Recent Features - Hardware

How to: Revert from the Windows 10 Mobile 'Redstone' Insiders branches to 'Threshold'

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As anyone who's messed around with operating systems or technology knows, it's easy (and tested) to upgrade an OS, it's usually a lot harder to downgrade (since all the old files have previously been blown away by the upgrade!) So, needing to downgrade from Windows 10 Mobile 'Redstone' Insider builds back to the more stable, fully working pastures of 'Threshold' (the 10586.xxx current production branch), I knew I'd hit a hiccup or two along the way - but I also wanted to bring you along for the ride, in case you also need to revert to an earlier version at some stage.

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Xenon or triple LED? Investigating camera phone flash capabilities

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One of the most popular sub-topics in my features on camera-toting smartphones is low light and night time capabilities. Now, partly this is about arty shots of sunsets, churches and fountains, but more usually in the real world this is about friends and family in living rooms, pubs and events. Which usually means relying on your smartphone camera's flash. With LED flash now coming in 'triple' form and with many differences in processing capabilities under the hood, I thought some tests were in order. Will Xenon, the original winning tech, still come out on top?

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Wall of sound: Smartphone speakers tested!

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One of the core components in any smartphone that rarely gets much attention is its speaker. Now, often this is because city dwellers rarely get a chance to 'crank it up' without annoying people, so headphones are de rigeur, but for the rest of us, having a decent speaker in a phone is actually quite important. Sat-nav instructions in the car, speakerphone calls at the office, podcasts around the house, even a makeshift ambient music player for the bathroom or bedroom. Here I test some of the more popular Lumias against the best of the competition.

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Smartphone head to head: Lumia 950 vs Huawei P9

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With smartphone design converging ever more closely these days (in terms of specs and form factor), at least it makes it easier to compare devices directly. In this case Microsoft's standard sized flagship, the Windows 10 Mobile-powered Lumia 950, and Huawei's new equivalent, the Android-powered P9, which is in for review. Here's how the two contenders stack up...

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Your Windows 10 Mobile questions answered: 920 vs 435, Dual core S4 vs Snapdragon 200

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By popular request, and following the announcement by Microsoft that the low end Lumia 435, 532/535 (etc.) are approved for the Windows 10 Mobile update (and beyond), but not yesteryear's flagships, such as the Lumia 920, 925 and 1020, with the older generation of S4 processors, I put two devices head to head running the production version of Windows 10 Mobile - how does performance stack up and were Microsoft right to exclude the older phones? Or should they have included less phone upgrades in the mix?

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Camera phone head to head: Lumia 950 vs iPhone SE (6s)

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Oddly, despite dancing around the iPhone 6s (and 6s Plus) after having access to the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, I don't think I've done a direct camera head to head between them yet. And with the arrival of the latest iPhone SE, with identical imaging to the 6s, and with both in hand, I thought the time was right to do a comparison. It's 16MP versus 12MP but results are very good from both units to the naked eye, so I think it's time we called on our famed interactive comparator again. 

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The Lumia 950/XL are *not* Quick Charge 2.0 compatible - but it doesn't matter!

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One of the tropes around the Lumia 950 and 950 XL launch was that they would be Quick Charge 2.0-compatible, we even quoted this ourselves a number of times in the run-up to the device launches. Yet, and with thanks to Martin Jeppesen for lots of extra research and comment here, it seems that the two flagships are not QC 2.0 compatible - rather they implement 'standard' USB Type C 'fast charging'. Some details and thoughts below.

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Lumia 640 (950 'lite) part 2: pitching the cameras head to head

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It seems as though lots of people enjoyed Alvin's viewpoint that the incredibly cheap Lumia 640 now makes a rather excellent little 'lite' version of the flagship 950 - although not mentioned by Alvin in depth, one of the core differences in terms of performance should be the capabilities of the cameras in each unit, and I couldn't resist pitching these two head to head in a real world shootout(!)

# Posted by Steve in Features || Comments

Revisiting the Lumia 640: the ultimate Lumia 950 'lite'?

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There’s a ton of good things to be said about Microsoft’s mainstream budget device of last year and my current Windows Phone device of choice, the Lumia 640. But to my mind, what makes it most compelling is how much of the Lumia 950 experience you're getting for a tiny fraction of the cost.

# Posted by Alvin in Features || Comments

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