I have to confess that I’m getting more than a little tired of the "ha - it's dead“ headlines across the tech press. They’ve been saying this for a year now - if it was true then, how is Windows Phone/W10M's status still newsworthy now? The problem is, I contend, that there’s a fundamental lack of understanding of how Microsoft, Windows 10 and mobile fit together in the phone world. Windows 10 Mobile - as an operating system - is alive and kicking, and has the exact same lifespan as Windows 10 on the desktop - by definition.
Back in the mists of time (2014) I created a massive round-up of podcatchers, i.e. podcast-grabbing applications for Windows Phone. I'm not even going to link to this here because it's now so out of date, but now that Windows 10 Mobile is well and truly out for most people, I thought a look at each of the 2016 contenders was in order. Well, that's the plan, over the next few weeks. Alas, I hit a few roadblocks, which is why I'm starting this series with a call for data points from you, the AAWP community - what are you using on Windows 10 Mobile?
I realise I've been sitting on the fence a bit with regard to whether to upgrade these older (1GB+ RAM) smartphones to Windows 10 Mobile, against Microsoft's recommendation. On the one hand, we have a confusing imaging workflow and mono audio in videos on the Lumia 1020, on the other hand we have a barrage of benefits of being on much newer apps and OS (and damn any UI slowdowns). Yet time is running out in terms of making up your mind...
I have to confess - even after writing hundreds of articles about smartphone imaging I still get confused sometimes about digital zoom, especially in the realm of PureView. Exactly how far can you zoom in, on each device, for stills or video? What are the limits and what happens if you go beyond them? Here’s a helpful guide that I prepared earlier.
With the movement of its feature phone business (acquired from Nokia as part of the deal) to a joint Finnish/Chinese partnership (HMD/Foxconn), Microsoft also made it clear that there won’t be any new Lumias for the time being, but that doesn’t mean no new Windows 10 Mobile smartphones. In fact, there are quite a few companies now involved in the ecosystem, so I thought I’d enumerate and introduce them. Some you’ll have heard of, some you won’t.
Yes, it's the second imaging shootout of the week, sometimes these things get bunched up and the LG G5 and HTC 10 arrived on the same day - both with pretensions at the Lumia 950's imaging crown. With totally different native resolutions though, meaning that in order to use our comparator I had to go out and shoot different test scenes at different times - here's the result of the 16MP fight between the Lumia 950 and LG G5.
With the HTC 10 now in for review on The Phones Show, I couldn't resist pitching it (it claims camera prowess) against the Lumia 950, looking at image quality. And, me being me and this being AAWP, I couldn't resist throwing in some comparisons with the classic Lumia 1020 as well - a different beast, but it does provide a known benchmark of sorts for what a phone camera can do.
One of the requests in the comments recently was to test audio capture when shooting videos. And, as it happens, I'd been thinking about doing this for a while anyway. So I headed out with six smartphones and tried to shoot video and audio in as controlled conditions as possible: in a quiet garden, by a windy, noisy road, and in a rock-level music setting. That should be enough to set the best from the rest, I thought...
Following on from AAWP's rather handy guide to the very best applications for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile, here's an updated (new entries, new layout) version of our similar crowd-sourced guide the very best one percent of games on the platform. Enjoy! And do comment if you have other suggestions, based on your own gaming experience.
Half the fun in setting up any new smartphone is, I content, configuring its home screen or, in this case, its 'Start' screen, since we're talking Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile. In fact, the live tiles and amount of information and flexibility being put forwards has drawn admirers from other smartphone ecosystems, so Microsoft has definitely been doing something right here. But how should your Start screen look? Are there any hard and fast rules to follow or gotchas? Well, not really, but I can provide some pointers, at least.