As a regular compiler of smartphone 'top 5's in The Phones Show, I find myself regularly finding myself happiest at least one generation from the current bleeding edge of technology, somewhat oddly. Causing me to stop and muse - what you might not have considered is that there are far more benefits than disadvantages in doing this, not least of all in helping your wallet out a little.
2013 should see, somewhat belatedly, a feature that has been standard on Nokia's Symbian since 2009 (and also on Meego) finally make it onto Windows Phone. Admittedly, there are some technical considerations here, since the feature only works if the devices have an AMOLED screen (most of the Symbian smartphones do/did), but there have also been issues of OS support, I suggest. What I'm talking about is, of course, the 'always on clock', about which I eulogise below, along with gratuitous shots of owls and leaves....
In the second of an occasional tutorial series (here's the first part, looking at a murky scene-made-good taken on the Nokia Lumia 920), I take a recent photo of mine, also shot on a smartphone, in this case the Nokia 808 PureView, and show the quick-fire thought processes that went into creating it. Again, the tutorial is applicable to all phone camera users and again my aim is to get you thinking more when you next want to snap something photogenic. Comments welcome if I've helped and/or succeeded!
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...
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.
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.
NFC, widely touted to be one of the 'next big things' is here already in the Nokia C7, Google Nexus S and Blackberry Bold 9900, plus all the new Symbian Belle handsets have it built-in and other manufacturers and platforms are sure to follow. But what actually is Near Field Communications and how does it work? What can you do with it right now and what will it enable in the future? Here's a bookmark-able primer that should answer all your questions.
By popular request, here are my tips on shooting better videos on your smartphone. If you've been to an event, whipped out your phone and been disappointed later by blurry, jerky, muffled, badly lit footage, then these tips are for you! From light to movement to mundane practicalities, it's all covered below.