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.
One extra that came along for the ride with Windows 10 Camera (née Lumia Camera) was digital stabilisation for video capture, perhaps because this was something enabled by the faster and more capable chipsets as 2015 rolled into 2016. But it may be that you've resisted turning 'digital stabilisation' on in Camera's Settings? I often wonder whether to do so myself and then thought that a comparison video would be interesting for others too. Long story short, it's definitely worth turning on for 1080p footage and below.
Conventional wisdom for the Lumia 950 and 950 XL is that when snapping something you shouldn't go too far down the route of using 'zoom' in the UI, since the PureView lossless zoom only goes so far. But how does this work out in practice and where exactly in the UI should you stop zooming and 'crop later'? Here's a clue: it's sooner than you might think!
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!
Reader Russ Hudson asked an interesting question in an email to AAWP a few weeks back. And one that bears investigating. Russ wonders "what would happen, in an imagined future, if I chose to continue using Windows 10 Mobile after support ended?" He's wondering "what would still work, and what wouldn't, and from a security point of view, what the risks might be?" Although the AAWP crystal ball is a bit cloudy these days, I'll have a crack at peering into the future for us all...
Almost a year ago, guest writer Matthew Weflen pitched the classic Lumia 950 camera against the (then) Sony flagship, the XZ Premium, with the fight being very close but with the Lumia ultimately winning out. Ten months later he has the brand new Sony XZ2 Premium in hand, the company's highest end Android phone for 2018. Time for his latest imaging shootout!
Without doubt, THE most popular category of application for Windows Phone 8.1 was 'podcatchers', i.e. applications to auto-grab and play your favourite podcasts. I did so many features and updates for these for 8.1 that I've lost track. So this feature is for dedicated UWP applications, i.e. those expressly built for Windows 10 (Mobile/Continuum/laptops). This is a huge update to the original article from 18 months ago, with updated apps, updated features, and updated scores.
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...