Recent Features - Hardware

Mobile MicroSD Musings - and the iPhone zeitgeist

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It's a debating point as old as the hills... Should smartphones have storage expansion slots (e.g. microSD)? From earliest Symbian days to the era of Windows Phone and now Android and iOS, the answer varies according to which manufacturer and model you look at, together with the price point involved. Let's look at the pros... and the cons.

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Steve's Top 10 phone-related gadgets/accessories

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Yes, yes, a personal Top 10 - and yours will no doubt be very different. But here goes anyway - at the very least it might give you some good ideas (and links). We love our smartphones. And we love our gadgets. So let's link the two up, with gadgets and accessories that help the smartphone work better. Much, much better. Powered, connected, productive.

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Head to head: Lumia 950 XL vs Sony Xperia 5 ii

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Cross posted here to AAS as well, because the Sony Xperia 5 ii is possibly the Android phone that most closely matches how I'd hope a classic Nokia smartphone would have turned out after half an extra decade of evolution. Think of it, perhaps, as a modern day Nokia N8 or how the Lumia series might have ended up if it gone down the multi-camera route. From display to multimedia to overall performance, the Xperia 5 ii is a bit special. Here's my initial impressions and specs round-up, watch this space for an imaging head to head as well.

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Underestimating the appeal of ultra-wide angle cameras...

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Camera 'angles' are an odd thing. Back in the day (2005-2015), all a phone camera needed to do was shoot a single, standard (90° or so) photo of a scene, as well as possible. Job done. Various smartphones experimented with zoom (notably the famous 808 and 1020 pair), and from 2015 smartphones with extra telephoto lenses started to appear. But LG went in a different direction with its G5, building in a 130°+ wide angle camera as the phone's 'secondary'. And the idea caught on, with as many dual camera phones coming out in 2020 with 'main and wide angle' as 'main and telephoto'. Could it be that I, for one, underestimated the appeal of a true wide angle camera?

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A six way imaging head to head: Realme X3 SuperZoom vs Nokia 808/1020, etc.

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The arrival of the Realme X3 SuperZoom, another smartphone with much hyped zoom camera system had me scurrying for some zoom favourites of yesteryear for AAS and AAWP readers, plus I also threw in the current champions, the iPhone 11 Pro and Huawei P40 Pro, for good measure. Six contenders then and I'll throw various zoom and low light use cases at them. Note that it's not all about extreme zoom, as I contended in an editorial last week, sometimes it's about zoom versatility.

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Three years on: What's in Steve's phone-centric toolkit? (2020)

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Three years ago, I let the world know what was in my mobile IT kit, the accessories I group together in the house and take with me on any serious journey to family etc. What inevitably happens in all locations is that, as the 'tech guy', I'm the one people turn to connect A to B, to adapt C to D, to provide power in the middle of nowhere, you get the idea. I'm sure the same is true for you! In compiling this, hopefully of interest and with helpful hyperlinks, I was surprised by just how much had changed, with more capable items replacing older tech, etc.

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Juha Alakarhu on the Nokia 808, Lumia 1020, and more...

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A blast from the past, but I had the pleasure of interviewing Juha Alakarhu on my most recent Phones Show Chat podcast, published yesterday and embedded below. Juha is, of course, the man who co-crafted the cameras in the Nokia 808 and Lumia 1020 (and various Nseries and the Lumia 950 before and after) - and is respected as something of an imaging guru in the industry. Do have a listen, he reveals some of the background to the two champion 41MP camera phones, including just how hard the 1020 was, in particular, having to combine the 808's power with the expected OIS after the Lumia 920's release.

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Head to head: Lumia 950 XL vs f(x)tec Pro1 (plus Nokia E7)

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It's... another head to head article for AAWP... with a difference. Because the smartphone here is different, a direct descendant of the Nokia E7 (2010, running Symbian) and N950 (running Meego, which ended up still-born). Now, a spec comparison between 2020 and 2010 would be farcical, so I'm still going to compare the f(x)tec Pro1 to the Lumia 950 XL, so that specifications are at least in a similar ballpark. But I'm throwing in plenty of Nokia E7/Pro1 comparisons in photo form too, hence the AAS cross-post(!)

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By popular request (really): 2012's Nokia 808 PureView vs the best of 2019

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Yes, yes, this is being cross-posted on AAWP and yet there's no Windows Phone component. But in the AAWP comments on Lumia 1020 stories I've had a mountain of people wondering what the original Nokia 808 PureView would have made of the test shots. That 1/1.2" sensor, for a start, plus the most sophisticated oversampling system ever seen in the phone world (still). So here goes with some challenging shots and crops. [Updated]

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Galaxy Fold: the Communicator reborn?

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Last weekend I went hands-on with Samsung's brand new Galaxy Fold in London. Yes, it runs Android and this is being published on AAS and AAWP, but I believe it's a very relevant current data point in terms of mobile computing on the go. Not least because it's a modern equivalent to the Nokia Communicators of old. But it also paves the way for thoughts on where Microsoft is going next with its Surface Duo...

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