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Battle of the fold: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Microsoft Surface Duo 2

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I'd never have expected to write this piece so soon, but with the launch of the Surface Duo 2 last week we - surprisingly - have a true competitor to Samsung's all-conquering Galaxy Z Fold 3. I use the term 'all-conquering' with caution, of course, because these are hyper-expensive devices that won't approach mass market volumes. But it's still fun to pitch them head to head and see which comes out on top. Plus I look ahead to the Surface Duo 3. Yes, you read that right!

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Microsoft launches the Surface Duo 2

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Started as Project Andromeda with (an evolution of) Windows 10 Mobile, of course, the Surface Duo is now a year old and seemed the whole time like an experiment. Not least because its hardware design and internals were never really appropriate for use in a well-rounded smartphone - instead, the Duo had its roots in a productivity-centric pocket computer. But we now have the Surface Duo 2, ramping up the componentry to be competitive with the rest of the 2021 smartphone market.

# Posted by Steve in News || Comments

iPhone 13 Pro (/Max) review roundup

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Something of a cheat, in that I'm having to summarise other people's thoughts on the new iPhone 13 Pro range this year, since I'm not buying it (as in previous years), mainly because the update from 12 to 13 series is so relatively small. But I've been reading and watching the reviews and I thought it worth rounding up the verdicts, including some that highlight a serious shortcoming in the iPhone stills camera system - something that Apple should fix in a software update.

# Posted by Steve in News || Comments

Camera upgrade? Sony Xperia 5 iii vs last year's Xperia 5 ii

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An odd one this, since I'm comparing two smartphones in terms of imaging where so much is nominally identical. The brand new Sony Xperia 5 iii has the exact same main camera as last year's well-thought-of model, but the telephoto arrangement is totally different, which is where the main interest lies - does the new dual factor zoom system offer a significant benefit? Don't worry, I'll test the main cameras too, since the chipsets and image signal processors are different, plus so is the software - Xperia 5 iii has an all-in-one application with different algorithms. [Cross-posted to AAWP for interest, and because AAM isn't errr.... finished yet!]

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

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

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Last year's Xperia 5 ii (read as 'mark 2') was almost a perfect match in terms of specs and expectations for a classic 'Nokia/Windows phone' user - excellent audio, excellent imaging, not too large or heavy, fully water and dust proof, and so on. But we now have the brand new Xperia 5 iii, sporting internal upgrades plus (nominally) the same dual-focal-length telephoto camera from the Xperia 1 iii - let's hope it performs better at its upper zoom factor than the flagship did! Here's the specs breakdown, anyway. [Note that this is cross-posted to AAS as well, as it's a modern equivalent to the best of the old Nokia Nseries, I contend...]

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Testing modern image processing: Apple vs Google (feat. Lumia 1020)

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Here, I'm not going near indvidual image pixels - the aim here is to look at the smarts in the multi-frame image processing from both Apple and Google (iOS and 'pure' Android) in terms of them helping out to render tricky scenes and lighting. After all, the vast majority of regular people's photos are only ever seen at 'screen' resolution, so let's look at photos as-is and not get too hung up on pixel level purity. Just this once, eh? As a benchmark for vanilla photos without any smarts or modern processing, I'm also throwing in some (by necessity) single exposure Lumia 1020 shots taken at the same time.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Android or iOS? Is the Google-centric free-for-all worth it?

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The titular question is one I've been asking myself now for... four years. Ahem. Back in June, so three months ago, I looked at the internals and tech feature sets of Android and iOS, declaring them much of a muchness overall. So I've ended up spending almost exactly equal time with each OS, again and again, honing my workflow and summarising my experiences below, hopefully in a way that may help others when also agonising over everyone's favourite geek party question: 'what smartphone to get next?'!

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

All About... Zeiss T* lenses

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Carl ZEISS, later shortened to just 'ZEISS', has been an optics brand associated with cameras and then phone cameras, the latter since 2005 and the Nokia N90 transformer smartphone, but then used in over a dozen Nokia camera champions over the next eight years. And one can understand that ZEISS might have had a hand in designing and tuning the lenses in these pioneering devices. But there's a ZEISS trademark that's a little more mysterious and we've been starting to see it on phone cameras in the last couple of years - T*, with the legend often in a dark orange or red. So what exactly is T*?

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Introducing the ISOCELL HP! and 'ChameleonCell'

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Ah yes, high resolution sensors continue to evolve. While not as technically sophisticated as Nokia's PureView RGB oversampling back in 2012 (just saying...), the new 'ChameleonCell' system from Samsung in the HP1 works on a (wait for it) 200MP sensor in either 2x2 (reducing the raw sensor resolution down to 50MP), 4x4 (ditto 12.5MP), or even full resolution pixel configurations, depending on available light. However, the pixel layout was also released and I have some serious colour rendering worries...

# Posted by Steve in News || Comments

CryptoTracker UWP launches for Windows 10 (Mobile)

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Another day, another new UWP title, at least during Launch 21. This time it's CryptoTracker, offering graphical and numeric analyses on up to 800 cryptocurrencies, along with portfolio tracking. Add in a choice of light and dark themes, plus it works on everything from a Lumia to a Windows 11 2-in-1. Top notch, and well done to the developer for letting 'ye olde' Lumias join in the fun.

# Posted by Steve in News || Comments

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