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All About Symbian



Content (news, features, reviews) from All About Symbian



Last Build Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 18:15:01 GMT

 



Review: EasyAcc MegaCharge D20

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 16:55:00 GMT

OK, I say this every time, but... we have a new winner. In the power bank stakes, at least. The combination of input and output flexibility, capacity, ruggedness, coupled with a camping-grade torch, all make the slightly cheesily named EasyAcc MegaCharge D20 the accessory to beat at the moment. Just a fabulous bit of kit.




A dozen smartphone 'hot potatoes'

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 14:15:00 GMT

Debates over spec points and bumps have raged since the dawn of the smartphone age (2000-ish) and they show no sign of letting up. But where would I draw the line in 2018, what's more or less essential and what doesn't matter? I tackle a dozen smartphone 'hot potatoes' in my latest (platform-agnostic!) Phones Show video, so I thought it worth highlighting here and embedding below.




Roth camera comparison: Nokia 808 versus Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Sun, 08 Apr 2018 11:41:18 GMT

Reader Martin Roth runs a YouTube channel, in part dedicated to comparing camera phones - and he's now put up videos on the Nokia 808 PureView versus the Apple iPhone 8 Plus. Worth a watch as he goes into some detail, comparing shots like for like.




Zoom, zoom, zoom: by popular demand, the 808, 1020 and Galaxy S9+

Sun, 08 Apr 2018 06:52:00 GMT

Zoom is one of the few really diffentiating factors in phone imaging these days, with 'simple' photo taking now being mastered in almost all light conditions. However, no sooner do I mention a telephoto zoom lens in a smartphone, such as the iPhone X or (here) the Galaxy S9+, than people pipe up with requests for comparisons to 'zoom champions' of the past. I maintain that, classy though these might have been, there's an element of rose-tinted memories creeping in. But let's find out, with some examples of camera phone zoom under a wide variety of situations and use cases. 




Huawei's P20 Pro is launched, with 1/1.7" 40MP main sensor

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 08:12:57 GMT

AAS and AAWP readers will prize the Nokia 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 highly - I already reported on the imminent launch of another super-sensored camera phone champion, from Huawei. And it's here, and shortly in for review and comparisons too. Some official details and quotes below.




PureView zoom ideas to return in the Huawei P20 Pro?

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 17:22:49 GMT

The cornerstone of the PureView camera in the Nokia 808 (and, later, 1020) was a way to zoom in without needing a physical mechanism. Hence the idea of smart cropping into a massive 41MP pixel array. And, after a gap of five years or so (and two operating systems later, arguably), we finally have another smartphone which looks to use a similar system. Allegedly, according to GSM Arena. Smart rumours point to the upcoming (only weeks away) Huawei P20 Pro having 'a 40MP sensor, plus 5x "hybrid zoom"'. 




Mini-review: the fast charging Blitzwolf BW-P6 power bank

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 12:53:06 GMT

I get many requests to review power banks but I only accept those which I think offer something new. In this case, the Blitzwolf BW-P6 has two claims to fame: it can be recharged at up to 18W, meaning that its 10000mAh capacity can be re-filled in around three hours (as opposed to overnight with many power banks); secondly, its materials and designed are optimised for small space and weight - despite the capacity, this weighs only 207g. In other words, light enough and small enough that you can keep it in a pocket without too much awareness or discomfort.




Modern times: Why replaceable batteries went away

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 11:12:00 GMT

Sometimes you can't always get what you want, but.... you might just get what you need. So sang The Rolling Stones and a bit of a life lesson, but borne out by several technological trends, not least something that had been close to my heart, the subject of replaceable batteries in smartphones. See below for links, quotes, and current thoughts on the reality.




Jumping to Android? Coming from (e.g.) a Lumia, the S9 is the best bet...

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 16:44:09 GMT

If you're steeped in the Lumia 950 XL or similar, on Windows 10 Mobile, or perhaps the Nokia 808 on Symbian (this being cross-posted to AAS), then it's worth noting that I've been doing a LOT of testing of the new Samsung Galaxy S9. Almost uniquely in the Android flagship world, it has the full set of features (OS excepted!) that you might be looking for. So world class camera (and video camera), high quality DAC and 3.5mm headphone output, loud stereo speakers, expandable storage, and more. 




A brief history of the most innovative camera centric phones

Sun, 11 Mar 2018 07:25:54 GMT

John Velasco, over at PhoneArena, has put together an industry wide, 16 year video overview of camera phones that's worth a quick look. It's not perfect and the Nokia N93 is a notable omission (IMHO), but loads of Nokia smartphones get featured, including the venerable 808 and 1020, of course.

If you want something more textual then see my own (and now slightly out of date) 'The Top 20 Phone Camera Innovations of All Time', from 2012, six years ago!




Gemini: P for Productivity

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 08:28:13 GMT

Now, bear with me, since this doesn't run Symbian (AAS) or Windows (AAWP), but it does very much follow up on some of the ideas of Symbian (née Psion/EPOC) and Nokia over the years and it does very much emphasise productivity and that the smartphone should be a way to get more things done more efficiently, not just a place to waste time or spend money... This is the Gemini and I've been having a look at it on The Phones Show - hopefully it's of interest!




Review: Veho Endurance VPP-008-E

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 12:51:00 GMT

Having reviewed the EasyAcc 20000mAh late last year, it seems that rugged power banks are becoming more common, since there's now this, from one of my favourite accessory makers, Veho. The Endurance VPP-008-E is massively tough and perfect for hikers and other adventurers, and its internals are slightly newer than the EasyAcc's, with Type C input, though ultimately it too falls into the 'unambitious' class, if I'm honest.




'Operation Elop' and the bungled transition

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 19:51:51 GMT

Authors Pekka Nykänen and Merina Salminen published a book in Finnish, back in 2015, about the fall of Nokia from 2010-ish through to the (then) present day, 2015. The central character in all of this was Stephen Elop, as you'll have guessed from my headline. It's a very long book, but it has now been translated into English and is available for free. See the quotes and links below. It covers the latter Symbian years, the still-borm Meego, the switch to Windows Phone and the eventual decline and sale of the vast Nokia empire.




The Three Phases of PureView

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 16:35:27 GMT

A year or so ago I opined that Google's HDR+ software, the foundation of the cameras on the Pixel and Pixel 2 smartphones (and much cloned and hacked on other devices), effectively represents the next phase of the PureView idea pioneered by Nokia back in 2007 and eventually brought to market in the 808 in 2012. With commentary in video form, here's a comparison of results from three landmark phone cameras, which I'm dubbing PureView phases 1, 2, and 3. For those in the know, these ideas dominate the world of phone photography.




'Symbian World' CFW for the Nokia N86 gets certs and fixes

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 13:24:14 GMT

Back in April, I linked to a new custom firmware for the venerable Nokia N86 8MP, and the guys behind it are at it again, with a big update, making the old N86 usable even in 2018! Details and links below.




Testing smartphone audio capture in 2018

Sat, 06 Jan 2018 18:44:00 GMT

I go into some depth when testing smartphone (stills) cameras, I even occasionally test smartphone video capture. But I rarely test the audio that's captured. Whether you're videoing some live music in front of you or just shooting video at a party, the louder, clearer and higher quality the better - audio is often more important than picture quality, I contend*. Here's a quick test of seven contenders, back to back, play along at home and let your own ears decide!




Double-hinged and folding, aimed at business use - from 2007!

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 08:49:00 GMT

With all the recent renders and patents seemingly predicting a 'Surface Mobile' this Spring, with double-hinged design allowing use as a phone or mini-tablet, I thought it appropriate to look back into the past - such a double hinged design was seen before on a business-aimed smartphone, back in 2007, just over a decade ago. And thanks to a kind reader, I've got the Nokia E90 in front of my camera again. It's not much actual use in 2018, but it's extra food for thought.




Nokia camera 7 year challenge: Lumia 950 & Nokia 8 take on 2010's Nokia N8

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 08:42:00 GMT

8 versus 8, etc. I've lost count of the number of times readers have asked me to pit the new Nokia 8 against its namesake, the classic Nokia N8, from 2010. However much a monster the latter was, surely 2017 technology can trump it? I'm also including the reigning champion, the Nokia-designed (and Microsoft-made) Lumia 950. This will win out overall, but it's a useful modern age benchmark for the others - I'm genuinely curious to see how a 7 year old phone does!




Behind the Gemini PDA - the Psion Series 5 reborn?

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:24:35 GMT

A shout out to a friend of the All About sites and an interesting podcaster, Marek Pawlowski, who's been trying out the new Gemini PDA and interviewing its designer, Martin Riddiford. Why am I mentioning this here on AAS and AAWP? Because the Gemini PDA, though dual-booting into both Android and Linux, is hugely based on the 1990s Psion Series 5 design, something close to the heart of many a smartphone (and especially a Nokia Communicator) fan. Martin designed that too, you see, 22 years ago, and he's back with a bang. The Gemini PDA has cutting edge smartphone specifications, but with the clamshell form factor and keyboard that we all loved two decades ago.




Windows on phones stymied by moving goalposts... just like Symbian

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 07:23:00 GMT

The problem with the tech world is, from an operating system provider's point of view, that the goalposts keep moving. These perambulating pieces of wood killed Symbian, killed Blackberry, have almost killed Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile, and, one day, may even kill iOS as we know it today. With hindsight, it's all too clear, but at the time OS coders were making sensible choices.