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Found 9 results

  1. Stuclark

    News: Lumia 830 review

    The Nokia Microsoft Lumia 830 is a 5.0 inch screen Windows phone 8.1 handset aimed squarely at the middle of the Windows phone market. It is one of the increasingly common not-quite-flagship-but-ultimately-capable Lumia handsets which comes in at a quite reasonable SIM free price of just under £300 (£279 PAYG on EE). The big question though is should you buy it?I'm coming to this phone from having used various flavours of Android for years as my mobile OS of choice, and having more recently been using Windows 8.1 as my desktop & tablet OS of choice. I want to like Windows Phone, but I remember the mediocre reviews and limitations it had when Windows Phone 7 (re)launched a few years ago. But to the Lumia 830 itself: Firstly its physically quite a big handset for a 5.0 inch screen, easily outsizing a Samsung Galaxy S4 and being almost identical in size to the LG G3 (which boasts a 5.5 inch screen). One of the reasons for this is the excessive top and bottom bezels around the screen, plus Windows Phone's use of "fixed" touch buttons for navigation. The handset itself is actually more rectangular than it looks, with the metalic corners of the chassis being quite a pronounced rectangle, whereas the screen corners are far more rounded. While this produces quite a nice design statement, it doesn't necessarily make the phone the most comfortable to hold. Being a mid range handset means that the phone sports a relatively old "platform" - the processor is a 1.2GHz. Snapdragon 400 with 1GB RAM and 16GB onboard storage. The phone also supports up to 128GB MicroSD cards and has a thankfully removable 22mAh battery. The phone's screen is a slightly mediocre 720 x 1280 (720p) resolution, which is quite a way below the qHD and 4xHD screens we're seeing on flagship devices now, but due to the clever design of the Windows Phone UI, along with the strict design parameters that Microsoft have implemented, the lack of resolution is not a major problem; indeed most of the time you don't even notice it! (the screen is a RGB matrix IPS panel, which means it has more sub-pixels than a similar Pentile panel, greatly helping the look of the display) What does get noticed, quite a lot on my review handset, is the relative weakness of the phone and its chassis in particular. With the recent "bendgate" furore surrounding the iPhone 6, inherent phone strength is quite a big deal at the moment, and unfortunately I have to report that the Lumia 830 doesn't do very well here at all. OK, so it doesn't have a tendancy to bend in half like the iPhone does, but it is very susceptible to the chassis being twisted along its length. This then causes issues with the touch layer of the screen either not working, or as I've seen a lot, producing constant key presses on the search key, putting the phone into a pretty relentless search / Cortana loop. Talking of Cortana, the Lumia 830 comes with the "Denim" (GDR1) update to Windows Phone 8.1, which brings Cortana to the UK, albeit in beta form. I've got to say, as someone who doesn't really get on with Siri or OK Google either, that I found Cortana to be a bit of a pain and something which I didn't make much use of. If the recent TV adverts are to be believed, then it could be a useful feature, but then again, we've heard that before... I think in realistic terms its one of those features you'll either love or hate - there's nothing wrong with it per-say (barring a couple of "random" results), but I doubt it's going to set your world alight. Of way more use is the camera on the Lumia 830 - being a mid-range handset it's not one of Nokia's 40odd MPix efforts, but rather a 10MPix shooter which incorporates a new OIS (optical image stabilisation) platform. There's various blog posts about some new software which allows for 2 photos to be taken about 43ms apart, then post-processed together to give a sort of HDR effect; alas I couldn't actually find the software on the phone, so what you get is essentially just that 10MPix lens. Camera results are pretty reasonable, but not exceptional. In general light and shooting a mid-distance subject the levels of detail reproduced were entirely acceptable, but the camera does suffer in low lgiht conditions, both with and without the single LED flash. Noise levels in these situtions were worse than expected, but again certainly not the worst I've seen! Almost suprisingly, video recording is pretty decent; mainly due to the Nokia deviced multi-microphone rich audio recording system, which produces absolutely stunning audio quality. As a phone (calls, texts etc.) the Lumia 830 is as reliable as you'd expect from a Nokia handset - audio quality in calls is excellent, signal strength is good, and basically there's no surprises. It all works nicely! I'm not going to go into a full review of Windows Phone 8.1 here as we've covered that before and there's countless reviews and hands-on available on the net; suffice to say it's now a properly usable platform; while it may have a somewhat more limited application pool than Android or iOS, there's now enough options available in the Windows Store to mean you're not loosing out by using Windows Phone. I actually found it a joy to use and at no point did I find myself wishing "if only it could do this". Being a Microsoft OS, it goes without saying that integration with Microsoft's other services is exemplary; one of the potential killer features now being that Microsoft are to begin offering truly unlimited storage on OneDrive. That alone makes this a very had device to ignore! Charging wise, the Lumia 830 supports wireless charging, as is becoming the norm these days. There's not much to say about this, but actually you should take that as a great compliment to the phone - it "just works", brilliantly. The Lumia 830 charges in slightly less time (about 50 minutes) than my LG G3, making it pretty quick; and best of all, that battery lasts forever! I'm going to say this again, as it's easily my favourite feature of the phone - the battery lasts forever! After a full charge, and doing exactly the same set of tasks as my Samsung Galaxy S4, the Lumia 830 outlasted the S4 by over 4 days! If left turned on and receiving push email alone, the Lumia 830 can quite happily last well over a week between charges - this makes it an absolute god-send of a secondary "work" phone, which is how I found myself using it most of the time. But in summary, I have to ask the two questions of would I buy this phone for myself, and would I recommend it to others? - well, to answer in reverse order: I already have recommended the Lumia 830 to a couple of friends who want a "cheepish but well specc'd smartphone" - if you're not after an absolute top of the range device, then the 830 is perfectly capable. It's relative slowness of platform doesn't translate into a slow, or clunky handset in use. It's brilliant in what it does. And lastly - I wouldn't buy the Lumia 830 as my main handset, mainly because of the screen size versus chassis size ratio mentioned above; but as a secondary phone, as a "work" phone, yes, I'd quite happily buy the Lumia 830. I think that's praise indeed! Click here to view the news
  2. Stuclark

    Lumia 830 review

    I'm coming to this phone from having used various flavours of Android for years as my mobile OS of choice, and having more recently been using Windows 8.1 as my desktop & tablet OS of choice. I want to like Windows Phone, but I remember the mediocre reviews and limitations it had when Windows Phone 7 (re)launched a few years ago. But to the Lumia 830 itself: Firstly its physically quite a big handset for a 5.0 inch screen, easily outsizing a Samsung Galaxy S4 and being almost identical in size to the LG G3 (which boasts a 5.5 inch screen). One of the reasons for this is the excessive top and bottom bezels around the screen, plus Windows Phone's use of "fixed" touch buttons for navigation. The handset itself is actually more rectangular than it looks, with the metalic corners of the chassis being quite a pronounced rectangle, whereas the screen corners are far more rounded. While this produces quite a nice design statement, it doesn't necessarily make the phone the most comfortable to hold. Being a mid range handset means that the phone sports a relatively old "platform" - the processor is a 1.2GHz. Snapdragon 400 with 1GB RAM and 16GB onboard storage. The phone also supports up to 128GB MicroSD cards and has a thankfully removable 22mAh battery. The phone's screen is a slightly mediocre 720 x 1280 (720p) resolution, which is quite a way below the qHD and 4xHD screens we're seeing on flagship devices now, but due to the clever design of the Windows Phone UI, along with the strict design parameters that Microsoft have implemented, the lack of resolution is not a major problem; indeed most of the time you don't even notice it! (the screen is a RGB matrix IPS panel, which means it has more sub-pixels than a similar Pentile panel, greatly helping the look of the display) What does get noticed, quite a lot on my review handset, is the relative weakness of the phone and its chassis in particular. With the recent "bendgate" furore surrounding the iPhone 6, inherent phone strength is quite a big deal at the moment, and unfortunately I have to report that the Lumia 830 doesn't do very well here at all. OK, so it doesn't have a tendancy to bend in half like the iPhone does, but it is very susceptible to the chassis being twisted along its length. This then causes issues with the touch layer of the screen either not working, or as I've seen a lot, producing constant key presses on the search key, putting the phone into a pretty relentless search / Cortana loop. Talking of Cortana, the Lumia 830 comes with the "Denim" (GDR1) update to Windows Phone 8.1, which brings Cortana to the UK, albeit in beta form. I've got to say, as someone who doesn't really get on with Siri or OK Google either, that I found Cortana to be a bit of a pain and something which I didn't make much use of. If the recent TV adverts are to be believed, then it could be a useful feature, but then again, we've heard that before... I think in realistic terms its one of those features you'll either love or hate - there's nothing wrong with it per-say (barring a couple of "random" results), but I doubt it's going to set your world alight. Of way more use is the camera on the Lumia 830 - being a mid-range handset it's not one of Nokia's 40odd MPix efforts, but rather a 10MPix shooter which incorporates a new OIS (optical image stabilisation) platform. There's various blog posts about some new software which allows for 2 photos to be taken about 43ms apart, then post-processed together to give a sort of HDR effect; alas I couldn't actually find the software on the phone, so what you get is essentially just that 10MPix lens. Camera results are pretty reasonable, but not exceptional. In general light and shooting a mid-distance subject the levels of detail reproduced were entirely acceptable, but the camera does suffer in low lgiht conditions, both with and without the single LED flash. Noise levels in these situtions were worse than expected, but again certainly not the worst I've seen! Almost suprisingly, video recording is pretty decent; mainly due to the Nokia deviced multi-microphone rich audio recording system, which produces absolutely stunning audio quality. As a phone (calls, texts etc.) the Lumia 830 is as reliable as you'd expect from a Nokia handset - audio quality in calls is excellent, signal strength is good, and basically there's no surprises. It all works nicely! I'm not going to go into a full review of Windows Phone 8.1 here as we've covered that before and there's countless reviews and hands-on available on the net; suffice to say it's now a properly usable platform; while it may have a somewhat more limited application pool than Android or iOS, there's now enough options available in the Windows Store to mean you're not loosing out by using Windows Phone. I actually found it a joy to use and at no point did I find myself wishing "if only it could do this". Being a Microsoft OS, it goes without saying that integration with Microsoft's other services is exemplary; one of the potential killer features now being that Microsoft are to begin offering truly unlimited storage on OneDrive. That alone makes this a very had device to ignore! Charging wise, the Lumia 830 supports wireless charging, as is becoming the norm these days. There's not much to say about this, but actually you should take that as a great compliment to the phone - it "just works", brilliantly. The Lumia 830 charges in slightly less time (about 50 minutes) than my LG G3, making it pretty quick; and best of all, that battery lasts forever! I'm going to say this again, as it's easily my favourite feature of the phone - the battery lasts forever! After a full charge, and doing exactly the same set of tasks as my Samsung Galaxy S4, the Lumia 830 outlasted the S4 by over 4 days! If left turned on and receiving push email alone, the Lumia 830 can quite happily last well over a week between charges - this makes it an absolute god-send of a secondary "work" phone, which is how I found myself using it most of the time. But in summary, I have to ask the two questions of would I buy this phone for myself, and would I recommend it to others? - well, to answer in reverse order: I already have recommended the Lumia 830 to a couple of friends who want a "cheepish but well specc'd smartphone" - if you're not after an absolute top of the range device, then the 830 is perfectly capable. It's relative slowness of platform doesn't translate into a slow, or clunky handset in use. It's brilliant in what it does. And lastly - I wouldn't buy the Lumia 830 as my main handset, mainly because of the screen size versus chassis size ratio mentioned above; but as a secondary phone, as a "work" phone, yes, I'd quite happily buy the Lumia 830. I think that's praise indeed!
  3. Jimbo

    Windows Phone 8.1 Preview

    I have been using WP 8.1 Preview on my 920 since it was released last month. To get this you just need to join the WP Developer Program. This costs $20 (I think), and gives you all the tools for developing on WP, including a special version of VB. It also allow you to unlock a limited number of handsets so that you can run your own code on them. There alre loads of small changes, but the big ones are: * Cortana - Microsoft's virtual assistant * Notification centre * Transparent tiles * App- specific sound and volume settings * Swipe-style keyboard Underneath the hood it seems that they are moving a lot of services out of the OS and into Apps. This makes them easier to upgrade and replace, but it also demotes the whole "hub" design principal, which I think is a shame. For example, there is no longer a Games hub (but games now show up in the Apps list, which makes it easier to find them). Cortana. This is excellent. It is US-only at that moment, but can be easily activated by tweaking Region settings. It is a cross between Siri and Google Now, so definitely not one for those who value privacy. However, if you allow it free-reign it quickly becomes very useful. For example: it has learned where "home" and "work" is, and what sort times I like to commute between them. I get in to work at a certain time, and Cortana has started popping up traffic info as a reminder to make sure I get there on time - without being asked. It automatically puts links into emails and SMS messages which you can press to set a reminder. As a search tool, it uses Bing and Wolfram, which is generally ok. If you ask a specifc question like "what is the best pizza restuarant around here" it will tell you (based on web reviews), and offer to guide you there. A more general question would bring up the usual list of pizza restaurants from WP8. Notification centre. This brings actionable notifications to WP. Works very much like Android - you pull down from the top of the screen. It also give access to some (customisable) quick settings and settings. The notifications are short extracts, for example, tweets show @user plus maybe 20 chars of their tweet. If you want to see more, press on the notification and it takes you to the App where you can read it, reply, etc. Works really well and helps to keep track of what's going on without having to open up the App as you would have to in WP8. Interestingly, some notifications already fall into the "spam" category - for example Facebook telling me I have 1 message instead of telling me who messaged me and what the message was. Hopefully this is just a Preview thing. Transparent tiles. You can now set a background for the home screen, which is only visibile through the tiles. Simple, but looks extremely cool. You also have access to the number of columns that the phone shows, so if you need more space and don't mind having tiny icons then you can switch this on. App-specific sounds + volume setting. OMG, at last. Nuff said about this one. Swipe-style keyboard. Finally something that is better than T9! Really quick, really accurate and really useful. I can easily see Cortana becoming the main interface in time, and it would be great to get this and the Notification Centre on Windows RT asap. Finally, MS have been able to make these changes without slowing the phone down or killing the battery. (OK - I still get issues where the phone heats up and drains the battery, but now I can see which App is responsible in the battery settings - and then kill it from the multitasking screen). Not many 2-year old phones that can take the lastest OS without getting clunky, or missing out on new functionality.
  4. Microsoft have announced that they plan to stop supporting Windows Phone 7 for Marketplace shortly.Windows Phone 7 users have been warned that they will soon start seeing error messages on older handsets which have not been updated to the latest 7.5 firmware. To see which Windows Phone operating system (OS) version is currently installed on your phone, do the following: [*]1 On Start, flick left to the App list. [*]2Tap Settings > About > More info. Source Click here to view the article
  5. Windows Phone 7 users have been warned that they will soon start seeing error messages on older handsets which have not been updated to the latest 7.5 firmware. To see which Windows Phone operating system (OS) version is currently installed on your phone, do the following: 1 On Start, flick left to the App list. 2Tap Settings > About > More info. Source
  6. normal

    Wot no iPlayer for Windows Phone?

    The Head of BBC's iPlayer responded to a query as to why there was no support with the following: "Hi [Redacted] Thanks for your mail. I'm adding [Redacted] -- who is the Head of iPlayer on my team -- in case he has anything to add. There are two ways we can go about bringing iPlayer to Windows Phone: 1. We can build a full app -- the kind you get in the Marketplace. This is completely bespoke to Windows Phone 7, and is the costliest option because Windows Phone uses technologies unlike those used on any other platform. While Android and Apple also use their own app technologies, the TV and radio programmes themselves can be created once and used across both, so much of the investment is reusable. Sadly this is not the case for Windows Phone. Unfortunately Microsoft have also announced that Windows Phone 8 apps will be different yet again, so any Windows Phone 7 app we make would have to be rebuilt from the ground up for the next version of Windows Phone. 2. We can encourage Windows Phone users to access our mobile web site by openingbbc.co.uk/iplayer from their phones. Unfortunately today there's a bug in Windows Phone that prevents our standards-based media from being played on those devices. Microsoft has been aware of the bug for over a year now, and we're hopeful they'll address it (on Windows Phone 7 as well as Windows Phone 8) so our Windows Phone audiences can access iPlayer. As you can see, there's no easy answer. I'm optimistic that one or both of the options above will become possible in Windows Phone 8, but that's little help to people like you who are using Windows Phone 7. Nonetheless, hopefully this additional detail helps you understand our thought process. Thanks again for reaching out. Daniel Danker General Manager Programmes & On Demand BBC" It looks like someone in Microsoft hasn't heard that this is a big deal. The only hope is that Windows Phone 8 changes things.
  7. The BBC has been keen to be seen as platform agnostic in the tech wars, and so it was surprising that they'd never released a version of iPlayer for Windows Phone. Now we know why.The Head of BBC's iPlayer responded to a query as to why there was no support with the following: "Hi [Redacted] Thanks for your mail. I'm adding [Redacted] -- who is the Head of iPlayer on my team -- in case he has anything to add. There are two ways we can go about bringing iPlayer to Windows Phone: 1. We can build a full app -- the kind you get in the Marketplace. This is completely bespoke to Windows Phone 7, and is the costliest option because Windows Phone uses technologies unlike those used on any other platform. While Android and Apple also use their own app technologies, the TV and radio programmes themselves can be created once and used across both, so much of the investment is reusable. Sadly this is not the case for Windows Phone. Unfortunately Microsoft have also announced that Windows Phone 8 apps will be different yet again, so any Windows Phone 7 app we make would have to be rebuilt from the ground up for the next version of Windows Phone. 2. We can encourage Windows Phone users to access our mobile web site by openingbbc.co.uk/iplayer from their phones. Unfortunately today there's a bug in Windows Phone that prevents our standards-based media from being played on those devices. Microsoft has been aware of the bug for over a year now, and we're hopeful they'll address it (on Windows Phone 7 as well as Windows Phone 8) so our Windows Phone audiences can access iPlayer. As you can see, there's no easy answer. I'm optimistic that one or both of the options above will become possible in Windows Phone 8, but that's little help to people like you who are using Windows Phone 7. Nonetheless, hopefully this additional detail helps you understand our thought process. Thanks again for reaching out. Daniel Danker General Manager Programmes & On Demand BBC" It looks like someone in Microsoft hasn't heard that this is a big deal. The only hope is that Windows Phone 8 changes things. Click here to view the article
  8. Some bloke called Rafe Blandford has noticed that there are now 100,000 apps available on Windows Phone Marketplace.Microsoft have achieved this feat in surprisingly quick time, given how long it took Android and Blackberry to achieve the same result. Even more surprising, is that they were not all fart apps! There's a healthy spread of different types of apps, but as iOS and Android owners know, you shouldn't confuse quantity for quality. This does suggest though that Microsoft may be starting to gain the big 'Mo', especially with Windows / WinPhone 8 launches this autumn. See the source for a very thorough analysis. Click here to view the article
  9. Microsoft have achieved this feat in surprisingly quick time, given how long it took Android and Blackberry to achieve the same result. Even more surprising, is that they were not all fart apps! There's a healthy spread of different types of apps, but as iOS and Android owners know, you shouldn't confuse quantity for quality. This does suggest though that Microsoft may be starting to gain the big 'Mo', especially with Windows / WinPhone 8 launches this autumn. See the source for a very thorough analysis.