I switched to a £99 Smartphone – here’s what I found out.

by birtanpublished on September 29, 2020

Today, I've done the unthinkable.
Nokia has challenged me to switch
from the 1200 Euro Galaxy S10 5G, to the 99 Euro Nokia 2.2.
I'm a little worried about it,
about whether the battery's going to pull through,
and whether the camera is going to take good enough photos,
especially in low light, later on.
Anyways, today, we're going to be heading to a zoo,
with a very specific goal in mind.
And so, I was waiting for a car,
I did notice some compromises compared to my S10.
It's got a polycarbonate finish, as opposed to glass,
and obviously the quality of the display is not there.
It just feel sturdy, and on the bright side,
the dimensions of the phone are actually a refreshing change.
It's just kind of nice, to have a phone you can put
in your pocket and forget about.
Okay, off we go.
And whilst the video quality on this phone is pretty much bow
on what you'd expect for a hundred euros.
I think the photo quality is really going to impress you,
so that's exactly what I did on the way.
I spent about 20 minutes, just taking photos of various different scenes.
Had a quick play with the dedicated Google Assistant button,
and because earlier, I downloaded some of my most used applications,
I go straight into Lightroom, to have a quick edit of those photos.
Which turned this photo, for example, into this photo.
Or, as another example, this shot into this.
Okay. So I've just arrived at a Twycross zoo,
and they've supposedly just opened up a brand new,
state-of-the-art tiger enclosure.
So, I thought, goal for today is to get
a really good shot of the tigers
with this budget phone.
So, firstly, I met up with Joe,
who if you don't already know, is the first member of the Mrwhosetheboss team.
And together, we set out to figure
where exactly we're out with this device.
How can the phone be so cheap,
and what are the noticeable compromises?
Worth noting here, is that there isn't a fingerprint scanner on the phone,
but you do get face unlocking,
but I've just stuck to using the pattern.
Anyways, animals, and the first guys we bumped into, were the meerkats.
These adorable rodent-like creatures.
This is what the DSLR captured.
This is what the phone captured.
And with a little bit of an edit,
I just tried to bring out the warmer hughes in the image.
We used a bit of Google Maps,
and bumped into this nice little hut.
And on the subject of software,
I got the distinct impression that,
yes, this is a phone of compromises.
But, at the same time, instead of brushing over them,
it does feel like Nokia tried to make sure
that they don't cause problems.
For example, the phone is powered by mainstream grade chipset,
but the combination of stock and bloff every Android,
means it doesn't feel slow.
The phone lacks storage, starting at 16 gigs.
But again, Nokia compensates.
You get micro SD card support, as well as
unlimited high quality storage on Google Photos.
And speaking of photos,
it was time to properly test this camera.
And so the next thing we came to see was Penguins.
Specifically the Humboldt Penguins.
I'm using the HDR mode for all these photos,
and you can probably tell, for a 99 Euro phone,
this is not something to be complain about, at all.
I use the assistant, find out a little bit more,
and it wasn't long before we were at the next enclosure – Zebras.
And in true, 21st-century fashion,
we were also out there testing the display of the phone.
Which by the way is a 19:9 HD + IPS panel.
Or, in another words, it's good enough.
It's not some super high res AMOLED dream,
but the resolution is high enough
that nothing looks pixelated,
and low enough to keep the cost down,
as well as the battery powering through.
So, we sat down for a bit of food,
and another thing sprang to mind.
You'll notice, that the app drawer here is pretty much empty.
This is the entire list of apps,
including ones that I've downloaded myself.
The cherry on top is that because
it's on the Android One program,
you're guaranteed not just an early Android Q upgrade,
but an Android R 12.
Completely out of the blue, we realized the window of this cafe looks straight
onto the snow leopard enclosure.
And the thing came right up close to her.
So, it was a bit of a rush to get this shot,
but especially with a bit of editing, I quite like how it turned out.
Anyways, we spend the next 30 minutes trying to find the Tigers.
It didn't end up being a successful mission.
We ended up with giant tortoises.
Not quite as exciting, but I did not expect how big these things were.
So, I lowered the Nokia 2.2 in, took a bit of a blind shot.
So I was surprised that first time this is what came out.
If you look at the sky in particular,
there are no spots of overexposure at all.
So, as you probably know, pretty much no smartphone
under 300 Euros has an ultra-wide camera.
But this thing does have panorama mode.
And so, using the ultra-wide giraffe enclosure as a testing ground,
I was just trying to see how much this can compensate.
So, with a panorama you take a shot,
and then just slowly pan the device around.
You do get a fairly significant distortion effect,
but still massive field of view.
We finally found the state-of-the-art tiger enclosure.
And because this was just past midday, this was probably
when the light was harshest,
and so it's good to see
that the display was visible in all conditions.
I got to say, this part of the day was a massive disappointment.
I was getting super excited about this close up shot
of a tiger I was going to get,
but I did not expect, just how large this enclosure was.
Which of course is great for the animals,
but just means that you can't really get close enough to take a photo of one.
Unless you've got really lucky.
It isn't quite compensate,
but I did find a really neatly designed Lego equivalent.
And so, I took the best way to I could of this,
and then this is my edited version.
Anyways, slightly gutted, we start heading back.
And even though, I didn't get the original tiger photo I plan to,
there was a lot of stuff to go through,
and a lot of great shots that we did get.
Speaking of which, I spent half the journey back editing them.
The shots, you've just seen.
Got back, and pretty much the first thing I did,
was try to catch up on a few of the emails, using this phone.
And to be honest,
after turning down the super high default vibration strength,
no problems at all.
It was fine to type on, it was fine to view everything on,
I didn't really miss having a much larger screen here.
And then, because there are a lot of cool videos coming.
I put the phone down for a couple of hours,
and started editing some of them.
Lots of cutting, chopping, trimming, all of that good stuff.
And there's also a voiceover to do,
and so here's me doing that filmed on the phone,
that's just propped on my laptop right now.
It's decent 1080p footage.
Anyways back to the phone.
And, you might know, this thing has a raised to wake feature.
It was still a little bit too light outside,
trying any kind of nighttime photo shooting.
And so, I decided to see how games would work.
Naturally, flawlessly, to be honest,
as long as it's not too complex a title.
Okay, fast forward a couple more hours
and we're at 9:30 p.m.
It's time to some low light shooting.
So I clipped on an adapter
that allows it to be mounted onto my tripods,
just to give you that extra bit of stability.
And from here, there are three photos I took.
And you can see one actually snap it,
the phone cycle through a few different exposures.
It takes multiple shots and then meshes them together.
It works in a pretty similar way
to how the night mode does on most phones,
but this one just does it automatically.
And you can probably tell
that because the phone is capturing quite a lot
of light information from these shots in different exposures,
you can draw some of that out with a bit of editing.
Anyways, we got 27 percent battery left
after 4 hours and 12 minutes of screen on time.
What a day!

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