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Camera head to head: Lumia 950 XL vs Google Pixel 6 Pro

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Having reviewed the new Google Pixel 6 Pro and done a camera comparison with the iPhone 12 Pro Max, I did also promise a comparison with a Lumia. And, tempted though I was to break out the trusty Lumia 1020, it's not a viable option (without account access or a working Store) in any way as a smartphone in 2021. So it's back to the trusty Lumia 950 XL, my reference point for all camera phones post-2015.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Self Service Repair isn't actually for you and I

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Perhaps provoked by a growing 'Right to Repair' movement and possible legislation in several markets, Apple announced 'Self Service Repair' last week. Which sounds fantastic - break a phone screen, need a new battery, just do-it-yourself. Except that despite what Apple might hint at first, Self Service Repair isn't for the likes of you and I. Nor should it be. When I want an unusually tricky job done properly around the house, I don't just get the right tools in from a DIY superstore, I get an experienced tradesperson in who has done the job a thousand times. And it's the same with smartphone hardware, I contend.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Review: Google Pixel 6 Pro

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It's... Google's latest and greatest. It really is. The highest specced Pixel ever made. But that doesn't mean that it's perfect, as you'll see in my review. Niggles include the 'zoom gap' and a plastic top edge, but don't worry, there's also plenty that I loved. Whether it's worth £949 for the recommended 256GB model is your call, of course, but there's no denying the raw power and future proof software set-up. (See also my imaging comparison with a flagship iPhone.)

# Posted by Steve in Reviews || Comments

The Pixel 6 Pro camera: Superb, but mind the 'zoom gap'!

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After my initial enthusiasm for the imaging potential of the Google Pixel 6 Pro, I've mainly seen this endorsed by results, but I do have to add a massive caveat - which I've entitled the 'zoom gap' and which we'll come to below. In terms of a smartphone camera to compare it to, any from the last year or so would do, just as a data point. But I included my iPhone 12 Pro Max*, here in its default-everything mode (so no ProRAW). I do still think the Pixel 6 Pro has potential, but Google has work to do to try and bring its 'Super Res Zoom' to the phone's main camera before I'll fully recommend it to others.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Microsoft sets date for To-Do sync stoppage

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Another one bites the dust. Or is about to. Microsoft has formally announced that its To-Do service is to stop syncing with old clients (such as the one for Windows 10 Mobile) at the end of 2021. It's amazing that sync has carried on so long, to be honest. And you still have six weeks to switch to another platform if To-Do support is critical to you. Notably, if you just find it a useful place to store to-do items locally on a Lumia, you'll still be able to use the application 'offline', i.e. it won't actually stop working.

# Posted by Steve in News || Comments

Pixel 6 Pro - imaging hardware that's finally worthy of study

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For years people have praised Google's 'HDR+' (and then 'Pixel Camera') image handling and processing. Originally designed for Google Glass, to make a terrible, tiny camera produce good results, the multi-frame algorithms worked wonders on many phone cameras too, even by side-loading onto generic Android hardware. The system was much copied by all other phone makers, so that multiple frames per image is now commonplace. However, Google's imaging hardware has been lacklustre, even poor, in the last year, so it's a great relief to see all that good software now paired with genuinely competitive camera hardware. So, ahead of my various review tests and comparisons (versus iPhone, Sony, and yes, Lumia), I thought I'd 'focus' in on what's under the hood in my review Pixel 6 Pro...

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Review: NexDock 360

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You'll have seen my unboxing and first impressions of the new NexDock 360 - a lapdock? A portable monitor? A fancy screen-enabled USB hub? Well, just as with the previous NexDocks ('2' and Touch), the NexDock 360 is all of these. Slightly smaller than its predecessor, the '360' adds a twist in being able to fold back from laptop to tent to tablet. Which is pretty cool, even if the bezels and speaker situation mean that you might not do this very often. The highlight for 'All About' fans is, of course, that this can expand your Windows 10 Mobile or Android* smartphone to a desktop experience. Plus it's a flexible HDMI monitor for everything else. Including iPhones and games consoles.

# Posted by Steve in Reviews || Comments

Gallery: NexDock 360

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Onto their fourth generation of lapdock now, and keeping alive the Continuum vision, NexDock is persevering through pandemics, industry changes, and component shortages. This is the NexDock 360, just in for review, a Continuum/DeX (etc.) lapdock that adds an extra twist to 2020's NexDock Touch. Here's my first impressions and hands-on gallery, with both Lumia and Samsung as host phones, the full review will follow.

# Posted by Steve in Gallery || Comments

Twitter images are no longer cropped in your PWA/web timeline

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A slightly niche news post, but one that's important to anyone who accesses Twitter on Windows 10 Mobile or under any desktop browser. So perhaps that's more people than I'd at first have thought. For years, Twitter has been cropping (e.g. 4:3 and 16:9) photos to a 'letter box' (often the 'wrong' way) or square aspect ratio to try and keep people's timelines tidier - but it seems that users would rather see the whole of a posted image rather than just part of it, so Twitter has now dropped cropping in its web/PWA code. Which directly feeds into the Windows 10 Mobile Twitter app, of course.

# Posted by Steve in News || Comments

Exploring the Surface Duo 2's Android 11 interface... on your PC or Mac

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My time with the new Microsoft Surface Duo 2 was short, only a week (do go and read the review), but the freshness of a two-screened interface on top of Android still remains in my mind. And, with a couple of fairly substantial caveats, you can play with the concept yourself on any decent PC or Mac, thanks to Microsoft's Surface Duo 2 emulator. Being upfront, the caveats are that you need a very powerful PC for the UI to approach actual phone speeds, and that the emulator doesn't include the Google Play Store or Google Play Services, so you haven't got the full Duo 2 experience.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

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