Recent Features

How to: take the Lumia 735 up to branch 1709 and retain monthly updates

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The Lumia 735 (and 830 with it) were popular Lumias that, in theory, ended their Microsoft days on Windows 10 Mobile branch 1607 ('Anniversary Update'), for which monthly OS updates stopped six months ago. Yet most AAWP readers will have jumped on the Insiders programme a year or so ago at some point, and so most owners of these phones will now be on branch 1703 ('Creators Update', CU). And that too is now, officially, out of monthly support. So here's a step by step guide to 'faking' a more modern phone and getting any of these older phones onto branch 1709 ('Fall Creators Update', FCU) and thus back into a new six months of updates.

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Wot, no PureView? Imaging head to head: Pixel 3 (Q) and P30 Pro (161)

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Despite my comparisons of current imaging flagships with the classic Nokia 808, Lumia 1020 and 950, people rightly point out that these 'benchmark' comparisons are just that - benchmarks. What about pitching potential Android purchases against each other? i.e. if imaging is your top concern, how does the highly rated Google Pixel 3 XL camera (now with Android Q under the hood) fare against the PureView-evolved Huawei P30 Pro, now with its new '161' imaging update?

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Why is AAWP still here; why still write about Windows phones?

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As you might imagine, I get quite a bit of stick on social media from Windows-haters, wondering why AAWP still exists, wondering why I still write here, pointing out that Windows on phones isn't relevant in the marketplace anymore. Here's my answer - it's all about support and the installed base of users.

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Camera head to head: Lumia 950 vs Huawei P30 Pro (with camera fixes)

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I've already pitched these two phone camera systems head to head, but Huawei claims significant photo quality improvements for its new firmware, now in place, so I thought a re-test was in place. The P30 Pro is essentially a modern day Lumia 1020 and is the de facto natural place for Nokia/Lumia imaging fans to end up in the modern Android world. So, how good is the P30 Pro now?

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Welcome to 'modern OS' and the future... remind you of anything?

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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.

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Pimping your Lumia 950's hardware

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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.

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Camera head to head: Lumia 950 XL vs Google Pixel 3a XL

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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.

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Head to head: Lumia 950 XL versus Google Pixel 3a XL

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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...

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The world moves on... Video capture, 950 XL vs P30 pro

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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. 

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