while most Nokia phones had this already.

Overall, Lumia 920 wins here for sure. (spec wise at least but should do in real life also once released)


– Samsung ATIV S comes in either 16GB or 32GB built-in with an additional expandable MicroSD card slot for up to 32GB extra. Lumia 920 comes with built-in 32GB storage but does not have any MicroSD support.

My Take – For those who likes to keep tons of music, movies, photos and video recordings on their phone and need more than 32GB of space, ATIV S clearly wins out here due to the expandable MicroSD card support. Considering a brand new 32GB MicroSD card costs around AUD$30, it doesn’t cost much to upgrade the storage space on the ATIV S. But in saying this, many users will find 32GB built-in to be plenty so the merit of MicroSD support only comes into play to those that actually require it.

Samsung ATIV S supports memory expansion via MicroSD support. Unfortunately, Lumia 920 does not but does come with 32GB built-in which should be plenty for most.



– Lumia 920 has a non-user-replaceable 2000mAh battery. ATIV S has a 15% larger user-replaceable 2300mAh battery. Lumia 920’s internal battery has built-in wireless charging support.

My Take – Samsung has actually not stated any run times for the ATIV S. But considering it has a bigger battery than the Galaxy S3 while the display is same and CPU being not any more power hungry, I can only assume the battery life should be as good or better than the Galaxy S3. With that assumption, we can then make an educated guess that the battery life of the ATIV S will be better than the Lumia 920 going by the battery times that Nokia stated on their web site. (as Galaxy S3 specs state a longer battery life than the Lumia 920’s specs)

As I mentioned in my Lumia 920 & Lumia 820 Comparison article, another big difference here is that the battery on the ATIV S is user replaceable. Yes, some will argue that you can just carry one of those portable battery chargers but I’m sure you would rather just carry a fully charged spare battery to simply swap over without needing some portable charger dangling on it during use.

One advantage of the Lumia 920 over the ATIV S is that 920 supports wireless charging out of the box. Although it would have been nice if Nokia slipped in the wireless charger in the box also, at least you can buy a nice looking wireless charger pad / pouch / dock etc and just place it on top to charge the phone without needing to find the end of the cable to plug into the phone charging socket. (also not have to worry about damaging the charging socket etc)

Lumia 920 has built-in wireless charging support. Charger is optional however.



Both phones are not yet released to the market so I can’t make a definite conclusion which is better. But really, I’ve outlined the major hardware differences so hopefully you can make a better decision as to which is better for your needs and wants. The OS experience should be near identical due to both using the same Windows Phone 8 OS. However, Nokia is investing a lot more into its Lumia phones and have some excellent Nokia exclusive apps lined up for it. Adding to that the non-shaky OIS the Lumia 920 camera has and the Super Sensitive touch which would be a god-send for those with long nails or gloves on, I do believe 920 is the better device overall for the masses between these two. We’ll know more once both are out. =)


Nokia Lumia 800 vs Lumia 710 – What’s different?

I’ve had a few people recently asking what the difference between the new Lumia 800 and 710 is. So here is my take on it going by the specs and also of my personal opinion based on usability, quality, design, performance and value.

Note – I mainly write quite informal and I sometimes go too much into the details so I tried not to do too much of it for this article. However, reading it again, I think I still failed miserably.


1. Display

Main difference: 800 has AMOLED .710 has LCD.

Although both have the same screen size of 3.7 inches, same 800×480 WVGA resolution, same Corning Gorilla glass front and Nokia’s ClearBlack treatment, the type of display used is not the same and this makes them look quite different at certain situations. Overall, the AMOLED screen of the 800 looks much better due to the fact that the pixels are individually lit unlike the LCD and its back-lighting. This makes the 800’s screen much more vibrant with more contrast. Simply put, AMOLED makes blacks look much darker at all angles than the LCD. This alone makes the rest of colors look more saturated and “pop”. In theory, AMOLED can and should use less power than the LCD as well which means longer battery life.

I won’t go into the whole Pentile/RGB matrix AMOLEDs to simplify this section. But regardless, due to the fairly high DPI of the 800’s AMOLED, it shouldn’t pose much of a problem even though it has a pentile-matrix AMOLED.

** Apologies. No photo comparison here. But you should be able to find plenty if you Google.. or should I say Bing.. =)


2. Storage

Main difference: 800 has 16GB storage. 710 has 8GB. (not expandable on both!)

This is a no-brainer really. Lumia 800 has 8GB more storage internally for photos, videos, documents, games etc. Keep in mind that both phones get the 25GB of free Microsoft SkyDrive cloud (online) storage as well. If you are the type to shoot lots of videos or have a huge music library and want to keep them all on your phone, 800 is the better choice just by this difference alone.

3. Camera

Main difference: 800 has 8MP camera. 710 has 5MP.

Although I have put the mega-pixel difference as the main difference, to me, the difference in mega-pixels really doesn’t tell me anything about the quality of the pics it takes. So I recommend you to think the same when comparing cameras. (Within reasonable MP difference of course as 1MP camera is obviously not going to be as detailed as a 8MP camera and probabl will use a cheaper, smaller and less advanced camera sensor module) At the end of the day, either phone should take pretty much the same decent smartphone quality photos. They won’t look much different on facebook nor on the phone’s small display. So the difference is minimal in my books.

They both have the same 28mm (35mm equiv) focal lengths = meaning it’s fairly wide angle and both have the same minimum focusing distance for macro shots. However, 800 does have dual-LED flash while the 710 has a single LED flash. Now to some, this might immediately translate into 800 having double the brightness flash. But in reality, this may not be the case as it all depends on what type of LED emitter is used on each phone and how much power is driven to each emitter. (e.g. Samsung Galaxy S2 has a single LED flash but it is noticeably brighter than ALL dual-LED wielding Nokia phones including the latest N9)

One more thing for the camera buffs out there is that 800 has a faster and clearer Carl Zeiss f:2.2 aperture lens compared to a tiny bit slower (around 1/4 stop) standard f:2.4 aperture lens of the 710. So technically, 800 is definitely has better optics. In reality however, you shouldn’t really notice this difference for neither of those differences although. If you do, you are getting a bit too nit picky. =P

4. Battery

Main difference: 800 has non-replaceable battery.

From what I can see, the biggest difference between the two in regards to the battery is that 710 has the “old-fashioned” user replaceable battery design. Meaning that you can just pop off the back cover and take out the battery and pop in a new one if need be. 800 however is going with the trend of having looks over function where the battery is sealed and it will pretty much void the warranty if you try to take out the battery yourself. I am the type where I love carrying a spare battery or two in my bag on the way to work, in a long plane trip etc. Changing the battery to a fully charged one is so much better than carrying one of those “portable chargers” and having it dangling on the phone to charge. Just my opinion.

In saying all of that, I am also the type to charge my phone whenever I see a USB port or a compatible charger. My phone is plugged in nearly all the time when it’s not in use. I’m sure many have grown this habit also. It’s rare that I go on a plane trip holiday anyway. =(

Some will argue that the slightly bigger battery capacity of the 800 is the main difference. Looking at the specs however, this doesn’t actually result in a longer battery life for the 800. Heck, 800 actually has ~15% shorter 3G standby time than the 710 according to Nokia. So I would just assume that both phones have very similar real-life run times.

5. Physical buttons

Main difference: 800 has capacitive front buttons. 710 has hardware buttons on the front.

There is no better or worse for this I think. Personally, I prefer the hardware buttons over the oh-so-accidental-prone capacitive buttons. You see, I’m an old-school type of guy who prefers function over looks. Hardware button gives a solid tactile feedback upon press, it’s less prone to accidental activation during use and it allows you to use it without looking at it.

I’ve yet to own the 800 (although should very soon) but I’ve used and owned Omnia 7 and HD7 which both have capacitive back and search buttons. (Omnia 7 however has hw home button at least) While using either of them, I’ve accidently “touched” the back or search button countless times. This can get annoying real quick.

Yes, 800 looks cleaner and prettier. But functionality wise, I would rather the hardware buttons of the 710 any day. But please, take this as a grain of salt as it’s only my opinion and yours may differ greatly. =)

6. Design

Main difference: 800 has much sexier design, look, single-piece build quality and feel. 710 looks good but it’s no 800.

This is also a no brainer to most I assume. 800 looks and feels beautiful. I know this already as it’s practically the same as the N9. It feels quite different to any other phone when you grab it naked in your hands. It feels good.

Maybe some will prefer the look of the 710 still and why not. 710 also looks great and still has that subtle but visible “Nokia” look to it still. It’s definitely no ugly duckling that’s for sure. I like the look of both although 800 does look a little more “special”…

Better design? Both look great!

7. Value

Main difference: 800 has nearly double the RRP of 710. (800 = $699 and 710 = $379)

In terms of value, you can’t deny that 710 is the winner here. It has the same OS, same high resolution display, same CPU and hence same performance. So for those who wants to experience what Nokia Lumia range has to offer but aren’t able to afford the 800, Lumia 710 will give you 90% of the experience for nearly half the price. Can’t argue with that one.

Lumia 710 is smaller….in price!

The Winner?

Both of course!! Nokia has created 2 phones that are solid in both SW and HW and covered both the fashionable and everyday audience brackets. Microsoft is pushing ahead stronger than ever with this new OS release and Nokia is providing some of their special touches in both software (e.g. Maps&Drive) and hardware (just look at it!) so this is a win-win for both companies and certainly a win for the consumers as well.

Note: Yes, I love the N9, the uniqueness of Maemo / Meego Harmattan OS as much as anyone else out there but business is business and I think this was a sound move to try and get Nokia back to where Nokia once was so that they can once again innovate freely. Better late than never!


So.. which one should I get?

Easy. Buy what you can afford!

Both provides the same experience where it counts the most (OS, Apps & Performance) and you will end up with something that is well built and looks the part. You can’t lose really.




Thank you for reading and please feel free to ask questions and let me know if I made any dumb mistakes.

P.S. Sources for pictures used are mostly from official Nokia web sites as well as snippets from various other web sites. I forgot to note down all the web site names and addresses so I apologise in advance.