NOKIA is still sticking around with its Windows Phone promise and although I don't see it picking up at all on this side of the world, two recently-released models are very good.
The Nokia Lumia 930 and the lower-end 635 are actually two of the best Windows Phone options available (not taking into account the recently-released HTC One M8 Windows version).
The 930 is consistent with Nokia's design cues and granted you really can't tell the difference if it's the 930, 530, 220, or 1030 except for the size. It's very much like Samsung's series of different Galaxys, but the Lumias sure do look good.
The 930, Nokia's latest flagship, has a very slim bezel on the sides, and has a nice metal band running around the edge, giving it a classier look, and it is much nicer than smaller brother the Lumia 925.
Again, the nice colours come into play here where it is available in green or orange, and also comes in the more conventional black and white.
The 930 doesn't look flashy on the outside only, as it is decked out with top-of-the-line specifications for users who need to be up-to-par with their competition.
The Lumia 930 has, most notably, a 20-megapixel camera (no PureView 41-mp this time), a five-inch full HD screen and a Snapdragon 800 2.2 GHz quad-core processor along with LTE connectivity.
The display has a 1,920x1,080 resolution and a pixels per inch (ppi) count of 440, which is better than average these days.
But of course, numbers aren't everything; the Nokia 930's screen reproduces images accurately, and edges look very nice and crisp. The tiles are sharp on the Windows Phone 8.1 software, and the screen runs brightly which makes it easy to counter any reflections.
As for the 930's camera, Nokia has always had a strong track record when it comes to digital imaging on mobile phones. The Nokia Lumia 920 and 925 both took great pictures along with the Nokia Lumia 1020, 808, and so on. Naturally, the 930 was no slouch in the camera department; the range is wide, and colour is reproduced with great accuracy.
One thing that camera phones often lack is the dynamic range between contrasts and the Lumia 930 has no such problems, capturing shadows and highlights with great effect.
The night-time shots are great too, but too much darkness, as expected, causes the noise to slowly creep in. All-in-all, image reproduction is fantastic on the 930. But snap-happy users need to take note that there is no expandable slot on the 930 and comes in a standard 32GB memory.
As for the Nokia Lumia 930's battery life, it is a pretty standard 2,420 mAh, but then again, Windows Phone 8.1 is probably the most conservative energy consumer as compared to the iPhone and Android operating systems.
The initial test of an exact phone, one running Android, the other Windows, has shown that the WP system takes up almost three times less energy than Android. The 930 should set you back no more than $700 (recommended price) if you are interested.
Now, we see how the more affordable Nokia Lumia 635 stacks up against the flagship.
First off all, for a budget option (recommended price of less than $250), it is important to note that the 635 has a 4G LTE radio, which is important these days because Brunei has 4G and even though it's not as fast as you would like it to be, it's like a very stable 3.5G, which is quite satisfactory especially in terms of pricing.
Unlike the 930, the 635 has a replaceable back cover, which you can change every other week if you want a different colour (like the Moto G). It has a 4.5-inch screen with a 854x480 resolution and a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor with a five-megapixel camera.
Think of the Nokia Lumia 635 as the iPhone 5c where you have more playful plastic rear bodies. It comes in orange and green as well as yellow and black.
The plastic doesn't feel too cheap, considering the price, and the screen is a Gorilla Glass 3 with 8GB of standard memory, but this one has a microSD card slot.
The phone has a 1,830 mAh battery which could be a problem if you leave 4G running all day long.
The 635's camera is adequate in a five-megapixel specification, and like most budget phones with low-megapixels it will not be great at handling low-light situations.
The Windows platform is not nearly as popular as the other two most used systems, because of its ecosystem.
It has Instagram and WhatsApp, so I guess there is no more excuse for "it doesn't have the application ecosystem that I need". Because really, do we use anything more than those two applications along with Facebook and Twitter?
The views expressed by the author are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Brunei Times.