This is my next: The power of 41

Posted on 07/26/2013

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I got a pleasant surprise earlier this week when I was informed by my network operator that I was due for an upgrade. The Nokia N8 aside I haven’t bought a device since 2006 so the upgrade option has been my way of getting hold of new devices. On a two year cycle, this means that for better or for worse every other year I miss out on some great devices. If money was no stumbling block I would be sporting, despite weaning myself of Symbian, an 808. Unfortunately after just two years my treasured N8 was beset by a tragic death.

Since the tail end of last year I have been using a tablet/phone combination of a Samsung Galaxy S2 and Note 10.1 for my daily needs. The phone has been used primarily for activities where text input and/or glanceability is required while the tablet has been primarily a consumption device. It’s come in really handy over some part time courses that I’ve been do for study purposes. The Galaxy S2 has come on a bit and is really starting to show it’s age. My parents have between them the Galaxy S3 and iPhone 4S, and being relative noobs when it comes to phone tech, I’ve had plenty of hands one experience with their devices to drive this fact home.

The transition for me from Symbian to Android despite the many dissenting voices out there was logical. I don’t get on with iOS. Other than my mother’s 4S, one of my best friends has an iPhone 5 and another an iPad (I forget which model). I grovel and get a chance to play around with them. I appreciate that the OS is smooth, the apps are numerous and stunnig but as superficial as this is, I can never get the Fischer-Price look of iOS out of the back of my mind. I have no words on Blackberry. The Z10 aside there is nothing about that ecosystem that excites me. Android just made sense. I seem to have ended up on Samsung devices. My one experience of HTC was not great. Ditto for Motorola and for Sony. Samsung might make plasticky phones and tablets but I look at the state of the S2, the  pull out the wreck that is my N8 (RIP) and I realize that the plastic is not so bad. I personally don’t care what impression my phone makes on other people. It’s the impression on me and the utility, the main selection driver, I derive from the device that matters. And that last point explains clearly why Android and I have fitted well together. It fits my work flow.

Utility also explains my current selection dilemma mistake decision.

41 million reasons

Through my interest in Nokia hardware, Windows Phone has made a number of intermittent forays into my life and has been met at each point with grave disappointed. I always said that as much as I had grown accustomed to quirks of Symbian, I fully understood the need for Nokia to abandon the OS. I primarily chose devices on hardware and in doing so was prepared to compromise on the software. I have an almost infinite well of patience. Since Nokia made the switch I have accumulated a full quarter of a year worth of hands on experience with WIndows Phone from a trio of Lumia’s the 800, 900 and the 820. I have also had brief recurrent encounters with the 920. And in short I have been largely left unimpressed to dispirited by the experience. With all three devices it was a combination of the software and the hardware experiences, and before anyone shoots me down, for my needs. Whenever anyone gave me hell for using an N8 in 2012 I would just snap a photo in deliberately trying conditions and ask them to repeat that with their device. That kind of thing matters to me. A brilliant camera matters to me. Xenon flash matters to me.

The decision on what to upgrade to has been one I had hoped to delay as possible. I had look at the mobile scene: a bevy of Android devices led by an army of Galaxy’s, an unispiring line of Blackberry devices, and the ubiquitous iPhone. Out of all those devices I would consider just two three four: the Galaxy S4 and two of its variants the Zoom (remember hardware before aesthetics) and Active or the HTC One. With the S4 yes on open it’s an improvement on the S3 (and in the camera department definitely) but I don’t feel myself really drawn to it. I love an underdog and the HTC One is just a gorgeous device but I’ve been burnt by HTC before and I’m still not convinced by the all round capability of their Ultrapixel camera.

The decision has been made easier (or muddied further) by the announcement of the Lumia 1020. Nokia has made the little boy in me dream again!!! As with Symbian, the camera hardware would always be enough to convince my to use a Windows Phone device. I get more out of that piece of hardware alone than the rest of the phone combined, as the 5000 photos kept (I’ve discarded at least as many) over that past 3 years can attest to. Yes I would have to rethink the way I use the rest of the phones features, particularly my online work flow (yes I have checked and experience first hand that a number of services I use are either not represented or the solution is not up to scratch), but such is the power of 41 that I am willing to take the plunge.

This is not a done deal by any means. The Lumia 1020 is unlikely to make it to South Africa apparently before Q4 so 3-4 months. I might break before then. I’m also paying attention to the reviews of the device in particular the Anandtech review and Steve Litchfield’s take on the device. Those are my two most trusted sources on mobile. The GSMArena review is one two that I’ll be paying attention to, they usually do a good job. And of course paying attention to what those on twitter who get the device have to say about, as day to day use is far more informative that what a review might show.

Between now and the Lumia 1020 hitting our shores is probably just the iPhone ‘whatever they are gonna call the new one’ and the rumoured budget line. As I do every year I will pay attention to what Apple will release. The iPhone has become a solid device and with each iteration the likelihood of me owning increases.

But as things stand, I have my eyes, money and heart firmly set on the Lumia 1020 PureView.

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Posted in: Mobile, Nokia