With the very latest Android superphone in my hands, in this case the Samsung 'Galaxy S7 edge', equipped with a f/1.7 1/2.6" 12MP OIS-equipped camera, what's an AAWP writer to do but pitch this new technology against some established camera champions from the world of Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile? In this case the similarly-sized Lumia 950 and the slightly smaller and much older 'classic' Lumia 1020. Heading into this particular headline imaging feature and writing this paragraph, I have absolutely no idea which of the three will emerge the winner. No idea at all...
I'd like to wrest AAWP's UK-centric mantle away briefly and take a Singapore view of the world of Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile in a wide ranging editorial, below. Never mind the 'third ecosystem', roll on the 'third era'?
I often use the phrase 'by popular demand', but this time it really is. The Lumia 1020 was praised for incredible, stabilised, noise-free video capture, while the Lumia 950 sits two years on and a much more advanced smartphone in other ways - but can its video capture best the large-sensored 1020? I put both through their paces, the 1020 under Windows Phone 8.1, the 950 under its native Windows 10 Mobile.
The disparity in battery life experiences of those testing out Windows 10 Mobile, especially on the new 'native' devices like the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, has been very interesting. "Goes one and a half days" says one person. "Dead by teatime" say I. Happily, I've discovered the culprit, and I thought I'd share the screenshot proof for anyone else who happens to get quite a bit of email (genuine/promos/etc.), especially via IMAP from the likes of Google (Gmail)...
It's notoriously hard to get a mass of users to upgrade to a new version of an OS, especially when you consider multiple regions and multiple devices, of wildly different specifications. Apple does it best, with a very limited set of device variants and simultaneous availability across the world, but even iOS usually gets stuck at about 75% adoption for any new major version. Android is massively fragmented and its latest, v6.0, has only 1% adoption after four months. And in between the two extremes lies Windows Phone and the big upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile. Seven months ago I estimated that adoption would be only 15%. I'm prepared to go a little higher now...
No, not a veiled reference to Continuum, and quite possibly an insultingly trivial 'how to' for most people reading this, but it's surprising how many people forget that the virtual controls on modern Windows Phones and Windows 10 Mobile devices aren't fixed in stone - they can be swiped away to give greater space for accessing information, whether it's a web page, a Twitter timeline or even to see more of a game.
This has been something of a hot potato in forums and discussions. I refer to Windows 10 Mobile being in 'beta' and I get shouted down that Microsoft has been officially selling the Lumia 950, 950 XL and 550 for months now, with the OS on board and nowhere in the documentation or interface does it mention 'beta' or anything like it. Then, however much I enjoy using Windows 10 Mobile (and think it's the future), I point to numerous features which simply don't work yet, screens that freeze or apps that crash and say 'Well, it behaves like a beta to me'... Of course, it all depends on how you define the term 'beta' - of which I offer some thoughts below.
If my experiences with the Lumia 1020 are representative and if my previous editorial has convinced you, as the owner of a 2012/2013 Lumia, that Windows 10 Mobile is not the way to go for your particular device, then the next question becomes 'should Microsoft decide to push the upgrade, how can I stop it?' Don't worry, it's trivial to step in and keep your device speedy.
Following on from my full review of the Lumia 650, I wanted to come back to the one comparison I didn't draw in that text, with the 650's predecessor, the Lumia 640. There's a controversial change in chipset, but a welcome improvement in design language and materials. How do the two phones stack up overall though? Let's find out.
The question of whether to upgrade the classic Lumia 1020 (as beloved by a surprising fraction of AAWP readers) to Windows 10 Mobile has been extraordinarily thorny. I've put my 1020 onto the Insiders programme three times in the last eight months and three times I've ended up reverting to Windows Phone 8.1. Yes, with all the set-up and messing around that this involves. You see, the resources needed by W10M are just too much for the 1020's older dual core S4 processor. And ditto for many other classics, not least the 920 and 925.