Brand new this week is the Honor 10, which - despite its sub-£400 price tag - boasts a ground-breaking new 'AI-based' camera. Software-based stabilisation, analysis of scene details to adjust processing for each interpreted depth layer, and to enhance subjects according to how people like seeing them. But how does all this hold up to the classic Lumia 950 - can all this new computational tech beat a quality classic?
Just to ring the changes, with a new mid-priced 'flagship' coming along from the Android world, I had the usual choice of what to compare it to from the Windows side - in the end, I plumped for the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro, being of similar size, weight, style, and with similar levels of err... compromise. They're a good match overall, I think. Yes, Android is the smartphone OS of the modern age (90% market share?), but how does the Windows 10 Mobile offering compare?
Two weeks ago, I posted about considering the Lumia 1020 under its original Windows Phone 8.1 as a viable set-up, even in 2018. And it is, on the whole, I stand by everything I said in the original post. However, while it may be a viable set-up, it's most certainly not optimal, five years after launch, and six years after the launch of the Lumia 920, the archetypal 8.1 device. In an attempt to see just where the pain points are (other than the obvious, like no biometrics), I set about using Windows Phone 8.1 exclusively for 24 hours. And no cheating.
Whether you're using Windows Phone 8.1 or Windows 10 Mobile, the chances are that you've settled on the 'Bing image of the day' as your lockscreen. Stunning curated images from commercial collections, every day that are, seemingly, just as well suited to the portrait phone screen as to the landscape desktop aspect ratio - thanks to some clever selection and even more clever cropping. But a day later and they're gone. How can you enjoy them after the fact?
It won't have shocked anyone during the week when Webrox's (makers of Tubecast and other well known Windows 10 Mobile applications) CEO, Stéphane Graziano, was quoted on MSPU as saying that 'nobody cares' about the Microsoft Store and that the current situation is 'a disaster'. Unsurprising, I contend, because people use the desktop/laptop very differently to their phones. But although it's unlikely that PWAs could help Webrox, they could help bridge the gap for many others.
By popular request, and in particular response to the arguably incomplete results coming out DxOMark in the last few years, I immodestly present what has come to be called 'SteveMark', as in a compilation of results of the real world tests I've been doing with a wide range of smartphone flagship cameras. Is there a top dog? Unsurprisingly, it depends on what you want from a phone camera, and also unsurprisingly, I present to you not one, but two Top 10 lists. Take your pick!
Yes, yes, Windows Phone 8.1 is now classed as 'retro', but as a followup to my piece on choosing it for the Lumia 1020, I wanted to emphasise one aspect that still works rather well... with a twist that I hadn't realised* was there. Live traffic graphical views on 'ye olde' WP8.1? No problem.
Somewhat handily, just as the cameras in the Lumia 950 and 950 XL are identical, so are those in the Sony XZ Premium, XZ1, XZ1 Compact (shown below), XZ2, and XZ2 Compact. So a range of sizes and general specs then, for anyone to pick from. And, with the chance to do a shootout, I grasped the bull by the horns, as it were...
18 months ago, in May 2016, I wrote about staying with Windows Phone 8.1 in an era of Windows 10 Mobile, in the context of some services working better on the old OS than the newer one. Since then, we've had Windows 10 Mobile mature and fill out, though there's one phone for which I stand by my original piece 100%. You may not be surprised that it's the classic and much-loved Lumia 1020, from 2013, which still feels 'right' on Windows Phone 8.1. If you have this Xenon-flash, monster-camera-ed device then here are the pros and cons, plus suggestions for use in the modern age.
In the past, I've mentioned a few examples of possible smartphones to consider jumping to if you reach the end of the road with your Windows phone, but I wanted to amplify this and give you the full picture. Yes, Windows 10 Mobile still has at least a year of updates and support left, but at some point even enthusiasts may reach the point where it becomes appropriate to wonder what might be next in our lives...