March 29th: One month on from the previous update, here's the refreshed/latest news and comment on applications and services on Windows 10 Mobile - the OS itself has now had its very last security update, but it still works on the whole. This feature will summarise what's broken and what's not, along with workarounds where possible. Note that I've kept the URL the same, so March's comments are all still here.
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So... the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is in for review. With 108MP giant main sensor and 9-to-1 oversampling. Sound familiar? And then there's the use of PureView-like smart cropping to provide zoom on both the main and telephoto systems. Loads of Lumia similarities, even if the tech is much faster now, and I couldn't decide which Lumia to do the comparison against. So I picked both of them, the 1020 and 950. And threw in the champion iPhone 11 Pro for good measure!
Following my detailed look at specs across the board on the new Galaxy S20 vs the classic Lumia 950, here's the much awaited imaging comparison. Zooming is quirky on both, but there's plenty to compare on the main cameras - in 2020, have Samsung learned their lesson and managed to reign in their enthusiasm for sharpening and enhancement? Let's find out.
There are two points through the year that really matter in terms of comparisons. One is the release of a new iPhone, the other the release of the new Samsung Galaxy flagship. In this case it's the S20, arriving here in the next day or so for review by me, and I'm choosing to compare the smaller (non-Plus) version because there's almost no spec compromise for going 'cheaper and smaller' this year - and I'm comparing to the Lumia 950 because it too is very close to its XL counterpart while remaining pocketable.
The more time goes on, the more I appreciate what Microsoft and Nokia did all those years ago. In a big update to a previous article, I'm still amused that the tech industry is falling over itself in the modern era to embrace concepts that were commonplace back in the early days of Windows Phone - from well over seven years ago. For every naysayer that slams Windows Phone for its weaknesses, remember that it also led the world in several ways, not least UI responsiveness, dark themes, offline maps, augmented reality mapping, and social integration!
Guest writer Richard Yates follows on my own Continuum-based NexDock 2 coverage with his own take on the accessory, both in conjunction with Windows 10 Mobile and Android. It's fair to say that he's not convinced overall, though he does find hope in the upcoming touch-enabled successor, the NexDock Touch...
This is somewhat obvious if you think about it, but it's worth expanding on anyway, since it almost caught me out yesterday. There are a number of readers with older phones - Lumia 640/XL, 730/735, 830, 930 and 1520 is a good (though not definitive) list - which started out on Windows Phone 8.1 but which were offered Windows 10 Mobile, at least via Microsoft's Upgrade Advisor utility. And have been running W10M smoothly. But now in 2020, in the event of problems, don't even think of using long time stalwart utility WDRT (Windows Device Recovery Tool) to restore your phone's original OS in order to 'rebuild'. Let me explain...
Four months is a long time in the phone world - I last opined on this topic in October, yet my picks have changed significantly! I've pitched this as my top picks for smartphones to replace a Lumia 950/930 or perhaps an IDOL 4 Pro or Elite x3, going forwards into 2020 as Windows 10 Mobile is now unsupported and as services gradually start to wind down. I've tested just about everything on the market and here's my updated verdict, with just one eye on price and value for money as well (though this isn't critical).
"It's Surface phone the way it should have been", comments guest writer Arpolend Sevostyanov. He writes "It’s an interesting time for Windows phone owners, as the official support of Windows 10 Mobile is coming to the end, installing custom firmware made by enthusiasts on daily drivers becomes a viable alternative. One of the most exciting such projects is called 'WoA project' and I’ve been using my Lumia 950XL with WoA for about 3 months - here are my first impressions."
Forgive the thought flight into the unknown, but most readers will be aware by now that AAWP's infrastructure is less than efficient - see below for the various things that are actually broken. Anyway, I thought I'd profer a small glimpse into one idea. Your comments welcome, perhaps now more than ever!