Rafe and I were fortunate to spend some time recently with the HP Elite X3, its desk dock and lapdock. The phone itself was near final fit and finish and seemed almost ready for retail, ditto the desk dock, while the HP Lap Dock was a genuine prototype, but then this isn't scheduled to ship until (at least) a month after the Elite X3 itself. Read on for our first impressions of this 'evolution' in computing from HP.
Recent Features - Hardware
It's the very latest kid on the smartphone (flagship) block and it has got a much better than expected camera. But can the OnePlus 3 defeat the Lumia 950 XL in terms of imaging? I've already compared the two devices in detail, but it's time for the cameras to shine. And they do - the OnePlus 3 is no slouch in this regard!
When it comes to 2016 specifications at the flagship level, we're talking screens up in the 5.5"+ region, fast processors, killer cameras, and so on. Microsoft's Windows 10 Contender is the Lumia 950 XL and seemed relatively competitive until I put it side by side here with the very latest bargain du jour, the OnePlus 3. How do the two flagships stack up, blow by blow?
Although it's noteworthy that Daniel over at WC in the USA, armed with an internal build of Microsoft Wallet on the latest Insiders build of Redstone and with the very latest Bank of America UWP, was able to buy a hamburger using just his Lumia 950, it's fair to say that it'll be several months at least (if not years) before this hits the mainstream, i.e. Windows 10 Mobile devices around the world with appropriate banking applications on the platform and with the service enabled in their home countries. But a recent deficiency in the Lumia 950 XL reminded me of another really convenient use (or two) for NFC in our modern smartphones....
It's all very well having been accustomed to the Microsoft pairing of the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, but there's a good chance that we won't see any new hardware from Microsoft until 2017, in which case any upcoming device excitement will come from Microsoft's partners. We already know of a few of these, so I thought a detailed comparison might be in order. Is the 950 XL still going to be top of the heap or are there other subtleties involved?
Another Android 'flagship' in for Phones Show review, another chance to pitch its camera against a decent data point in the Windows 10 Mobile world. In this case the 8MP output matches up almost exactly with the oversampled photos from the Lumia 950 (and 950 XL), meaning that I can make abundant use of our interactive comparator tool (woohoo!) Oh, and take a shot of whisky before reading on if you're a Sony fan....
You may remember that a recent update to the Microsoft Band 2 added a new hiking tile? Well, there was a corresponding update to the Microsoft Health application and I've been trying the whole system out when off for a walk in my local area and, though I'm yet to test it on an all-day hike (I'll leave that to Rafe and the wilds of Wales!), I've been quite impressed. Here's a write-up of what to expect with the Band 2 in 'hiking' mode.
I realise I've been sitting on the fence a bit with regard to whether to upgrade these older (1GB+ RAM) smartphones to Windows 10 Mobile, against Microsoft's recommendation. On the one hand, we have a confusing imaging workflow and mono audio in videos on the Lumia 1020, on the other hand we have a barrage of benefits of being on much newer apps and OS (and damn any UI slowdowns). Yet time is running out in terms of making up your mind...
I have to confess - even after writing hundreds of articles about smartphone imaging I still get confused sometimes about digital zoom, especially in the realm of PureView. Exactly how far can you zoom in, on each device, for stills or video? What are the limits and what happens if you go beyond them? Here’s a helpful guide that I prepared earlier.
With the movement of its feature phone business (acquired from Nokia as part of the deal) to a joint Finnish/Chinese partnership (HMD/Foxconn), Microsoft also made it clear that there won’t be any new Lumias for the time being, but that doesn’t mean no new Windows 10 Mobile smartphones. In fact, there are quite a few companies now involved in the ecosystem, so I thought I’d enumerate and introduce them. Some you’ll have heard of, some you won’t.