Recent Features

Head to head: Lumia 950 XL vs cutting edge Sony Xperia '1 mk II'

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In the latest of my series of looks at alternatives to a favourite Lumia flagship, I bring you a head to head with the brand new Sony Xperia 1 II (said 'one mark two'), claiming pro-level imaging (including an optional DSLR-like interface and pro-grade video shooting tools). There's an awful lot packed into this £1000 Android handset, so let's get started... (And yes, an imaging shoot-out is next!)

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A six way imaging head to head: Realme X3 SuperZoom vs Nokia 808/1020, etc.

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The arrival of the Realme X3 SuperZoom, another smartphone with much hyped zoom camera system had me scurrying for some zoom favourites of yesteryear for AAS and AAWP readers, plus I also threw in the current champions, the iPhone 11 Pro and Huawei P40 Pro, for good measure. Six contenders then and I'll throw various zoom and low light use cases at them. Note that it's not all about extreme zoom, as I contended in an editorial last week, sometimes it's about zoom versatility.

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Head to head: Lumia 950 XL vs POCO F2 Pro

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The choices of which Android smartphone to jump to are legion, of course. But I do try and provide some useful hands-on comparisons, with this week's instalment looking at the brand new (Xiaomi-made) POCO F2 Pro, providing top internal specs for a relative pittance. Here's how the specs match up, and don't worry, imaging is core for most of us, so there will be a camera head to head in a couple of days. Coming right up!

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How to: see Windows 10 Mobile's hidden Task Manager and Resource Monitor

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OK, this is extremely geeky, but if you're a Windows 10 enthusiast then the chances are that you know how to bring up Task Manager on a Desktop PC. But what about on Mobile? As it turns out, there's a hidden, browser-accessible task management interface in Windows 10 Mobile. You just have to know how to get to it! So if you're on the hunt for a rogue, battery-draining process on your phone then try this little known troubleshooting technique...

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Three years on: What's in Steve's phone-centric toolkit? (2020)

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Three years ago, I let the world know what was in my mobile IT kit, the accessories I group together in the house and take with me on any serious journey to family etc. What inevitably happens in all locations is that, as the 'tech guy', I'm the one people turn to connect A to B, to adapt C to D, to provide power in the middle of nowhere, you get the idea. I'm sure the same is true for you! In compiling this, hopefully of interest and with helpful hyperlinks, I was surprised by just how much had changed, with more capable items replacing older tech, etc.

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(Lumia 1020-esque) 'Image reframing' in 2020... on the iPhone

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One of the jewels in the Lumia 1020's imaging workflow was something called 'reframing'. By keeping a high resolution (34/38MP) photo behind the scenes, the selected 5MP output could be 'reframed' after the fact - cropping differently, rotating, and so on. And although this system isn't quite matched these days, I wanted to give a glimpse into what Apple's done with the iPhone 11 Pro, offering reframing of sorts with its 'crop/discard' (after the fact) function and with its unique expandable frame system. Pictures being worth a thousand words here, see the examples and explanations below.

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How to: Watch Disney+ on Windows 10 Mobile

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We're used to 2020 services not being available to 'ye olde' Windows 10 Mobile, but in fact the new Disney+ streaming system works perfectly on the platform (even though it's not advertised as such). Now, there's a slight caveat in that it runs inside the Edge browser, i.e. it's not an 'app', so you get a browser UI while choosing something to watch, plus Disney+ isn't expecting a phone (even a Lumia 950) with such a relatively slow processor to handle its streams, so the experience isn't exactly snappy. But it does work and you'll be watching Disney+ movies in under 30 seconds from logging in. Who knew? (Certainly not Disney!)

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The curated UWP app directory for Windows 10 Mobile: Summer 2020 update

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Two months on from the previous update, and now moving to a 'quarterly' update schedule, here is the 'Summer 2020 directory', the AAWP directory of curated UWP applications, those with native Windows 10 UI and which support different orientations, Continuum and even use on laptop or tablet. Do please get involved in the comments to this new URL (the number on the previous story was getting too cumbersome) to let us know of anything which has stopped working.

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Juha Alakarhu on the Nokia 808, Lumia 1020, and more...

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A blast from the past, but I had the pleasure of interviewing Juha Alakarhu on my most recent Phones Show Chat podcast, published yesterday and embedded below. Juha is, of course, the man who co-crafted the cameras in the Nokia 808 and Lumia 1020 (and various Nseries and the Lumia 950 before and after) - and is respected as something of an imaging guru in the industry. Do have a listen, he reveals some of the background to the two champion 41MP camera phones, including just how hard the 1020 was, in particular, having to combine the 808's power with the expected OIS after the Lumia 920's release.

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