Recent Features

DeX, your mobile Android (Continuum) desktop, benchmarked

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Just as I was enthusiastic about Windows 10 Mobile's Continuum back in 2015/2016, I'm enthusiastic about Samsung's DeX to this day - it keeps getting updates and more functional, month on month. But how does it fare in daily use, as at July 2021? Admittedly there's the continuing bottleneck of the hardware component (I'm fortunate enough to own a rarity, below!), but how does the software fare when faced with a typical 'laptop'-like workload today?

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Windows 11 - Yes or No?

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Please excuse a slight, a very slight devation from 'Mobile' (as in smartphones), but it's all very relevant. We have (very mobile) ultra-light 2-in-1s and notebooks running Windows, we have Android phones linking into Windows, plus old-time AAWP fans will be interested in Windows' evolution. And I'd like to weigh in on the worth - or otherwise - of the recently announced Windows 11, since opinions seem divided, with tempers fanned by Microsoft's draconian minimum specifications for the free OS upgrade.

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Pixel/950/iPhone - Android 12, more imaging data points

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Yes, yes, I've included these devices in previous camera shoot-outs, but I haven't done one for a while, plus the Google Pixel 4a 5G here (with the same camera system as the 'flagship' Pixel 5) is now running on Android 12 and with a very different feel to the Camera app and some of the under-the-hood plumbing. But has it improved the 2020 Pixel's imaging output? I'm sceptical. Meanwhile, my iPhone 12 Pro Max has had numerous software updates, with Apple tweaking imaging all the time. So, for what it's worth, here are some end-June 2021 data points for my overarching 'SteveMark' table.

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Why 'solar power banks' can never work. Avoid, avoid!

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The idea is a great one - combine the functions of solar panels and power bank in the one gadget, to have a single, self sufficient gadget that will just go on and on. Maths and physics unfortunately get in the way, and it’s worth exploring why. So don’t get tempted when you see these on Amazon or AliExpress - they will disappoint.

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'SteveMark', the Lumia 950-normalised scores!

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Having used the classic Lumia 950/XL phone camera as the baseline for almost forty (count 'em) imaging articles here on AAWP/AAM in the last half decade, with pixel by pixel comparisons against a wide spectrum of smartphones from all quarters, it occurred to me that it would be fun to do the maths and generate some deltas and some averages. With my article-by-articles scores, which are/have been the best smartphone camera systems of the last five years? 

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Choosing between Android and iOS for the future...

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So we've moved on from Symbian, Blackberry OS 10, Windows Phone (in various iterations), not to mention Palm OS even further back. But which modern smartphone OS should you settle on, i.e. what are the pros and cons of each? I'm purely thinking about the two giants here: Google's Android (including Google Mobile Services) and Apple's iOS, both of which are in the middle of a major new version reworking. Note that this isn't an attempt to chat about niche OSes that almost no one uses, and that includes the China-only Harmony OS, based on Android Open Source Project, or indeed other Android forks and implementations. Maybe that's a feature for another day...

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10 tips to take better photos with your 2021 phone's cameras

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Please excuse the click-bait title, but the article's content is very real. I've tried to condense down my advice to friends and family in readable form. When I try and educate these people verbally I get loads of eye rolling and mockery, but deep down I know that their photos could and should be better. So, in case it proves useful to you - or to your contacts - here are my top 10 tips for improving your smartphone camera results.

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2009 to 2021: Did 'Smartphone Essentials' verdicts stack up?

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Chancing upon a very old smartphone industry magazine from 2009 while having an office clearout, I thought it would be interesting to pluck out half a dozen data points, especially in terms of review coverage. A lot has changed in 12 years, but there's still enough here that's recognisable. And, although I used to write for Smartphone Essentials myself from time to time, I'm not quoting any of my own material here - I'm checking to see how right or wrong the opinions of other writers of the time proved(!) Highlights? Verdicts on the Nokia N97 and N96, loads of Windows Mobile 6(!), an iPhone, and the earliest Android handsets.

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June 2021: 'Your Phone' major updates demonstrated and reviewed

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Microsoft and Samsung's collaboration with 'Link to Windows' is reaching new heights of sophistication with the latest update in the last week, so here we go over the major features now available, in June 2021. The Your Phone system is available on other Android handsets, but not to quite the same degree - but it's getting there across the board. It's not DeX or Continuum, but it's arguably now as useful, driven by the PC more than the phone. The top new feature is running multiple Android apps at the same time on your Windows computer, but there's plenty more to impress. See below.

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The big four way mobile flight sim round-up

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I've been casually interested in flight sims for years, but always struggled to find time to do anything serious in this direction in terms of equipment or time. But the sweet spot here is probably 'mobile', with the power of modern phone processors and graphics, with the convenience of always being 'with you'. So I've picked (arguably) the four best mobile flight sims (Aerofly FS 2021, Infinite Flight, Rortos RFS, X-Plane 11) and pitched them head to head, for your interest and entertainment!

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