Yesterday, I looked at the performance of Windows 10 Mobile (at least, at the current build) in terms of RAM, and concluded that, web browsing aside, the user experience on devices with 'only' 512MB (of RAM) was going to be absolutely fine. Perhaps more serious is the situation with respect to the chipsets used under the hood, with so much of Windows Phone 8.1 and beyond optimised for the Snapdragon x00 series - just how slow are the 'S4 Plus' series (Lumia 520 right up to the 1020) going to get with Windows 10 Mobile and how much of a problem will it be?
With Windows 10 Mobile coming to virtually all Windows Phones over the next few months as an over-the-air update, seemingly independent of RAM and specs, it does beg the question of how much will be sacrificed in terms of day to day experience on the lower end phones. With this in mind, I've been benchmarking the top end Lumia 1520 (2GB RAM, Snapdragon 800) and the budget Lumia 630 (512MB RAM, Snapdragon 400) for various common operations, both with the latest (pretty stable) W10M build.
Now, this isn't that common, but it happened to me - my OneDrive client, even on my recently reset Lumia 930, started playing up on Windows Phone 8.1. Essentially it had stopped showing any photos after a certain date, even after restarting the phone, trying to sync by adding new images, and so on. It was well and truly stuck. Happily, I also subsequently hit upon the solution, of which you might like to make a mental note.
Having lost count of the number of people saying how much they were looking forward to putting Windows 10 Mobile on their Lumia 1020 - and then seen equally as many people say they were dreading it, I thought a FAQ was in order. What will you, and won't you gain from the the step change in the OS, in terms of experience and - crucially - in terms of imaging, this being the 1020s core speciality.
Playing with Windows 10 Mobile as my primary smartphone platform, I'm struck by how 'grown up' it feels. Partly this is because I'm using the Lumia 1520 with its 6" 1080p screen, but partly it's because this is, at heart, a desktop-class OS. Below, I list some of the more impressive aspects of Windows 10 Mobile, as at build 10149, reported on here. Is the OS ready for the mass market yet? Absolutely not. Is it ready for use by someone who knows how to work around the odd glitch? Definitely. Plus there's a real sense of community to how the Feedback and Insiders programmes are being handled, each of us really can have our say.
Having explored the storage needed by typical users here, one of the takeaways was that having microSD support in your Windows Phone was 'a very good thing'TM. But what exactly should you put on it and what will happen if you do things wrong? In this feature, I look at how things are, and aren't, supposed to work, plus I cover how to upgrade one card to a higher capacity - seamlessly.
In a previous feature, a week or two ago, I took a bunch of smartphones to a local gig and did some direct comparisons - very high volume, low and changeable lighting, challenging environments, all make for an ultimate cameraphone video capture test. The main Windows Phone I was testing - the Lumia 1020 - fared sub-optimally because of the default audio filtering in Lumia Camera. So I headed out again, with this feature turned firmly off... then threw in the latest iPhone 6, the Lumia 930 running Windows 10 Mobile and even Android M(!) for good measure.
Build 10136 of Windows 10 Mobile, announced here, is significant because it marks the point in the latest evolution of Windows Phone where the next-gen builds are good enough for serious testing. I hesitate to say 'good enough for day to day use' because, like all early OS builds, battery life is questionable. But it's certainly good enough to load on all your applications and data (on a sacrificial device) and to, metaphorically, kick the tyres. Which is what I've been doing for the last 48 hours. Here's my report, caveats, warts and all. [Updated 23rd June with extra screens and amendments.]
It's chess all the way, perhaps the archetypal game on any computer platform - or in this case on the computer in your pocket - your smartphone. With a multitude of chess options on Windows Phone, I've picked out the best - and, because we don't do things by halves here, then pitted the two best against each other, to find a champion. Note that this is all playing against your phone - I'll cover playing online against other humans ('by post') in a future feature.