Windows Phone 8.1 http://www.stuff.tv/microsoft/windows-phone-81/all en-GB Nokia Lumia 930 http://www.stuff.tv/lumia-930/nokia-lumia-930/review <div class="field field-type-text field-field-standfirst"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Microsoft and Nokia have delivered the best Windows Phone yet </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-enable-hero"> <div class="field-label">Enable hero:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Enable full width image </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_main_image" width="1200" height="900" title="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" alt="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/images/news/nokia-lumia-930-shelf.jpg?1407425095" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-byline"> <div class="field-label">Byline:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/users/sam-kieldsen" title="View user profile.">Sam Kieldsen</a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you think the new Nokia Lumia 930 looks somewhat familiar, don&rsquo;t worry.</p> <p>Way back in March we reviewed a smartphone that&rsquo;s almost exactly the same: the <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/lumia-icon/nokia-lumia-icon/review">Nokia Lumia Icon</a>. The Lumia Icon, exclusive to the Verizon network in the US, shares most of its DNA with the Lumia 930, but there are a number of key differences &ndash; and we felt that warranted giving the latter its own full review.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-pricing"><legend>Pricing</legend><div class="field field-type-number-float field-field-test-price"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> £420.00 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-price-from"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-ratings"><legend>Ratings</legend><div class="field field-type-hcmreviewrating-rating field-field-overall-rating"> <div class="field-label">Overall rating:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="hcmrating-default">8 stars</div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-pros"> <div class="field-label">Pros:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Superb PureView camera </div> <div class="field-item even"> Beautiful OLED screen </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Super solid build </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-cons"> <div class="field-label">Cons:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Windows Phone still app-deficient </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-sections"><legend>Review Section</legend><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Orange is the new back </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The Lumia 930 couldn&rsquo;t be described as skinny or small. It&rsquo;s almost a centimetre thick and the 5in screen, even with a fairly narrow bezel, makes it a long, wide handset. But, despite the use of Gorilla Glass 3 and the metal-edged build, it&rsquo;s not a heavy phone &ndash; and we found it sat quite comfortably in a trouser pocket.</p> <p>The build quality befits the phone&rsquo;s high-end status. Nokia has always enjoyed a reputation for solidly made gear and that&rsquo;s certainly the case here: there&rsquo;s nothing wobbly or creaky in evidence. Nor does the matte plastic back look or feel cheap &ndash; it&rsquo;s a level or two above the plastic you&rsquo;d find on the back of certain Korean-designed smartphones. The curved edges of the glass front panel also make for a lovely premium touch.</p> <p>There are three hardware controls on the right-hand metal edge (the nano SIM tray and 3.5mm headphone socket are located on the top edge): a power button; a volume rocker; and a dedicated camera shutter button (more on that below). There&rsquo;s a microUSB port on the bottom edge but, thanks to the wireless charging plate included in the Lumia 930&rsquo;s box, you&rsquo;ll rarely need to make use of that.</p> <p>The Day-Glo orange finish of our review sample is certainly&hellip; eye-catching, and some might feel happier with one of the two more sober colour options: white or black. Oh, and orange isn&rsquo;t the only wacky colour available: there&rsquo;s fluorescent green too, if you&#39;re feeling particularly brave.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-hcmvideofield-video field-field-brightcove-video"> <div class="field-label">Video ID/URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="messages warning">This video is not currently supported.</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="If you don&#039;t like orange, black or white finishes are available" alt="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/nokia-lumia-930-hand-rear.jpg?1407425095" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-2"> <div class="field-label">Image #2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_2" width="1200" height="900" title="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" alt="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/nokia-lumia-930-hand-front.jpg?1407425095" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-3"> <div class="field-label">Image #3:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_3" width="1200" height="900" title="The Lumia 930 couldn&#039;t be described as skinny" alt="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/nokia-lumia-930-hand-side.jpg?1407425095" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dream screen </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The 5in, 1920 x 1080 OLED screen is one of the Lumia 930&rsquo;s best features, just as it was on the Lumia Icon. A 1080p resolution may not match the sheer pixel count of a 2K display such as that of the <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/g3/lg-g3/review">LG G3</a>, but it&rsquo;s still extremely sharp: the pixel density of 441ppi is still above that offered by leading phones such as the <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/apple/iphone-5s/review">Apple iPhone 5s</a> (326ppi), <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/galaxy-s5/samsung-galaxy-s5/review">Samsung Galaxy S5</a> (432ppi) or <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/sony/sony-xperia-z2/review">Sony Xperia Z2</a> (424ppi).</p> <p>It&rsquo;s not just showing detail at which the Lumia 930&rsquo;s screen excels: it&rsquo;s also rich and vibrant when it comes to colour and contrast, bright enough to view outdoors on sunny days (albeit fairly shiny and reflective) and its wide viewing angles mean it stays vivid even when you&rsquo;re viewing off-centre.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s a great all-purpose screen, although its 16:9 ratio makes it particularly suited to displaying video. The one slight issue we found is the presence of some smearing when scrolling through web pages and the like &ndash; but it&rsquo;s hardly a deal-breaker.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="The Lumia 930&#039;s screen is excellent" alt="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/nokia-lumia-930-screen.jpg?1407425095" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> What a performance </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>With a quad-core Snapdragon 800 and 2GB of RAM, the Lumia 930 is a powerful phone, and its AnTuTu Benchmark score reflects that. It racked up a total of 25,051, which puts it the same ballpark as phones such as the LG G2, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z1 and a little behind current top-tier models such as the LG G3, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2. That said, it seemed totally at ease with whatever apps and games we chucked at it, and it&rsquo;s the beefiest Windows Phone currently on sale (bar the equally-specced <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/lumia-1520/nokia-lumia-1520/review">Lumia 1520</a>, which is more of a phablet thanks to its 6in screen).</p> <p>Nokia has been making Lumia phones compatible with wireless charging for a while now, but customers have been required to pay extra for a charging plate. That&rsquo;s no longer the case, and the 930 comes with one in the box. A nice touch, and one that&rsquo;ll ensure buyers make the most of the phone&rsquo;s fuss-free charging capabilities.</p> <p>The 2420mAh battery feels just about adequate for purpose. If you&#39;re watching a lot of video, surfing the web often or taking loads of photos, you&#39;ll find it may not last an entire day &ndash; but less intensive use should see it stretch into a second one.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE: <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/lumia-1520/nokia-lumia-1520/review">Nokia Lumia 1520 review</a></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="The phone isn&#039;t top-tier powerful, but impresses on AnTuTu all the same" alt="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/nokia-lumia-930-benchmark.jpg?1407425095" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-2"> <div class="field-label">Image #2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_2" width="1200" height="900" title="Nokia has wisely packaged a wireless charger with the Lumia 930" alt="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/nokia-lumia-930-wireless-charger.jpg?1407425095" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-box-out-title"> <div class="field-label">Box Out Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Nokia Lumia 930 tech specs </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-box-out-body-text"> <div class="field-label">Box Out Body Text:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><strong>Operating system:</strong> <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/microsoft/windows-phone-81/review">Windows Phone 8.1</a></p> <p><strong>Processor:</strong> Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 @ 2.2GHz</p> <p><strong>RAM:</strong> 2GB
</p> <p><strong>Screen:</strong> 5in OLED with 1920 x 1080 resolution (441ppi)</p> <p><strong>Camera:</strong> 20MP PureView</p> <p><strong>Storage:</strong> 32GB (plus 7GB free cloud storage)</p> <p><strong>Connectivity:</strong>&nbsp;802.11ac,&nbsp;Bluetooth 4.0,&nbsp;USB 2.0, NFC</p> <p><strong>Battery:</strong> 2,420mAh</p> <p><strong>Wireless charging:</strong> Yes</p> <p><strong>Dimensions:</strong> 137 x 71 x 9.8mm</p> <p><strong>Weight:</strong> 167g</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-3"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Yes we cam </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The 20MP sensor on the rear PureView camera is able to take either 19MP 4:3 ratio photos or 16MP 16:9 photos, and automatically makes a 5MP version of all shots taken for faster uploading and sharing.</p> <p>The camera has a wide f/2.4 aperture, dual LED flash and Carl Zeiss optics &ndash; and it feels like all these combine well to make it one of the finest smartphone snappers around. Both video and stills have superb clarity and colour, it&rsquo;s more than adequate in low light, and Nokia&rsquo;s &ldquo;Living Images&rdquo; feature is a nice touch: it plays a second or two of video before displaying stills, giving you an impression of a moment in time being captured. The large sensor and wide aperture also enable you to achieve a narrow depth of field in certain instances &ndash; and that can always make for lovely looking photos.</p> <p>The only issue we have is the lack of HDR in the default camera. As you can see in our shot from the hilltop, this can lead to washed-out areas (in this case, the sky) where there&#39;s high contrast in a scene.</p> <p>The default camera app, Nokia Camera, allows you to manually tweak a number of settings (white balance, exposure compensation, shutter speed, flash, ISO and focus) and this, coupled with the hardware shutter button (which you can half-press to focus) makes the Lumia 930 very photographer friendly.</p> <p>Video, meanwhile, can be captured at 1080p quality in 30fps, 25fps or 24fps, and looks lovely when played back. There are four microphones, allowing you to record in surround sound, and Nokia has included a bass filter that lets you cut out low-frequency audio that could distort voices and other higher frequency sounds.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE: <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/stuffs-guide-photography-what-bokeh-and-how-do-i-get-it/feature">Stuff&#39;s Guide to Photography: What is bokeh &ndash; and how do I get it?</a></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="The Lumia 930&#039;s PureView camera is a highlight" alt="The Lumia 930&#039;s PureView camera is a highlight" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/nokia-lumia-930-camera.jpg?1407425095" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-2"> <div class="field-label">Image #2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_2" width="1200" height="896" title="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" alt="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/photo-sample-hillside.jpg?1407425095" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-3"> <div class="field-label">Image #3:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_3" width="1200" height="896" title="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" alt="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/photo-sample-maneki.jpg?1407425095" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-4"> <div class="field-label">Image #4:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_4" width="1200" height="896" title="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" alt="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/photo-sample-street.jpg?1407425095" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-4"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Windows Phone gets better </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The Lumia Icon came with Windows Phone 8, but the Lumia 930 offers the 8.1 edition of Microsoft&rsquo;s OS. A .1 update might seem small, but there are a number of useful tweaks stuffed in: the Start screen is more fluid and customisable; there is now a proper notification pane (!) that can be accessed by swiping down on the Start screen; and there&rsquo;s of course the Cortana personal assistant, Microsoft&rsquo;s voice-activated answer to Siri and Google Now.</p> <p>Cortana isn&rsquo;t officially available yet on UK Windows Phones except in beta, so we can&rsquo;t say for certain quite how well it (she?) works &ndash; but the feeling we get from using the 930 is that, slowly but surely, Windows Phone is improving to a level where it can now look Android and iOS in the eye. Except when it comes to apps.</p> <p>The fact is, if you buy a Windows Phone handset you don&rsquo;t have access to anything like as many apps as you would on an Android or iOS device. There are plenty available, including some of the big names such as Instagram, Vine and Spotify &ndash; but Windows Phone remains, and probably will remain for some time, the poor cousin of Android and iOS in this regard.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE: <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/microsoft/windows-phone-81/review">Windows Phone 8.1 review</a></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="You now have more control over the layout of the Start Screen" alt="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/nokia-lumia-930-home-screen.jpg?1407425095" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-2"> <div class="field-label">Image #2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_2" width="1200" height="900" title="Finally, Windows Phone has a proper notifications screen" alt="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/nokia-lumia-930-notifications.jpg?1407425095" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-5"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Nokia Lumia 930 verdict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>We liked the Lumia Icon a lot, and we like the Lumia 930 even more. It doesn&rsquo;t make any drastic improvements to key elements &ndash; the screen, camera, performance are all the same &ndash; but the inclusion of a wireless charger and Windows Phone 8.1 out of the box make it a better buy. It doesn&rsquo;t have as much raw power as top iOS and Android phones, nor access to their wealth of apps, but it&rsquo;s the best Windows Phone yet.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE: <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/smartphones/top-ten">The 10 best smartphones in the world right now</a></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="A real tree-t, and the best Windows Phone you can buy" alt="Review: Nokia Lumia 930" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/nokia-lumia-930-tree.jpg?1407425095" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-review-rating"><legend>Review Rating</legend><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-content-taxonomy field-field-review-type"> <div class="field-label">Type:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> build </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-review-score"> <div class="field-label">Score:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 8 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-content-taxonomy field-field-review-type"> <div class="field-label">Type:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> power </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-review-score"> <div class="field-label">Score:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 7 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-content-taxonomy field-field-review-type"> <div class="field-label">Type:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Camera </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-review-score"> <div class="field-label">Score:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 9 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-3"><div class="field field-type-content-taxonomy field-field-review-type"> <div class="field-label">Type:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> screen </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-review-score"> <div class="field-label">Score:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 8 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-verdict"> <div class="field-label">Verdict:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Great camera and wonderful screen &ndash; it&rsquo;s the best Windows Phone yet</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-preview"> <div class="field-label">Preview:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Disabled </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-carousel-item"><legend>Carousel Extras</legend><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-carousel-item-title"> <div class="field-label">Carousel item title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Nokia Lumia 930 review </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-carousel-item-standfirst"> <div class="field-label">Carousel item standfirst:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The best Windows phone we&#039;ve ever tested </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <p><a href="http://www.stuff.tv/lumia-930/nokia-lumia-930/review" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Lumia 930 Nokia Smartphones Windows Phone 8.1 Tue, 05 Aug 2014 13:55:48 +0000 Sam Kieldsen 1443832 at http://www.stuff.tv Nokia's sub-£100 Lumia 630 will go on sale from 29th May http://www.stuff.tv/nokia/nokia-lumia-630-sale-29th-may/news <div class="field field-type-text field-field-standfirst"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Microsoft’s first Windows Phone 8.1 phone will be available very soon, and for under a ton </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_main_image" width="1200" height="900" title="Nokia Lumia 630 on sale from 29th May" alt="Nokia Lumia 630 on sale from 29th May" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/images/news/nokia-lumia-630-1.jpg?1400777956" /> </div> </div> </div> <p>Microsoft Devices has announced that the Nokia Lumia 630, a Windows Phone priced at just &pound;90, will go on sale in the UK from 29th May.</p> <p>The Lumia 630 will be the first handset to launch with Windows Phone 8.1, and Microsoft claims it offers the look and features of a high-end smartphone &ndash; just not the price tag.</p> <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-byline"> <div class="field-label">Byline:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/users/sam-kieldsen" title="View user profile.">Sam Kieldsen</a> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-sections"><legend>News Section</legend><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The phone sports a 4.5in 854 x 480 ClearBlack screen, a matte polycarbonate body and swappable shells. Its processor is a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 clocked at 1.2GHz, back up by 512MB of RAM, while the rear-facing camera has a 5MP sensor. The 8GB of storage is expandable by a further 128GB.</p> <p>It also features Nokia&rsquo;s new SensorCore technology, which allows activity tracking with ultra-low power consumption &ndash; a little like the iPhone 5s&rsquo; co-motion processor.</p> <p>Sadly, Microsoft has confirmed that a beta version of Cortana, its voice-controlled virtual assistant, isn&#39;t rolling out in the UK until later this year. That&#39;s because Microsoft is working on supporting British dialects and providing localised info including transport, restaurant reviews and cultural things to do. For now, Lumia 630 can switch to American English in the settings and download the free developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1. Just be warned, this voids your warranty.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Lumia 630 will be available in a range of colours from a range of retailers, including Carphone Warehouse, EE, O2, Tesco and Amazon. We&rsquo;ll let you know if it lives up to Microsoft&rsquo;s billing when we get our hands on one for a full, in-depth review.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE: <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/nokia/nokia-lumia-630-and-635-have-neon-swappable-covers-plucked-straight-90s/news">Nokia Lumia 630 and 635 have swappable neon covers plucked straight from the &lsquo;90s</a></strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="180" src="http://pages.haymarket.com/stuff_signup/enews_embed" width="300"></iframe></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-hcmvideofield-video field-field-brightcove-video"> <div class="field-label">Video ID/URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="messages warning">This video is not currently supported.</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="Nokia Lumia 630 on sale from 29th May" alt="Nokia Lumia 630 on sale from 29th May" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/nokia-lumia-630-2.jpg?1400777956" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-carousel-item"><legend>Carousel Extras</legend><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-carousel-item-title"> <div class="field-label">Carousel item title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Nokia&#039;s sub-£100 Lumia 630 coming 29th May </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Nokia Windows Phone 8.1 Tue, 20 May 2014 09:02:22 +0000 Sam Kieldsen 1437506 at http://www.stuff.tv Windows Phone 8.1 http://www.stuff.tv/microsoft/windows-phone-81/review <div class="field field-type-text field-field-standfirst"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Android and iOS users, take note: Windows Phone is a real contender </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-enable-hero"> <div class="field-label">Enable hero:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Enable full width image </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_main_image" width="1200" height="900" title="Windows Phone 8.1 review" alt="Windows Phone 8.1 review" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/images/news/Start-screen-transparency.jpg?1398505549" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-byline"> <div class="field-label">Byline:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/users/mark-payton" title="View user profile.">Mark Payton</a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Only a year ago, buying a Windows phone was a declaration of insanity.</p> <p>You were throwing cash at a platform that imposed too many compromises - in the user experience, in the choice of available apps, and in the platform&#39;s laggardly disregard for the cloud. In the process, you were rejecting two rivals that were demonstrably superior.</p> <p>But that was 12 long months ago.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-pricing"><legend>Pricing</legend><div class="field field-type-number-float field-field-test-price"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> £0.00 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-price-from"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price-notes"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Review based on the Developer Preview </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-ratings"><legend>Ratings</legend><div class="field field-type-hcmreviewrating-rating field-field-overall-rating"> <div class="field-label">Overall rating:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="hcmrating-default">8 stars</div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-pros"> <div class="field-label">Pros:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Pretty and now more customisable </div> <div class="field-item even"> Cortana&#039;s powerful and effective </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Notifications have finally arrived </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-cons"> <div class="field-label">Cons:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Start can look messy if you arrange it badly </div> <div class="field-item even"> Settings and multi-tasking could be cleaner </div> <div class="field-item odd"> iOS and Android still ahead on apps </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-sections"><legend>Review Section</legend><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> SAY HELLO TO A PRETTIER, MORE FLEXIBLE START SCREEN </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Back in the early days of Windows Phone 8, the fly-in Live Tiles that are the signature of the OS drew praise and criticism in equal measure - praise for their novelty and potential, and criticism for their inflexibility and occasionally sluggish performance.</p> <p>In one update, WP8.1 remedies both flaws. The animations are now lightning fast and ultra-smooth, and you can customise the Live Tile interface to your heart&rsquo;s content.</p> <p>In fact, we reckon the new features may even seduce Android aficionados, renowned for their addiction to fiddling. Although Windows Phone has only two &lsquo;home&rsquo; screens (Start and All Apps), you can now lose hours of your life to re-sizing and arranging the Start tiles to precisely fit your daily needs.</p> <p>And if you want to take things to a logical extreme, there&rsquo;s a new option to fit another column of tiles on the Start screen (you&rsquo;ll need to activate it first in Settings - it&rsquo;s set to Off by default), and the tiles themselves have new re-sizing options (so you can fit six across the width of a <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/nokia-lumia-1020/review" target="_blank">Lumia 1020&rsquo;s</a> screen).</p> <p>And if that wasn&rsquo;t thrilling enough, Microsoft&rsquo;s native app tiles are now transparent, with your chosen wallpaper showing in the background. Couple that with the long-standing ability to change the accent colour and switch between dark and light backgrounds (the latter of which will chew through battery faster), and the options are enough to keep all but the most ardent tweaker happy.</p> <p><iframe class="vine-embed" frameborder="0" height="480" src="https://vine.co/v/Mn7uurrzuXl/embed/simple" width="480"></iframe></p> <p>The only thing that has us slightly baffled is why the Nokia apps bundled into Windows Phone (Here Maps, Here Drive+, MixRadio etc) lack the transparency of the native Microsoft apps - we&rsquo;ll hope that&rsquo;s sorted by the time of the full and final release in the summer.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-hcmvideofield-video field-field-brightcove-video"> <div class="field-label">Video ID/URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="messages warning">This video is not currently supported.</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="Windows&#039; own Live Tiles are now transparent in WP8.1" alt="Windows Phone 8.1 Live Tiles" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Start-screen%285%29_0.jpg?1398505549" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CORTANA: THE PA THAT READS YOUR MIND </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The Big New Feature in 8.1 is a merger of the best features from <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/ios-7/ios-7/review" target="_blank">iOS</a> and <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/android/android-44-kitkat/review" target="_blank">Android</a>. Cortana is a personal assistant that aims to learn about you and your habits, and adapt its answers accordingly, with results improving over time. Microsoft claims that Cortana is the result of a research effort that began back in 2009, and makes use on the company&rsquo;s rich well of enterprise and search data (not to mention the Halo license).</p> <p>And on the whole, it works well - at least it does, once you discover how to activate it. We had to change our <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/nokia-lumia-1020/review" target="_blank">Lumia 1020&rsquo;s</a> Region and Language settings to United States and reboot before the Cortana icon would appear in the apps menu.&nbsp;</p> <p>Prod the Cortana icon for the first time, and you&rsquo;re launched into a set-up routine that lets you tune the service according to your interests and daily routine - as such, it&rsquo;s similar to Google Now, with options for sports, headline news, places to eat, the weather and a trip planner.</p> <p>The similarity to Now continues with the landing page that greets you once you&rsquo;ve finished the set-up - a stack of information that includes news updates, your appointments and maps for any imminent journeys.</p> <p>Tap the microphone icon to the bottom right of the landing page, and you&rsquo;re into Cortana&rsquo;s voice assistant. Since it&rsquo;s officially US-only for now, we had to temper any verdict on its performance with the knowledge that it may stumble on our plummy English tones. But even with that caveat, it seemed as accurate as Google&rsquo;s voice recognition (which is high praise indeed). And oddly, it appeared happier recognising the UK English pronunciation of mobile (&lsquo;mow-bile&rsquo;) than the American (&lsquo;moh-bil&rsquo;). Go figure.</p> <p><iframe class="vine-embed" frameborder="0" height="480" src="https://vine.co/v/Mn7zv9w5Teh/embed/simple" width="480"></iframe></p> <p>Microsoft is clearly bullish about Cortana&rsquo;s capabilities. If you tap your Lumia&rsquo;s search button, it launches straight into voice recognition, which then slides into the Cortana landing page if you scroll upward (compare this to Google Now, which launches into the landing page first).</p> <p>Expect Cortana to land on your UK Windows Phone in late 2014, by which time - if rumours are true - there will also be a Cortana Notebook online that let&rsquo;s you control how much information is shared with the program.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE: <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/apple-carplay-puts-your-iphone-your-car-dashboard/news" target="_blank">Apple CarPlay puts Siri on your dashboard</a></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="Cortana looked different in Halo" alt="Windows Phone 8.1 Cortana" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Cortana-voice-assistant%283%29_0.jpg?1398505549" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-2"> <div class="field-label">Image #2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_2" width="1200" height="900" title="Cortana&#039;s voice recognition is surprisingly capable, even at this stage" alt="Windows Phone 8.1 Cortana" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Cortana-news_0.jpg?1398505549" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> AT LAST - WINDOWS PHONE GETS NOTIFICATIONS </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>You can stop holding your breath, Dear World: 8.1 brings a notifications screen to Windows Phone. And just in case you&rsquo;re worried that Microsoft has invented some kind of unique twist on a well-established system, you can relax - 8.1&rsquo;s new Action Centre borrows happily and heavily from <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/ios-7/ios-7/review" target="_blank">iOS</a> and <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/android/android-44-kitkat/review" target="_blank">Android</a>.</p> <p>You access the Action Centre by swiping down from the top of the screen (sound familiar?), to be greeted by notifications sorted and stacked by type (novel, ay?). You only need to swipe to get rid of them, although curiously, you can&rsquo;t banish individual alerts - you either swipe away all of your Facebook notifications, or none at all.</p> <p>You&rsquo;ll find four quick settings buttons atop the notifications screen that would look at home on any Android handset, along with a shortcut to all of your settings. By default, the four quick links are set to WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode and Rotation Lock, but you can change them to your heart&rsquo;s content in Settings.</p> <p><iframe class="vine-embed" frameborder="0" height="480" src="https://vine.co/v/Mn7ahKvWndE/embed/simple" width="480"></iframe></p> <p>So there&rsquo;s nothing new or crazy in the long-overdue debut of notifications on Windows mobile, but that&rsquo;s absolutely fine by us. During our week with 8.1, we found everything where we expected it to be, and working as it should. For a platform that has sometimes refused to do either of those things, we couldn&rsquo;t ask for any more.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="Notifications have finally hit Windows Phone" alt="Windows Phone 8.1 notifications screen" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Notifications-Windows-Phone-8.1%282%29_0.jpg?1398505549" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-2"> <div class="field-label">Image #2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_2" width="1200" height="900" title="Getting to Settings via the Action Centre is a snap" alt="Windows Phone 8.1 Settings screen" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Notifications-Settings_0.jpg?1398505549" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-box-out-title"> <div class="field-label">Box Out Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> An impossible fight for Windows Phone? Not at all. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-box-out-body-text"> <div class="field-label">Box Out Body Text:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Microsoft could do with a reward for its bravery. For all of its failings, the non-phone Windows 8 at least tried to meet the challenge set by the proliferation of devices and screen sizes head on - albeit with the risky strategy of gluing touch and desktop interfaces together. And despite resulting falls in PC sales and several failed attempts to usurp the iPad with the <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/microsoft/microsoft-surface-2/review" target="_blank">Surface</a>, Microsoft has stuck to Windows 8, convinced that its solution would pay off in time.</p> <p>In the case of the recent update to <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/microsoft/windows-81/review" target="_blank">Windows 8.1</a>, Microsoft&#39;s latest tweaks haven&rsquo;t cured all of the ills - the new dabs of glue joining touch and desktop are too obvious (and with, in some cases, seriously illogical results).</p> <p>But Windows Phone 8.1, due for final release this summer, has no need for glue - it can focus on refining one experience, with the singular aim of dislodging <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/ios-7/ios-7/review" target="_blank">iOS</a> and <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/android/android-45/review" target="_blank">Android</a>. And while 10% market share in the UK may not sound like the stuff of victory, it&rsquo;s enough to take Windows Phone from obscure irrelevance to interesting underdog.</p> <p>Even better, <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/microsoft/hello-micro-kia-microsoft-buys-nokias-device-arm/news" target="_blank">Microsoft&#39;s &pound;4.6bn buy-out of Nokia</a> means that it has control over its mobile hardware in a way it never enjoyed with laptops or desktop PCs. Windows Phone OS can be tuned to suit its hardware and vice versa, a benefit that Apple has exploited for years - and there&rsquo;s a range of new Lumia smartphones arriving at around the same time as the 8.1 update to reinforce the point.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-box-out-byline"> <div class="field-label">Box Out Byline:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/users/mark-payton" title="View user profile.">Mark Payton</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-3"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UNIVERSAL SEARCH: BETTER THAN ITS DESKTOP EQUIVALENT </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>If you&rsquo;ve recently updated <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/microsoft/windows-81/review" target="_blank">Windows 8.1</a> on your PC, you&rsquo;ll recognise Universal Search immediately.</p> <p>Run a query, and you can swipe between the Bing-powered results across five tabs - Web, Local, Images, Video and Phone. The results are accurate, look great, and the layout is eminently sensible and quick to access (compare this to the desktop Windows 8 version, where the horizontal scrolling of results is something of a barrier).</p> <p><iframe class="vine-embed" frameborder="0" height="480" src="https://vine.co/v/Mn7W56TLnEB/embed/simple" width="480"></iframe></p> <p>Quite how useful you find it day to day will naturally depend on your habits - as we found over weeks with 8.1&rsquo;s desktop equivalent, there&rsquo;s usually a quicker way to access a contact, for example, by pinning them to your Start screen. But if you&rsquo;re the type who fires off high volumes of random queries, Universal Search is a useful second home.</p> <p>The only slight foible we could find was the short delay before results appeared as you swipe between the screens - it&rsquo;s not long enough to be off-putting, but noticeable enough to make you wonder why Microsoft didn&rsquo;t choose to have the tabbed results load in the background, while you scanned the first screen.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE: <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/google/google-now-now-available-your-desktop/news" target="_blank">Google Now - now available on your desktop</a></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="Universal Search, powered by Bing, is a useful tool in the power user&#039;s arsenal" alt="Windows Phone 8.1 Universal Search" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Universal-Search-WP8.1_0.jpg?1398505549" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-2"> <div class="field-label">Image #2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_2" width="1200" height="900" title="Maps showing local services are included in Universal Search" alt="Windows Phone 8.1 Universal Search uses your location" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Universal-Search-maps-WP-8.1_0.jpg?1398505549" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-4"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> GOOGLE SYNC: THE CALENDAR’S BACK… </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>As a result of a wrangle between Google and Microsoft over Exchange Active Sync (EAS), Windows 8 users with Google Apps for Business accounts have been unable to sync their Google Calendars with the default Windows Calendar app since March 2013.</p> <p>The good news is that 8.1 ends their misery - add a Google Apps account in Settings, and your Windows Phone will happily start syncing both your GMail and Google Calendars.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-5"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> IMPROVED DATA AND BATTERY CONTROLS </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>You&rsquo;ll find one new screen to join an older partner in Windows Phone 8.1 settings - Data Sense, meet Storage Sense. The former&#39;s a welcome addition to Windows mobile, to the point where it&rsquo;s easy to overlook it in a review (&lsquo;what do you mean it wasn&#39;t there before?&rsquo;).</p> <p>As with Notifications, Microsoft has kept to the basics and presented them well: Storage Sense shows how much space you&rsquo;ve used (both on internal and external storage), while letting you switch storage locations for music, photos, apps and downloads. Data Sense lets you cap your data usage, both with a hard limiter, and also through restricting background data. Simple, unoriginal, but very effective.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="Storage Sense gives control over where your files go" alt="Windows Phone 8.1 Storage Sense" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Data-Sense%283%29_0.jpg?1398505549" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-2"> <div class="field-label">Image #2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_2" width="1200" height="900" title="Data Sense is the quick way to keep those monthly bills under check" alt="Windows Phone 8.1 review" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Storage-Sense-in-Settings_0.jpg?1398505549" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-box-out-title"> <div class="field-label">Box Out Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> How to get the Windows Phone 8.1 update now </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-box-out-body-text"> <div class="field-label">Box Out Body Text:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>We&rsquo;ll safely assume you have a Windows Phone device (or you&rsquo;re about to buy one). If so, and if you&rsquo;d like the 8.1 update for free, head on over to the <a href="http://appstudio.windowsphone.com" target="_blank">Windows Phone App Studio</a>, and login using your Microsoft account.</p> <p>Once that&rsquo;s done, go to the Store on your Windows Phone, and search for &lsquo;Preview for Developers&rsquo;. Install it, then find and open the Preview app on your device. Again, login using your Microsoft credentials.</p> <p>Now head back to Settings, find Phone Update, and check for updates - lo and behold, Windows Phone 8.1 should begin to download. Job done.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-6"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> WHAT DID MICROSOFT MISS? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Although Windows Phone 8.1 is a real leap forward, there are still aspects of the OS in need of polish.</p> <p>For example, Live Tiles can look a mess - a flashing wall of animations, none of which make much sense. Combine the wrong set, and you end up with a screenful of bad advertising, none of which you particularly recognise or want to tap. <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/android/android-44-kitkat/review" target="_blank">Android</a> widgets, at their best, are still a superior life form (not least because many actually facilitate actions, more than giving information).</p> <p>Then there&rsquo;s the Windows Phone Settings screen, which is still a headache: too many entries, with no categorisation and often baffling decisions as to what gets filed where. If Microsoft are happy enough to borrow from the best of <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/ios-7/ios-7/review" target="_blank">iOS</a> and Android, this looks like the next logical place to run the photocopier.</p> <p>Lastly, Windows Phone&rsquo;s multitasking could be easier to use; although it&rsquo;s quick enough to access with a long press of the Back button, you only see one app pane at a time. Compare that to stock Android, where you can see up to four, and scroll quickly through them (or even better, the nine-pane set-up in the latest cut of HTC&rsquo;s Sense).</p> <p><iframe class="vine-embed" frameborder="0" height="480" src="https://vine.co/v/Mn77XF5Unap/embed/simple" width="480"></iframe></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="The Settings menu is still a rather cluttered, confusing place" alt="Windows Phone 8.1 Settings screen could do with a spring clean" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Settings-WP8.1_0.jpg?1398505549" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-7"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Windows Phone 8.1 verdict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Windows Phone 8.1 may only be an evolution of Microsoft&rsquo;s mobile OS, but there&rsquo;s enough spit and polish in this update to make it a serious alternative to <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/android/android-44-kitkat/review" target="_blank">Android</a> and <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/ios-7/ios-7/review" target="_blank">iOS</a>.</p> <p>Cortana shows real promise, and Universal Search is an addition you can imagine using every day. But ironically, it&rsquo;s the fluffier aspects of 8.1 that may win Windows Phone new friends - the endlessly adaptable Start screen, the new tile transparencies, and the refinements to the animations.</p> <p>Our only reservation, for now, remains the breadth and quality of apps available in the Windows Store. Yes, it&#39;s now filled to the point where most of the mainstream apps are represented - but there still isn&rsquo;t the depth of choice and consistently high quality that you&rsquo;ll find in the Play Store or iTunes App Store.</p> <p>But we&rsquo;re at a point where the strengths are beginning to outweigh the weaknesses; 8.1 means that Windows Phone is ready for prime time.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE: <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/android/android-45/review" target="_blank">Android 4.5 Preview</a></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="Windows Phone 8.1 review" alt="Windows Phone 8.1 review" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Start-screen_0.jpg?1398505549" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-review-rating"><legend>Review Rating</legend><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-review-score"> <div class="field-label">Score:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-verdict"> <div class="field-label">Verdict:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>8.1 sees Windows Phone starting to realise its potential - with a couple of caveats this is now a worthy alternative to iOS and Android</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-preview"> <div class="field-label">Preview:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Disabled </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-carousel-item"><legend>Carousel Extras</legend><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-carousel-item-title"> <div class="field-label">Carousel item title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Windows Phone 8.1 review: &quot;Finally a contender&quot; </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-carousel-item-standfirst"> <div class="field-label">Carousel item standfirst:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Microsoft&#039;s mobile OS is &quot;now a worthy alternative to iOS and Android&quot; </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <p><a href="http://www.stuff.tv/microsoft/windows-phone-81/review" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://www.stuff.tv/microsoft/windows-phone-81/review#comments Microsoft Smartphones Windows Phone Windows Phone 8.1 Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:47:01 +0000 Tom Parsons 1434104 at http://www.stuff.tv