Recent Features - Hardware

The 'as is' Lumia 950/P30 Pro '185' shootout

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Credit to Huawei (whatever they may or may not be doing to rub Donald Trump up the wrong way), they've been putting a lot of work into the P30 Pro smartphone's camera system, with update after update, each quoting imaging improvements. And for each update ('185' here) I test the phone (quoted by me as 'being what the Lumia 1020 would have been if Nokia had carried on development for the next five years') against some likely contenders. Here it's the benchmark flagship that's the Lumia 950 XL, but in a subtle twist I'm only looking at the main 40MP camera - I'm not involving that periscope 5x zoom. That way, any hyper zoom examples won't skew the scoring. Which of the two phone cameras can produce the high quality output?

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Media-centric smartphone head to head: IDOL 4 Pro vs Razer Phone 2

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The Windows 10 Mobile-powered Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro is one of the strongest media-centric smartphones from the last few years, whatever its other failings (cough - camera, slow fingerprint scanning). And, in my usual line of comparisons, I wanted to pitch it against something modern from the Android world that could match - or even beat - its video and music playback prowess. Enter the Razer Phone 2, belatedly in here for review, and used side by side with my Windows 10 phone for the last week.

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Head to head: Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro vs OnePlus 7 Pro

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It's a fair cop, AAWP phone feature comparisons are starting to be a little artificial, in that they're not direct 'on sale' competitors. But a great many AAWP readers will still be mulling over where to 'jump' when the time comes. From a Lumia 950 or, as here, from an Alcatel IDOL 4S or 4 Pro, for example. Here's my blow by blow, head to head with the top end OnePlus 7 Pro, I'll follow up with an imaging equivalent in a few days.

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AAWP's Top 5 smartphone accessories

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I often get asked which accessories I recommend - power banks, keyboards, headphones - and I've tested quite a few, so I thought it would be useful if I listed my Top 5 accessories, the ones I use day to day and which travel with me, either in a pocket or in my briefcase. All highly recommended, and I'll link back to my original reviews, for more information. In no particular order...

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Contrast and sharpening are overrated: purity should be the end goal...

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I realise I'm the lone voice shouting in the wilderness here, but after multiple comments on multiple imaging features here on AAWP I wanted to respond - with a real world example - of why higher contrast and sharpening may look better on the phone screen but they're 'damaged' photos and greater purity (yes, yes, 'PureView') is where phone camera makers should be aiming their shots...

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Budget smartphone super-camera shootout (950, One Vision, 3a XL, S9+)

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Four totally different smartphones, with two things in common - they can all be obtained for less than £400 and they all still - justifiably - claim to have world class imaging. And, with some decent weather in the UK for once, it's a golden opportunity to do a four way camera shootout. Can the AAWP champion Lumia 950 be bettered by such 'budget' Android imaging pretenders? Let's find out.

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Life after Lumias? Where next? The top 5 smartphone replacements

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In the past, I've mentioned a few examples of possible smartphones to consider jumping to if you reach the end of the road with your Windows phone, but I wanted to amplify this and give you the full picture, as of July 2019. Yes, Windows 10 Mobile still has six months of support left, but at some point even enthusiasts may reach the point where it becomes appropriate to wonder what might be next in our lives... Here are my Top 5 suggestions.

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How to: take the Lumia 735 up to branch 1709 and retain monthly updates

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The Lumia 735 (and 830 with it) were popular Lumias that, in theory, ended their Microsoft days on Windows 10 Mobile branch 1607 ('Anniversary Update'), for which monthly OS updates stopped six months ago. Yet most AAWP readers will have jumped on the Insiders programme a year or so ago at some point, and so most owners of these phones will now be on branch 1703 ('Creators Update', CU). And that too is now, officially, out of monthly support. So here's a step by step guide to 'faking' a more modern phone and getting any of these older phones onto branch 1709 ('Fall Creators Update', FCU) and thus back into a new six months of updates.

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