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Camera head to head: Lumia 930/1520 versus Sony Xperia Z3/Z3 Compact (+1020)

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With slight apologies for the cumbersome headline.... You see, the exact same camera unit is used in each of the two sets of smartphones, meaning that this test applies to any combination. Nokia/Microsoft seems to have standardised on the 20MP, 1/2.5" PureView oversampling camera for its latter day flagships, while the Sony Xperia Z3/Z3 Compact uses a similar 20MP, 1/2.3" oversampling system, in theory outgunning the Nokias (for a change). And, this being me, you just know I'm going to throw in a wildcard....

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Review: AllTube Grabber

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Downloading YouTube videos - we all do it once in a while. That documentary or that music video or that comedy routine, any or all of which you'd like on your phone (or tablet or whatever) because then you could watch it when you like without worrying about using up cell bandwidth. Or, in my case, having videos to hand when out of coverage - in the UK countryside, on a train, on the tube, on a plane, etc. Which is where YouTube downloaders come in, a specialised breed of utility, exemplified by the rather nice AllTube Grabber for Windows Phone here. As a bonus, it also works with three other video streaming sites.

# Posted by Steve in Reviews || Comments

There's more to smartphone camera testing than test cards and statues

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I may get mocked for my 'party' mock-ups when testing smartphone cameras, but my tests represent a better look at real world photos, i.e. of people indoors. Moreover, I also take into account facilities like lossless zoom, whereas this slightly questionnable set of test results from the usually reliable DxO mark folks shows the new Apple iPhone 6 models to both be top of the tree, with the classic Nokia 808 in 6th place and the newer Nokia Lumia 1020 down in 10th place overall! Remind me to take the DxO testers down the pub sometime and explain how to really test phone cameras....

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Review: Surfy (web browser)

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It's not often I review a web browser - for the very good reason that Internet Explorer in Windows Phone 8.1 is now pretty capable. And Surfy is no doubt based on the same underlying web rendering controls - but it claims to add all sorts of 'bells and whistles' too, making it well worth a look. (Note that I'll be reviewing several other third party browsers in the coming weeks, before declaring a favourite!)

# Posted by Steve in Reviews || Comments

How to save battery, increase responsiveness, by disabling unnecessary background tasks

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In installing a popular Windows Phone application, I was brought to a crashing halt by a worrying error message. Happily, the message was clear enough about what to do and, as it turns out, quite a few of my third party applications had quietly been installed with 'background' capability. Disabling these permissions could result in increased battery life and phone responsiveness.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Review: Delivery Simulator

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Ever fancied driving a huge articulated lorry? Or being a manic 'white van man'? Or being an army delivery driver with fragile nuclear weapons in the back? These are typical scenarios in this, Delivery Simulator - it's also immaculately programmed and presented (exclusively on Windows Phone?), is well pitched in terms of difficulty and is also great, great fun!

# Posted by Steve in Reviews || Comments

Review: Star Wars Commander

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Build up your own base, be recruited by the Empire or fight for the Rebellion, create a stronghold and an unstoppable army, Star Wars Commander promises all of that - strictly speaking it delivers. It's just that the pace is glacial, the game is boring, and the ideas are unoriginal. This title relies far too much on the franchise rather than solid gameplay.

# Posted by Ewan in Reviews || Comments

Review: Rawer, on-device RAW editing on the Lumia 1520, 930 and Icon

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It's one of the ironies of Nokia's original oversampling concept for its Windows Phones with high resolution cameras, that quite a few utilities have now arisen to circumvent or avoid using the oversampling at all. Nokia itself didn't help, by issuing an update for Nokia Camera that offered the chance to shoot in 'DNG' format, i.e. RAW, resulting in large, full resolution files, for the hardcore photo enthusiast. And up until now, doing anything with these files required a desktop OS. Enter Rawer, for Windows Phone....

# Posted by Steve in Reviews || Comments

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