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
Well, at least that's one mystery 'solved' in Windows Phone. And sorry if it sounds obvious, but it's something that had been bothering me for months, so thanks to the folk at reddit for stumbling over the issue as well. You see, having taken a photo with a Windows Phone, it's tempting to look at the snap on the phone and multi-touch zoom in and.... it's all rather blurry and underwhelming. Happily, it seems that this is simply a result of Windows Phone's attempts to keep performance high and isn't a reflection on the quality of the actual photo.
Now I know what you're going to ask: "What's the point? If you're at home then you can use a real TV or a desktop/laptop, and if you're mobile then you probably don't want hours of mobile TV swallowing up your cellular bandwidth!" All very true, but say you're mobile, some breaking news is happening and you're frustrated that all you can see are headlines and textual reports. Wouldn't it be nice to see what's going on by tapping into a live TV stream? With, admittedly, a UK focus, I investigate a few options. I'm sure readers from around the world can chip in with links to solutions for Windows Phone that work in other regions?
In fact, ignore the title, because I've included no less than five top camera-toting smartphones in this group test. In addition to the big three, the Nokia 808 PureView (still reckoned to be champion by most people), the Nokia Lumia 920 (the flagship Windows Phone until tomorrow!) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (brand new and top-rated), I also wanted to include the 2010 Nokia N8, since its sensor's megapixel count and performance should be a close match for the SGS4, plus last year's Galaxy S III, so we can see how much of a difference Samsung have made in terms of their camera tech. Let the fight rage!
Sometimes you come across an application or game that's a triumph of form over function - the pinball simulation here is one such, looking a million dollars but ultimately far less satisfying than other pinball titles on Windows Phone. DaVinci Pinball's heart (and face) is in the right place, with visuals that are often stunning, with a table design that beggars belief and audio that adds centuries of atmosphere, yet the playability of the pinball game itself is fatally flawed and, it has to be said, buggy.
Now, I've been eulogising about 'proper' flashes in smartphone cameras since the Nokia N82, back in 2007. And by 'proper', I mean a Xenon flash, just as you'd find in a standalone camera. The Sony Ericsson Satio and Nokia N8 and then 808, all running Symbian, kept the rant alive, but elsewhere Xenon flash has been almost non-existent. Yet now we have rumours of new Nokia Lumias, running Windows Phone 8 and (allegedly) having Xenon bulbs, along with (also rumoured) Sony's upcoming 'Honami' handset and Samsung's Galaxy S4 'Zoom'. In short, 2013 is (probably) about to become the year that Xenon flash finally makes the journey from Symbian into Windows Phone 8 and mainstream Android.
I've done a lot of smartphone camera shootouts over the last five years on All About Symbian and All About Windows Phone, each revolving around taking the same shot with a number of different test units and then (at some point) cropping in to look at pixel-level detail. And each time I get called out for doing this: "Real users don't crop in to the level where they can see pixels". Here's my defence, aided by some rather nice example photos from a mystery device...
Arctica has got me sussed. Throw in 3D action with plenty of particle physics and a sci-fi theme and I'm basically putty in its hands. In this case, Speedfest, though Arctica's other titles are also getting ported from Symbian to Windows Phone (watch this space). If you're into first person, seat-of-the-pants action games then I think you too will love it.
In the second of an occasional tutorial series (here's the first part, looking at a murky scene-made-good taken on the Nokia Lumia 920), I take a recent photo of mine, also shot on a smartphone, in this case the Nokia 808 PureView, and show the quick-fire thought processes that went into creating it. Again, the tutorial is applicable to all phone camera users and again my aim is to get you thinking more when you next want to snap something photogenic. Comments welcome if I've helped and/or succeeded!
Ask anyone the biggest name in consumer computer chess and the answer will come back 'ChessGenius'. It's available for every single platform, old and new (this is its debut on Windows Phone), it's been around for well over a decade, the chess engine it's based on has won ten (computer) world championships and it'll thrash you unless you happen to be a grandmaster. And even then you might struggle. Happily, there are options here to make it less forgiving of us lesser mortals...
Sitting in my office, taking the backs of a number of Nokia phones (as you do), it struck me that something was missing - holograms. For the last five years or so, the presence of an official Nokia hologram has been a pretty good indication that a battery is genuine (and not some Far East-sold fake). Yet Nokia has been shipping phones over the last 12 months with hologram-less batteries. Photo proof below, but I have to ask - not for the first time - how on earth one might be able to tell these new official batteries from the replacement fakes?