As anyone who's messed around with operating systems or technology knows, it's easy (and tested) to upgrade an OS, it's usually a lot harder to downgrade (since all the old files have previously been blown away by the upgrade!) So, needing to downgrade from Windows 10 Mobile 'Redstone' Insider builds back to the more stable, fully working pastures of 'Threshold' (the 10586.xxx current production branch), I knew I'd hit a hiccup or two along the way - but I also wanted to bring you along for the ride, in case you also need to revert to an earlier version at some stage.
One of the most popular sub-topics in my features on camera-toting smartphones is low light and night time capabilities. Now, partly this is about arty shots of sunsets, churches and fountains, but more usually in the real world this is about friends and family in living rooms, pubs and events. Which usually means relying on your smartphone camera's flash. With LED flash now coming in 'triple' form and with many differences in processing capabilities under the hood, I thought some tests were in order. Will Xenon, the original winning tech, still come out on top?
The number one request I get behind the scenes on AAWP is to compile a directory of the best applications for the platform - given the amount of rubbish/fakes in the official Store, despite my rantings over Microsoft Store QA over the years. So, with another big update for mid-April 2016, and now in more phone-friendly format, here's our directory of the very best of the Windows Phone (and Windows 10 Mobile) world. If you or someone you know is just starting out on the platform then look no further for suggestions.
One of the core components in any smartphone that rarely gets much attention is its speaker. Now, often this is because city dwellers rarely get a chance to 'crank it up' without annoying people, so headphones are de rigeur, but for the rest of us, having a decent speaker in a phone is actually quite important. Sat-nav instructions in the car, speakerphone calls at the office, podcasts around the house, even a makeshift ambient music player for the bathroom or bedroom. Here I test some of the more popular Lumias against the best of the competition.
Inspired partly by an excellent series of articles by Jason Ward (latest one here), running to tens of thousands of words, I thought I'd summarise - more succinctly - my own predictions on Continuum and the future of Windows 10 Mobile. It's somewhat ironic that just as the media is writing Microsoft off in the phone space, Windows 10 Mobile's unique selling points could be bridging the gap between the present and the future while its mainstream smartphone rivals become increasingly restricted.
Another in my series of interactive camera phone head to heads, this time with the recently launched Huawei P9 flagship, almost an exact match in terms of form factor and ambitions to the Lumia 950. Testing the two devices in a wide range of light scenarios, I really put the two imaging devices to the sword, but which one will emerge the winner?
With smartphone design converging ever more closely these days (in terms of specs and form factor), at least it makes it easier to compare devices directly. In this case Microsoft's standard sized flagship, the Windows 10 Mobile-powered Lumia 950, and Huawei's new equivalent, the Android-powered P9, which is in for review. Here's how the two contenders stack up...
I touched on Dynamic Exposure in my recent feature charting the many instant decisions that Microsoft's 'Rich HDR' (née Rich Capture) system goes through each time you take a photo on, for example, the Lumia 950 or 950 XL. One of the more intriguing possible outcomes was in lowish light with moving subjects, which is where 'Dynamic Exposure' comes into play, with two shots of different exposure times combined to good effect. Below, I demonstrate just how well this works.
By popular request, and following the announcement by Microsoft that the low end Lumia 435, 532/535 (etc.) are approved for the Windows 10 Mobile update (and beyond), but not yesteryear's flagships, such as the Lumia 920, 925 and 1020, with the older generation of S4 processors, I put two devices head to head running the production version of Windows 10 Mobile - how does performance stack up and were Microsoft right to exclude the older phones? Or should they have included less phone upgrades in the mix?
Reverse engineering the internal logic of Windows 10 Camera took a little head scratching and practical experimentation (thanks to long time AAWP reader Indrek Haav for the help), but I/we reckon that we have it pretty much nailed now, as you'll see from the chart below. So if you've ever wondered exactly what Rich HDR (née Rich Capture) was 'thinking' when you tapped the shutter icon or mashed fully down on the shutter button then hopefully we have an answer for you.