When it comes to reviews or opinion pieces, especially for gadgets, there’s some "science" involved but a lot of it comes down to the critic's biases. The notion that a journalist is impartial is derisory, though many still feign the notion that it exists. Just like how history can’t be objective since what the historian deems important (and not important) drives the narrative, the same applies to tech articles explaining devices and giving opinions.
At Windows Phone Central, we write from the perspective of people who are already on board with the Microsoft’s mobile OS—it’s more about the hardware and how it compares to other Windows Phones. That’s our audience. Are we biased? Of course, but at least you know where we’re coming from—we’re not pretending otherwise.
That’s what makes CNET’s latest video so frustrating. We don’t have a problem with people finding faults with the Lumia 1020, or even not preferring it. This is the predisposition thing rearing its head and if you like Android or iOS more than Windows Phone, then it will drive your opinion. But distorting facts or just getting things plain wrong is inexcusable.
CNET TV posted a video yesterday where they take the Lumia 1020 on a “road test” to see how it performs. The video is hosted by Molly Wood, who has used Windows Phone in the past though she has never been a fan of it.
Her complaints about the Lumia 1020’s and its camera?
- The 41 MP sensor is “…almost a novelty…and it’s just a stunt to get people’s attention” even though the photos are admittedly “pretty amazing”
- Uploading photos is “problematic” as it “doesn’t integrate…with Facebook”
- “The most crushing part? You’re taking beautiful snapshots and you cannot Instagram them.”
- Point and shoot social sharing: you are “super crippled”
- She confuses shutter speed with the Pro Cam start-time with photo processing; it’s just all the same to her
- Calls the Lumia 1020 camera performance “shameful”
- She’d rather “…have a phone with a great camera that can do everything like the iPhone” instead of a phone “with a really great camera that can’t do much else”
Let’s look at few things that are just flat out wrong with her assessment.
- 41 MP is not a novelty. She doesn’t even mention the oversampling technology resulting in high quality 5 MP photos for sharing, or the ability to “crop to zoom” that other cameras fail miserably at, including the iPhone 5. You would figure the lossless zoom ability of the Lumia 1020 would be a huge bonus when at a concert.
- Windows Phone of course integrates with Facebook—simply login or download the official app; this is basic stuff
- Windows Phone can upload to Oggl, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Imgur, EyeEm, PhotoSynth, SmugMug, Email, SMS and more. Super crippled?
Can't upload to Instagram?
Regarding Instagram, while it is true that there is no official app and pointing that out can be viewed as a valid criticism, it’s factually wrong to claim that you can’t upload to Instagram on Windows Phone or the Lumia 1020. When heading to the Windows Phone Store and simply typing ‘Instagram’, these are the top four results:
Just below that is InPic, #2InstaWithMassiveLove and Instagraph.
That’s seven apps that can upload to Instagram with Oggl even being official. Not only can Windows Phone users upload to Instagram with ease, we have more options than any other platform in the world. We have more UI designs for personal preference, video upload support, Live Tiles, notifications, Lens support and more.
This isn’t rocket science, folks. Even on the iPhone you have to go to their Store to download the Instagram app—why the selective bias against Windows Phone? It’s fair to mention that there is no official app, but it’s just wrong to lament that you cannot upload to Instagram—of course you can. Anyone who spends more than five minutes with the device could figure this out.
Nokia Pro Cam: Slow and powerful. But shameful?
As far as the slow performance of Pro Cam—fair enough. It’s true that when snapping an unprecedented, high resolution 38 MP photo and a 5 MP over-sampled one (at the same time) with full manual camera controls, the device is not as fast as an iPhone with its measly 8 megapixels. Cutting edge technology is full of tradeoffs like that.
But on the Lumia 1020, you could also set the default camera app to Nokia’s faster Smart Cam, which allows rapid fire shots (in addition to all sorts of other goodies) or the Windows Phone default camera, which is superfast. It’s right there in the camera settings. You lose the 38 MP photos but you still get to use that fantastic sensor for outstanding over-sampled 5 MP photos that will still compete with the iPhone any day.
Look, we don’t want to be that site that goes after everyone who doesn’t like Windows Phone. That’s not who we are and we certainly respect the fact that people have preferences. There are valid criticisms against Microsoft, the OS and even the Lumia 1020 and raising those is certainly acceptable.
But CNET and Molly Wood’s 'Always On' segment is just shameful and amateur. They could and should do better (separately, you can read CNET's full review of the Lumia 1020 here).
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.