With another update for mid January 2017 (20 new entries), 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 and want to avoid the chaff, the rubbish in the Store, then look no further for suggestions.
Recent Features - Windows Phone 8
Just a few back-of-envelope calculations that I thought you might like to follow along with. With the withdrawal of Microsoft from selling first party smartphones (for the time being), I wondered whether it was time to take stock of some numbers. In particular, the figure I wanted to get to was how many people out there, across the world, are actively using Windows 10 Mobile, i.e. the new OS that Microsoft is updating, that devs are writing for, and that we're covering. Some guesswork is needed, but bear with me.
Three years ago, I pitched the last Android phone with 10x optical zoom, the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom, against the Nokia Lumia 1020, with mixed results, though the comparison was very interesting. The huge caveat with the K Zoom was the device's relative bulk in all modes and, to be honest, this is the same problem with the otherwise pretty impressive Hasselblad Moto Mod, which becomes the back half of the Moto Z (also running Android), see below for a new shoot-out!
Yesterday I looked at the arrival, in for review, of a rather rare thing - a Xenon-flash-equipped, zoom-equipped camera phone, competing (obviously) with such (also rare) Nokia classics like the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020. But never mind the bulk (in this case, removeable, but still...), never mind the form factor, how do these ultra-camera-phones perform against each other in a variety of challenging tests? Let's find out...
I've periodically returned to the classic Nokia 808 PureView and Lumia 1020, highlighting the lossless 2.5x zoom and 'proper' Xenon flash, though there's been precious little to compare these with that's camera centric from the wider smartphone world in the last five years. Yet along comes something new, the Hasselblad camera mod on the Moto Z, a late 2016 Android smartphone. Along with the 808, 1020 and also ageing Samsung Galaxy K Zoom, I couldn't resist a quick photo comparison. No, not of results (that comes soon!), this time of the hardware itself...
2016 has been, I think everyone will agree, an 'annus horibilis' - notably high profile deaths and political disruption, but what of the tech world, specifically that under AAWP's remit? You may remember that at the start of 2016 I gave an exclusive 'report from 2017', looking back at 2016 from in the future (keep up at the back...) So how did I do?
At the end of another transitional year for Windows Phone, in which Windows 10 Mobile became ubiquitous away from the bottom end phones. In which Microsoft announced one possible future for Windows 10 as a whole, running on the same ARM processors as phones, in which all PCs may be folded into the same architecture (eventually) yet the very term 'Mobile' may end up being deprecated. Confusing! And all the while Microsoft massively scaling back its first party phone hardware and support ambitions. It all adds up to a confusing year for the platform, yet - with Lumias no longer being made - also a good point in time to look back and pick my favourite phones running Windows in the modern era*.
Back in March this year, Microsoft released the official Windows 10 Mobile upgrade to all eligible devices - so that's a whole load of Snapdragon 2xx, 4xx and 8xx-based smartphones* all right up to date with the latest and greatest OS, and all now on the Anniversary Update, right? Actually no, the vast majority of Windows Phone 8.1 users, many with fully W10M compatible phones, are still on 8.1 because Microsoft hasn't told them about the upgrade.
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 (six months on) 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.
Having set up expectations that Google's HDR+ computational photography in the new Pixel flagship can be considered 'PureView take II', or thereabouts, I thought it time to put this to the test. So I took three PureView flagships from various eras: Nokia 808, Lumia 1020 and Lumia 950 XL, and pitched them against the new Google Pixel XL. The aim, away from trivial sunny shots (hey, suits me, this is the UK in October!), is to really stretch the pixel combination systems, in reducing noise and finding detail and colour.