I have to confess - even after writing hundreds of articles about smartphone imaging I still get confused sometimes about digital zoom, especially in the realm of PureView. Exactly how far can you zoom in, on each device, for stills or video? What are the limits and what happens if you go beyond them? Here’s a helpful guide that I prepared earlier.
With the movement of its feature phone business (acquired from Nokia as part of the deal) to a joint Finnish/Chinese partnership (HMD/Foxconn), Microsoft also made it clear that there won’t be any new Lumias for the time being, but that doesn’t mean no new Windows 10 Mobile smartphones. In fact, there are quite a few companies now involved in the ecosystem, so I thought I’d enumerate and introduce them. Some you’ll have heard of, some you won’t.
Yes, it's the second imaging shootout of the week, sometimes these things get bunched up and the LG G5 and HTC 10 arrived on the same day - both with pretensions at the Lumia 950's imaging crown. With totally different native resolutions though, meaning that in order to use our comparator I had to go out and shoot different test scenes at different times - here's the result of the 16MP fight between the Lumia 950 and LG G5.
With the HTC 10 now in for review on The Phones Show, I couldn't resist pitching it (it claims camera prowess) against the Lumia 950, looking at image quality. And, me being me and this being AAWP, I couldn't resist throwing in some comparisons with the classic Lumia 1020 as well - a different beast, but it does provide a known benchmark of sorts for what a phone camera can do.
One of the requests in the comments recently was to test audio capture when shooting videos. And, as it happens, I'd been thinking about doing this for a while anyway. So I headed out with six smartphones and tried to shoot video and audio in as controlled conditions as possible: in a quiet garden, by a windy, noisy road, and in a rock-level music setting. That should be enough to set the best from the rest, I thought...
Half the fun in setting up any new smartphone is, I content, configuring its home screen or, in this case, its 'Start' screen, since we're talking Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile. In fact, the live tiles and amount of information and flexibility being put forwards has drawn admirers from other smartphone ecosystems, so Microsoft has definitely been doing something right here. But how should your Start screen look? Are there any hard and fast rules to follow or gotchas? Well, not really, but I can provide some pointers, at least.
It has been a long time since I looked at video editors for Windows Phone, usually in single reviews, and besides we now have a whole new platform in play. So you've shot a bunch of home videos on your Windows 10 Mobile smartphone and would like a way to massage them neatly together in order to get the result up on YouTube, Facebook, Dropbox, OneDrive, or similar? Here are your current software options.
OK, it seems that my comprehensive Venn diagram was a little too confusing for some readers - which is fair enough. Maybe it was a little ambitious. So I've broken things down more simply below. Here, in a single diagram is what will/should happen to your current Windows phone* in the coming 12-24 months. It also represents my own recommendations, you don't have to follow them, you know...(!)
In my hopefully common-sense-strewn advice about keeping some older Lumias (mainly the 1020 and any phone with only 512MB RAM) on Windows Phone 8.1, I have to emphasise that there are huge advantages in upgrading your Lumia, whether officially or unofficially, via the Insider programme. True, your smartphone will be slightly slower overall - but the advantages outweigh the caveats, I'm convinced. Not least because your phone will be able to run UWPs (Universal Windows Programs) properly, i.e. it'll be part of the full, 300 million-strong Windows 10 ecosystem.
The latest generation of Google Nexus devices claimed to have a 'powerful' camera with 'larger 1.55μ pixels that let in more light'. The Nexus 6P is a close match for the Lumia 950 XL in many ways, meaning that I couldn't resist pitching these two heavyweight phablets together, here in terms of the photos that they can capture.