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, as of July 2019. Yes, Windows 10 Mobile still has six months of 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... Here are my Top 5 suggestions.
The Lumia 735 (and 830 with it) were popular Lumias that, in theory, ended their Microsoft days on Windows 10 Mobile branch 1607 ('Anniversary Update'), for which monthly OS updates stopped six months ago. Yet most AAWP readers will have jumped on the Insiders programme a year or so ago at some point, and so most owners of these phones will now be on branch 1703 ('Creators Update', CU). And that too is now, officially, out of monthly support. So here's a step by step guide to 'faking' a more modern phone and getting any of these older phones onto branch 1709 ('Fall Creators Update', FCU) and thus back into a new six months of updates.
Despite my comparisons of current imaging flagships with the classic Nokia 808, Lumia 1020 and 950, people rightly point out that these 'benchmark' comparisons are just that - benchmarks. What about pitching potential Android purchases against each other? i.e. if imaging is your top concern, how does the highly rated Google Pixel 3 XL camera (now with Android Q under the hood) fare against the PureView-evolved Huawei P30 Pro, now with its new '161' imaging update?
As you might imagine, I get quite a bit of stick on social media from Windows-haters, wondering why AAWP still exists, wondering why I still write here, pointing out that Windows on phones isn't relevant in the marketplace anymore. Here's my answer - it's all about support and the installed base of users.
I've already pitched these two phone camera systems head to head, but Huawei claims significant photo quality improvements for its new firmware, now in place, so I thought a re-test was in place. The P30 Pro is essentially a modern day Lumia 1020 and is the de facto natural place for Nokia/Lumia imaging fans to end up in the modern Android world. So, how good is the P30 Pro now?
I recently covered the pimping of the Lumia 950's hardware, looking at different covers, a new (PolarCell) battery, a larger microSD and a new external DAC in particular. But there are also plenty of things you can check or improve in software too - here are some ideas to keep your Lumia 950 flying through the rest of 2019.
I was fascinated to read a rundown of Microsoft's vision of the future with 'modern OS' (name to be finalised, no doubt!), based on what we'd been calling 'Core OS' and with CShell covering the UI needs on various hardware form factors. Not least because it reminded me quite a bit an awful lot of what Microsoft had in Windows 10 Mobile in 2015 and which they've been trying to distance themselves from ever since. But... why, Microsoft, why? You had almost everything you needed already, four years ago.
Rolling up some ideas and accessories from previous AAWP coverage, if you're planning on staying with the wonderful Lumia 950 camera and Windows 10 Mobile as long as possible, then you may feel the time is right to 'spoil' your technology a little. Can the 950 be kept going for another year or more? True, some services may start to drop off in 2020, but 99% of the phone's functionality will keep going for a lot longer.
I looked at this earlier in the week - a brand new smartphone for well under £500 that had the equal of the Lumia 950 XL's camera, in theory, yet with no strings attached in other areas. With the latest Google Camera algorithms under its belt, let's put this to the test. My gut says that the Google imaging is the purest of the current crop (though still crude by PureView standards) and thus perhaps the best fit for a Lumia owner. See below for my testing.
I've often put up the now somewhat ancient (late 2015) Lumia 950 XL against modern flagships, but here's something genuinely different. £470 inc VAT, pure Google and Android, guaranteed updates for three years, 3.5mm headphone jack, plus the much-acclaimed (including by me) 'PureView take 2' Pixel Camera, doing all the oversampling in the time domain rather than across a physical sensor. This, perhaps more than any other current phone, is the natural destination for a Lumia 950 XL owner, I contend...