The Lumia 950 and 950 XL were announced almost exactly three years ago, in October 2015. Not exactly to huge fanfare, and they needed six months of Windows 10 Mobile updates for the phones to really fly. And, for a short period, they were competitive with the best of iPhone and Android, but the pace of hardware development on the latter has been astonishing and unrelenting. Even imaging, the Lumia 950/XL's star feature, has now been overtaken. Where will it all end?
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It's a fair cop, Windows 10 Mobile is still alive, so maybe it's too early to do a little grave-jumping. And devices like the Lumia 950 are still eminently useable and even enjoyable. But at the same time, there have been some stinkers in Windows phone history - and I've never compiled an list... until now. Whatever you might think of the development of the OS itself, there's little to excuse some of the hardware below.
There's so much to like about Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile in terms of hardware options, interface, and ecosystem (in that W10M is part of a larger whole), that you might be surprised, in hindsight, that it failed so badly - in relative terms, compared to Android and iOS. There's no one single reason for this - rather many reasons, with cumulative effect, over the best part of a decade. Here's my - rather damning - list.
It CAN be done. But that doesn't mean you should do it. In fact, it's a last resort if this is something you feel the need to do. What am I talking about? Reframing. Exemplified by the Lumia 1020, this was part of Nokia Pro Camera back in 2013-14, and the idea was that you could zoom in to take a photo, then - back at home - decide that you wish you hadn't zoomed in so far and that you wanted to 'reframe' the photo, either zoomed out or with a different zoom centre. It worked brilliantly. And, well, you can't do exactly the same on the Lumia 930 or 950. But you can get close... with caveats!
So, with my review of the very Windows 10 Mobile-friendly Fitbit Versa concluded a couple of days ago, I'm staying on a wearable theme with a look back (and forward) at the Microsoft Band 2, still a valid choice for Windows phone users - as long as you don't destroy it with your specific fitness regime. I've been using my Band 2 again and am appreciating it more than ever...
This one's been rumbling around for a while, but I wanted to put it to bed... one way or another. In brief, Photos sometimes shows broken thumbnails for images on OneDrive and when you try to tap through anyway, you're told that the photo is unavailable and that you should 'check your Internet connection'. Which is quite clearly absolute tosh - but what's actually going on?
One of the jewels in the Nokia Lumia 1020 camera experience was always the UI - the way a simple swipe left from the shutter icon would bring up 'pro' mode sliders, arranged for easy twiddling, all with one thumb. This made its way through into Windows 10 Camera, of course, on the likes of the Lumia 950. And now it's reborn.... in an Android phone. With the Nokia badge. Gulp. So how has the 'new' Nokia done?
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.
It's tough to compare large numbers of camera phones at the same time - four is about the limit in terms of coverage on the web. But it's perfectly valid to pick out interesting groupings. In this case, the classic Lumia 1020 and 950 (this being AAWP, and yes, I'm still flip-flopping on which is 'best' for imaging) versus modern flagships which have just had updates. The Galaxy S9+ has just had its second system update, while the Pixel 2 XL hasn't been tested here for six months and now runs a whole new OS, Android P(ineapple), and with its 'Visual Core' chip activated. Whatever happens, it's going to be a power imaging shootout...
Every time I pick up a Windows phone there's a certain air of 'getting things done' - it's that sort of OS. But even Windows 10 Mobile is limited in the applications it can run, whereas most predictions of the upcoming 'Surface Mobile' (Andromeda) are for full Windows 10 on ARM in a folding experience. But for the moment, what if you were to do without the 'folding' bit?