I recently covered the pimping of the Lumia 950's hardware, looking at different covers, a new (PolarCell) battery, a larger microSD and a new external DAC in particular. But there are also plenty of things you can check or improve in software too - here are some ideas to keep your Lumia 950 flying through the rest of 2019.
I was fascinated to read a rundown of Microsoft's vision of the future with 'modern OS' (name to be finalised, no doubt!), based on what we'd been calling 'Core OS' and with CShell covering the UI needs on various hardware form factors. Not least because it reminded me quite a bit an awful lot of what Microsoft had in Windows 10 Mobile in 2015 and which they've been trying to distance themselves from ever since. But... why, Microsoft, why? You had almost everything you needed already, four years ago.
Rolling up some ideas and accessories from previous AAWP coverage, if you're planning on staying with the wonderful Lumia 950 camera and Windows 10 Mobile as long as possible, then you may feel the time is right to 'spoil' your technology a little. Can the 950 be kept going for another year or more? True, some services may start to drop off in 2020, but 99% of the phone's functionality will keep going for a lot longer.
I looked at this earlier in the week - a brand new smartphone for well under £500 that had the equal of the Lumia 950 XL's camera, in theory, yet with no strings attached in other areas. With the latest Google Camera algorithms under its belt, let's put this to the test. My gut says that the Google imaging is the purest of the current crop (though still crude by PureView standards) and thus perhaps the best fit for a Lumia owner. See below for my testing.
I've often put up the now somewhat ancient (late 2015) Lumia 950 XL against modern flagships, but here's something genuinely different. £470 inc VAT, pure Google and Android, guaranteed updates for three years, 3.5mm headphone jack, plus the much-acclaimed (including by me) 'PureView take 2' Pixel Camera, doing all the oversampling in the time domain rather than across a physical sensor. This, perhaps more than any other current phone, is the natural destination for a Lumia 950 XL owner, I contend...
Although I regularly pitch the PureView over-sampled Lumia 950 XL stills up against the best of 2018 and 2019, video capture is a whole other area. The Snapdragon 810 chipset in my 950 XL just can't compete in terms of real time noise reduction and software stabilisation with the Snapdragon 855 (and Kirin 980 here), which - at 1080p here, at least - have oodles of headroom in the processing department - and it shows when testing modern Android flagships. Even more so the Lumia 1020-inspired Huawei P30 Pro, which also throws a genuine 5x 'periscope' telephoto into the mix.
One of the biggest reasons why users love Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile is the front end UI - the multi-size live tiles (most of which still work). And I was struck by the example below, put up on Twitter by Mike Latham, one of my followers there. There's plenty to see and comment on, plus I'll put in the relevant links below. Could making Android's app launcher look and feel like Windows 10 Mobile be a valid way forward? I give it a try anyway...
In the spirit of continually keeping an eye on what the wider mobile world can offer, and especially looking at form factors which are interesting and marry up with what AAS and AAWP readers might be looking for, I noted that my Gemini has now received its Android 8.1 update. Why is this relevant? Because it brings the ability to use the full screen, turning the Gemini into a more convincing micro-laptop. Or, if you will, a present day Communicator.
I've not tested the cameras of any of the Samsung S10 range up until now, not least because the main camera and telephoto are identical to those on my personal Galaxy S9+, already tested here, here, here, here, here and here (no, really - it's had a lot of competitive coverage!) But, after much zoom coverage recently (950 XL/P30 Pro), I thought I'd go in the other direction - what does a wide angle lens bring to the table? Here I pitch the 2015 Lumia 950 against the 2019 Galaxy S10e, both mid-sized phones rather than giants/phablets. For a change!
Following his intriguing part one, guest writer By Michael 'Mivas_Greece' (surname withheld by request) brings us the second part of a tale of prototypes (one of which he has access to) and what might have been, featuring some of the various uses of Nokia's 'Pre-Touch' technology. A Lumia 1030 anyone? The final part of this feature will be published in due course.