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I have to confess - even after writing hundreds of articles about smartphone imaging I still get confused sometimes about digital zoom, especially in the realm of PureView. Exactly how far can you zoom in, on each device, for stills or video? What are the limits and what happens if you go beyond them? Here’s a helpful guide that I prepared earlier.
With the movement of its feature phone business (acquired from Nokia as part of the deal) to a joint Finnish/Chinese partnership (HMD/Foxconn), Microsoft also made it clear that there won’t be any new Lumias for the time being, but that doesn’t mean no new Windows 10 Mobile smartphones. In fact, there are quite a few companies now involved in the ecosystem, so I thought I’d enumerate and introduce them. Some you’ll have heard of, some you won’t.
Yes, it's the second imaging shootout of the week, sometimes these things get bunched up and the LG G5 and HTC 10 arrived on the same day - both with pretensions at the Lumia 950's imaging crown. With totally different native resolutions though, meaning that in order to use our comparator I had to go out and shoot different test scenes at different times - here's the result of the 16MP fight between the Lumia 950 and LG G5.
I seem to be hooked on tower defense games at the moment - or maybe there are just some excellent examples coming on stream. 'REDCON - Strike Commander' is something slightly off the wall, in that it doesn't look like a tower defense title - but it is at heart, it's just presented differently. And rather wonderfully - I've never seen such superlative animation and atmosphere in a mobile game. Ever. REDCON is also available for Windows 10 on the tablet/desktop, but here I was trying it out on a Lumia phone.
The Microsoft Band 2 was favourably reviewed by me last year, but I'd lost interest in wearing it every day because it didn't do enough for me - yet an update today may just have changed my mind and the gadget is charging up as I speak. You see, the new Explore tile - demoed superbly in the video example below - lets you wander over hill and down dale, tracking where you've been on the Band display itself, giving you detailed positioning and the facility to mark particular spots. For anyone who like walking, hiking, mountain biking etc. to keep fit, the Explore tile could be an eye opener.
In an extra length AAWP Insight #180 (sorry for the fortnight's gap), we talk about the latest updates to Windows 10 Mobile (Threshold), which leads to a more general conversation about the shape of computing platforms. We also talk about what updates you can get for all Windows Phone models, ruminate on the benefits of UWPs (one of the big benefits of upgrading), and mention our plans for curating apps and games on AAWP.
With the HTC 10 now in for review on The Phones Show, I couldn't resist pitching it (it claims camera prowess) against the Lumia 950, looking at image quality. And, me being me and this being AAWP, I couldn't resist throwing in some comparisons with the classic Lumia 1020 as well - a different beast, but it does provide a known benchmark of sorts for what a phone camera can do.
One of the requests in the comments recently was to test audio capture when shooting videos. And, as it happens, I'd been thinking about doing this for a while anyway. So I headed out with six smartphones and tried to shoot video and audio in as controlled conditions as possible: in a quiet garden, by a windy, noisy road, and in a rock-level music setting. That should be enough to set the best from the rest, I thought...
Tower defense is now a game genre in its own right - the combination of strategy, arcade action and combat has proved very popular. And Digfender is an astoundingly good example of the breed, here lovingly crafted for Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile by Mugshot Games. The graphics are just right, the gameplay honed to perfection and even the freemium stays well within reasonable bounds. Highly recommended.
Following on from AAWP's rather handy guide to the very best applications for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile, here's an updated (new entries, new layout) version of our similar crowd-sourced guide the very best one percent of games on the platform. Enjoy! And do comment if you have other suggestions, based on your own gaming experience.