Having completed my in-depth Lumia 950 XL versus Galaxy S9 shootout here, resulting in an overall tie, what struck most people about the results was test 5 in my line-up, where the new S9 made a truly horrible mess of 'natural' detail, i.e. grass, shrubs, trees. However, given that both the classic Lumia 950 XL and S9 support the saving of 'RAW' images, i.e. before all the image processing and sharpening, then that was the next thing in my review sights.
With the infrastructure changes at F1, the UWP app for Windows 10 has been withdrawn, as already reported. But, with the first Grand Prix (Australia) happening this weekend, what are your other options? It turns out that there's a wealth of information available for Windows 10 to accompany your race viewing in 2018. In part 1 of a staggered two part feature, I introduce the current state of affairs.
When I'm using Windows 10 Mobile full time, I can truthfully say that the OS and its applications satisfy all my smartphone 'needs', but there's a huge caveat implied. 'Needs', after all, implies 'necessities', the basics that have to be in place in order for a smartphone to be a smartphone. I get by - I even enjoy the phone and the UI. But there's an unstated reach that lets those with other mobile OS go further, whether its paying for things with their phone in a shop, playing the latest blockbuster games, or streaming video from a particular commercial movie service. Below, I chart the shortfall - how critical is it to you?
Sometimes you can't always get what you want, but.... you might just get what you need. So sang The Rolling Stones and a bit of a life lesson, but borne out by several technological trends, not least something that had been close to my heart, the subject of replaceable batteries in smartphones. See below for links, quotes, and current thoughts on the reality.
If you're watching intently then you may have noticed that March's 'Patch Tuesday' updates haven't (so far) included Mobile. Sod's law says that Microsoft will issue them right after this article goes live, but in the meantime I can't help but feel frustrated about the lack of TLC given to Windows 10 Mobile and the immense resources being ploughed by Microsoft into gimmicks elsewhere.
It's perhaps the imaging shootout that many have anticipated, at least here on AAWP - the classic Lumia 950/XL camera against the very latest pretender, the Galaxy S9, with a triple 'layer' sensor (see below), dual aperture and hyper-multiple exposure system driven by a Snapdragon 845 chipset or equivalent. Surely, surely the 2015 Lumia can't defeat a flagship that's two and half years newer? Let's find out.
It's a fair cop - I'm comparing a 2015 phone with one from 2018, so it's not a fair fight. Yet in the interests of showing Windows 10 Mobile users/fans one of the more likely Android phones that they might like to move to in the next 12 months, here's a blow by blow comparison of the ageing but classic Lumia 950 XL against the brand new Galaxy S9. And yes, an imaging comparison is next...!
The Lumia 930 (and 1520, 830 and 735 too, though the latter two do less well, with their limited RAM) works really well with Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update (CU)* and even Fall Creators Update (FCU), yet they're sufficiently old that Microsoft decided to end updates for them on Anniversary Update (AU). Up until 8th February 2018, there was the easy option of putting these phones on the Insiders programme and getting onto more recent OS branches, but that avenue has now closed. However, AAWP to the rescue with a somewhat geeky but hopefully clear tutorial on giving your older Windows Phone an extra year of life, features and updates.
If the table below looks familiar then that's because it's adapted from a feature I wrote just after the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro's release, in August 2017, i.e. seven months ago. With some new information, some new context and some new links, here's a fresh 2018 look at where these two consumer Windows 10 Mobile handsets sit with respect to each other. Tough choices this way lie....
Update: the situation has now been resolved. See link below. [Original text:]You would have thought that Microsoft could have spared some manpower to add the IDOL 4 Pro (out for over six months now) to its provisioning lists for Creators Update (CU) and Fall Creators Update (FCU), as they did for the IDOL 4S in the States. But no, the IDOL 4 Pro is shipped with, and stuck on, 2016's Anniversary Update. Which is terribly disappointing*. Of course, this is AAWP, and I couldn't resist putting together a tutorial for 2018, for new IDOL 4 Pro users, to get them up and running with CU and then FCU. It's geeky, but not impossibly hard, and the benefits are huge, topping out at an extra year's worth of patches and security fixes.