If there's one area where Symbian looks immediately weak compared to the smartphone competition, it's in online video streaming. No Netflix, for example. And no official YouTube client. But there are a number of alternatives to help fill the latter gap and I explore them briefly below. How practical is YouTube on Symbian and which are the best tools for the job?
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Sometimes one has to turn to the community for help - and this might end up being just such a case. It's not often that I get completely stumped, but I've been pulling my hair out in recent weeks and it's time to both report and ask for input from 'All About' readers. You see, it's a question of data. Secure data. Data that's, worryingly, somewhat siloed on Symbian, a platform that I like but which is nearing end of life... My goal was to migrate to Windows Phone, but I've hit a brick wall.
NFC (Near Field Communications) is something we've only touched on briefly on the All About sites. You know it as a way to pair quickly with compatible Bluetooth accessories and to tap-for-info on an object, but the scope of NFC is widening all the time. In the first of several articles on NFC, I explore the world of NFC tag writing, looking at some common practical uses. Comments welcome if you can think of ways the technology would enhance your life too.
Although some local 'sync' options are available for our Symbian smartphones (e.g. locally to Nokia Suite on a Windows PC), for most of us 'sync' now means synchronisation to an online service. In the good (bad?) old days, this meant messing around with SyncML, but things have moved on and new protocols have emerged as standards. So where do Symbian handsets stand and is there a solution that is future proof? Could it be that the changes at Google's end are unwittingly nudging many of the hundred million Symbian users into a Microsoft-centric solution, following Nokia into the brave new world of Windows Phone?
You know, the more the world centres in on large touch-only smartphones, the more I continue to appreciate the genuinely different hardware we've had in the modern age in the Symbian world. Yes, the OS is effectively now frozen in stone (though, despite yesterday's buy-out news, Accenture will still hopefully be under contract to provide support/patches etc. for another two years at least), but there's really very little in the smartphone world that can compete with the 2011 Nokia E6, with its 'QWERTY candybar' form factor. Here then, for your consideration (and celebration) are five under-appreciated design features, over and above the highlights we've covered before. And perhaps extra reasons why you might like to buy up an E6, even if as a backup smartphone or for your 'collection'(!)
Burst photos are 'in' at the moment, and rightly so. While no use at all for traditional photography stars like coastlines and sunsets, when it comes to action shots of kids, pets and wildlife, it can be very helpful to take short sequences of photos so that you can pick the best one later - and hopefully be pleasantly surprised. Now, 'burst' mode is part of third party utilities, commonly, e.g. here, but I thought it worth highlighting that Belle FP2's Camera application includes a burst-like mode out of the box.
I've often proclaimed that the most natural way to use the Nokia 808 is in one of its 'PureView' modes, i.e. using the oversampling to produce the legendarily 'pure', noiseless pixels, rather than shooting in the somewhat artificial 'full' resolution modes, which expose the usual raw sensor pixels and their noise. However, when using the intuitive PureView zoom, you effectively end up down at the same 1:1 pixel use. Is this a problem? Exactly how far can you zoom in anyway? When should you use PureView zoom and when should you try to resist? Hopefully I answer these and other questions below.
Yes, yes, the headline sounds like an episode title from The Big Bang Theory, but I'm actually referring to something that occurred to me while writing up my feature on tweaking the Nokia 808's photo output to mimic 2013 user preferences. Buried in the changes there was switching the 'JPG quality' to 'Superfine', but the inclusion of this change was somewhat arbitrary, so I thought it worth investigating this one camera setting on its own. Is fiddling with JPG quality worth bothering with? What are the pros and cons?
Having completed a round of Nokia 808/Lumia 1020 comparisons, it's very evident that the Nokia 808 PureView and Nokia Lumia 1020's cameras are very, very close overall, though also with very different characteristics. As is common for other 2013 smartphone cameras, the Lumia 1020 is set up to deliver more saturated colours, sharpened details and lower JPG compression. In contrast, the Nokia 808 has always erred on the side of an ultra-natural, muted, unprocessed look. But how easy and effective is it to fiddle a little in the 808's interface to deliver similar 5 megapixel results to the 1020?
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.