Recent Features - How To

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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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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'There's a Favourite for that!' (2014 edition!)

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The relationship between services and mobile devices has been through a few changes over the years, of course. The first iPhones didn't even support third party applications, while Windows Phone is widely perceived to have an 'app gap', despite there being hundreds of thousands of titles in its official Store. In both cases, it's the Web that picks up the slack, for those 'niche' services that may not (yet) have an official offering in the Store.

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Why pixel peeping is important... even though it's not!

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I've acquired something of a reputation of being obsessive about ultra-naturalistic, pixel-perfect photo quality and blind to the overall picture - after all, don't 'normal' people look at photos as-is, complete? And, with this in mind, I'd like to set a few things straight - I'm not against image effects, I'm not against post processing, and I'm certainly not advocating others go around looking at their photos under a magnifying glass or zooming them in to see individual pixels. But there is method in my madness...

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Smartphone nirvana doesn't mean no effort is needed!

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I suspect I'm going to have people comparing me with the pot calling the kettle black here, considering the number of smartphones I get through, but more and more I'm realising that a lot of what's really smart about a smartphone is you - and your own set-up and preferences. In other words, chasing the very latest models and swapping devices every few months is - no doubt - fun, but it's expensive and at the end of the day I bet you set up your home/Start screens almost identically to those of your one or two year old devices - I know I do.

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How to: 10 top tips for shooting better videos on the Lumia 1520, 930 and 1020

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Although I covered something along these lines almost three years ago and, let's be honest, a lot of the basics of video shooting haven't changed much, I wanted to update my feature for 2014 and the much newer devices and their capabilities. For completeness, as much as anything. In other words, I wanted all the best of our smartphone camera video capture tips in one piece, in one place. Hopefully something worth bookmarking and pointing people towards?

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How to: Look up reference words and phrases from Internet Explorer

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It's not entirely clear how this tip will translate into the Windows Phone world once Cortana hits (outside the USA), but it's a favourite of mine that hasn't been covered here on AAWP before, so.... Here's how to look something up directly from quoted web page text! Whether it's a word you don't recognise, a place you want to find or a subject you want to know more about, IE and the search control are your friends...

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