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
I had a crazy idea a while ago, after trying to get a decent 'panorama' shot on my Nokia smartphone and finding the stitching flaky and the resolution low every single blessed time. Yes, yes, calm down Apple fans, I know the iPhone does this out of the box, but here I'm talking Nokia. Symbian and Windows Phone, and the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 specifically, since the high resolution available (typically 7700 pixels-ish wide) opens up the possibility for a huge, massive cheat. As [cough] detailed below.
Sometimes the best laid plans go astray - I'd planned a group test of the various photo-to-sketch utilities for Windows Phone, but it soon became apparent that one was head and shoulders above the rest. Ignore the naming confusion ('Sketch') and head for the one by thumbmunkeys, reviewed here. The results are somewhat... stunning, as you'll see below.
Podcatching, as you'll probably know, is the act of grabbing podcasts directly, over the air, on your smartphone. Automatically, seamlessly and without needing a desktop or any direct manual intervention. And then sorting them, playing them back in sensible fashion, working around interruptions, and cleaning up afterwards. It's a tall order for an application, yet we have no less than TWELVE likely contenders here for Windows Phone 8, all of which I've put through their paces. Note that this is a major update of a previous feature on AAWP - with new versions of many (and two completely new) applications.
There's probably a reason why Google shut its 'Reader' product down halfway through the year - the majority of normal people just don't need - or want - a RSS aggregator, something to trawl hundreds of web sites and gather 'new' things. They have social networks to alert them of cool happenings, news sites to browse through over breakfast, etc. However, the outcry from bloggers and journalists showed that this particular user niche used Google Reader extensively and the continuing search for a replacement has resulted in the take off of Feedly as a service and, in the absence of an official Feedly client for Windows Phone, a number of third party clients - including Phonly here.
It's all very well shooting 5 or 8 megapixel photos on your Windows Phone, but don't assume that all the pixels are making it online when you share your photos or send them on to others. In fact, your photos are almost certainly being dramatically shrunk - I do a little investigating and offer some tips below. Why settle for second best?
If you're the sort of person who prefers creating collages manually rather than relying on the lazy man's 'auto' system then Diptic is for you. Tools on other platforms may compile auto-awesome, instant movies and collages, but Diptic on Windows Phone lets you create something of useable resolution and yet with full control. Perfect for sharing and even printing. It's true that the core concept itself is something of a gimmick, but it's a popular gimmick and Diptic is immaculately implemented. All the more impressive that this is essentially version 1. Recommended.
That Nokia has been in forefront of mobile imaging is surely not in doubt, whatever you think of the operating systems the company has chosen at each stage (Symbian and then Windows Phone). In fact, it's a testament to how good and ground breaking the Nokia N95 was in its day (the first 5MP camera on a smartphone etc.) that it can even hold its head up here in 2013. But seven years has seen quite a bit of innovation in sensor quality, resolution and image processing - which is why I thought a 2006-2013 data point might be in order. Here's the legendary N95 pitted against the latest Nokia Lumia 1020 across six test scenes/uses.
It's... another head to head, sparked off by the arrival at All About Towers of the Motorola Moto G, the company's astonishingly good value new Android mid-ranger. Bringing to mind Nokia's own offerings in the same space, the long established Lumia 620 and the newer and larger Lumia 625. The prices and target markets match exactly, but what exactly are the pros and cons and is there an overall winner? Has Windows Phone just got itself a big competitor to one of its budget stalwarts?
Aside from being an intriguing title for an article, the idea of trying to photograph the moon on a phone camera is somewhat startling. Have a try with your own phone and you'll see what I mean. It's very, very hard. Even the Lumia 1020, with its huge sensor, large optics and plentiful camera capture options only just manages a decent moon shot by the skin of its teeth. But the point is... if you can photograph the moon, then surely anything else on earth is a piece of cake?
Apple's famous mini-slogan "It just works" is well known to all and, on the whole, it's true, with the company having complete control of the hardware, software and accessories, so there's little left to chance. Turning to Windows Phone 8 and using it as something of a power user, I'm reminded of the slogan but have to confess that I'm tempted to amend it to "It almost works"...