Recent Features

Not quite Continuum, not quite DeX! (Surface Duo 2 with NexDock)

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Many have bemoaned the death of Continuum circa 2016, with Samsung's DeX taking up a lot of the slack, albeit in the Android world. And then we have the Microsoft Surface Duo pair of devices, ostensibly without a desktop interface but I hope to prove in the video below that the very nature of USB 3.1 (here over Type C), along with a landscape-first device like the Duo and a capable standard lapdock, means that 90% of the functionality you'd expect from a 'desktop' interface is in fact taken care of automatically.

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All About 'Wifi 6E' - and what supports it

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Having to confess that I hadn't even heard of Wifi '6E' until last week, I resolved to investigate on behalf of the All About sites and report back. It turns out that Wifi 6E is both very new and yet established, both at the same time. But it's significant in the way it opens up more spectrum and bandwidth to overworked home and office Wifi networks - and that's got to be a good thing.

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Video capture on the Surface Duo 2: Verdict? Disappointing!

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'Duo 2 month' continues, it seems. Having already established that the stills imaging on the Surface Duo 2 is pretty impressive, perhaps even inheriting some of the Microsoft/Nokia expertise from the Lumia range, I turn my attention here to video capture, but am disappointed at every turn. From panning to stabilisation to zoom to interface, video capture using the Duo 2's camera (note the singular) is currently profoundly disappointing. See below for results with the December 2021 firmware. Hopefully future updates can improve things significantly.

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Is a compromise needed? Camera shootout - Duo 2 vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

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As part of my continuing 'Duo 2 season' here on the All About sites (which I think is appropriate, given the way the device spans the world of Microsoft/Windows, and Android, plus it also spans phones and tablets), I have been wondering again what imaging compromises (if any) are incurred by choosing such an odd form factor and Microsoft's first cut at 'pro' level cameras on a Surface. I did a shootout with the Lumia 950 XL months ago, but we now have updates galore, plus I wanted to pitch it against something a lot more current.

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When classic smartphones become collectables

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When a smartphone falls out of use in your life, there's a temptation to find a good home for it. Often a family member, often a second hand market like eBay, but sometimes - just sometimes - the phone is special enough, is unique enough, in fact is downright collectable enough, that you might like to hang onto it. Not necessarily just for pecuniary reasons, but perhaps sentimental reasons as well. As an example, I've picked out a dozen smartphones from my own collection that fit this bill. Classics one and all...

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The (zoom) ins and outs of low light zooming on your smartphone

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You'd think things would be simple, wouldn't you? Shoot a photo in low light, select the 2x or 3x (or whatever) telephoto camera in your phone and snap. You'd think that you've just shot a low light photo with the physical telephoto camera in your phone, but that's not always the case... Even with the latest multi-frame techniques, phone camera software can still take the executive decision to forget a telephoto lens altogether and provide a digitally zoomed shot from the main lens if it thinks results will be better. Some thoughts and tests below, though don't worry too much - with smartphones from the last few years, light has to get really low before the extra lens is taken away from your imaging armoury.

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To fold? Or not to fold? Or...how to fold?

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With apologies to Will Shakespeare, that is the question. Folding smartphones are one of the hottest (and most expensive) tickets in the phone world in the last two years, and for good reason. But how do we feel about the various ways manufacturers are approaching the concept? Is there a winning design yet? Which is most elegant? And/of future proof? So many questions and I'll have a crack at answering them below.

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Steve's Top 5 phone recommendations, as at Christmas 2021

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It's something of a tradition for me to compile a 'Top 5 Phones' each Christmas for my Phones Show, so see that embedded below. But I thought a textual version, slightly edited, and - crucially - with hyperlinks, might also be of use and/or interest. There's no specific comparison to tech of the past or a list of requirements, but as usual with me, the more gadgets in a device, the better...! To whet your appetite, the Top 5 is 60% Android and 40% iOS - and the new champion from Microsoft is 'bubbling under'.

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Anatomy of a smartphone photo #22: Deciding between entirety and detail

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In the latest in our occasional series on smartphone photography, I may have moved on from a Lumia as a day to day phone, but the ideas and ambitions are still there. In this example, I use the latest Google Pixel to illustrate the decisions behind what to frame in order to preserve a subject's character. Yes, a little pretentious, but bear with me. See what you think and don't forget to think about sending in your own best shots and the story behind them!

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Shutter crazy, 2013-2020 (Lumia 1020, Xperia 5 ii)

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I've said for a while that in some ways the Sony Xperia 5 ii (and the newer mark 'iii', which I'm hoping to get back in) is a modern day Lumia 1020 in terms of who it's aimed at. Think about it. A focus (pun intended) on pure imaging, with Pro camera controls, a degree of genuine zoom, a physical shutter button, excellent 3.5mm audio out (and microphone 'in'), decent speakers (ok, the 1020 is just mono), all in a form factor that's genuinely pocketable (unusual for 2021). With this in mind, and - obviously - just for fun, I thought I'd take advantage of a decently sunny winter day to pitch the two phone cameras head to head for the first time on the All About sites.

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