I was lucky enough to borrow a Nokia Lumia 925 at the weekend which I used to capture a few shots from my holiday. It’s worth noting that I’m a not photographer. In fact, I’m probably just like the average ‘man / woman on the street’ when it comes to taking pictures. My tactics are very much: point and shoot.
With this in mind here are the results of my efforts. All unedited and shot in auto mode.
Here we (Loki and I) were on our way down to the lake so I took a quick shot of him sitting down. It was quite overcast and the background looks quite dull (but it was a perfectly dull day), however the detail in Loki’s features really pop I think.
By the time we got to the lake the sun came out a little bit and I managed to get him to stand still for another picture. He looks like he’s posing but really he’s noticed that there are couple of geese and swans around.
Below I actually decide to make one edit, and I used Nokia Creative Studio to do it. Loki was looking a little bit out at sea in the image, and to enjoy his pose I needed to crop the image and get closer.
When you click through on these two you’ll see why I’m happy with the crop. The detail is all there and you can’t see anything blurred or messed up. That’s something that really stood out for me.
Here I thought I was getting a good shot but I probably did a bad job in selecting my position, although I really like the results. There’s lots going on in the background but the main focus shines through!
Overall I am impressed. Having used the N95, N82, N8 and Lumia 920 previously, these shots were so easy to capture and the results are clear and crisp. That’s not to say those phones are not great at imaging, what I’m saying is the experience isevenbetter with the Lumia 925. I can’t wait to see you guys put me to shame with your efforts!
We maybe celebrating Midsummer here at Nokia Conversations, but that doesn’t stop us highlighting the best Windows Phone apps that have been released (or overhauled) in the last week. We’re sure you’d rather be making the most of the daylight hours than digging through the Windows Store for new releases. Lo and behold! We’ve done the deed for you. Scroll on down to find our top five new apps and games of the past seven days.
Why we love it? A major update to one of our favourite photo-taking apps, version 2.0 of Blink not only lets you take a rapid-fire selection of shots so that you’re guaranteed not to miss that vital pose, but it also now boats a whole range of handy other features. With a range of new preset modes for white balance, exposure and ISO, Blink is now a lot better at actually taking photos. You can also upload an animation of your ‘BLINKS’ (your series of rapid shots) and share it, which makes the whole experience much more social.
Why we love it? This integrates Google Talk, Facebook Chat and Pingpong, and lets you send free SMS messages to other users. While there are other excellent message and SMS apps out there, the all-in-one interface here is handy. What we particularly like, though, is that you can send a ‘doodle’ message—that is, you can draw a picture on your screen and send that to your friends. Cute and convenient.
Why we love it? A promo app for Disney’s new Mickey Mouse cartoon, this is a decent little puzzle game with clean, colourful animation, starring—you guessed it—Mickey and the gang. It’s a lovely addition to the Kid’s Corner of our phones, and although there’s no free trial (boo), there’s a Windows desktop version to go alongside the mobile app, and if you buy that one, too, you’ll get extra levels.
Why we love it? Nike haven’t yet produced a Windows version of their FeulBand app, but it doesn’t manner—Fuelboard will keep us happy for now. You’ll need the actual Nike+ Fuelband (a special wrist-band) to get any use out of this, of course. Sync the band to your computer with Nike software, and then use Fuelboard to access the data on the go. You can see records of calories burned, steps taken, time spend on the move and more. The downside of the unofficial app is that it won’t sync directly with the band, but that’s not a deal-breaker. The graphs and data-anaylsis are detailed and pretty enough to please us. (Bear in mind, this is for Windows 8 users only.)
Who it’s perfect for: Calorie-counters and fitness fanatics
Why we love it? We like word puzzles, no doubt about that, and Wordament is already a favourite in the Windows Store because of its mixture of simplicity (make as many words as you can) and trickiness (there’s always more words then you thought there were). The latest update brings it to version 2.5, and introduces a Facebook login option. Seeing as playing for points on a worldwide leaderboard is one of the selling points of Wordament, making it more social-media-friendly seems like a spot-on move by Microsoft. Plus it’s now got added support for more languages.
Who it’s perfect for: Word geeks
These are our fab Midsummer five, but what about yours? As ever we’d love to hear about them in the comments down below.
GoPro are makers of tiny, versatile and durable cameras that can be used to capture video and images of outdoor activities and daredevil experiences.
As you can see in the video above, thrill seekers and action sports fans need no such introduction to GoPro.
Skydiving or bungee jumping might be a once in a lifetime event, but with a GoPro camera mounted to your helmet, or attached on your clothing, you can record the moment for the rest of your days.
Exclusive Lumia features
The new and official GoPro app available for free in the Windows Phone 8 Store enables you to control your GoPro camera using your Nokia Lumia.
On your Lumia’s display you’ll be able to watch a live preview of the camera and to easily change all the camera settings using your Lumia as a remote control.
Best of all, only Nokia Lumia smartphones, such as the Lumia 920, will have an exclusive PIP (picture-in-picture) feature that allows you to overlay the smartphone camera view on top of the live GoPro view, and save photos to the camera roll. You can also swap the views, and reposition the PIP overlay window.
Of course, to use the GoPro app on your Lumia you’ll also need a compatible GoPro camera. The models you need are the HERO3® White, Silver or Black Edition, or Wi-Fi BacPac™-enabled HD HERO2® cameras.
The set up
For a couple of days, I’ve been trying out the GoPro app using a Nokia Lumia 925 and a GoPro HERO3® Black edition camera.
The camera itself comes with a removable waterproof housing and several different mounts, arms, adhesives and attachments that you can use to secure it when you’re bombing down the ski slopes, or diving into the water.
It also has a separate remote control but, thanks to the app, I was able to use my Lumia 925 to control its functions.
After installing the GoPro on your Lumia, you need to pair and connect your smartphone with the camera.
The GoPro HERO3® Black edition has WiFi Built In, and this is the network that you need to connect to on your Lumia, not your regular WiFi network that you use to browse the web.
Ensure that the WiFi signal is enabled on the camera, and then go to the ‘WiFi Settings’ on your Lumia to find and connect to the GoPro WiFi.
The default password for the network is ‘goprohero’ but you might have changed it to something else.
For more information about the WiFi on your GoPro camera, you should refer to the reference manual or see the GoPro support site. There’s also a useful support page when you first launch the app on your Lumia.
Once you’ve connected to the GoPro WiFi network, tap the hardware back button to return to the app and tap the ‘Connect + Control’ icon which should be enabled and you’re ready to go!
Smile, you’re on camera
Immediately, you’ll see a live preview of the GoPro camera on your Lumia display.
There are three icons along the bottom, these allow you to switch between shoot modes, the record button and the camera and WiFi settings.
The shoot modes that you can toggle between are:
As well as being able to view what the GoPro camera is seeing, you’ll also be able to hear on your Lumia’s speakers all the sounds that its microphone is picking up. For such a tiny little camera, no bigger than a matchbox, it really is very impressive.
The little thing is packed full of features and customisation options too.
Within the camera settings, which are fully accessible from your Nokia Lumia, you can change a whole host of different technical parameters, such as the video or photo resolution, time-lapse settings and the SD card management.
Of course, the real fun begins when you’ve got the settings just as you want them and you’re ready to do some recording.
Recording video or taking still images couldn’t be any easier using the GoPro app on your Lumia.
In fact, it’s just as simple as using the Lumia’s native camera, except that you’re seeing the view of the GoPro camera on your screen rather the Lumia viewfinder.
The Picture in Picture mode works delightfully with my Lumia 925 as well.
The extended menu settings gives you access to the Picture in Picture (PIP) controls – just tap the ‘three dots’ icon.
From here you can also turn the GoPro camera off and turn off the camera preview, where the camera stays on but you won’t see what it’s capturing on your Lumia.
The locate function commands the GoPro camera to emit a sharp beeping noise and for the front light to flash. Handy for the forgetful and for action sports fans.
Talking of being an action sports fan, I wish I could say that I tested out the GoPro app while hand gliding in the Alps but, alas, I was on much firmer and safer ground.
The image below is a screenshot from my Lumia 925 of the GoPro app with the PIP function turned on. The GoPro camera is in my garden and the desk photo is taken with my Lumia.
Holding and dragging the PIP overlay moves it around the screen. You can also tap on the overlay, to bring it to full screen and minimise the GoPro camera view at the same time. It works smoothly and flawlessly. Remember, this awesome PIP feature is exclusive to Nokia Lumia smartphones!
The PIP function is the icing on the cake of a fantastic app. As well controlling the camera you can also use it to access GoPro’s Photo of the Day and Video of the Day channels as well as their popular Twitter feed.
The GoPro app is the perfect bridge between your Nokia Lumia and compatible GoPro HERO camera. I’m genuinely surprised how easy it was to set up and also how seamlessly everything worked together.
The inclusion of dual-SIM features on Nokia’s more affordable handsets differentiates Nokia from most rivals, and it can make a massive difference for people wanting to use more than one number on a single phone.
What’s it actually like to use multiple SIM cards though, and how do you get to grips with it? I’ve been putting my Nokia Asha 308 through its paces to find out.
Slot your two SIM cards into the Nokia Asha 308 to get started. The primary SIM card sits under the battery, and you’ll have to turn the phone off if you want to take it out.
The second SIM is different, sitting on the side of the phone, and you can swap it for other SIM cards while the phone is still turned on. So if you or somebody else has a spare SIM and you want to check for messages or missed calls, simply remove the SIM on the side of the Asha, and any notifications will pop up.
To select what SIM options you want when you’re using the phone, drag down the menu from the top of the homescreen, and tap the SIM card option at the top left. Nokia will ask: “Choose your SIM options”.
Tap the SIM you want to use, and underneath you can select from ‘always ask’ and ‘my choices’. Selecting the former means that whatever you’re doing on the phone – sending a message, making a call, browsing the Internet – you’ll be asked which SIM card you want to use. This is the option to choose if you switch a lot between numbers.
‘My choices’ gives you the opportunity to set some parameters for your SIM cards. You can choose a specific SIM card for calls, SMS, MMS and Data – and you can choose either SIM for each function.
To determine which SIM card carries out which function, click the SIM Manager icon on your homescreen. This provides a comprehensive list of details you can select from:
Irrespective of which SIM card you use most, your Nokia Asha will ring and show up messages for both SIM cards, letting you know which one is receiving notifications so you can answer or avoid as necessary.
Do you have a dual-SIM phone? What do you use the two SIMs for?
The ability to stay in touch with our social networks is an increasingly important function of our mobile devices.
It’s not just checking one social network either. We might be on Facebook to stay in touch with our friends, on Twitter for news and information and LinkedIn for career opportunities.
Given that so many people are now so promiscuous when it comes to joining social networks, last week we ran an informal poll to see just how many you belong to.
We said that you could count any service, app or website as being a social network if it connects you with other people, and it allows you to contact them or exchange content and information.
This is how you voted:
How many social networks do you belong to?
I don’t think it’s surprising that some 34 per cent of you belong to two or three social networks; another 26 per cent belong to four or five.
However, it’s staggering that nearly 10 per cent belong to 10 or more social networks. That’s very impressive.
A couple of the comments on the poll also pointed out that there should have been an option to select zero – my apologies for that.
Anyone who continues to hold out from social networking has my grudging admiration. However, a lot of people are finding that social networks are (generally) a fun, informative and enriching experience.
Really think there are too many social networks, I use four if you count Flickr, but tend to find they overlap and really don’t think I could or would want to join any more, in fact I joined G+ and virtually never use it!
I have all I need from my Nokia. But there are too many social networks now, and if you are like me, register just to see what its about. If I like I’ll use it, if not it joins a trail of dormant or seldom used accounts like Foursquare.
Thanks for all your comments and for taking part in the poll.