Recent Features - Software

How to: Improve photos with Lumia Creative Studio. Welcome to the world of image processing...

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'Filters', as referred to by many an app and article on other sites and in other ecosystems, are crude, very crude examples of image processing. Even more so when users take the photo with these bastardisations already applied, i.e. there's no way back. But this doesn't mean that it's wrong to think about processing photos take on a Windows Phone. Even on the phone itself, perhaps before sharing. Happily, Microsoft provides Lumia Creative Studio for all its own smartphones - and below I discuss what's going on and provide some guidance and tips.

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The top 10 Microsoft Band applications for Windows Phone

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Having reviewed the Microsoft Band recently, and been wearing it every day, I'm amassing quite a lot of data and experience. And, with Microsoft having released a Band SDK, we're starting to see all sorts of useful applications pop up in the Store that can take the accessory further. Here's my top 10, as at the end of May 2015, anyway. I'm sure the list will need updating in six months time!

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Cortana vs Siri vs Google Now vs Blackberry Assistant - fight!

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Each of the major smartphone platforms has its own voice assistant, but which is better for real world use? They're all getting smarter each year, of course, as their back-ends get upgraded, but at this point in 2015 I wanted to conduct a 'blind' test and get a data point or two. Or ten. The winner might surprise you too - Cortana was the early favourite, anecdotally, but an old hand stepped up to the plate in the end...

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How to: get stunning 8MP action 'Moments' of kids, waves, and more, with the Lumia 930/1520

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One of the most frustrating things about snapping photos of family is that anyone under about ten years of age just doesn't keep still. Not that you'd necessarily want them to a lot of the time, since a kid or pet doing something active, caught mid-stride, can be really effective and show off more of their character than an attempt at a traditional posed shot. The same applies to pets, wildlife and even nature itself, but there's a solution if you have the Lumia 930/Icon or 1520, as Rafe and I demonstrate below. (In fact, much of what follows also applies to the Lumia 830 and even the 640/640 XL too, albeit at much lower output resolution.)

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Exploring Hyperlapse Mobile, building in Movie Creator

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Launched yesterday, Hyperlapse Mobile is already proving an interesting video utility, though I thought it worth pointing out some caveats and tips based on my own experiences so far. In short, it's still something of a novelty, but there's a lot of fun to be had and fully edited and polished hyperlapses can be rendered and then stitched/edited entirely on your Windows Phone.

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How to: Make professional videos in Microsoft Movie Creator

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I reviewed Movie Creator back in November 2014, but the system just got itself a big update to support 4K video, i.e. burst or manually-selected video capture on the Lumia 930/Icon and 1520 - and, no doubt, future devices. In addition, there's now full integration with OneDrive, so the media you include doesn't have to exist on the Windows Phone being used to edit video anymore. Add in a few more enhancements for this new version and the time is right to see what Movie Creator can really do. Here's a tutorial to get you started.

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How to: ditch Photos and use Lumia Storyteller instead...

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The apparent duplication in having both Windows Phone 'Photos' and 'Lumia Storyteller' on most Lumias is a little confusing, but a little investigation reveals that the latter can on the whole be used as a replacement for the former, and with significant extra features and tie-ins. It doesn't make much difference for the everyday Lumia, but for the Lumia Camera 5-compatible smartphones, it's very worthwhile making the switch, opening up the full gamut of modern features.

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Twitter clients on Windows Phone for the end of March 2015

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Group tests of Twitter clients on any platform are always a little transient on any platform because of Twitter's own (crazy) client token limits, meaning that any third party application that gets really popular effectively gets shut down when it gets to 100,000 users. Such was the fate of several applications on Windows Phone, with Mehdoh and Rowi bowing out for this and other reasons. Begging the question at the end of March 2015, with a very serviceable first party client for the platform, of whether it's worth going third party at all any more and if so, which application to choose? This is my much updated look at Twitter clients, now with six apps in the mix.

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Investigation: Lumia Camera Classic or Camera v5?

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The story so far, I looked in detail at the image processing differences between the 'old' Nokia/Lumia Camera (Classic) and the new Lumia Camera 5 here. Summary? Greater saturation of colours, less noise reduction, increased contrast. Pros and cons all round. But we cheated slightly, using different devices, plus we should also factor the possibility of Rich Capture. Exactly which of all these gives the best photo results?

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