Showing posts from November, 2023

Why NOT a belt case?

I just do not understand. Well, I do, but... I've heard family, friends, podcasters, and YouTubers all say how they keep leaving their 2023-sized smartphone behind. On a bus, in a taxi, at home when going out, in the car, and so on.  Back in the day (2004), phones were small enough that they'd comfortably fit in almost any pocket. Which meant that you rarely forgot it. In the last half decade, however, phones are now big enough and heavy enough that you have to choose an appropriate pocket and have a strategy for insertion and extraction in most circumstances. Well, maybe ladies have an edge here, if there's a bag on the go, as it were. But I contend that all of this is a problem. Perhaps a first world one, but something to be thought about, at least. Because there's a solution, and one which I've used since the earliest PDAs in the late 1990s: a belt holster. No, don't laugh (people usually do) - get past the style barrier and you'll admit that carrying a

Why phone camera comparisons are largely meaningless in 2023

Back in the day - 2007 to 2017, roughly, for a decade, I was one of the most active phone camera comparison writers in the world. Writing mainly on the All About sites (still largely up, though inactive for 18 months now), I pitched the trailblazer camera phones of the day against each other - and had enormous fun doing so. There were leaps forward every year - and these were evident on the screen, with 1:1 crops from phone camera photos showing dramatically better results, especially in low light, as time went on. But there came a point (around 2012) where, in good light, any phone camera can produce good shots. Then there came a point (around 2018) where, in low light, ditto - you'd really have to pixel peep to see differences.  Fast forward to 2023 and the quality of a phone-shot photo depends far less, I contend, on the actual phone being used, and far more on the skill and imagination of the person taking the photo. In other words, the phone camera hardware isn't really t

Review: Anker 521 Magnetic Power Bank

I'm a sucker for gadget elegance. And the thought that a lump of tech, with no wires, could be clamped to the back of my smartphone and start recharging it, is elegance personified. As with Apple's (still expensive) original version of the idea and as with Voltme's version , there are caveats, but I think they're minor in the grand scheme of things. Anker is a tried and tested name in tech power, of course, and I've bought various things from them over the years, all of which are still in use. The Anker 521 , also known, somewhat confusingly, as the PowerCore Magnetic 5K, is a small and tough rubberised brick, with an internal 5000mAh Li-Ion battery and a MagSafe (/Qi 2) ring of aligned magnets on one side. Clamp the 521 onto the back of a MagSafe (/Qi 2) compatible phone and press the button to start the charging and you're done. Admittedly, the Qi wireless charging is only at a stately 5W, but then even Apple's official (and much more expensive) version o

How to: export full quality JPGs from Apple iPhone ProRAW using just Photos on the phone

Apple's ProRAW system on the iPhone 12 Pro series (onwards) is rather interesting, in that you get all the Apple 'smarts' but without the populist edge enhancement and sharpening that goes into Camera's default JPG output. But, a lot of the time, you may not see the full benefit. Yes, you can fiddle around with the ProRAW DNG files in Photos or indeed any other compatible photo editor and have a lot of fun, but what happens when you want to share around a full quality JPG with the world? For example, on the phone itself, emailing an image to someone or sharing it via iMessage or via a social media app? Happily, iOS is clever enough to convert the ProRAW DNG file 'on the fly', so you never need to worry about this. But, and here's the (really interesting) rub: what if you want a standard JPG on your MAC? Either for space reasons or because you want the desktop file to be as compatible with other apps as possible.  In my case it has been to directly compare JP

Choosing a folding phone in 2023 - why I've plumped for an older device in its last year of support

Phone selection at the top end of the market is a minefield these days, in 2023. Or perhaps you're spoiled for choice. It depends on whether your glass is half empty or half full - or on the depth of your wallet! And I made a curious decision recently that surprised me - I rejected the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Google Pixel Fold in favour of the two year old Microsoft Surface Duo 2 . I should emphasise that this wasn't a specs-based or wallet-based choice - I had the Pixel Fold in hand at the same time, and only recently had a month with the Galaxy Z Fold 4 (the 5 is only a minor update). So I had experience galore with the concept and form factors. Shane Craig is big into these devices too and I recommend you check out his YouTube channel . The device I hadn't played with, perhaps surprising given the sheer number of 'gift' devices showered on other tech YouTubers, was the OnePlus Open , but although this is a super slice of technology, its insistence of tryin