Recent Features

Head to head: Lumia 950 XL vs Nokia XR20

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What's this? A Lumia up against a new Nokia? Yep, and it's something rather different this time round. The XR20 has all the gadgets one might expect from a flagship smartphone for 2021, plus it's utterly milspec durable. Yet it starts at under £400 inc VAT. What's the catch? Screen technology, mainly, but if lack of AMOLED isn't a showstopper for you then the XR20 might very well be the large and tough 2021 contender you've been waiting for.

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Video capture, the hard, hard 'Pro' way

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There's a video capture question I have for you to answer, and it's this. Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do you? With apologies to Dirty Harry, it does seem as though there are two approaches to video capture on phones and it's not something we've ever covered before. Do you let the hardware and software work their auto-magic or do you take charge of everything, as if your smartphone was an old fashioned video camera or DSLR? The two approaches are completely opposite but are worth exploring, in terms of pros and cons.

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Pure, pure, pure? Five phone cameras from 2012 to 2021

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I've done PureView shootouts in the past, but there are a few tweaks here. From the 2012 Nokia 808 PureView, which I've allowed to be tripod mounted here for low light shots (there being no OIS), through the trusty Lumia 1020 and the good all-rounder that is the Lumia 950, then to the iPhone 12 Pro Max in full ProRAW 'pure' shooting mode and the latest Sony Xperia 1 mark iii with 'Photography Pro' app and dual telephoto. It's the widest shootout I've ever done, in terms of timescale and is provided more for interest than to try and score generational points!

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Dual factor zoom: testing the Sony Xperia 1 iii camera

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Having established that Sony's phone image processing has made major strides in the last year or so, it was good timing to get the brand new Xperia 1 iii (read it as 'mark 3') flagship in for review for The Phones Show. But, more than ever, the smartphone's reputation here lives and dies with its camera system - Sony tout a new dual-zoom factor persicope and brand new software. I'll need some reference points, of course. In this case the mighty iPhone 12 Pro Max and Sony's previous generation Xperia 5 ii (with similar camera to last year's 1 ii). Let's push all of these to their limits - just how good is the imaging in this new Sony smartphone?

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The big, big 2021 All About sites accessory review update

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Over the last three years on the All About sites, I've reviewed dozens of useful smartphone accessories. Most of which I still own. But, as I've bemoaned before, accessories have a habit of ceasing to be available, frustrating those who follow slightly older review links and hit a brick wall. Begging the question - what's still available and how has it held up in week-on-week use? Here's everything you need - and links which all work (where possible)!

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All About... Dynamic Vibration

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"Dynamic what?", I hear you ask? This is something I've been enjoying on the Sony flagship Android smartphones for a couple of years and it can, sometimes, really enhance the mobile media experience. The curious thing is that there's no reason, in principle, why every smartphone can't have this, yet few people have even heard of it. In short, as bass notes and low sound effects are rendered over the phone speakers, the haptic vibration system is driven to add 'rumble' and physical effect. Here's how it works and what it's good for.

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All About... Smartphone Fast Charging

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Charging a smartphone has been getting more and more complicated in recent years, with 'fast charging' solutions from several sources and with mixed compatibility in the phone world in terms of device. Quick Charge, Power Delivery, Dash Charge, Warp Charge, and so on... So it's high time that we rounded up the various systems and explained how they work and what they'll work with. With caveats, in that this is a fast changing slice of the tech world and the future is still being written!

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By popular demand: Lumia 950 vs fixed-up Sony Xperia 5 ii camera comparison

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Following my imaging head to head between the fixed-up Sony Xperia 5 ii and the new camera benchmark, the iPhone 12 Pro Max in ProRAW mode, there was demand for a quick return to the Lumia 950 as the comparison device. And, with the weather set fair in the UK summer, I'm happy to oblige. As before, Sony has upped their game since the Xperia 5 ii's release, with updates, so can the 2020 multimedia champion also now best the 950 in imaging?

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Do nine months of updates fix up Sony Xperia 5 ii imaging?

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It's a constant in the smartphone world that software updates arrive to improve camera performance - this has applied to many Lumias in the past, it applied to the last two generations of iPhones (Deep Fusion and then ProRAW), and it seems to have applied to the Sony Xperias. Nine months after my initial imaging comparison with the Lumia 950 XL, it's evident that Sony has fine tuned its algorithms and the tri-camera-ed Xperia 5 ii is due a re-test. Except that now we have All About Mobile*, I feel justified at using the iPhone 12 Pro Max as my imaging benchmark rather than my beloved Lumia 950 XL, which is now looking at little archaic with just the single camera/lens...

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Should you take 'zoom' a lens at a time?

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It's potentially a technological hot potato, yet 99% of the world has come down on one side of the argument and Sony on the other. And it's not something we've ever covered in any detail. Essentially, what should go through your mind when using zoom (or ultra-wide) in a smartphone camera? Specifically, should you think in terms of using a particular lens for a particular shot or should you 'wing it' and fiddle with the interface until framing is perfect? Here I demonstrate that the latter approach is fraught with image quality problems.

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