Steve is the editor at All About Windows Phone, which means any typos that slip through in the main stories are his responsibility (although, ultimately, you can still blame Rafe). He’s also one of the main writers, specialising in the camera and multimedia side of things when it comes to reviews and tutorials. When not working on AAWP and All About Symbian, Steve writes, produces and stars in The Phones Show, a fortnightly video show reviewing phones and smartphones in detail.
Recent Content by Steve
In the modern smartphone world we're somewhat shielded from the realities of computer file systems. Back in the day, computing was all about files, folders, archives, and so on - and this is largely what Total Commander gives you back. Admittedly you don't need this much on the phone in 2016, aside from perhaps fiddling with things on microSD on supported phones. But Total Commander scores by also integrating (to an extent) OneDrive, Google Drive, FTP and LAN server access. In short, copy files from anywhere to anywhere. And, for a free application, this is well worth keeping on hand for a file emergency when this could well save the day.
There are, I'm sure, many Lumia 1020 fans reading this - and they'll have been a little shell-shocked, as I was, when I tested the Lumia 950 and 1020 at some length and found that the much newer device came out on top, despite the disadvantage in megapixels, sensor size and flash brightness. It seems that technology really does march on, that physics (for once) doesn't tell the whole story, and that there's now photographic proof. Not just my photo samples, but an image snapped at Microsoft Hungary (with permission) and reproduced below (ditto).
Away from worries over Windows 10 Mobile itself not being quite 'finished', there's still the fascinating choice of which Microsoft flagship (and remember that these are arguably the last ever 'Nokia' designs) to buy. Usually there would be a specs vs size set of compromises, but in the case of the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, the specifications are so close that it really comes down to form factor and other aspects. As someone whose SIM card has been in and out of each device roughly 20 times in the last two months, rather indecisively, I thought I'd prompt more discussion and deliver my own - eventual - verdict.
Miracast (screen sharing over Wi-fi) adapters have been available for ages, of course - many TVs and monitors even include the necessary electronics, stating 'Miracast-compatible'. But you can never be too sure of complete compatibility, at least when it comes to the really advanced stuff, like Continuum, in this case from the Lumia 950 and 950 XL. Which is why I wanted to look at Microsoft's own, first party, adapter. It's black, it's small, it's utterly devoid of style, yet it works flawlessly. Well... sometimes.
In a special AAWP podcast, Neil Gilroy steps into Rafe's shoes, delivering a verdict on the state of Windows 10 Mobile and the Lumia 950 XL, from the point of view of someone usually found at the cutting edge on iOS and Android. How well does Windows and the new hardware stack up?
Having done a camera head to head between the brand new Asus Zenfone Zoom and the classic Lumia 1020, on the grounds of zoom capability, what about widening the comparison to include the full gamut of what a smartphone can do? But which Lumia to compare the Zenfone to? Given the size similarity and the way I rated the all-round imaging of the Lumia 950 XL so highly, I went for this pairing - see below for my blow by blow comparison.
There's an interesting editorial over the pond by my nemesis in the USA, Paul Thurrott (you won't believe the number of times we're both tagged in the same tweets, etc.), talking about the way Windows Phone is indeed dead and has been dying since July. While the stats quoted are accurate, of course, I do think Paul is missing part of the picture. The revised picture, the concept, the vision, away from expectations of mass market sales in their millions.
Never mind taking in a whole scene - what happens when you want to get closer to the action, the details, to shoot more intimately? It's amazing how a little bit of zooming can help. Not that most camera phone owners would know, since most digital zooms aren't stellar. However, the Lumia 1020 (now over two years old) offered genuinely lossless 3x zoom, thanks to its underlying 41MP sensor. And the brand new 2016 Zenfone Zoom, from the Android world, goes down a whole different route, despite the cosmetic similarities, with integral 3x optical zoom. So, tech vs tech, here's how they trade blows in the search for a cameraphone zoom king.
Ah yes, the professionally-rated best camera phones of the world. In this case, DxOMark calling the shots. Here's a quiz: what have the still cameras in the Nexus 6P, Xperia Z3+, iPhone 6s, Blackberry Priv and Nexus 6 got in common, as tested by DxOMark? Answer, they're all way ahead of the Nokia 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 for still photography. Eh? What? I contend that DxOMark's testing is rooted in cloud-cuckoo-land and that a new 'realMark' is needed. (© Steve Litchfield, 2016!)
A month or so ago I published a feature highlighting the very best third party apps running on Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile. Running to many hundred recommendations, this feature is hopefully a useful and bookmarkable resource, especially when used directly on the phone. But... what about all the applications that AREN'T available on the platform?