Yesterday I compared all the features and functions of the newish Nokia 7 Plus with those of the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro, the highest specced Windows 10 Mobile phone. And the 7 Plus came out on top, not surprisingly, given the relative age of the designs and the use of newer components and a newer OS. The imaging side of things was a win for the Nokia 7 Plus, so it clearly needed different opposition. Enter the Lumia 950 XL, still right up with the best in the world - can the 7 Plus's 2x telephoto lens help it defeat the classic Lumia?
With the Nokia 7 Plus in for review, one of the latest hero devices from the 'reborn' Finnish company, I wondered which Windows 10 Mobile handsets to compare it to. At £350 inc VAT in the UK, the 7 Plus is distinctly mid-range in some ways, yet high end in others. In the end I cheated slightly in terms of content - I'll be doing a camera comparison with the Lumia 950 XL, since the Nokia 7 Plus imaging is really very good, but I picked the IDOL 4 Pro for the general head-to-head, since that remains the highest specced W10M phone.
Back in 2016, I wrote about the (then) new Google Pixel Camera software on Android and how its multi-frame combination approach was akin to the multi-pixel (pun unintended, keep up at the back!) combination approach of the original Nokia PureView system, the idea in both cases being to dramatically reduce digital noise, especially in low light situations. Two years on, I wanted to explore how far Google took this 'PureView take two' system, pitting it against the classic Lumia 950 XL in challenging lighting.
Exactly a week ago, Microsoft unveiled the Surface Go, a smaller, lighter hybrid/communicator. And I'm still hovering my cursor over the 'Pre-order' button. Why the hesitation? Because I think Microsoft didn't quite get the design right. Don't get me wrong, I applaud their effort and the launch of new hardware, especially to a new market (mainly education). But I have several bones to pick with the company, ways it which it lost a sale to me, at least. And maybe you? See if you agree with me!
There was some confusion recently in the comments here on AAWP over whether Office applications offered full functionality (including editing and creating) under Windows 10 Mobile in 2018. I decided to investigate and the results are below. In short, as I expected (and stated originally), you can still edit and create documents for free, but in fairness there are some restrictions. Which I list/show in definitive fashion, so hopefully this page is worth a bookmark.
The game in 2018 seems to be managing the increasing gaps in Windows 10 Mobile functionality while eying up possible replacements in the Android (or iOS) world. Which is why I'm continuing with imaging comparisons, since getting close to (or exceeding) the Lumia camera ability seems to be a clinching factor for many people. The Asus Zenfone 5 is both new, capable, and affordable, sitting at just over £300, offering flagship feel, stereo speakers, 3.5mm output... and a dual camera in a normal plus wide configuration.
In the most recent episode of my own Phones Show Chat podcast, I bemoaned biometrics and, ultimately, mobile money management as the area where I found the biggest showstoppers in using Windows 10 Mobile day to day. I'm convinced that this was a huge area where Microsoft failed to step in with any conviction - and not helped by the cessation of Lumia production or by the similar lack of commitment of the likes of HP and Alcatel.
Over the last three years, I've been adding to my curated directory of applications for Windows phones, including both 8.1 and Windows 10 versions. But, as we hit mid-2018 and with the latter really all that most (though not all) currently active Windows phone users care about, I've whittled it all down to UWP applications, those with native Windows 10 UI and which support different orientations, Continuum and even use on laptop or tablet. This is the July update of the directory.
If your phone has been through several OS branches (even as part of production updates) and if you've been trying loads of applications (they do exist, you know), there will come a point when you fancy 'factory fresh' performance again. No under-the-hood cruft, no detritus. Here, in a 2018 updated edition of my original feature, are the steps needed to keep things smooth and ensure that you don't lose much in the process.
I was surprised by the interest shown in an imaging shootout between the new Blackberry KEY2 and the venerable Lumia 950 XL - it seems that there are people considering a 'productivity-based' jump to Android and Blackberry but who also want to quantify what they'd be losing in terms of imaging in the process.