It's that time of year, when the sun starts making regular appearances in the sky and when I start to think about walks, camping and the great outdoors. Which means smartphone accessories that - ideally - prove really useful, doing multiple jobs with minimal bulk. In this case, a USB power bank that you can leave facing the sun to charge itself from empty, and which doubles as a powerful flashlight or tent lantern.
Recent Reviews - Windows Phone 8
Although a UWP application for Windows 10 (and thus 'Mobile' as well), anyone with Windows Phone 8.1 shouldn't switch off, since GeoPhoto has existed (and been updated) for 8.1 for years - heck, Rafe featured it here back in 2013! Today sees yet another big update to the UWP version though, and it's thus ripe for review.
From the developer of SpotBright and Diarium comes WorkingHours, yet another quality UWP app for Windows 10 of all varieties. This one's an implementation of the classic 'log your time spent on various projects/clients' and it's very slickly done indeed, with multiple views, a ton of integration and backup options, and full adaptability to different screens and sizes. Top notch.
In a change from my periodic look at ultimate accessories, such as the Lumsing Glory P2 Plus, with 45W output(!), I had a different aim over the last few weeks - to find a genuinely pocketable way to carry around USB Type C high current output. I found a capable - and novel - solution in the AUKEY 'Halo'.
Yes, this is Google Drive and Google Photos - except it's not programmed by Google, but by a Windows 10 third party developer instead. GDrive.NET has in fact been around as a WP8.1 application in various forms for a few years and functionality was always a bit hit and miss, but the last few months have seen both a full UWP version and lots of bug/API fixes. It's now ready to be reviewed, giving you some of the best of Google as well as can be expected on a rival (and different) platform.
I've always been a sucker for applications which curate/aggregate free live video streams from around the world - it's true that (even on Windows Phone and W10M) we have dedicated channel apps, Netflix, YouTube and more, but perhaps there's also a place for old fashioned, niche interfaces like this - though 'Live Sports and TV' doesn't quite live up to its name, in that the Sports section is very underwhelming.
Last week saw my full review of Avion Flight Simulator 2015, which I was really impressed by, interstitial ads notwithstanding. Happily, for the follow-up simulator, Seven Summit Studios went down the commercial game route, with Rail Road Train Simulator 2016 costing just over £2 in the UK Store, but with the same idea of working your way through many steam engines and accomplishing various missions/tasks. It's not quite as awe inspiring as 'Avion', but as a steam fan anyway, there was still plenty here to find interesting.
Yes, yes, it's true that the game's name includes '2015', but look past any worries over the title being 'old' because it's certainly not. Avion Flight Simulator 2015 is the most challenging flight sim game that I've played for ages on a phone. With a choice of three flight models and surprising variety in terrain and weather, the 'just one more challenge' gameplay is absolutely addictive.
Available for all variants of Windows Phone and also Windows 8 and 10 on PCs and tablets, Belgian developers Image-Line appear to be expert in their trade. The 'FL' in the name stems from FruityLoops, a sequencer-based music application on the desktop that I remember reviewing for the PC back in the late 1990s - and here we are, almost twenty years later with a full music studio in the palm of your hand, in my case tested on a HP Elite X3, whose stereo speakers show off FL Studio Mobile 3's capabilities pretty well. As a commercial application, is it worth £12? You bet it is, with only a couple of caveats.
'Why on earth would anyone want to run programs written for DOS on a phone in 2016?' I hear you ponder. And you'd be right, the whole idea is somewhat crazy, yet there might just be a classic game or a specific utility written for DOS (so we're talking about 1980-2000) that you'd still like to have on hand. In which case run, don't walk, to this supremely well implemented DOS-on-Intel x86 emulation, complete with support for audio, games controllers, plus mouse and keyboard. It's newly updated for Windows 10 Mobile and comes highly recommended.