For about two years now, I’ve had to stick with my old, trusty LG C660 Android handset to see me through the day and keep me in touch with others. Lately though, the phone has been through several rough patches and it’s beginning to get to the stage where the thing is almost gone. The flash memory has dropped in read speeds dramatically, it takes longer to boot, it behaves more erratically when under load and in general, it’s seen better days. With this in mind, I approached my editor with the idea of getting in a phone or two to review and use them during the rAge weekend because there are several things that I wish I could have done better last year like recording my interviews that I had to scrap because my LG wasn’t up to scratch. When I can afford to replace it, I’ll do it out of my own pocket.
After a few e-mails ironing out details, Nokia South Africa sent us three devices: the Lumia 1020 (with the optional camera grip), the Lumia 630 and the company’s latest flagship, the Lumia 930.
The rules of the game are simple
I have agreed to review these phones and hand them back after the rAge weekend is over. I can’t keep any of them and certainly with the spotlight on game and technology journalists that receive review items that become long-term borrowed units, a lot of people are sceptical about the quality of the reviews in the end because of a perceived bias towards the device you’re looking at and the company you’re doing it for. I’ve seen people accuse Ben Kuchera of Penny Arcade of reviewing a game well because he wanted to keep it in the end (which is silly because Kuchera doesn’t need freebies). I’ve also seen similar surges of hate from forumites on NeoGAF and Reddit who raged against the idea of journalists attending Sony’s PS4 launch in New York and receiving free consoles with all of the launch games and having their name or logo stickered onto the console’s glossy surface.
Although in many cases those journalists will only see the gifted goods as a tool to enable them to do their job, I’d much rather avoid that hate train. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t mind keeping, say, the Lumia 1020 (hell, who wouldn’t?), but I’d prefer to leave the option off the table to ease my conscience.
The play through
During the rAge weekend, myself and my brother Matthew will be using these devices to keep people up to date on Twitter about what we see on the show floor and I have a few ideas in mind for using the Lumia 1020 for video content. We’ll be captioning any photos we take with the prefix, “Photographed/Recorded on a Lumia xxx mobile phone” and I’ll be keeping tabs on how they perform during the weekend in terms of battery life and connectivity.
Matthew and I will also be using these for voice recordings where possible and try to use them for as much as we possibly can to see how these phones fit into our work flow. A lot of people are going to be relatively happy with buying a Lumia 520, for example, for low-end casual phone use, but power users have different needs and typically run into issues during use of the device that regular users won’t pick up. Seeing as I have a Lumia 520 on hand as well belonging to my little sister Sharon, I’ll also be including that in my tests for things like photo comparison and performance.
So thank you Nokia South Africa for stepping up to the plate and a mountain of thanks to my editor, Lauren Das Neves, for organising this. I’m trying very hard to not drop the 930 on anything but a soft bed!