Recent Features

How to: Check for Store app updates NOW in Windows Phone 8.1

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One of the perennial frustrations for enthusiasts using Windows Phone is that there may well be a critical application update available for your phone, something you've been waiting for, yet it can take up to 24 hours before your phone actually tells you the update exists. Perhaps you've read about a big update on AAWP and are sitting there drumming your fingers on the desktop, waiting for it to hit your device? With Windows Phone 8.1, at least, you can check for updates NOW...

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Battling at the low end: Nokia Lumia 520/530 versus Motorola Moto E

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Traditionally, the price barrier for smartphones was £100. Even Nokia's lowest end Symbian handsets only strayed a little way below this, yet with feature phones all but dying out in many countries, there's now a battle on to provide a 'first smartphone' for a buyer at as far below £100 as can be managed. There have been numerous ultra-budget Android handsets at rock bottom prices, but with legendarily poor performance and specs. So let's take something modern, like the Moto E, and see how it compares against the latest Windows Phone budget launch. And, for the sake of interest and further comment, against the older, existing Lumia 520.

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The future of the Lumia 1020 - another sidelined classic like the 808?

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The clue is probably in the generic term 'camera-centric', really. However much people in the tech world like their phone cameras, having just a little too much emphasis placed on imaging - enough to warrant a significant bump on the back - seems to be the death knell for a device long term. In part though, this is more down to the time needed for R&D, but the end result is (yet again) a device which seems destined to be sidelined a little....

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Reviewer woes: Frustrated by an over-cautious Windows Phone Store limit...

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While reviewing the Lumia 930, I found myself factory resetting it several times on day one. And not because of anything wrong with the phone or its software. You see, there's a limit built into the Microsoft account and Store system that just hasn't been thought through completely. It only hurts the people Microsoft and the Windows Phone team should be wanting to make friends with!

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Does using a different Windows Phone camera application affect photo quality?

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One of the interesting features of the Windows Phone world is the variety of applications that use the smartphone's camera. Often for gimmicky effect, but sometimes going for maximum quality and a possible direct replacement for Nokia Camera, the application that comes on each Lumia, as tested here. But do you sacrifice image quality by using another application? Using a controlled low light test, I decided to investigate!

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Introducing the Megalo Mini, 1400mAh on your keyring

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I'm a sucker for power solutions on mobile. So when Michael Krikheli, pictured below, got in touch about his company's innovative new 'key ring charger', recently successful on Kickstarter (it completes in a couple of days time), I couldn't resist the chance to ply him with some questions. The only bad news is that retail gadgets are still a couple of months away, so you won't be using the Megalo Mini on your summer vacation.

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How to: implement 'Windows Phone Now', the 2014 edition

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You may remember, exactly a year ago, I looked at ways to create something of a contextual 'Google Now' experience using the Windows Phone 8 Start screen? Although not really adding much new ground for 2014 (and with Cortana not having hit the UK yet), I thought it would be appropriate to revisit the concept, at least, on Windows Phone 8.1, with more live tiles per screen? See below for my set-up, and comments welcome if you can improve it!

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How Microsoft has been optimising Windows Phone 8.1 for the giant Lumia 1520

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When the Nokia Lumia 1520 first arrived, back in November 2013, the quality of the hardware was obvious. But there were some aspects of the Windows Phone UI which looked underdeveloped on the much larger screen, with the same UI elements as on smaller screens, just made larger. Happily, one aspect of Windows Phone 8.1 which no one seems to have noticed yet, is that the 1520's huge 6" screen is much better utilitised. See below for some illustrations.

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