Recent Features

Goodbye, beloved Symbian... Hello, Windows Phone!

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1998 was the year. I got myself a second-hand Psion 5, running the grand daddy of mobile OS - EPOC, that evolved into Symbian. Yeah, the OS that we all love and hate in almost equal proportion. For the last 5 years, I have been exclusively on Symbian - Nokia 6120 Classic, E63, E72, N8 and finally, 808 PureView. Yet, mid 2014, it's time for a major change.

# Posted by Ow Kah in Features || Comments

Charting the hill that WP 8.1 has to climb to get decent battery life (vs Symbian/iOS/Android)

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"It's just got to get me through the day" is something often heard in relation to smartphones. And it's something that's very true - almost everyone has at least one opportunity in each 24 hour period to plug and charge a smartphone up. But, in an effort to assess complaints about battery life in the Developer Preview of Windows Phone 8.1, I set about a little scientific data collection - and uncovered the scale of how much Windows Phone needs to improve in terms of battery life... [updated]

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

How to (speed up) access (to) your backed-up photos on OneDrive

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There's a facility that's been there in Windows Phone for a while but which not a lot of people know about. You'll probably realise that all photos you take are archived onto OneDrive (SkyDrive, before it), with quality as set in your Settings, but did you know that these are all accessible, any time, through the standard Photos hub/app and that you can speed up access to this archive with a little pre-caching and thumbnail-building?

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Changes to Windows Phone's ('Best') photo auto-upload system going forwards

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If you, like us, have been using a Nokia PureView oversampling device like the Lumia 1020 or 1520 with the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview then you'll have noted something rather odd. The photos backed up to OneDrive automatically are the full 34/16MP versions (at 16:9) rather than the 5MP oversampled versions previously sent up the virtual wires under Windows Phone 8.0. As it turns out, after talking to the people involved, Nokia (and Microsoft) are changing what's supposed to happen, as explained below.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

What's in a name? Lumia, HERE? Timing, brands, and.... conspiracy?

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Microsoft, Nokia, Lumia, HERE, all brands and names that are prominent in the world of 'All About' writing. Yet I'm fascinated by the timing of the various name and brand changes - it's clear that every time something changed, whether Maps/Drive or from Nokia's Symbian smartphones to something more future-proof, the writing was on the wall for anyone with eyes to see....

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

How to: scan QR codes under a Cortana-ed Windows Phone 8.1

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One of the advantages of the UK not having received the Cortana rollout yet is that we still have Bing Vision. No, doesn't sound very exciting, but this was the interface to scanning QR codes, both for applications and when accessing information out and about in the real world. However, USA users and - well, all of us, eventually, are going to have Cortana mapped to our search keys, begging the question of the best way to scan QR codes in the future.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

1080p video shootout: Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

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A few days ago, I shot a stills camera comparison between the 1020, the S5 and a few other devices - this is unashamedly just the two smartphones, head to head, shooting video and compared in real time, split-screen, thanks to a hardware jig that keeps both units perfectly braced relative to each other. It's fair to say that the 1020's PureView zoom and OIS prove the clincher if you're looking to pick a smartphone based on video capture quality. However, the S5 does have a 4K capture option, plus surprisingly capable video capture in extreme low light. See what you think below.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

A plea for less complicated games...

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If you've been reading enough reviews on this site then you'll have got the picture of a modern, 2014 smartphone game by now. It's a free download, of course, and big (of course - watch out anyone on lower RAM devices). There are coins and fuel cans to collect, there are gold stars to earn and there are powerups, bonuses and medals available. You can customise everything cosmetically, and... never mind any freemium worries, you need a degree in game micro-management in order to get anywhere. Does anyone else yearn for games which don't require the player to keep track of so many ancillary numbers?

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Camera head to head: Lumia 1020 vs Oppo Find 7a vs Galaxy S5 vs Nokia 808

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No apologies for the continued shootouts - these are frantic times in the world of smartphone cameras - and we haven't even got to the Samsung K Zoom yet! In this case, comparing the champion Lumia 1020 with the Oppo Find 7a, which has a 13MP camera that also claims to shoot in 50MP UltraHD(!) As is often the case, I also throw in other devices, for comparison, in this case the new Galaxy S5 and the older Nokia 808 PureView.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Camera (initial) head to head: Lumia 1020 vs Sony Xperia Z2

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A lot of people have been saying some very nice things about the Sony Xperia Z2's 8MP oversampling camera, which is why I wanted to give it a quick head to head with the Lumia 1020, albeit not in perfect conditions, weather-wise. Did the Z2 get close to Nokia's masterpiece? That's a tough one to answer. It's close...ish, though the 1020 maintains a definite lead across all test images. See below for my test examples.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

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