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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Surprisinlgly the N93 is not my cameraphone of the year in 2006

Latte recorded on the N93
Latte recorded on the N93
Latte recorded on N73
Latte recorded on N73

Latte recorded on K800i
Latte recorded on K800i
London restaurant Guides recorded on the N93
London restaurant Guides recorded on the N93

London restaurant Guides recorded on the N73
London restaurant Guides recorded on the N73
London restaurant Guides recorded on the K800i
London restaurant Guides recorded on the K800i

Food stil life recorded on N73
Food stil life recorded on N73
Food still life recorded on N93
Food still life recorded on N93

Food still life recorded on K800i
Food still life recorded on K800i
London on Picadilly on N93
London on Picadilly on N93

London Picadilly on N73
London Picadilly on N73
London Picadilly on K800i
London Picadilly on K800i


One of the trends I mentioned in my 2006 predictions was about the Cameraphone maturing to a camera replacement in the point and shoot segment. It is now time to come back to the prediction and select my favourite cameraphone in 2006. I have had three finalists which I have used over the past weeks. The SonyEricsson K800i, the Nokia N73 and the Nokia N93, the second generation transformer.

I used all the devices as Liferecorders, doing the continuous act of recording the big and little things around me. This means it is a mix of detailed macro photography, landscape and snapshots of people, primarily my kids. To finally make up my mind I spent an afternoon in London recording same picture on all three devices so that I could get some facts to my intuitive feel. You see a few of them shared here.

If one only follow the specs then the winner should be the N93, the second generation transformer. With its performance; 3x optical zoom, full VGA video I was sure that would be the device I would liferecord the latter half of 2006 with. After usage the N93 comes last. Others think it is the best. Its camera for still is not as good as the N73 or the K800i. It has been is optimised for video and for that one does pay a quality price in still photography. The images seem more washed out and blurry. (Could be my unit, which I bought in the shop) I know I record about 10% video, maybe that could increase to 20% with the N93 quality. With the zoom I could do more interesting photography, but it comes with a serious drawback in bulk and will set a bigger dent in the wallet. On the N90, which was my favourite Liferecorder for 2005, I accepted the bigger bulk. Now with the N73 and the k800i, It gets harder to justify.

I am terribly torn between the k800i and the N73, both are amazing. After looking at the pictures on the computer, I do not print images, the K800i takes the best pictures. They are richest in colour and have a warm and sharp feel to them. So if my only criteria would be image quality then the K800i is my Cameraphone of the year. However one cannot completely forget video, it is important for a Liferecorder and this is the SonyEricsson’s Achilles heel. The N73 does 4 times the resolution of the K800i or 352x288 pixel. I do also like the bigger screen and the stereo speakers of the N73. It also does a great slideshow feature with Ken Burns effect. On the other hand the K800i has a cool possibility to shoot panorama and its best picture feature is superb. Both of these are accessible from camera idle, increasing their usage.

Function is not everything in a cameraphone. Consumer behaviour in the mobile business is such that users select the form not function. Here my favourite is the N73, I think it is the most beautiful S60 device to date, the designers really paid attention to the little details, I love the speaker grilles, the super clean backside and the immediate impression of a giant screen . The keypad is not good enough, I would have made number keys larger. The N73 is after all a smartphone supposed to be used for text as well. Nevertheless my choice is the N73, it is the Cameraphone of the year.

03:58 PM | Permalink

Comments

Rumor has it some versions of S60 cameraphones have shipped with a more blurry default setting for the photo quality. Apparently the quality can be changed to a sharper setting, but don't ask me how... or if this is actually true.

A detail that makes N93 inferior to N90 considering camera use, is the lack of swiveling camera head. It sounds like a small gadgety detail, but in real life use it enables extremely quick shooting: just swivel the head while taking the phone out of your pocket, and you're ready to press the shutter switch and take a photo in less than a second (when the operating system hasn't been stuck, that is...). I believe anyone who has used a digital point and shoot can emphasize with the need for speed in startup time. In N93 you must open the whole mechanism to shoot. You can't do quick shooting using the outer display.

A second reason to love the swiveling head is the creative possibilities it offers considering shooting angles. For that one feature only, I've had much more fun with the N90 camera than any "real" camera. In video mode, it has enabled me to shoot very steady videos while snowboarding, by not forcing me to hold the camera body in upwards position. With N93, if you want to shoot forwards, there's only one way to hold it.

Posted by: Niko at Aug 19, 2006 5:41:48 PM

Very helpful comparison! Thanks a lot. Do you know if there are any example videos available somewhere?

Posted by: Tyler at Aug 20, 2006 3:12:59 AM

Long time no see..:). I hope the new job has been a succes and life in London a pleasent experience.

Thank you for the review: It was interesting to read your thoughts on the matter. I would second Nikos comment about the form factor of the N93. I hope the next transformer gets the best of both (N90 and N93) to the same device.

Just bought the N73 myself and been very happy with it. I have grown so used to the S60-devices so a model from SE was never an option.

By the way, one of the most valuable thing for me in S60 devices is Lifeblog. I have, since I started using it, data stored at least for two years in my computer as a diary. It's nice that you get the PC-version for free with the N-series devices.

Posted by: Henrikki at Aug 21, 2006 10:29:44 AM

Agree. The N93 is disappointing--and that start-up time is dreadful--although it is still a gorgeous phone in many respects. (1 sec is too long, in many cases).

Time to get the 73.


Look

Posted by: azeem at Aug 21, 2006 4:09:01 PM

i think n73 is the winner here.i wont be always recording videos.in last year,i have taken hardly 30 to 40 vid.s.But photos i have taken are in hundreds.Thanks for nice review of 3 phones.Only good innovative part i feel is tv out function of nokia n93.other than that it is very big device for me.By the way ,when will we see yahoo go for series 60 3rd edition phone?I use this software.I am waiting for it to get ported to s60version 3.

Posted by: Pratik. at Aug 27, 2006 10:27:35 PM

Hello Christian,

Merry Christmas and Best wishes for the New Year!

I've had a number of enquiries about using Web'n'Walk on a MacBook in the past few days, and thought I'd have a little check on your blog to see how you're getting on.

I hope you're well, and that the data plan is working out for you.

Best wishes,

Steve Angus (T-Mobile)

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Posted by: Valintino at Aug 25, 2007 10:07:00 AM

Christian,

How are things at Fjord? And yourself?

JIT for Xmas, perhaps a good moment to give us an update on your favorite life recorder?

Funny really, when we spoke about Nokia Lifeblog beta in 2004, and you confided that first-time parents would be a major target group for the application, I didn't quite buy that.

But now I know better.

Continue... http://www.josschuurmans.com/2007/12/whats-the-top-l.html

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I am terribly torn between the k800i and the N73, both are amazing. After looking at the pictures on the computer, I do not print images, the K800i takes the best pictures. They are richest in colour and have a warm and sharp feel to them. So if my only criteria would be image quality then the K800i is my Cameraphone of the year. However one cannot completely forget video, it is important for a Liferecorder and this is the SonyEricsson’s Achilles heel. The N73 does 4 times the resolution of the K800i or 352x288 pixel. I do also like the bigger screen and the stereo speakers of the N73. It also does a great slideshow feature with Ken Burns effect. On the other hand the K800i has a cool possibility to shoot panorama and its best picture feature is superb. Both of these are accessible from camera idle, increasing their usage.

Function is not everything in a cameraphone. Consumer behaviour in the mobile business is such that users select the form not function. Here my favourite is the N73, I think it is the most beautiful S60 device to date, the designers really paid attention to the little details, I love the speaker grilles, the super clean backside and the immediate impression of a giant screen . The keypad is not good enough, I would have made number keys larger. The N73 is after all a smartphone supposed to be used for text as well. Nevertheless my choice is the N73, it is the Cameraphone of the year.

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