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I've often put up the now somewhat ancient (late 2015) Lumia 950 XL against modern flagships, but here's something genuinely different. £470 inc VAT, pure Google and Android, guaranteed updates for three years, 3.5mm headphone jack, plus the much-acclaimed (including by me) 'PureView take 2' Pixel Camera, doing all the oversampling in the time domain rather than across a physical sensor. This, perhaps more than any other current phone, is the natural destination for a Lumia 950 XL owner, I contend...
Although I regularly pitch the PureView over-sampled Lumia 950 XL stills up against the best of 2018 and 2019, video capture is a whole other area. The Snapdragon 810 chipset in my 950 XL just can't compete in terms of real time noise reduction and software stabilisation with the Snapdragon 855 (and Kirin 980 here), which - at 1080p here, at least - have oodles of headroom in the processing department - and it shows when testing modern Android flagships. Even more so the Lumia 1020-inspired Huawei P30 Pro, which also throws a genuine 5x 'periscope' telephoto into the mix.
Spotify has effectively ended its service on Windows-powered phones, as of last week, with the withdrawal of the core search facilities (i.e. for music). This was expected and I try to provide links and quotes below to chronicle Spotify on the platform(s). As to alternatives, there's a third party client, but it does come with a few quirks and caveats.
Bluetooth speakers have come on a way in the last couple of years, with some serious speaker cones being fitted to modest enclosures and for modest (sub £50) prices too. A couple of months I reviewed the state of the art, the Tronsmart Element Force, but audio specialists Tribit now have the MaxSound Plus, matching the Element Force in price, dimensions, ambitions, and (almost) sound output, but with a caveat over legacy charging.
One of the biggest reasons why users love Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile is the front end UI - the multi-size live tiles (most of which still work). And I was struck by the example below, put up on Twitter by Mike Latham, one of my followers there. There's plenty to see and comment on, plus I'll put in the relevant links below. Could making Android's app launcher look and feel like Windows 10 Mobile be a valid way forward? I give it a try anyway...
Windows 10 Mobile may be far from the front line of Microsoft's 2019 mobile plans, but the OS is still supported, whatever you might have read elsewhere. Underneath the hood the foundations are receiving kernel and security fixes today, for all phones currently running the 1709 and 1703 branches. Grab this May 2019 update in Settings, in the usual way, though see the note below about backups. Next month will be the interesting one, with 1703 probably getting its last ever kernel and security update.
In the spirit of continually keeping an eye on what the wider mobile world can offer, and especially looking at form factors which are interesting and marry up with what AAS and AAWP readers might be looking for, I noted that my Gemini has now received its Android 8.1 update. Why is this relevant? Because it brings the ability to use the full screen, turning the Gemini into a more convincing micro-laptop. Or, if you will, a present day Communicator.
Last covered here back in March, Twitter keeps on improving its Twitter PWA, most easily accessed on Windows 10 Mobile through the official UWP Store application, even if the code changes are all server-side. Still, Twitter gets smoother and more functional week by week - it's the flagship social network for W10M these days, I'd argue. Here's what's new, updated and fixed.
It's all very well me going on about great headphones to use with your 3.5mm-jack-equipped smartphones, it's also great to chat about using a Type C super-DAC for even louder and clearer music. But what if you want to go wireless*? Regular readers will know that I've been experimenting a lot with Bluetooth options and - I think - we have a winner. Conjoined? Check. Long battery life? Check. Type C recharging? Check. Sweat and shower proof? Check. Sound great? Check. The ROCKJAW T5 'Ultra Connect' isn't perfect, but it's an awful lot of wireless headphone capability for £70.
With various scare stories being put forward over the weekend, I thought it appropriate to refute them with the aid of an informed tweet or two. The scare was that Microsoft wasn't going to update the Store client for Windows 10 Mobile anymore, potentially leading to something breaking earlier than planned. However, this didn't seem quite right, this early, and the dependable Rudy Huyn came to the rescue with an informed MVP viewpoint.