All posts by Lucas

Lucas is a Microsoft hardcore user. He is actually using a Nokia Lumia 920, but has been using Symbian devices before. From Smartphones over Windows to Xbox he is completely up to date and knows almost everything that is going on in the tech world right now.

Nokia Lumia 630 Review: The low-end phone that performs as if it was high-end

Nokia Lumia 630 Windows Phone UK

When Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8.1, Nokia also announced the first devices running the new operating system, the affordable Nokia Lumia 630/635 and the high end Nokia Lumia 930.

Contrary to what many people expected, Nokia decided to launch the Lumia 630 and 635, two low end devices, first. Basically both devices are the same, the only difference are the LTE and DualSim capabilities. Nokia was kind enough to send me a Lumia 630, the single-SIM device without LTE, for a test, and for how well the Lumia 630 did  you can read here after the break.

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Its time for Microsoft to dump Nokia Camera

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I admit, the headline is very provocative, and exaggerating. Nokia Lumia PureView smartphones take amazing pictures and especially their zooming capabilities are quite awesome. The same for their audio recording and video recording capabilities… But what is the point of all these cool features if you cannot use them all? Let me explain with this short article.

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Xing now available for Windows (Phone) as universal app

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While LinkedIn may be more known overall, Xing still is, especially in German speaking countries, an important and popular business social network. Until now the Germany based company did not have any official app in the Windows or Windows Phone store,  and in fact, for Windows Phone there was only one really usable app which even was kind of expensive. However, now Microsoft Germany announced in an email that both companies have worked together to bring Xing as an universal app to the Windows Platform.

Xing has been an app many (and I mean there really was a big amount of people) German users have been missing, and I know someone who even got himself an iPhone instead of a Windows Phone really only because of Xing. So basically Microsoft just hit two targets with this announcement: The first, of course, is that the app finally is there, and the second is that it is an universal app, which is showing the potential of universal Windows apps is eventually used.

Find the app here (Windows Phone) and here (Windows).

Why, for me, Windows Phone does not feel snappy anymore

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One thing fans used to love about Windows Phone is its snappiness. Even on a low end device the OS would run perfectly smoothly and quickly. With 8.1 and its new animations this mostly even has improved, but those of you who are following me on twitter know, I am really annoyed by one thing in Windows Phone 8.1, which has to do with Windows Phone’s speed.

I am of the opinion a core app (an app which is, or should be built into the OS, like the phone book for example) has to be there immediately when the user opens it. This is still true for most Windows Phone system apps like the people hub or the photo gallery, but for most of the newly overhauled system apps it is not.

The calendar, the music hub (and this one probably is the most annoying of all!), the video hub (which not even really is a video hub but still totally focused on Xbox Music), battery sense and the games hub all open up with a splash screen. Sure, on high end devices like the 1520 it is displayed not even for a second, but it is visible. Even weirder: These are the apps which will not close when the back button is pressed – they get frozen and can be launched from the multi tasking view. As long as they are still open, they open up without displaying any loading or splash screen, but when they become killed in the multi tasking view, the whole pain begins from new again.

This does not need to be the rule, as other apps prove.
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BBM coming to Windows Phone this July

bbmBlackBerry Messenger is an instant messaging service, popular especially in businesses. The lack of this app for Windows Phone has been criticized but this seems to come to an end now. It has been confirmed the app will come to Windows Phone this year some time ago already, but a specific release date was not given. Now, however, we at least know the month it will be released as BalckBerry’s CEO confirmed the app is meant to be released in July this year.

I say this very often and I just can repeat it: The app gate is becoming smaller and smaller and with this more and more irrelevant. Windows Phone established as the third ecosystem and the apps are coming when they are not there already.

Are our readers happy about the release of BBM? Let us know in the comments!

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Germany’s ZDFmediathek app updated to feature Live Streaming and Das Erste app available in Windows Phone store

0b03e725-cb76-4fb0-8325-c20baf29785cZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen = Second German TV Channel) is one of Germany’s biggest public TV channels. Therefore it is no surprise they have a bunch of apps available on several platforms, one of which is the ZDFmediathek, which has been available for Windows Phone for quite a long time already. With ZDFmediathek users get access to most of ZDF’s TV shows and news, so basically it is nothing other than a video-on-demand-service. Now this app, has been updated to support live streaming, so users can watch the channel live, anytime, everywhere.

Recently there has also been a Das Erste app published. Das Erste (which is named  such due to being the first German TV channel) also is a public TV channel and in the same network as ZDF. This app basically sports the same features as ZDFmediathek (only with Das Erste’s content, of course) and has had the live streaming feature from the very beginning. This free app can be found here. By the way, this is an universal app.

Das Erste can be found here and ZDF can be found here.

Apps suffering from scaling issues on Windows Phone 8.1 Lumia 1520s

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When we wrote about our impressions about the Lumia 1520, we were complaining there is not more content visible in apps other than it simply  being bigger. However, with Windows Phone 8.1 this changed – elements (for example the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen) became smaller and now leave more space for other content. But with this – although Windows Phone 8.1 optimized apps can already be written – a new problem occurred: Almost no apps are optimized for these smaller elements, and with no I mean even newly published apps. Either there is a black bar at the very bottom of the screen, or a bar in the color of the app’s background directly above the navigation bar. Ironically, even Microsoft’s own Bing apps are suffering from this issue, which is kind of embarrassing.

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This waterproofed case will let you shoot underwater photos with your Lumia 1020

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The Nokia Lumia 1020 remains the No 1 camera flagship on the market. Its huge 41MPX camera sensor allows you to take stunning pictures and zoom in afterwards without any quality loss. But with all the praise, the device is missing one feature other brand’s phones have which would make the device even better for pictures: A waterproofed body.

Now the company Watershot is trying to be trailblazer at making the Lumia 1020 waterproofed – with a waterproofed underwater housing you can put the phone into. With a price tag of almost $300 it is rather expensive, but is said to be designed together with Nokia and is made of Aluminum. Also it features a tripod mount and is supposed to keep to phone safe for up to 100 meters depth.

Whether all this is worth $299.99 you have to decide yourself but – without looking at the price tag – I certainly think it is something the Lumia 1020 needed for a long time already. With its already super great camera I am sure underwater photos will look simply stunning.

The housing can be ordered at Watershot online here.

What do our readers think? Would you be getting one of these (or will you be getting one for those who can afford it) or do you not think it is something you need? Let us know in the comments!

Car sharing app CarJump for Germany now available in Windows Phone store

Car sharing is becoming a huge market in cities all around the world, but the service makes sense only with smartphones. So far, in Germany there was no car sharing app available for Windows Phone, but now there is. CarJump is the name of the app and it supports all of the most common vehicle sharing services such as car2go, DriveNow, Multicity and Nextbike.

QRCodeBesides supporting all these services there are also several filtering options (for example engine) and it works in all German cities with car sharing services available, but best in Cologne, Berlin, Munich, Düsseldorf and Hamburg.

The app itself is free and can be found here, but it unfortunately does not support the Lumia 1520 or any other 1080p device.

Deal Alert: Unlocked Verizon Lumia 928 (refurbished) for $184.99

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Back when the first Windows Phone 8 phones came out, a better variant of the Lumia 920 was being revealed. With the Lumia 928 Nokia basically improved almost everything that was criticized about the Lumia 920. However, due to it being exclusive to carrier Verizon Wireless, the phone did not get as much attention as it probably was supposed to.

Anyway, now the device appeared on eBay unlocked to all carriers and refurbished for $184.99 without any contract.

It is said to be shipped within a day and sports what you would expect from a last year high-end Windows Phone: A 4.5” PureMotion HD+ Supersensitive touchscreen, a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 with 1GB of RAM, a 8.7MPX PureView Camera but even with Xenon Flash and it is loaded with all kind of Nokia exclusive apps.

Via developer preview the device is also getting the Windows Phone 8.1 update, although it is unsure whether it will get the official update with Verizon’s firmware – one disadvantage of this device.

Grab the deal, while it lasts, at eBay here.

Did you know you can hide all notifications in the action center by swiping with two fingers?

wp_ss_20140528_0001Windows Phone 8.1 has been impressing and annoying users around the world for quite some time now – no wonder, there is much to discover but since it is still a developer preview there are still some bugs and issues. Anyhow, sometimes even users who have been on it since the very first day find something new. And since it is the small things in life that make us smile, these little surprises are pleasing.

I am not sure how many of our readers already have known about it (maybe everyone except me has), but recently I discovered a little trick to hide all notifications in the action center. Other than swiping away every single notification or tapping the X in the upper left corner, there is also the option to swipe the notifications to the right hand side with two fingers. This does nothing different than just tapping the X, but maybe for some swiping may be an easier solution, for example while driving a car.

Have any of our readers discovered anything else they want to share with us? Let us know below!

Windows Phone and the story of its settings…

Screenshot (23)While Windows Phone really is an easy to use mobile phone operating system, there is one thing bugging users since the beginning: The settings. They are sorted by (what Microsoft thinks) people use most, but everyone  is different and therefore there cannot be “one  solution”. The settings are clearly messed up and even I – a power user who can get the Lumia 1520’s battery empty within a day without playing video games – sometimes find myself searching ten or even more seconds for the needed settings.

It has been criticized since the beginning of Windows Phone and to date it has not been changed. With Windows Phone 8.1 the user can add four or five quick settings to the action center, which is nice, but still not what is required.

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A look at the Nokia Purity Pro headphones by Monster

Microsoft has many accessories for its Lumia phone lineup and sound plays an important role there. Besides speakers the new telecommunication company also offers many headphones, and one of them is the Purity Pro by Monster. These are wireless headphones with a pretty huge price tag which will work perfectly with your Windows Phone device, but whether wireless headphones can keep up in terms of sound and if the price is justified you can read here after the break.

The Purity Pro’s box is pretty huge and black and is full of bits. Of course there’s the headphones and the manual, but also a charger, a cable (in case you do not want to use Bluetooth) and even a bag. The bag actually is pretty nice; not only does it keep your headphones safe but it can also be attached to any kind of backpack which allows easy transportation.

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