Ok, so your brand new phone has just arrived: you want to start playing with it and showing it off. But before you get to that, you have to go through the usual steps. Get it charged up, start transferring all of your data from your old handset to your new one. Finally; it’s time then learn how to unlock the potential of your new best friend.

So you’re there, scrolling through your pictures or have just taken an amazing shot, which you thought would be the perfect one for your purpose. After the next few milliseconds, when the photo will open, you are expecting to see and hear some kind of excitement or maybe even jealousy. But instead of all that, you end up looking at a soft, possibly blurry picture, causing disappointment.

As some of you may already know, the reason for this is, that the native Picture hub in wp8 deliberately lowers the quality of the photo we are currently viewing to improve performance when we pan and zoom.

Luckily for us, between all those photo apps in the “Store”, there’s one which addresses this particular issue and:

1. displays photos in their original quality

2. makes the experience of viewing photos on our wp8 that much better

HD photo viewer is a little app which you can find in the Store. The current price is £0.79 but the publisher is offering a free unlimited trial.


When you open the app, you are presented with folders containing your pictures stored on the phone.


From those, you can then choose the photo you would like to view. Should you wish to view a photo from one of your online albums i.e. Facebook or SkyDrive, you can do so by taping the three dot menu at the bottom of your screen, which will then reveal an “other folders” option.


Upon opening a picture you’ll see the current zoom level displayed in X% at the top of the screen and 4 buttons “Previous, Share, To tile and Next” at the bottom of the screen. The “To tile” button allows you to add your favourite pictures as your live tile background. I believe that the other three buttons are self explanatory.

There is also one more option hidden under the three dots menu and that is “set the maximum zoom level” where you can choose anything up to 200%.

It is possible to view pictures in both, vertical or landscape mode. To go to the previous or next picture you can either use one of the arrows at the bottom or just swipe to the left or right. Double tapping will zoom in or out but you can also use the familiar pan or zoom by using your two fingers to slide or pinch.



As I mentioned before, the “To tile” button allows you to add your favourite pictures as your live tile background, should you wish to pin the tile to your start screen. Once you’ve done that, the background of the live tile will change randomly. Should you sometime in the future need to remove any of those background pictures, just tap the three dots and then tap “manage live tile backgrounds”

And if you are a Nokia Lumia owner like me you will surely appreciate the app’s ability to show pictures taken with Cinemagraph.

So there you have it, if you are not entirely happy with what you see in the native wp8 Picture viewer then I’m inviting you to check out HD photo viewer. I myself, was amazed by the much higher quality of the pictures I’ve taken when viewed in this app.

And in regards to the performance issue I mentioned before, well I don’t really see any lagging on my Lumia 920. It might be slightly slower on lower end devices but the developer releases updates on a regular basis so it’s very much possible that it will just get better, Time will tell I guess.

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Radovan Zierik

I have always been fascinated by computers, mobile phones, game consoles and other gadgets. After getting my first pc and looking for help on the internet and in pc magazines, I’ve realized that there were always lots of people like me, who needed help or advise. Because of my quickly expanding knowledge I soon became the tech guy for my family members, neighbours, colleagues and later even people I have never seen before. I decided to start writing, so I can share my opinions, my excitement and everything I know with people who either need help, or with the ones who love technology as much as I do. I am, and always have been a windows phone fan, but I do get equally excited about any new or old gadget I can get my hands on.