Recent Features - Hardware

Why are we stuck at 75% (screen-to-body ratio)?

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Despite the various pros and cons for 'touch' over the years, we're firmly in a mode in the tech world now where touch makes the most sense, in terms of text input, controls and general interaction. So why haven't we seen screen sizes increase to fill most of the front area of our phones? I examine the history of the form factor, in terms of screen-to-body ratio, and wonder whether we can't have our cake and eat it, in terms of phones that are manageable yet with monster displays...

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Lumia imaging and 'the infinity problem'

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If I've heard one complaint about Windows Phone cameras and flagships like the Lumia 1020 and 950 over and over again it's this: "when I set the focus (manually) to 'infinity', my landscape photos are blurred". Thankfully, this issue is easy to demonstrate and to understand - and, indeed, to solve - or at least work around. I explain all below.

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Smartphone head to head: Lumia 950 vs Alcatel Idol 4

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With the Lumia 950 heading firmly into the mid-tier in terms of pricing, if not specifications, it's becoming more appropriate to compare it to the latest breed of high-spec mid-tier Android smartphones - typically those from brands other than Samsung, Sony and HTC. In this case Alcatel, whose Idol range has been creeping up ever further from the budget end of the market each year. With the brand new Idol 4 in hand, I compare it to the Lumia 950, blow for blow.

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First impressions of the HP Elite X3, Desk Dock and HP Lapdock

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Rafe and I were fortunate to spend some time recently with the HP Elite X3, its desk dock and lapdock. The phone itself was near final fit and finish and seemed almost ready for retail, ditto the desk dock, while the HP Lap Dock was a genuine prototype, but then this isn't scheduled to ship until (at least) a month after the Elite X3 itself. Read on for our first impressions of this 'evolution' in computing from HP.

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Smartphone head to head: Lumia 950 XL vs OnePlus 3

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When it comes to 2016 specifications at the flagship level, we're talking screens up in the 5.5"+ region, fast processors, killer cameras, and so on. Microsoft's Windows 10 Contender is the Lumia 950 XL and seemed relatively competitive until I put it side by side here with the very latest bargain du jour, the OnePlus 3. How do the two flagships stack up, blow by blow?

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Not just payments - let's (still) hear it for NFC for connecting to accessories

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Although it's noteworthy that Daniel over at WC in the USA, armed with an internal build of Microsoft Wallet on the latest Insiders build of Redstone and with the very latest Bank of America UWP, was able to buy a hamburger using just his Lumia 950, it's fair to say that it'll be several months at least (if not years) before this hits the mainstream, i.e. Windows 10 Mobile devices around the world with appropriate banking applications on the platform and with the service enabled in their home countries. But a recent deficiency in the Lumia 950 XL reminded me of another really convenient use (or two) for NFC in our modern smartphones....

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Windows 10 Mobile flagships compared, 2016 (part 1)

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It's all very well having been accustomed to the Microsoft pairing of the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, but there's a good chance that we won't see any new hardware from Microsoft until 2017, in which case any upcoming device excitement will come from Microsoft's partners. We already know of a few of these, so I thought a detailed comparison might be in order. Is the 950 XL still going to be top of the heap or are there other subtleties involved?

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Camera phone head to head - Lumia 950 vs Sony Xperia X

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Another Android 'flagship' in for Phones Show review, another chance to pitch its camera against a decent data point in the Windows 10 Mobile world. In this case the 8MP output matches up almost exactly with the oversampled photos from the Lumia 950 (and 950 XL), meaning that I can make abundant use of our interactive comparator tool (woohoo!) Oh, and take a shot of whisky before reading on if you're a Sony fan....

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Hiking (cough - 'Exploring') with the Microsoft Band 2

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You may remember that a recent update to the Microsoft Band 2 added a new hiking tile? Well, there was a corresponding update to the Microsoft Health application and I've been trying the whole system out when off for a walk in my local area and, though I'm yet to test it on an all-day hike (I'll leave that to Rafe and the wilds of Wales!), I've been quite impressed. Here's a write-up of what to expect with the Band 2 in 'hiking' mode.

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