In case you've been living under a rock, Windows 10 Mobile is being tested across the board and official updates aren't that far away. Yet the Lumia 1020, the camera-champion and with unique hardware, has already been singled out by both Microsoft and me, the former admitting that the new OS doesn't fully support the device yet, and the latter saying that 1020 owners should avoid the Windows 10 Mobile Insiders Preview for the time being. More on that below, but I also wanted to offer some thoughts on what you can do to help your 1020 feel 'fresh' in a time of great OS upheaval elsewhere.
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The Lumia 930, 1520 and Icon all feature the same 'PureView'/'oversampling' camera, of course, with a 20MP sensor oversampled to produce 5MP photos with higher purity, lower noise and so on. At least that was what happened under Lumia Camera under Windows Phone 8.1. Now that the OS and camera application have changed dramatically, is PureView still a 'thing' on the current flagship devices (and presumably on the upcoming 950/950 XL, with similar camera specs)?
With updates to Windows 10 Mobile's Photos and Lumia Creative Studio in the last week, with an update to Camera hotly expected for this week, and with Photos Add-ins appearing yesterday, it seems as if Microsoft's imaging strategy is coming together. But is it better than what came before it, back in the 'good old days' of Windows Phone 8.1? It's certainly much, much simpler - and I wanted to show this pictorially, so see the flow chart below. The mess and confusion from 8.1 was partly because it used some Microsoft apps and code, and some Nokia - with Windows 10 Mobile and Nokia no more (as is), everything's now under one roof, and it shows.
Each of the major smartphone platforms has its own voice assistant, but which is better for real world use? They're all getting smarter each year, of course, as their back-ends get upgraded, but as we move towards Autumn 2015 and new versions of the various platforms, I wanted to conduct an updated 'blind' test and get a data point or two. Or twenty. Reversing the result of a smaller sample of queries back in May, we now have an almost dead heat between Cortana and Google Now, with Siri not far behind. Things are hotting up in the voice assistant world!
Yet another example of Windows 10 Mobile being rather more 'grown up' than Windows Phone 8.1, did you know that 'Calculator' on Windows 10 Mobile (most of you have probably joined the Insiders Programme by now, let's face it) is something of a powerhouse, not only providing three different calculators but also a veritable host of unit conversion functions. Heck, that's another few third party applications that you won't need to look out now...
Contact stores have always been a bit messy, as anyone else whose digital address book has been through numerous imports and transitions over the last decade will tell you. Add in multiple people lists, from each online service, and the only viable way to keep track of all of this information in a central place is your smartphone. Here are some pointers for keeping things simple on Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile...
There are three kinds of Windows Phone owner. The hard-core enthusiasts who will have been putting on every Insiders build of Windows 10 Mobile and they know all the tricks of the trade. Normal users who just want a phone that works and who will wait, blissfully ignorant of anything new on the horizon, until they're promoted with an official notice. And everyone in the middle, who quite fancies installing Windows 10 Mobile to see what all the fuss is about and to skip a probable four month wait for the finished article, but is scared stiff of what's involved. This article is for the third group and is intended to be the definitive guide!
There's a sweet spot for everything, whether it's the quantity of beer you buy in one go (e.g. a 'pint'), the number of children your family has (2, in the West, allegedly!) or, indeed, the number of megapixels in your captured photos. There will always be exceptions and regional variations, but taking the megapixel example in the context of camera phones, the tech world is now moving into uncharted areas of what I've often called the 'megapixel myth'. From this point onwards, it's mainly pain and little gain, I contend, unless manufacturers start to do cleverer things with all those pixels, in the manner of PureView classics like the 808 and 1020...
One of the cornerstones of Windows Phone for years was the Nokia/HERE Maps and Drive applications inherited from Nokia's Symbian days. And with Windows 10, all of this is changing, though perhaps not to quite the same degree as you might think. You won't see the HERE brand in Windows 10, but see below for some common questions and answers about Windows Maps.
One subject that we've never covered here on AAWP is the 'quiet hours' feature that debuted with Windows Phone 8.1 - something I realised when sitting in a car park after midnight waiting for my daughter's train to arrive and not realising that she'd been trying to call me for 15 minutes but my Lumia had muted her because it was past 00:00 and so 'quiet hours' was in place (to help me sleep!) Determined to fix things, I did so - and noted in the process that, on the new Windows 10 Mobile, the 'quiet hours' settings are slightly hidden. Making a beginners tutorial all the more appropriate.