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Guest writer By Michael 'Mivas_Greece' (surname withheld by request) brings us the first part of a tale of prototypes (one of which he has access to) and what might have been, featuring some of the various uses of Nokia's 'Pre-Touch' technology. A Lumia 1030 anyone? Part two of this feature will be published in due course.
What would you say to a Bluetooth speaker that really delivers in 2019? 40W of music power, USB Type C fast charging, NFC Tap-to-pair, IPX7 water andand sh proofing, microSD and Aux input, all for less than £50? That sounds a lot like the Tronsmart (slightly pretentiously named) 'Element Force'. Yes, it's a Bluetooth speaker, but on steroids.
Bluetooth headphones have existed for years, of course, though anyone who really cared about audio quality usually stuck to the traditional wired headphones and a phone's 3.5mm jack (this being AAWP, the DAC and output in the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro is exceptional). But over the years, with new codecs (e.g. aptX HD at the high end) and faster and more capable chipsets in both phone and accessory, quality has been rising, prompting me to experiment with the mass market 'state of the art', exemplified here in the Tribit XFree Color.
The SIStore team, the most active developer team in the Symbian world, has just released - as a Christmas present to the world(!) - a whole new Delight Custom FirmWare (CFW) OS release for these three popular Nokia smartphones from the 2010-2012 era. All the details are below, though note that I personally haven't installed this, so the usual caveats apply in terms of risk. Mind you, if your six to eight year old smartphone's in need of updates and a complete refresh then look no further!
A debate on Twitter earlier in the week (see below) put up one of THE most frequently asked questions about phone imaging. Why do I/we both pixel peeping when most phone-shot photos are only ever seen on 5"/6" phone screens? It's a good question, but I think I have a great answer. If you're a phone imaging enthusiast then you'll know where I'm going with this already, but for the casual user, here's why I do what I do and here's why enthusiasts care...
With the Pixel 3 in for review for a short period, and with a glimpse of sun here and there in November in the UK, I wanted to pit PureView phase 1 (Nokia 808) and phase 2 (Lumia 1020, adding OIS) with the Pixel's (as good as) PureView phase 3, doing all the pixel combination in the time domain rather than across a high-res sensor. There's a lot to compare, it's our biggest and longest imaging comparison piece ever, so let's press on and do allow time for the page to fully load!
No, this isn't a phone. It's not even a 'communicator' in the purest sense, since the LTE version hasn't appeared yet. But the Surface Go is a half way house between a smartphone and a full-on laptop or even a 'Pro' hybrid. Paired with a phone (to provide mobile bandwidth), the Surface Go is quite a lot of computing power and familiar interface in a surprisingly small and light package, offering something different from traditional Macbooks, laptops, even Chromebooks now, and letting you bring the power of a traditional Windows PC everywhere you go.
One of the reasons why there has always been a big debate as to what exactly constitutes "a smartphone" is that the definition itself keeps changing. Once we had dumb phones, then high end communicators and touchscreen multimedia gadgets for geeks, and then - by 2010 or so - enough people had what we had been calling 'smartphones' that they became mainstream and just 'phones'. But just what functions got added in each era, where are we now, and where do the different platforms stand?
My camera (phone) comparisons over the last few years have been gradually stymied by manufacturers choosing to over-sharpen, to edge enhance, and to reduce noise. All in the name of producing 'wow' images for social media. Yet, living in the UK, greenery - so trees and grass - and nature generally form part of many test scenes. And it's nature itself, with all its incredible textures, that proves hardest of all to capture using modern camera phones. By way of some data points, I investigate!
As is traditional, I save this sort of accessory review for Friday. Bluetooth speakers are very common and commoditised by now, of course, but I chose this one to review because it has a single unique selling point. It has a carrying handle. Don't laugh - it makes a huge difference and is immediately likeable - every other speaker has to be held in a vice-like grip or cradled somehow. The DA150 here can be hooked around a finger while you carry other things, to the beach, to the garden, whatever. Read on...