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off the peg colours

GLOBAL –Nokia’s Lumia smartphones are a pretty varied bunch. There’s a choice of black, cyan, magenta, and now white for the Nokia Lumia 800. The Lumia 710 comes in black and white, plus a range of back-plates to match your style.

But many people want to go deeper than that when it comes to personalising their phone. So let’s take a look at the options.

The first modification you might want to play with is to change the colour scheme inside your phone. If you really want dark blue tiles on your magenta phone, then that’s up to you. It’s your eyesight.

Changing the colour scheme is simple. From the app list, choose ‘Settings’, then ‘Theme’. Tap the ‘Accent color’ list and choose from the list available. (For those who aren’t satisfied with the default choices, check out Wiztiles in the Marketplace)

theme choices

 theme picker

It’s also possible to choose between black and white backgrounds on the same ‘Theme’ screen. Tap ‘Background’ and choose between dark and light. Note that with an AMOLED screen, the dark background uses less battery power, since black pixels are achieved by turning off the light, unlike LCD displays.

Next you’ll want to change the picture on your lock screen. Go to settings, then ‘Lock + wallpaper’ and press ‘Change wallpaper’ and you can choose any image from your phone and pan the selection box to choose the bit you want. There are apps available to do this for you, but I’ve found it as easy to just find and download an image with regular Bing search. I use Pictures Lab for on-phone picture editing.

wallpaper size

 choose wallpaper

To change the ringtone, the settings entry is, of course, ‘Ringtones and Sounds’. There’s a bunch available pre-installed, but we know a lot of people will want to assign a custom tune here. There’s two options here:

(1) Use a free music editor such as Audacity to create a 40 second ringtone on your computer – Audacity can load MP3s and other music formats so you shouldn’t have a problem with your existing music collection. Add it to the playlist you use for your mobile in Zune, assigning it the genre ‘ringtone’. Once it’s synchronised onto your phone, it will be available from the list.

(2) There’s a whole bunch of free and paid ringtone apps available on the Marketplace. We found easyRing&Music perhaps the most powerful. It will let you pick tunes from Amazon and other sources, or your SkyDrive, and edit them on your phone.

easyringand music

 edit mp3s

The Marketplace is also your friend when it comes to customising your tiles. Of especial interest is Quick Tiles, which is enormously useful, allowing you to create completely custom tiles for a whole bunch of new purposes such as reminders, countdowns, city-clocks and now even moon phases.

Quick Tiles

 Tile Painter

Quick Tiles (left) and Tile Painter (right)

Also of note is Tile Painter. This does a similar job to Quick Tiles but with a different set of possible actions to perform when your custom tile is created. In particular, if you’re using tiles to create bookmarks to your favourite websites, this will allow you to customise its appearance.

 Are you dressing up your Lumia? What’s the most important piece of customisation for you?

PS. Hungry for more apps? Check out this massive list of Windows Phone apps put together by Electricpig.