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Jorge Velez - Roman Birds Music Album Reviews

Inspired by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, this five-track ambient wonder finds the New York producer letting pulses and motifs overlap until the tracks resemble the inside of a lava lamp.
Jorge Velez has long been prolific, but that’s been especially true in the past few years. Like many underground electronic musicians, the New York producer has taken advantage of the internet’s self-publishing opportunities—in particular, the direct-to-fans platform Bandcamp—to sidestep label gatekeepers, streaming services, and crowded retailers. (Velez’s Bandcamp page currently numbers 26 releases.) Velez first gained recognition a dozen years ago with blippy disco derivatives for labels like Italians Do It Better, but his output has gradually become more esoteric and inward-looking. He’s still capable of ebullient club tracks, as last year’s excellent Forza attests, but many of his long, undulating machine jams sound like late-night missives to himself.

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Sony Xperia XZ2 vs Nokia 8 Scirocco

Sony Xperia XZ2 vs Nokia 8 Scirocco
Scramble 2017 Scramble 2017 Scramble 2017 Scramble 2017 Scramble 2017 Scramble 2017

Some phone makers, notably Huawei and LG, have yet to announce their 2018 flagship phones but if you're trying to choose between the Xperia XZ2 and Nokia 8 Sirocco, we're here to help.

Both have their strengths and weaknesses, and we explain how the stack up against each other in terms of their specs, features and design.


PRICE & AVAILABILITY

Frustratingly, neither company has announced UK pricing yet. Nokia has said the 8 Sirocco will cost 749€, but you can't assume this will translate to £600/US$920.

Sony hasn't announced a price in any currency, but rumours peg it around the £700/US$749 mark.

In truth, we expect both to cost a similar amount. But at these high prices, a lot will be expected and competition - from Samsung and Apple mainly - is stiff.

FEATURES AND DESIGN

Both phones have upped their game in terms of design, but it's Nokia which is the clear winner in our opinion. Sony has done a nice job of making the XZ2 look good from the back with a curved glass rear, but that's hardly unique: plenty of phones have those.

At the front, there are still chunky top and bottom bezels compared to rivals. They may be smaller than before, but not enough to offer the wow factor you get with the Nokia. Plus, it's 12mm taller than its rival and surprisingly fat for a modern phone at over 11mm.


The 8 Sirocco's vacuum-moulded curved glass does look and feel great but it's hard not to immediately conclude that Nokia has produced a Galaxy S8/S9 clone rather than coming up with its own design. Whatever your view, it's good to see Nokia back and slugging it out with the big boys.


Things get a bit tricky for the Sirocco when you put its specs side by side with any similarly priced rival, though. Even the XZ2, which itself doesn't stack up brilliantly against the Galaxy S9, trumps the Sirocco in several areas including its processor, expandable storage and screen size.

To be fair, the Nokia does have a dual-camera setup at the rear, more on-board storage, more RAM, a higher screen resolution (and an OLED display), a slightly bigger battery and is smaller and thinner.
Specification
Sony Xperia XZ2
Nokia 8 Sirocco
Operating System
Android 8.0 Oreo
Android 8.0 Oreo
Display
5.7in Full HD+ (2160x1080) IPS 18:9
5.5in Quad HD (2560x1440), pOLED 16:9
Processor
Qualcom Snapdragon 845
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Memory
4GB (6GB in some regions inc. UK)
6GB
Storage
64GB, microSD card slot (up to 400GB)
128GB, not expandable
Primary Camera
19MP, f/2.0
12MP wide-angle camera, f/1.7 + 13MP telephoto lens, f/2.6
Front Camera
5Mp
5Mp
Video Recording
4K HDR @ 30fps
4K @ 30fps
WiFi
802.11ac
802.11ac
GPS
Yes
Yes
Bluetooth
5
5 (and ANT+)
NFC
Yes
Yes
Fingerprint scanner
Yes
Yes
Wireless charging
Yes
Yes
3.5mm headphone
No
No
Ports
USB-C
USB-C
Waterproof
IP65/88
IP67
Dimensions
72x153x11.1mm
73x141x7.5mm
Weight
198g
TBC
Battery
3190mAh
3260mAh
Neither phone has a standard headphone jack, but they are both water-resistant and support wireless charging. Both place a fingerprint scanner on the rear and they run the latest version of Android.
A unique feature of the Xperia is Sony's new Dynamic Vibration system. Essentially the same as you'll find in the DualShock 4 PlayStation controller, the phone vibrates in games and when watching video or listening to music. It's the kind of thing that some people will call a gimmick, while others will love it.

Cameras
Photography is often where phone makers try to differentiate their phones and it's no different with this pair.
Nokia has gone for a dual-camera arrangement with a secondary 2x telephoto lens and Zeiss branding. The assembly protrudes like the iPhone 8 Plus' but it's mounted vertically in the centre.
Early indications are that the cameras are capable of taking great pictures including portrait photos with a depth effect, and we're also glad Nokia has brought back the old Pro Camera mode from its older Lumia phones. This has a selection of manual controls and should be a decent shooting experience.

Nokia is also making much of its trio of microphones for HDR audio recording. Their ability to record sound up to 132dB should be good news for those to record live bands and aircraft at take-off.

Sony has opted for a single camera and no depth effect, instead focusing on video features. For example, the 960fps ultra-slo-mo can now record at 1080p on the XZ2 rather than 720p. And it will capture 4K in HDR. There's still no support for 4K at 60fps, though.

Its other USP is 3D Creator: you scan yourself with the rear or front camera to create a 3D model which you can then print or post on Facebook.

Around the front, both phones have a 5Mp selfie camera - pretty low resolution for flagship devices, we think.

Software
This is another area where the 8 Sirocco and XZ2 are level-pegging. They both run AndroidOne which means that they have stock Oreo with the interface as Google intended it.

It also guarantees two years of upgrades to the latest Android version.

SPECS

  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 5.7in Full HD+ HDR 18:9 touchscreen
  • Qualcom Snapdragon 845 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage
  • microSD card slot (up to 400GB)
  • Rear camera: 19MP, video up to 4K HDR
  • Front camera: 5MP
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE
  • Single nano-SIM
  • USB-C (USB 3.1)
  • 3190mAh non-removable battery
  • 72x153x11.1mm
  • 198g

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