There still seems to be some confusion about what to expect from the mythical 'Surface Phone', rumoured to be coming in spring 2017 from Microsoft. I did note that we'd been talking about this beast for three years now (this from 2013), so I wouldn't hold my breath for it, if I were you. However, assuming that the stars align and that Microsoft does unleash a new, Surface-themed Windows 10 Mobile device on us, what would it look like and what would be inside it?
Recent Features - Hardware
Now, go with me on this. I'm contending that the current Microsoft Lumia 950 and the 2006 Nokia N95 have a lot in common - more than you might think. It's just that there was something about the 950 in my hand as my main smartphone that reminded me of a feeling I'd not had for a decade. Then it hit me. Ten years ago I'd had the ground-breaking N95....
Now, take all this with a pinch of salt, since I wasn't there to supervise(!), but WindowsUnited (page is in German, note) managed to get hold of an Elite X3 and shoot some back to back photos with the champion Lumia 950. Best of all, they put up the full resolution photos online for people like me to analyse.
I've linked a few times to an ultra-geeky hack to get Windows 10 Mobile Redstone (a.k.a. Anniversary Update) onto older smartphones, those that Microsoft deemed unsuitable for the very latest code. After a few (abortive) attempts I've now made progress in upgrading one of my own Lumias, a 1020 and, while I still think that you need a degree in hackery and lots of patience to proceed, here's how I got on taking a 2013 Snapdragon S4-powered Lumia into uncharted Redstone territory and beyond....
I'm sure many people will have spotted that Samsung has introduced 'iris scanning' for its brand new top of the range £700 Galaxy Note 7, to be available soon. Ignore all the claims that it's 'innovative' though, the (now much) cheaper Lumia 950 and 950 XL had this nine months ago. What got me musing though was why Microsoft's implementation wasn't seen as ground breaking in the first place. Why should that be?
Despite the various pros and cons for 'touch' over the years, we're firmly in a mode in the tech world now where touch makes the most sense, in terms of text input, controls and general interaction. So why haven't we seen screen sizes increase to fill most of the front area of our phones? I examine the history of the form factor, in terms of screen-to-body ratio, and wonder whether we can't have our cake and eat it, in terms of phones that are manageable yet with monster displays...
If I've heard one complaint about Windows Phone cameras and flagships like the Lumia 1020 and 950 over and over again it's this: "when I set the focus (manually) to 'infinity', my landscape photos are blurred". Thankfully, this issue is easy to demonstrate and to understand - and, indeed, to solve - or at least work around. I explain all below.
With the Lumia 950 heading firmly into the mid-tier in terms of pricing, if not specifications, it's becoming more appropriate to compare it to the latest breed of high-spec mid-tier Android smartphones - typically those from brands other than Samsung, Sony and HTC. In this case Alcatel, whose Idol range has been creeping up ever further from the budget end of the market each year. With the brand new Idol 4 in hand, I compare it to the Lumia 950, blow for blow.
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.
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!