When a smartphone falls out of use in your life, there's a temptation to find a good home for it. Often a family member, often a second hand market like eBay, but sometimes - just sometimes - the phone is special enough, is unique enough, in fact is downright collectable enough, that you might like to hang onto it. Not necessarily just for pecuniary reasons, but perhaps sentimental reasons as well. As an example, I've picked out a dozen smartphones from my own collection that fit this bill. Classics one and all...
You'd think things would be simple, wouldn't you? Shoot a photo in low light, select the 2x or 3x (or whatever) telephoto camera in your phone and snap. You'd think that you've just shot a low light photo with the physical telephoto camera in your phone, but that's not always the case... Even with the latest multi-frame techniques, phone camera software can still take the executive decision to forget a telephoto lens altogether and provide a digitally zoomed shot from the main lens if it thinks results will be better. Some thoughts and tests below, though don't worry too much - with smartphones from the last few years, light has to get really low before the extra lens is taken away from your imaging armoury.
With apologies to Will Shakespeare, that is the question. Folding smartphones are one of the hottest (and most expensive) tickets in the phone world in the last two years, and for good reason. But how do we feel about the various ways manufacturers are approaching the concept? Is there a winning design yet? Which is most elegant? And/of future proof? So many questions and I'll have a crack at answering them below.
It's something of a tradition for me to compile a 'Top 5 Phones' each Christmas for my Phones Show, so see that embedded below. But I thought a textual version, slightly edited, and - crucially - with hyperlinks, might also be of use and/or interest. There's no specific comparison to tech of the past or a list of requirements, but as usual with me, the more gadgets in a device, the better...! To whet your appetite, the Top 5 is 60% Android and 40% iOS - and the new champion from Microsoft is 'bubbling under'.
In the latest in our occasional series on smartphone photography, I may have moved on from a Lumia as a day to day phone, but the ideas and ambitions are still there. In this example, I use the latest Google Pixel to illustrate the decisions behind what to frame in order to preserve a subject's character. Yes, a little pretentious, but bear with me. See what you think and don't forget to think about sending in your own best shots and the story behind them!
I've said for a while that in some ways the Sony Xperia 5 ii (and the newer mark 'iii', which I'm hoping to get back in) is a modern day Lumia 1020 in terms of who it's aimed at. Think about it. A focus (pun intended) on pure imaging, with Pro camera controls, a degree of genuine zoom, a physical shutter button, excellent 3.5mm audio out (and microphone 'in'), decent speakers (ok, the 1020 is just mono), all in a form factor that's genuinely pocketable (unusual for 2021). With this in mind, and - obviously - just for fun, I thought I'd take advantage of a decently sunny winter day to pitch the two phone cameras head to head for the first time on the All About sites.
One of the biggest services that is still easily accessible under Windows 10 Mobile at the end of 2021 is YouTube. But even here there are some caveats and notes, which is why I thought a round-up would be a good thing. Exactly which are the best ways to catch up with your YouTube subscriptions and suggested playlists two years after the platform itself stopped being supported by Microsoft?
Having reviewed the new Google Pixel 6 Pro and done a camera comparison with the iPhone 12 Pro Max, I did also promise a comparison with a Lumia. And, tempted though I was to break out the trusty Lumia 1020, it's not a viable option (without account access or a working Store) in any way as a smartphone in 2021. So it's back to the trusty Lumia 950 XL, my reference point for all camera phones post-2015.
Perhaps provoked by a growing 'Right to Repair' movement and possible legislation in several markets, Apple announced 'Self Service Repair' last week. Which sounds fantastic - break a phone screen, need a new battery, just do-it-yourself. Except that despite what Apple might hint at first, Self Service Repair isn't for the likes of you and I. Nor should it be. When I want an unusually tricky job done properly around the house, I don't just get the right tools in from a DIY superstore, I get an experienced tradesperson in who has done the job a thousand times. And it's the same with smartphone hardware, I contend.
After my initial enthusiasm for the imaging potential of the Google Pixel 6 Pro, I've mainly seen this endorsed by results, but I do have to add a massive caveat - which I've entitled the 'zoom gap' and which we'll come to below. In terms of a smartphone camera to compare it to, any from the last year or so would do, just as a data point. But I included my iPhone 12 Pro Max*, here in its default-everything mode (so no ProRAW). I do still think the Pixel 6 Pro has potential, but Google has work to do to try and bring its 'Super Res Zoom' to the phone's main camera before I'll fully recommend it to others.