In this specific group test. I look at capturing high decibel music on a variety of new and classic smartphone cameras, four of which also have OIS to help keep the picture steady too. Add in low light conditions and a dozen factors trying to throw auto-focus out and you have the recipe for a decent multi-device group test. In the ring here were the Nokia 808 PureView, Lumia 1020, Lumia 930, Microsoft 640 XL, Google Nexus 6 and LG G4. Four of the six have OIS, at least three have HAAC microphones, and one has hardware oversampling per frame in real time. Game on!
Somewhat quietly, Lumia Camera Classic (i.e. not the new version 5.x) has been withdrawn from availability in the Windows Phone Store for the Lumia 830, 930 and 1520. This is significant because it takes away the choice between Nokia/Microsoft's 'classic' image processing and the newer 'enhanced' algorithms. From now on, it's enhanced or nothing*. As you'll see from my data points below, both generations of image processing have their pros and cons - I just would have liked to always have the choice.
It's all very well using an old classic like the (two year old) Lumia 1020: great camera, flash, and so forth. But, as I've documented here, the AMOLED screen ages significantly, plus the battery isn't what it once was. What better way to refresh the 1020 than give it a brand new screen and battery? Warning: scary screwdriver action follows - do not try this at home. Unless you really want to!
Still to be emulated fully on any other mobile platform, Glance screen remains one of the most pleasant features of many Windows Phones. But all implementations are not equal - so which devices have it and what are the caveats? I colour code things below! Also, what about upcoming Windows-running phones? What does the future hold for Glance?
'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.
In the interview below, I fire a load of questions at Leila Martine, Head of New Devices for Microsoft UK, concerning the new Microsoft Band and the company's ambitions for it. As you might expect, the reponses are guarded and defensive, but they still make interesting reading. Plus, I get in some more comments of my own along the way.
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!
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.)
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.
Two years ago, it was accepted that Nokia led the camera phone market by some way. Devices like the niche 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 were way out in front and even the slightly cut down Lumia 930 and 1520 (with 1/2.5" sensors) were leading the rest. However, the latest iPhones and, in particular, the latest Android flagships, in the Galaxy S6 and LG G4 have now matched the Nokias and even exceeded them in terms of aperture, processing speed and functions. In this feature, I put the Lumia 930 (and later, the 1020) head to head, pixel to pixel, against the newest and best Android smartphone camera, in the LG G4.