Something of a time-machine enabled tradition at AAWP is that I attempt to predict the whole of next year's Windows mobile-related news, viewed from the start of 2017 in this case, looking back at 2016. As usual with this platform, there were ups and downs, but Windows 10 on a larger scale became truly pervasive.
A video-centric test, or at least a data point. As judged from deficiencies below and on older phones running the Windows 10 Mobile Insiders Build, there's clearly work to do in Camera's video capture capabilities. So, here at Christmas 2015, at least is what Windows 10 Camera (can and can't) do. Summary: susceptibility to wind noise, unconvincing stereo and an auto-focus that will not stay 'off'.
Maybe the headline is slightly disingenuous, since I'm only looking at a single set of data points from two specific devices, but the results are typical of the Windows 10 Camera 'automatic' Rich Capture and the Android Camera (with HDR+) applications and functions, common to many smartphones. More to the point, the shots got me out in the fresh air during the traditional Christmas merriment...
The trouble with things taking longer than expected is that projects then run into immoveable feasts. Quite literally, in this case, with Windows 10 Mobile seeing a massive flurry of activity in November and early December, getting SO close to a stable build for the new 950 flagships... only to then run into Christmas. So, what state is the OS in and how important will be the time (and inertia) lost?
One common question fired at us over the last month has been how the new QHD-screened, Snapdragon 808/810-powered Lumias fare in terms of day to day operations, against each other and compared to yesterday's flagships in the Windows Phone world. Below, I attempt to answer this question with my usual real world benchmarks. The results are very surprising, though also good news if you already own a Lumia 930, Icon or Lumia 1520.
Judging from my postbag (ok, email-bag, these days) and from comments here on the site, I'm not the only one racked with doubt about the way to proceed in terms of these new Lumias. A while back, after my first few days with the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, I pronounced the 950 the one to go for. Then the Mozo arrived and I was then leaning towards the 'premium' 950 XL. And then I picked up my old Lumia 930 again. Sigh. See what you think after reading my thoughts below. Which one would you go for?
One oddity of Windows 10 Mobile and the transition from Windows Phone 8.1 is that the OS can get confused by some applications. There's probably an underlying pattern to the issue, but I haven't spotted it yet. But I do want to point out a way of fixing the problem of applications which fail to work, bringing up a blank screen with just a Windows 10 search box. You can easily spot the miscreants - they're denoted by blank icons in your main application list.
Having pitched these two smartphones head to head in terms of imaging (spoiler: the 950 wins by quite a way, though with some caveats), I wanted to pitch them against each other across the board, function for function. The LG G4 is a flagship from earlier in 2015 that's now an absolute steal at £320, while the Lumia 950 is... well, you know, you're reading AAWP after all! See my 950 review here.
One aspect of Windows Phone has traditionally been device and specification-dependent - the multitasking carousel, accessed by long pressing the 'back' control. Up to (and including) Build 10512 of Windows 10 Mobile, devices with 2GB or RAM were allowed up to 14 'slots' in the carousel, but this has now been trimmed to be just '7' - however much RAM a device has. And the OS is faster for it.
It's all very well saying that the Lumia 950 and 950 XL camera is the best, across all shots and use cases, that has ever existed in the Windows Phone world, but how does it compare with the best of the competition? The latter is almost unanimously the LG G4, running Android, so I got that in for direct comparison and a fight to the death. At least in terms of still imaging.