When it comes to business phablets, we're talking premium construction, extra OS level security and higher-than-expected prices. And both the new HP Elite X3 and even newer Blackberry DTEK60 fall into this camp, on Windows 10 Mobile and Android respectively (that's right, Blackberry no longer uses its own OS). But how do they stack up across the board?
Well, it isn't often that I feature a Blackberry smartphone in a head to head on AAWP - their abilities and cameras have never been top notch. But, ironically, since Blackberry decided to quit making its own hardware and merely tweak someone else's, some aspects of its branded hardware have improved in quality. Such as the new DTEK60, with 21MP main camera. Aimed at businesses, the logical comparison here might be to the HP Elite X3, but that's stuck in HP's self-imposed 10MP land so I've plumped for the Lumia 950 XL instead. Just how good is the high-res shooter on the DTEK60?
I'm being a little disingenuous in the title, I have to admit. It's true that the titles below represent my 'Top 5' VR titles, but they're also just about the only VR titles on the platform (I counted to 9 and then realised I couldn't make a 'top 10'! Contrast this to ten times that number on Android, proving that VR on Windows 10 Mobile is still in its infancy. VR is still fun to play with though - all you need is a phone with enough screen resolution (1080p is enough here) and a VR viewer (readily available for under £10 anywhere).
This is going to sound rather trivial, but I have to put pen to paper (ok, fingers to keyboard) to explain some of the calendar sync oddities we have to live with in a modern world with multiple calendar sources. In short, the problem/symptom is that calendar entries entered on another device or web page (or whatever) take quite a while to appear on our Windows 10 Mobile smartphones - in my case it was hours, which I resolved to fix. You can't quite get real time calendar syncing, but you can get close.
HP has done a pretty good (if slightly delayed) job of getting the Elite X3 sorted out in terms of updates, both of the OS kind (think Anniversary Update) and the firmware kind (notably much improving the camera). However, there are still a few bits that don't quite work right, plus I'd like to draw HP's attention to a few software modules in Windows 10 Mobile that the Lumias have and which the Elite X3... doesn't. Surely, if HP asked nicely, Microsoft would share the rest of their source code?
As I finish a couple of weeks with the HP Elite X3, and with four review parts now complete, I tried switching back to the Lumia 950 XL for a few days. Which gave me the impetus to do a direct comparison at every level between the two smartphones. Yes, one's far more business-focussed than the other, so they're really not competitors except here on AAWP, where enthusiasts will be (hopefully) interested in my deliberations below.
This is something I've referred to a number of times in recent months as a problem, but it seems that we've iterated our way to the solution, so I wanted to write it up explicitly. The symptom is that, under Windows 10 Mobile, an application - usually a podcatcher - is suddenly 'not there' anymore. Its live tile is greyed out, any playing media is not available and the application shows as 'Pending' in the applications list. For hours at a time, sometimes. What's going on?
Taking a slight tangent from the core review coverage of the HP Elite X3, and in answer to numerous requests for a direct imaging head to head with the Lumia 950 XL, now that the X3 has had its camera firmware fixed up, here's a look using our interactive comparator. The winner can probably be guessed, since the X3 isn't claimed to have the best camera, but the device does have a few tricks up its sleeve....
We've had the Lumia 1020 and 950/XL winning camera phone shootouts for years on AAWP and still haven't found anything to touch them, least of all the new Pixel XL, whatever claims Google makes for it. However, the 1020's ancient now and the 950 is no spring chicken. What about the brand new HP Elite X3, priced for business and built like a tank. Does its camera prove a better match for the Google darling?
Back in March this year, Microsoft released the official Windows 10 Mobile upgrade to all eligible devices - so that's a whole load of Snapdragon 2xx, 4xx and 8xx-based smartphones* all right up to date with the latest and greatest OS, and all now on the Anniversary Update, right? Actually no, the vast majority of Windows Phone 8.1 users, many with fully W10M compatible phones, are still on 8.1 because Microsoft hasn't told them about the upgrade.