Recent Features - How To

Windows 10 Mobile from scratch - in 2020

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The question is a tantalising one. How would someone get on setting up a Windows 10 Mobile smartphone from scratch... in 2020? i.e. a starting point of up to date security but no more updates to come - ever, plus a patchy set of mainstream services. I keep the latter tabulated and up to date here, but I also thought it worth documenting how everything comes together (or not) on a freshly factory reset Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro, certainly the slickest and shiniest (and boy, is it slippery) Windows phone ever made.

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Status report for January 2020: Services on Windows 10 Mobile

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With some social applications, comms apps and Microsoft services being phased out as time goes on, I thought a ready reference table of where Windows 10 Mobile stands would be useful. And I'll revisit this every month to update each section as needed. In summary, there's likely to be little disruption to 'normal' activities this year but a few more caveats in 2020, now that Windows 10 Mobile is out of official support. [This is the January 2020 update, a month on from the previous one.]

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Into 2020: Looking at Facebook access under Windows 10 Mobile...

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With Facebook having stopped their first party (OSmeta-based and very bloated) applications for Windows 10 Mobile months ago, users have had to look elsewhere for their fix of family news and jokes. So what options are still working and what about Facebook Messanger and Instagram (also now part of Facebook's empire)? I investigate, in this last feature before Christmas. (AAWP will be back on December 27th.)

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How to: Read PDF files on Windows 10 Mobile (2019)

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A few years ago I rounded up ways to view (and edit) PDF files under Windows 10 Mobile, prompted by Microsoft's Edge browser failing at the time to read these (usually) reference files. Happily, Edge has been sorted out in the meantime, plus some of the third party options have changed, so here's a more up to date round-up!

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Audio matters: late 2019 video data point

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In my video stabilisation feature here, I was asked in the comments to do a test of audio capture in video mode - i.e. how good are modern microphones in smartphones? The short answer is: very good. Gone are the bad old days of Nokia being the only manufacturer that cared enough about audio to put decent high amplitude microphones in its smartphones. See below for video and audio proof.

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How to: Wipe a Windows 10 Mobile phone

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Whether you're wiping a Lumia to give it to someone else, or to sell it, or you're just being super-cautious about which devices have your data on, there will be occasions when a phone needs a full factory reset. Yes, there's a finnicky button sequence to do this on a Windows 10 Mobile phone, but don't worry, there's also an official way, through Settings. Here's a walk-through...

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Anatomy of a (Lumia) photo #17: Remembrance

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In advance of Remembrance Sunday,  a nice little installation is in place at St Mary's, in Bishops Lydeard, in the UK, and I attempted to get a shot of this (unlit) piece against the traditionally floodlit church at night. I succeeded, but I did an iPhone too, as I'll explain!

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Astro-what? Shooting for the stars - don't get your hopes up!

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You may have noticed that when Google launched the Pixel 4 series recently, it emphasised the 'astrophotography' capability. Essentially, when the phone's mounted in a tripod of some kind (and thus not moving), the software switches into 'astrophotography' mode and allows exposures (presumably at crazy low ISO) of up to four minutes. Does this work? And what happens if you try the same on an iPhone 11 Pro? Or even... a Lumia 950? In short, don't get your hopes up for any of them!

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Imaging showdown: Lumia 950, iPhone 11 Pro (with Deep Fusion), Google Pixel 4 XL

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This could be the one readers have been waiting for. The classic modern day PureView Lumia camera phone versus the upgraded (Deep Fusion) iPhone 11 Pro versus the brand new Google Pixel 4 XL. All three employ multi-exposure, multi-pixel sampling and other computational tricks. The Lumia is obviously the old boy here, hailing from 2015, but as I start the shootout I've still no idea which will win out. I guess it depends on how much zooming I test! (PS. I include a Halloween bonus shot, just for fun!) (Updated: with 'party' shot, by request)

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Life after Lumias? My top 5 smartphone replacements (end 2019)

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Four months is a long time in the phone world - I last opined on this topic in (only) July, yet my picks have changed significantly! I've pitched this as my top picks for smartphones to replace a Lumia 950/930 or perhaps an IDOL 4 Pro or Elite x3, going forwards into 2020 as Windows 10 Mobile stops being supported and as services gradually start to wind down. I've tested just about everything on the market and here's my verdict, with just one eye on price and value for money as well (though this isn't critical).

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