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I get asked every so often to condense my years of (ahem) photographic wisdom into digestable form - and set against the background of phone camera hardware and software which is constantly improving. It has been six years since I did something along these lines on AAS or AAWP, so let's put that right now. Your typical 2020 smartphone camera system will take pretty good photos in full 'auto' on its own, but what can you do to take the next step?
Spotify is the most successful music streaming service in the world - but that doesn't mean that its attitude and its lawyers don't suck. They've gone after third party Spotify clients for years and Strix Music (née Spotimo) UWP is just the latest victim. Meaning that Strix Music for Windows 10 Mobile can't be published in the Microsoft Store, sadly. But don't give up - the application is available for side-loading onto your Lumia (or similar) and, with a few beta caveats, works just fine. Here's how to install Strix Music and set it up.
Three months on from the previous update, here's the refreshed/latest news and comment on applications and services on Windows 10 Mobile - the OS itself has now had its very last security update, but it still works on the whole. This feature will summarise what's broken and what's not, along with workarounds where possible. Details and links have all been updated throughout. Note that I've kept the URL the same, so the last quarter of comments are all still here.
I've already matched the brand new Xperia 1 mk II up against the Lumia 950 XL, but I did promise an imaging head to head - and it's going to be very close, the Xperia's image processing is under control and I promise to give it bonus points when it can do other revelant and useful things... Is the new Sony the ultimate 'camera phone'?
In the latest of my series of looks at alternatives to a favourite Lumia flagship, I bring you a head to head with the brand new Sony Xperia 1 II (said 'one mark two'), claiming pro-level imaging (including an optional DSLR-like interface and pro-grade video shooting tools). There's an awful lot packed into this £1000 Android handset, so let's get started... (And yes, an imaging shoot-out is next!)
One of several mapping UWP apps for Windows 10 that I've been trying out on my Lumias, PocketMap is just that - a selection of bitmapped, vector and photo maps presented in a fast(ish) and logical interface. Built with a little bit of a Norway focus, it's nonetheless rather cool to play with anywhere else in the world, as you'll see below. If nothing else, it's an easy OpenStreetMap viewer!
The arrival of the Realme X3 SuperZoom, another smartphone with much hyped zoom camera system had me scurrying for some zoom favourites of yesteryear for AAS and AAWP readers, plus I also threw in the current champions, the iPhone 11 Pro and Huawei P40 Pro, for good measure. Six contenders then and I'll throw various zoom and low light use cases at them. Note that it's not all about extreme zoom, as I contended in an editorial last week, sometimes it's about zoom versatility.
Long time AAS readers will remember the Nokia N93, a unique multi-form factor smartphone with a barrel camera that included a genuine continuous 1-3x zoom lens system. It worked superbly, at least in good light, with the caveat that the reduced aperture when zoomed meant that evening and night shots suffered. Partly because of this, Nokia (and then the world) moved to computational photography and smart cropping into large, high megapixel sensors in order to try and zoom without the same degree of aperture loss, cuminating in 2012's Nokia 808 and 2013's Lumia 1020. But now comes news that a continuous zoom lens system may be making a come back, 14 years on from the N93...
A few days ago I pitched the new POCO F2 Pro against the Lumia 950 XL, spec for spec, with a view to it perhaps being a viable across-the-board upgrade. Its imaging system seemed a bit limited in terms of raw specs (no OIS, no telephoto lens), which is why I present my usual multi-scene pixel analysis below - can the POCO F2 Pro get close to the Lumia in terms of image quality?
The choices of which Android smartphone to jump to are legion, of course. But I do try and provide some useful hands-on comparisons, with this week's instalment looking at the brand new (Xiaomi-made) POCO F2 Pro, providing top internal specs for a relative pittance. Here's how the specs match up, and don't worry, imaging is core for most of us, so there will be a camera head to head in a couple of days. Coming right up!