Recent Features - Comment

The speed gap to 2020 flagships, quantified

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It's an obvious trend that smartphone processors get faster with every year's new launches. True, their operating systems also grow in size and complexity, but usually at a slower rate. So, overall, things get snappier. Back in the day, Windows Phone 8.1 was itself very fluid and snappy, but the move to Windows 10 Mobile introduced a more heavyweight OS and a more sluggish experience - I wrote about all this here, back in 2015. We haven't had new first party hardware from Microsoft since early 2016 and then third party hardware later that year - so how does Windows 10 Mobile on 2016 phone hardware compare, speed-wise, with the best of 2020?

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Status report for January 2020: Services on Windows 10 Mobile

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With some social applications, comms apps and Microsoft services being phased out as time goes on, I thought a ready reference table of where Windows 10 Mobile stands would be useful. And I'll revisit this every month to update each section as needed. In summary, there's likely to be little disruption to 'normal' activities this year but a few more caveats in 2020, now that Windows 10 Mobile is out of official support. [This is the January 2020 update, a month on from the previous one.]

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Head to head: Lumia 950 XL vs f(x)tec Pro1 (plus Nokia E7)

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It's... another head to head article for AAWP... with a difference. Because the smartphone here is different, a direct descendant of the Nokia E7 (2010, running Symbian) and N950 (running Meego, which ended up still-born). Now, a spec comparison between 2020 and 2010 would be farcical, so I'm still going to compare the f(x)tec Pro1 to the Lumia 950 XL, so that specifications are at least in a similar ballpark. But I'm throwing in plenty of Nokia E7/Pro1 comparisons in photo form too, hence the AAS cross-post(!)

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(Lack of) Communication: no more Whatsapp, no Twitter DM, Facebook Messenger notifications

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There comes a point when enough is... actually enough. For people relying on real time communications with other human beings, this point may have just been reached, with Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile. We've had the official Twitter client not supporting active notifications for a year now, ditto Facebook Messenger, and now the ultimate Whatsapp deadline is upon us. What happens to a communications device when it can no longer effectively communicate, I wonder?

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Microsoft could have done better than... "Error code 805a0190"!

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Microsoft warned Windows Phone 8.1 users, AAWP warned them/you too, so the final closing of the Store wasn't unexpected. After all, the 8.1 OS itself has been unsupported in terms of updates now for over two years. However, I was curious as to what would happen if a user tried opening the Store app on a phone running Windows Phone 8.1 after the 19th December deadline. Surely a friendly message explaining the situation and pointing users back to the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade or to a competing platform wasn't too much to ask? As it turns out, yes, this was too much to ask. Harumph.

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The Lumia 1020 (/920) and continuing Store access in 2020 via W10M...

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With the Store for Windows Phone 8.1 stopping working in a couple of weeks, users of the very popular Lumia 1020 have a problem. Yes, being love-smitten on the 1020 is an issue in itself, though you might also now consider the iPhone 11 Pro. But if you want to give the 1020 (or 920) a little more life in terms of applications then force-upgrading it to Windows 10 Mobile is about the only option, since the W10M Store is 'good' until at least 2021. My own 1020 has flip-flopped a few times between 8.1 and W10M, I always got put off by the latter's restrictions for the 1020 hardware, but it seems like Microsoft is now forcing our hand for good.

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The (crowd-sourced) Top 10 Windows-powered phones... ever!

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Exactly two years ago I presented my own 'Top 5', but the ecosystem is about to start winding down, the last branch of Windows on phones is about to receive its final update, so now would be a good time for a massive update to the idea. This time going with crowd-sourced data and not just my own prejudices! You might still not be surprised at the no. 1 below, but at least it's not just my own PureView love affair - several hundred others voted, with results below.

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By popular request (really): 2012's Nokia 808 PureView vs the best of 2019

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Yes, yes, this is being cross-posted on AAWP and yet there's no Windows Phone component. But in the AAWP comments on Lumia 1020 stories I've had a mountain of people wondering what the original Nokia 808 PureView would have made of the test shots. That 1/1.2" sensor, for a start, plus the most sophisticated oversampling system ever seen in the phone world (still). So here goes with some challenging shots and crops. [Updated]

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Camera head to head: Lumia 950 XL vs Nokia 7.2

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Something a little different here, in that we're not talking about a 'flagship' device. The Nokia 7.2, despite being the first Nokia-branded phone to have a 40-plus Megapixel camera since the Lumia 1020, is unashamedly a budget smartphone, £230 RRP or less than £200 if you catch it on offer. It's pure Android, updated for three years, for an absolute song - see my head to head here. But what about that 48MP camera? Time to test it, I'll use the Lumia 950 XL, since that's close in form factor.

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