A slightly depressing subject on which to start the week, but recent activity (or rather lack of it) by Microsoft has led even me, one of the most enthusiastic supporter of Windows on phones, to wonder whether the creeping neglect of the OS by Microsoft in terms of its ecosystem and services, amounts to a 'death of a thousand cuts'...
OnePlus has carved up a reputation for 'no fuss, affordable Android flagships' and this makes it a prime candidate for a starting Android handset for someone coming from a different ecosystem, such as Windows 10 Mobile. Yesterday I pitched the OnePlus 6 against the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro, this time I wanted to pitch its rather good camera against one of the best, the classic Lumia 950 XL. Buckle up, for this one's closer than you might think!
In our continuing efforts to provide comparisons for those trying to match up Windows 10 Mobile smartphones to possible Android-running upgrades, here's the latest, with the last sold Windows phone (Wileyfox Pro aside) pitched against the very latest OnePlus 6.
It's tough to compare large numbers of camera phones at the same time - four is about the limit in terms of coverage on the web. But it's perfectly valid to pick out interesting groupings. In this case, the classic Lumia 1020 and 950 (this being AAWP, and yes, I'm still flip-flopping on which is 'best' for imaging) versus modern flagships which have just had updates. The Galaxy S9+ has just had its second system update, while the Pixel 2 XL hasn't been tested here for six months and now runs a whole new OS, Android P(ineapple), and with its 'Visual Core' chip activated. Whatever happens, it's going to be a power imaging shootout...
Articles such as this from the Microsoft Windows team, announcing push notifications from web pages in Edge, are all very well, but there's a key phrase used in this post:"via the Push API, beginning with the Windows 10 April 2018 Update". Now, you probably hate web pages sending notifications as much as I do, but the technology is important for when you really do want it to work, e.g. for a social client like Twitter and its new PWA (Progressive Web Application). At which point, what we need for Windows 10 Mobile, as one last 'hurrah', is a final branch update - to the 'April 2018 Update', or branch 1803.
Every time I pick up a Windows phone there's a certain air of 'getting things done' - it's that sort of OS. But even Windows 10 Mobile is limited in the applications it can run, whereas most predictions of the upcoming 'Surface Mobile' (Andromeda) are for full Windows 10 on ARM in a folding experience. But for the moment, what if you were to do without the 'folding' bit?
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?