I've heard it said that Nokia's monster camera phone, the Lumia 1020, is "rubbish in low light because it doesn't focus fast enough". I disagree - what's happening here, and equally applicable to every other Windows Phone camera, is that there's not enough understanding by users on how camera phones focus in the first place. Which is why I thought a 'how to' article might be appropriate. Turns out that focussing can be happily controlled after all...
Recent Features - How To
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...
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!
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!
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.
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.
Consider this a kludge of sorts, but sometimes you just don't want to see all those square tiles on your Start screen, however prettily translucent. Sometimes you don't want tiles - at all! If you're feeling the urge to just have your information and icons 'hanging there' then see below.
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...
In something of a guest post, James Murray tells of perhaps the ugliest hardware hack I've seen for a while - yet one which obviously fulfills a need, one which Nokia should have perhaps considered when designing the Lumia 1020 in the first place?
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.