So yes a bit of an experiment. Writing about the laptop in your pocket ON a laptop in my pocket. In this case the Microsoft Surface Duo 2. No corrections or additions were made on any other device. It has been the dream of every mobile enthusiast for three decades to have a workable laptop, for Office, email, and so on, in a pocketable form. Think Psion, think Nokia Communicators. This is the latest attempt, in 2022!
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The method of zooming in on the Duo 2 may be almost identical to on Microsoft's previous Lumia series of camera phones (albeit in the opposite direction, i.e. swipe down to zoom in, not up!), but the mechanics are different, of course. A dedicated 2x telephoto lens gives genuine optical zoom, even in video capture here, thanks to the discovery that 'HDR video' knocks the extra lens out of action! See what you think in the embedded video below.
The only downside to a manufacturer significantly improving phone camera performance is that I have to re-do one or more of my imaging features on the 'All About' sites. Luckily, I love doing them, so following the January 2022 feature update for the innovative Microsoft Surface Duo 2, I headed out with a brace of test phone cameras to compare it against. Firstly, here, against Microsoft's own older - but still a reliable benchmark - Lumia 950 XL.
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.
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.
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'.
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!
One of the biggest services that is still easily accessible under Windows 10 Mobile at the end of 2021 is YouTube. But even here there are some caveats and notes, which is why I thought a round-up would be a good thing. Exactly which are the best ways to catch up with your YouTube subscriptions and suggested playlists two years after the platform itself stopped being supported by Microsoft?
My time with the new Microsoft Surface Duo 2 was short, only a week (do go and read the review), but the freshness of a two-screened interface on top of Android still remains in my mind. And, with a couple of fairly substantial caveats, you can play with the concept yourself on any decent PC or Mac, thanks to Microsoft's Surface Duo 2 emulator. Being upfront, the caveats are that you need a very powerful PC for the UI to approach actual phone speeds, and that the emulator doesn't include the Google Play Store or Google Play Services, so you haven't got the full Duo 2 experience.
Six months ago I demonstrated fitting a Qi coil to a phone, the Pixel 4a 5G, here on the All About sites, so the idea isn't new. But for what it's worth here's another data point, with updated phone, updated coil, and more experience under my belt. In this case, it's fitting the sorely needed Qi to the Sony Xperia 5 ii, a stunning device in all other regards. Adding Qi has made me very happy with the phone again after weeks of Qi-less frustration!