Windows Phone

All posts tagged Windows Phone

7 Nokia Lumia Camera Tips and Tricks

6 Nokia Lumia Tips and Tricks via

I’ve be rocking my Nokia Lumia Icon for a couple of weeks. I also jumped the gun and downloaded Windows Phone 8.1 beta and I’m having fun playing with all the new features, especially Cortana.

Still, probably the best feature of my device is the camera. It takes awesome photos with little to no effort. But I’ve still managed to discover a few gems that I thought I would share with you all just in case you’re interested in trying out Windows Phone, or want to unlock more of your Nokia Lumia’s camera potential.

1. Wake Phone with Camera button

Those ‘Once in a lifetime’ photo ops come, well…once in a lifetime. Our smartphones do everything, including take pictures. As a result the extra time it takes going from pulling your phone out of your pocket, purse, or bag, unlocking the phone, opening the camera, and finally snapping a pic can result in ‘missing the moment’.

The hard camera button located on the right side of all Windows Phones (under the Power button) can be used to wake the phone right into camera mode so you can quickly snap a picture to preserve that special moment forever. Simply press and hold the camera button while it’s locked to jump straight into the camera.

2. Use the Grid

One of the camera settings of any smartphone that I feel is most overlooked is turning on the grid. It simply helps you frame your shot to make sure the important aspects of a shot are highlighted. Additionally, the bars will make sure your shot is even, straight or level, especially if your taking photos of scenery.

3. 3 Ways to Focus

With Windows Phone devices, the hard camera button gives you three ways to focus:

1. Autofocus – by just pressing the camera button, the phone will quickly focus on the elements in the center of the shot before taking a photo.
2. Manual Focus – With most smartphones, you tap anywhere on the screen to can tell the camera where you want to focus. Pressing the hard camera button or the camera button on the screen will finish the job.
3. Press and Hold – You can also pre-focus on your image by lightly pressing and the hard camera button to “preview” your shot. Pressing the camera button all the way will actually take the shot.

4. Shoot first, zoom later

With most smartphones, you can use the “pinch” gesture to zoom in and out for the best shot. With Windows Phones, especially the high-powered, Nokia Lumia 1020, 1520, and Icon, you can take your shot with the regular zoom distance, then go back and zoom/frame the shot to your liking. This also helps for when you don’t want to miss that perfect shot opportunity because you’re messing with settings.

5. Auto Settings are fine

Speaking of messing with settings, the Nokia Lumia Pro Camera app professional settings on Nokia Windows Phones can be intimidating for casual smartphone users, especially if you want to quickly snap great pics.

That’s why Nokia with it’s dope camera technology made sure to give you the option of just going “all Auto everything” to take pro-level shots with little to no tweaking.

6. Use Camera to scan barcodes, books, CD’s & DVD’s, and translate text

In addition to just taking pictures, the Windows Phone camera can read, translate, and decode information. By pressing the magnifying glass button and activating ‘Bing Vision’ (for Windows Phone 8.1 users, open the camera app and go into settings/lenses to find Bing Vision).

With Bing Vision you can decode QR codes & Microsoft tags, read UPC barcodes, pull up information on a book, CD or DVD, or translate text just by holding the camera on the content.

7. Read the Manual

If taking pics with Nokia Lumia Pro Cam gets you pumped about taking photos and you want to start experimenting with all of the camera settings in the higer-end devices, be sure to use the in-phone and online resources.

Phone – Built right into the Nokia Pro Camera are some helpful tutorials that go over lighting, focus, white balance, shutter speed and more.

Online – If you’re looking for some example videos on how to get the most out of your Nokia Pro Cam, be sure to check out the online guide to see all the possibilities of your camera.

Even though I also have an iPhone and an Android, whenever I know I need a great camera, I make sure to pop my SIM card into my Nokia Lumia Icon to make sure I stay connected while getting some cool images in the meantime.

Disclosure: I received the device featured in this post at no charge for review/giveaway purposes. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions in this post are my own…Suckas

Terrance Gaines7 Nokia Lumia Camera Tips and Tricks

#AppRoundup – CloudSix For Dropbox

For those who don’t know, I’ve been rockin’ with Windows Phone as my daily driver again, but this time in the form of the flagship Nokia Lumia Icon (Shout-out to the folks at @NokiaUS for hooking me up). Of course, one of the standing issues with using Windows Phone for a gadget geek like me is app availability.

Even though I’ve come to the realization that I simply don’t need all those apps, there are some that are a must. Dropbox is one of them. Sadly, there is no native app for Windows Phone. Luckily, Rudy Huyn, one of the best Windows Phone developers in the game stepped up and delivered a pretty flawless 3rd-Party CloudSix for Dropbox app that any Windows Phone user should download.

Rudy Huyn is the guy who made the best 3rd-Party apps for Instagram and Vine, before Facebook (owns Instagram) and Twitter (developed Vine) finally ventured over to Microsoft’s mobile platform. So I had to download CloudSix and take a look.

CloudSix for Dropbox File Options via CloudSix for Dropbox Folder Options via

First and foremost, CloudSix for Dropbox offers all the functionality you would get in a native Dropbox app on other mobile platforms:

  • Quickly Upload and create links to share files
  • Auto-Upload photos and videos when connected to WiFi
  • Add files to your “Favorites” for fast, offline viewing.
  • Access and Manage multiple Dropbox accounts
  • Create PIN code to access CloudSix for security

Probably the only feature that I would like to see is the ability to upload multiple files at once. CloudSix is free to download with an in-app $1.29 purchase to remove ads. I would’ve easily paid a little more to remove ads AND get multiple file upload capabilities.

Secondly, CloudSix looks good and is easy to navigate. I’ve tried many 3rd-Party Windows Phone apps and the majority  look like they were either lazily ported from other platforms (I’m looking at you OnStar RemoteLink), or just thrown together just for the sake of selling mobile ads. Not the case with CloudSix. From the icons, to the functionality, it just works.

CloudSix for Dropbox Quick Access Tab via CloudSix for Dropbox Settings Tab via

CloudSix does use a tabbed interface, commonly found on Android apps to navigate to other options like “settings” and “favorites”. I would’ve liked to see CloudSix go “all-in” and use the Windows Phone gesture-based navigation schema, but hey…I’m not complaining.

For $free.99, CloudSix for Dropbox is a definite pick-up if you’re a Windows Phone user that wants to keep your cloud storage options open.

For you Microsoft fans, yes, I realize I could just use OneDrive, and I do to auto-backup my mobile images to the cloud. But anytime I reach out to a brand or PR agency for images for a story, or when I’m working on a campaign with a brand, most of the time, they are using Dropbox for file sharing & collaboration, So…

“When in Rome…”

Terrance Gaines#AppRoundup – CloudSix For Dropbox

3 Reasons To Rock With Windows Phone


For the past week, I’ve been using the HTC 8X, powered by Verizon Wireless with Microsoft’s Windows Phone guts. I’ll be honest, I’m deeply invested in Apple’s and Google’s ecosystems, so switching to Windows Phone permanently would be tough…not impossible, but tough.

On the flip side, there are some people who are not as tied to one particular ecosystem or another. For those [lucky] people. I think All platforms (even the upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices) are fair game. Since I’ll be rocking the 8X for the time being, here are 3 reasons why you should consider Windows Phone.

1. Smooth Operator

Believe it or not, there are some people who don’t own smartphones…Crazy right? For those people looking to adopt the smartphone lifestyle, jumping into Windows Phone is easy. Why? Because there aren’t a ton of apps to overwhelm a new user. After users setup their email, contacts, and calendars…and connect their social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn) that’s pretty much all you need to be productive and stay connected.

The Windows Phone “Me” and “People” Hubs do a good job of keeping users updated on what’s going on in their lives in addition to the lives of family, friends, contacts and colleagues without immediately downloading one app after another. The Live tiles also make it simple to get a “glance” at updates without flipping through a bunch of app screens or widgets to get what you need.

Since I mentioned ecosystems, Windows Phone plays really well with Microsoft Office Suite. Since all the people on planet earth have either a Word, Excel or PowerPoint file somewhere in their possession, accessing those documents (via SkyDrive) doesn’t require any magic tricks, unlike other platforms. Sure, all you have to do is download an app for iOS or Android, but with Windows Phone, you can even skip that step.

2. One-Stop Shop

Windows Phone has taken a page from Apple’s playbook and is building Windows Phone Store to be the ONE PLACE to download apps, music, movies, and other content. Unlike Apple, Windows Phone isn’t a walled-garden if you want to sync content from other platforms (like iTunes) on your Windows Phone device. If have have a Windows laptop/desktop and/or Live account, syncing content is a no-brainer. Even you have a Mac (like moi), simply connect your phone to your computer and use the Windows Phone Connector desktop app and choose what content to want on your device (DRM free stuff of course).

With Android, you can get content from anywhere in addition to Google Play, which could cause confusion, and possible issues with crappy apps that were not downloaded directly from Google Play – And there have been issues with Android malware. As a new or inexperienced smartphone user, Windows Phone is a good choice if you want to just play it safe, but still have options.

3. New Hotness

Windows Phone devices are new and distinct. Whenever I whip out my…smartphone, curious folks always want to know what kind of phone it is and how I like it. Everyone knows what an Apple device looks like…because everybody has one. If your phone is as big as your head, folks assume you have an Android. With Windows Phone, you are guaranteed to stand out from the crowd. Don’t front, we all want to have that “you ain’t up on this” attitude when it comes to tech and gadgets. Rocking a Windows Phone device will definitely give you that new hotness swag (are people still saying swag?).

Sure Windows Phone isn’t as name-worthy as iPhone or Android, and you won’t have access to more apps than you’ll ever download, but there are some unique advantages to choosing Microsoft’s mobile platform.

I want to know, would you choose Windows Phone or are you rolling with what you got?

Terrance Gaines3 Reasons To Rock With Windows Phone