A debate on Twitter earlier in the week (see below) put up one of THE most frequently asked questions about phone imaging. Why do I/we both pixel peeping when most phone-shot photos are only ever seen on 5"/6" phone screens? It's a good question, but I think I have a great answer. If you're a phone imaging enthusiast then you'll know where I'm going with this already, but for the casual user, here's why I do what I do and here's why enthusiasts care...
Recent Features - Windows Phone 8
The Lumia 830 (and the 735, for which all this also applies) aren't exactly computing powerhouses, with only 1GB RAM. However, they're not only compatible with Windows 10 Mobile, they work just fine for casual use right up to the very latest Fall Creators Update (1709) - if you know the tricks and hacks. Early in 2018 I covered how to take the much more powerful Lumia 930 (and 1520) on this journey, but I've had requests from readers for the exact sequence for the Lumia 830 (and 735), so here goes...
With the Pixel 3 in for review for a short period, and with a glimpse of sun here and there in November in the UK, I wanted to pit PureView phase 1 (Nokia 808) and phase 2 (Lumia 1020, adding OIS) with the Pixel's (as good as) PureView phase 3, doing all the pixel combination in the time domain rather than across a high-res sensor. There's a lot to compare, it's our biggest and longest imaging comparison piece ever, so let's press on and do allow time for the page to fully load!
One of the reasons why there has always been a big debate as to what exactly constitutes "a smartphone" is that the definition itself keeps changing. Once we had dumb phones, then high end communicators and touchscreen multimedia gadgets for geeks, and then - by 2010 or so - enough people had what we had been calling 'smartphones' that they became mainstream and just 'phones'. But just what functions got added in each era, where are we now, and where do the different platforms stand?
The Lumia 950 and 950 XL were announced almost exactly three years ago, in October 2015. Not exactly to huge fanfare, and they needed six months of Windows 10 Mobile updates for the phones to really fly. And, for a short period, they were competitive with the best of iPhone and Android, but the pace of hardware development on the latter has been astonishing and unrelenting. Even imaging, the Lumia 950/XL's star feature, has now been overtaken. Where will it all end?
It's a fair cop, Windows 10 Mobile is still alive, so maybe it's too early to do a little grave-jumping. And devices like the Lumia 950 are still eminently useable and even enjoyable. But at the same time, there have been some stinkers in Windows phone history - and I've never compiled an list... until now. Whatever you might think of the development of the OS itself, there's little to excuse some of the hardware below.
There's so much to like about Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile in terms of hardware options, interface, and ecosystem (in that W10M is part of a larger whole), that you might be surprised, in hindsight, that it failed so badly - in relative terms, compared to Android and iOS. There's no one single reason for this - rather many reasons, with cumulative effect, over the best part of a decade. Here's my - rather damning - list.
It CAN be done. But that doesn't mean you should do it. In fact, it's a last resort if this is something you feel the need to do. What am I talking about? Reframing. Exemplified by the Lumia 1020, this was part of Nokia Pro Camera back in 2013-14, and the idea was that you could zoom in to take a photo, then - back at home - decide that you wish you hadn't zoomed in so far and that you wanted to 'reframe' the photo, either zoomed out or with a different zoom centre. It worked brilliantly. And, well, you can't do exactly the same on the Lumia 930 or 950. But you can get close... with caveats!
So, with my review of the very Windows 10 Mobile-friendly Fitbit Versa concluded a couple of days ago, I'm staying on a wearable theme with a look back (and forward) at the Microsoft Band 2, still a valid choice for Windows phone users - as long as you don't destroy it with your specific fitness regime. I've been using my Band 2 again and am appreciating it more than ever...
This one's been rumbling around for a while, but I wanted to put it to bed... one way or another. In brief, Photos sometimes shows broken thumbnails for images on OneDrive and when you try to tap through anyway, you're told that the photo is unavailable and that you should 'check your Internet connection'. Which is quite clearly absolute tosh - but what's actually going on?