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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...

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

JTube - a new client for Youtube on Symbian heading into 2022!!!

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Guest author Michael “Mivas Greece” contributes: "It’s been years since the Ovi Store for Symbian phones stopped accepting new apps and eventually shut down, however, thanks to the Symbian community, Symbian users have continued receiving new apps once in a while since. And now we have a new client for YouTube that works with not only most Symbian-based smartphones from 2006 onwards, but also a wide variety of generic phones - in fact, anything that supports Java.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

The Astro Slide 5G saga approaches two years

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Back in March 2020, so just under two years ago, Planet Computers launched the Indiegogo campaign for the Astro Slide 5G, the follow up to the Gemini and Cosmo Communicators, all with full mechanical QWERTY keyboards. While the latter two were more akin to the old Psion palmtop or Nokia Communicator form factors, i.e. clamshells, the Astro Slide 5G is similar to the classic 2010 Nokia E7 (on Symbian), with an external full touchscreen that slides out of the way when needed to reveal, in this case, the famous QWERTY key layout. We've been getting drip fed news from the Planet team over the last 12 months, so here's my round-up and summary.

# Posted by Steve in News || Comments

Pixel 6 Pro - imaging hardware that's finally worthy of study

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For years people have praised Google's 'HDR+' (and then 'Pixel Camera') image handling and processing. Originally designed for Google Glass, to make a terrible, tiny camera produce good results, the multi-frame algorithms worked wonders on many phone cameras too, even by side-loading onto generic Android hardware. The system was much copied by all other phone makers, so that multiple frames per image is now commonplace. However, Google's imaging hardware has been lacklustre, even poor, in the last year, so it's a great relief to see all that good software now paired with genuinely competitive camera hardware. So, ahead of my various review tests and comparisons (versus iPhone, Sony, and yes, Lumia), I thought I'd 'focus' in on what's under the hood in my review Pixel 6 Pro...

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Head to head: Lumia 950 XL vs Sony Xperia 5 iii

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Last year's Xperia 5 ii (read as 'mark 2') was almost a perfect match in terms of specs and expectations for a classic 'Nokia/Windows phone' user - excellent audio, excellent imaging, not too large or heavy, fully water and dust proof, and so on. But we now have the brand new Xperia 5 iii, sporting internal upgrades plus (nominally) the same dual-focal-length telephoto camera from the Xperia 1 iii - let's hope it performs better at its upper zoom factor than the flagship did! Here's the specs breakdown, anyway. [Note that this is cross-posted to AAS as well, as it's a modern equivalent to the best of the old Nokia Nseries, I contend...]

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

All About... Zeiss T* lenses

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Carl ZEISS, later shortened to just 'ZEISS', has been an optics brand associated with cameras and then phone cameras, the latter since 2005 and the Nokia N90 transformer smartphone, but then used in over a dozen Nokia camera champions over the next eight years. And one can understand that ZEISS might have had a hand in designing and tuning the lenses in these pioneering devices. But there's a ZEISS trademark that's a little more mysterious and we've been starting to see it on phone cameras in the last couple of years - T*, with the legend often in a dark orange or red. So what exactly is T*?

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Almost a decade apart: Nokia 808 vs Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

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Nine and a half years apart, we have two phone camera systems with near 1" sensors. Yes, it has taken the rest of the phone world a decade to catch up to the Nokia 808 PureView in terms of sheer sensor size. But a lot has changed in terms of processing power and multi-frame capture, enabling true HDR and night modes. So how, in terms of photo results, does the 2012 808 PureView match up to the very latest 1/1.12"-sensored Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra?

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Review: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra - the ultimate camera phone?

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These being the 'All About' sites, there has been an emphasis on phone cameras over the years. Both my interest in the topic and Nokia's obsession with imaging has meant lots of chat about classics like the Nokia N8, 808, Lumia 1020 and 950, then recent iPhones and - here - my review of the 2021 Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra. With a few caveats, this is the single most capable phone camera system I've ever used.

# Posted by Steve in Reviews || Comments

Preparing the way: imaging on the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

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It's not often that a camera-equipped smartphone comes along that goes so far 'up to 11' (pun intended) that even running through the imaging specs needs an article of its own. But with the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra in for review at All About Towers over the next week or two, it's probably a good idea to lay the imaging bare, especially for fans of classic Nokia imaging phones like the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 - the Mi 11 Ultra is right up in the same ballpark, at least in theory, while having massively more horsepower and massively newer components. Which should bode well...

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Review: Nokia XR20

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It's not that often that I review a new Nokia, especially here mid-2021. True, this is the 'new' Nokia, under HMD Global, and true, most of the new Nokia handsets are somewhat 'meh', but the XR20 is a little different, as covered in my head to head and imaging showdown pieces here recently. So here I wrapped everything up in a review, in text and - yes - video form, all below. Summary? It's a nice idea but completely the wrong form factor, I contend. Note that because of the brand name, this is, I think, of interest to all the err.. 'All About' sites!

# Posted by Steve in Reviews || Comments

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