I've done numerous pixel-level image quality features in the past on AAWP - but I look at images at 'social' resolutions much more rarely. In this case, a family day out to Hughendon Manor, taking both the established Lumia 1020 and the newer Lumia 950 along for the ride. The mission? Not to shoot images and look at pixels, but to quickly capture a wide range of subjects and lighting in the most pleasing manner at the Manor. (Ahem - I'll get my coat....)
As an industry watcher, the world of smartphones has never been more competitive or better value. It's also duller than ditchwater. And, apparently, growth has now stopped and sales are in decline... With IFA 2016 just over in Germany, where yet another batch of almost identical 5" touch slabs were announced, I'm tempted to suggest that now really is the time to look for character in our smartphones. Where are the USPs? Are they now relegated to older, almost retro, devices, while new products fall over themselves to stay anonymous?
Now, don't get your hopes up. Either for a long, in-depth test or for the Elite X3 to do particuarly well. Because a) this is just a couple of minutes, and b) the X3's optics and lack of OIS rather let it down. Having said that, there's still content here that's worth commenting on, plus (yet again) video capture is a long way from the X3's raison d'être. A really long way...
When I emailed the article "Hello Android... but not goodbye Windows!" to Steve, I casually remarked that maybe I could pen an article comparing the Galaxy Note 7 to the Lumia 1520. Steve did not bat an eyelid and quickly snapped up the offer. I then stared at myself in the mirror and muttered, "What did I let myself into?" 14 days on...
I routinely carry two smartphones, partly because I'm a geek,and partly because I have a work and a personal SIM. These are usually in devices on two different smartphone OS: Windows 10 Mobile and Android, though the actual devices vary from week to week. And, when driving, I've found that real time traffic in the appropriate Maps applications is a real differentiator. For Android... Ahem. Definitely more work to do for Microsoft's programmers.
Microsoft's plan to retrench from the consumer market and leave Windows 10 Mobile, across the world, to partners and licensees, hasn't been working out too well. Plenty of companies have signed up, but many of them are 'bringing their 'B' game', not their best efforts. In most cases, the Windows 10 Mobile handset is just a tweaked version of a company's 'A' product running Android. Even the mighty tech giant HP's Elite X3 is proving a bit underwhelming. I do realise that a 'Surface Phone' is tied to the timings for 'Redstone 2', but it still can't come fast enough to reassure enthusiasts that there's high-end hope in a world of premium and more capable Android devices and iPhones.
As I've said already, the device isn't ready for the prime time yet - it's desperately in need of optimisation, of new firmware, of the Anniversary Update, due in two weeks time. Now, we borrowed a unit from Clove (nice people, go check them out) and so are cheating slightly - the Elite X3 is meant for businesses over the next 6-12 months, as part of a larger deployment solution, by which time it'll hopefully be working properly. Still, there's enough in this early peek to be able to draw conclusions as to the X3's strengths (literally) and weaknesses.
As already discussed many times on AAWP, the Elite X3 is a business workhorse rather than a consumer media powerhouse, but while we're waiting for new firmware and the Anniversary Update to fix all the current issues, I wanted to carry on testing specifics - imaging, and here the forward-facing stereo speaker capabilities of the Elite X3.
With Microsoft announcing that they're not making any more smartphones in 2016, the field is seemingly wide open for another company to step in with a Windows 10 Mobile flagship. And, in some ways, the Elite X3 is just this (review coming). But, with the caveat that this is still early days in terms of firmware for the X3, imaging really isn't its strongpoint...
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?