Forgive me for going all generic and chatty and, for once, abandoning technical details and platform specifics. For this topic is applicable to all phone of all prices and OS persuasions. Well, maybe not all prices, as you'll see. I'm, quite simply, intrigued by the eternal battle between style and protection. Let me explain...
Following previous head to heads, many people asked for a comparison between the Nokia N8 camera and that in the Lumia 920 with the PR1.1 camera fix in place. Furthermore, others wanted a direct comparison between shots from the Lumia 920 and industry-standard cameras like that in the new Samsung ATIV S (or Galaxy S III). Finally, I couldn't resist throwing a wild card into the mix with the Meego-powered Nokia N9. Four top camera-toting smartphones, which one will emerge victorious?
It's true, I'm something of a rebel - you can count on me to disagree with the accepted wisdom of the rest of the smartphone world fairly often. Camera phones with real Xenon flash, for example. And I've mused on the trend towards ever-bigger phones before, but with CES 2013 now upon us and 5" and 6"-screened 'phones' now a reality, I find that I just can't stay silent. These monstrosities may well be 'phones' to the well-heeled twenty-something geeks, but to every day mums and dads, and to people who really are mobile, the size rather gets in the way. Having tried everything on the market, I'm convinced that the sweet spot for me is smaller. A lot smaller.
I've published several 'how to' pieces in the past dishing out general smartphone photography tips, but for this 'how to' I wanted to take the example of a single great photo and put you inside my mind as I prepared for it and captured the moment. Hopefully some of the things I cover will help you take your own great photos, whatever smartphone you own (the example here was captured on the Nokia Lumia 920, but there are several other phones with great photographic hardware).
Picture the scene.... The snow falls gently, settling around the cars and houses.... The fire is lit and the living room is nicely warm. Your nearest and dearest are gathered round, talking and giving presents and enjoying the day. Kids are playing, excitedly. When all of a sudden... FLASH! A sheet of white light, illuminating the whole room. Not, as it turns out, accompanied by angels singing, for this isn't a divine event but a clued up geek using his smartphone with Xenon flash. Yes, it's that time of the year again, a true Christmas tradition. It's time for Steve's Xenon rant. And with more impetus than ever this year, now that standalone cameras have been all but eliminated from homes across the world.
With this direct comparison of the Nokia E7 and N950 'developer' device I don't think I've ever so badly wanted to combine two handsets, picking the best attributes of each - especially galling when you consider that there's no reason whatsoever why Nokia couldn't in fact have done this. For example, three of the E7's acknowledged weaknesses - totally sealed battery, EDoF camera and easily muffled speaker, are addressed head on in the Meego-powered N950, yet you can't buy the latter for love nor money. But one my 'head to heads' should prove instructive, not least to indicate what might have been, should a different designer have been at work on the E7 project...
Battery technology underpins all of our mobile devices, yet we take it for granted. Matters are made worse for the curious souls who try to find out more because the information available online about Lithium Ion based batteries is vague at best. If you're curious about Lithium Ion batteries and the difference between them and Lithium Polymer, here's our guide on how they work and how they differ.
The humble SIM card is changing – more devices are beginning to require Micro SIM instead of the usual “Mini” size we all use. Cutting a Mini SIM down to the Micro size isn’t too difficult, but returning a one to Mini size requires the use of adapters. If you’re not careful, these can damage your phone’s delicate connectors. What follows is an account of my adventures (and misadventures) using Micro SIM adapters.
If you’ve ever worked on video editing, you’ll understand how stitching together clips of the same event from multiple devices can be a tedious and labour intensive task. Nokia's researchers are working on a way to automate this, and were showing off their work at Nokia World 2011. The result of their work “Director’s Cut” is a system that can intelligently cut clips together. Read on to find out more.
Nokia’s Cambridge Research Lab is investigating several uses for Carbon nanotube technology. Built from a single layer of Graphene, a new type of Hydrophobic coating could make phones much more resilient to wet environments, while providing a cheaper alternative to current touch screen technology, which is based on rare earth metals. Since Graphene is a form of Carbon, one of the most abundant elements on the planet, the raw materials are much easier to obtain. We spoke to researchers at Nokia World’s Future Technology tent to find out more.