Recent Features

Microsoft's Windows 10 event in summary

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Microsoft’s recent Windows 10 event offered a consumer preview of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets and phones, but also unveiled HoloLens, a holographic computing platform. In this feature we provide a summary of the key themes (Windows 10, HoloLens, and Surface Hub) that emerged, with an added emphasis on the non-Windows Phone elements, complementing our other coverage.

# Posted by Rafe in Features || Comments

Lumia 830 or 930? Flexibility versus Power

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I've compared the Lumia 830 and 930 before, of course, as part of the review of the former, but with Lumia Denim almost upon each device officially (only out for a few product codes) and with Windows 10 announced for later in 2015, a question on Twitter spurred me into a fresh appraisal of the two Nokia phone-sized Windows Phone 'flagships'. They're so different - in the light of Windows 10, which is the best to go for?

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Mid-range camera phone head to head: Lumia 830 vs HTC Desire EYE

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The mid-range really does seem to be 'where it's at', in terms of value for money these days, with almost flagship specs at half the cost of the cutting edge. Nokia's (ok, now Microsoft's) Lumia 830 is now down to about £250 all in, while the brand new HTC Desire EYE is, in theory, a lot more, but can be found at around £330 right now if you shop around, so the two devices aren't a million miles apart. And, with the 830's camera not using any oversampling, the EYE's output should be pretty comparable in terms of resolution. Close enough for an AAWP head to head anyway.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Clarifying what Denim means to the top end Lumia smartphones... and to the rest

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With Lumia Denim rolling out as I write this (you saw the promo video introducing the main features), I thought it would be useful to clarify which top end Lumia is getting which feature as a result of the update, and also tackle a few Frequently Asked Questions. Denim, including Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, is a huge update to all Lumias, not just the top end devices.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

How to: tilt shift a photo in Creative Studio on Windows Phone

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Tilt-shifting a photo is a relatively modern effect and, it's true to say, rarely approaches truly 'tilt-shifted' photos, done the 'proper' way (see below). However, it can be very effective with the right subject and, best of all, it's something you can do for free, right now, using the 'Lumia Creative Studio' application that's almost certainly installed on your Windows Phone right now. No need for extra software, no need to pay, no need for special skills. Just pick the right photo, adjust the effect and then knock everyone's socks off with the results...

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

How to: get album art (from iTunes) onto your Windows Phone

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If you're anything like me, your digital music collection is something of a mish mash. Even collated into iTunes on your PC or Mac, it's still a mix of stuff you've ripped from your CDs, stuff you've bought online, stuff you've downloaded for free legally (and occasionally from less official sources), and so on. Some tracks are encoded in MP3, some as .m4a (AAC), some even Windows Media Audio, and all in a wide variety of bit rates and encoding schemes. Little of which matters as long as the music sounds good on your phone, right? Except that the chances are that at least a handful of albums of music copied over from iTunes haven't got album artwork and it's annoying seeing black, empty squares where there should be creative art.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Simple pleasures, a weekend colour change in the mid-range and low end

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I do realise that simply changing the colour of an item of technology is utterly trivial in one sense, but it's also very satisfying when it's you that has to live with it day to day. Back in the mid 2000s, Nokia introduced the idea of Xpress-On covers for many of its Symbian smartphones, changing the look and feel 'according to your mood'. And, with Nokia's/Microsoft's Windows Phone low and mid range, the same is now true for almost every handset. You just have to know where to find the various colours... Me? I ended up with a Lumia 830 that looks altogether more classy...

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Where is Lumia Denim? Where is Lumia Camera 5? Patience needed, it seems...

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Ever since the launch of the Lumia 830 at IFA 2014, with demos of the new Lumia Camera 5 software on the 830 and 930, along with the Denim platform update, enthusiasts like me (with these devices, plus the 1520) have been hitting 'check for updates' in both the Store application and in Settings, all to no avail. What is going on here? While attesting that I'm as frustrated as the next person, here's my best guess.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Do AMOLED phone screens degrade over time? Yes, proof time, but...

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AMOLED is the technology used in Windows Phones like the Lumia 1020, 925 and 735 (among others) and has a number of big advantages, not least true 'blacks', faster frame rates, more saturated colours and potential power savings if dark themed applications are mainly used. However, you'll have noticed that quite a number of other Lumias (and other manufacturer Windows Phones) tend to use LCD displays, with the advantage of more consistent power output, more neutral colours and slightly lower cost. But - the key thing I wanted to know was - are worries over AMOLED screens not lasting as long warranted?

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Welcome to 2016! - here's the Story of 2015

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Back from the end of 2015, thanks to a Rafe-designed javascript time capsule, I report back on the timeline of the year, at least from a Microsoft and Windows Phone point of view. Another year of solid growth, plenty of interesting titbits, though with 2016 - allied to Windows 10 itself - now looking like the real year of 'explosive' growth. Always 'jam tomorrow', eh?

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

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