Recent Features

Video sound capture tested: 808/1020/950/Marshall

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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...

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Your Start screen and tile layout - let the world admire it!

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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.

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Video editing app round-up for Windows 10 Mobile

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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.

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FAQ: the future of current Windows phones

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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...(!)

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UWPs perhaps the biggest benefit of forcing the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade

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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.

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10 reasons to keep your Lumia 1020 on Windows Phone 8.1

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Reading through all the comments on previous stories, I'm gathering that there's still some indecision as to whether to put the beloved Nokia Lumia 1020 up to Windows 10 Mobile, against Microsoft's official advice, via the Insiders Program and its 'Threshold' Release Preview ring. In an attempt to come down again on one side or another, here are my top 10 reasons why you should definitely keep the 41MP-sensored monster on the older OS.

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How to: Revert from the Windows 10 Mobile 'Redstone' Insiders branches to 'Threshold'

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As anyone who's messed around with operating systems or technology knows, it's easy (and tested) to upgrade an OS, it's usually a lot harder to downgrade (since all the old files have previously been blown away by the upgrade!) So, needing to downgrade from Windows 10 Mobile 'Redstone' Insider builds back to the more stable, fully working pastures of 'Threshold' (the 10586.xxx current production branch), I knew I'd hit a hiccup or two along the way - but I also wanted to bring you along for the ride, in case you also need to revert to an earlier version at some stage.

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Xenon or triple LED? Investigating camera phone flash capabilities

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One of the most popular sub-topics in my features on camera-toting smartphones is low light and night time capabilities. Now, partly this is about arty shots of sunsets, churches and fountains, but more usually in the real world this is about friends and family in living rooms, pubs and events. Which usually means relying on your smartphone camera's flash. With LED flash now coming in 'triple' form and with many differences in processing capabilities under the hood, I thought some tests were in order. Will Xenon, the original winning tech, still come out on top?

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Wall of sound: Smartphone speakers tested!

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One of the core components in any smartphone that rarely gets much attention is its speaker. Now, often this is because city dwellers rarely get a chance to 'crank it up' without annoying people, so headphones are de rigeur, but for the rest of us, having a decent speaker in a phone is actually quite important. Sat-nav instructions in the car, speakerphone calls at the office, podcasts around the house, even a makeshift ambient music player for the bathroom or bedroom. Here I test some of the more popular Lumias against the best of the competition.

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