As ever, full release notes are here
As ever, full release notes are here
Having said that, the biggest change in this build is related to fonts. As of 17083, fonts can now be bought, installed and managed from the Microsoft Store. It may not sound like much of a change, but actually it will make font management a hell of a lot easier for yon average user.
Here's what Microsoft says about the font changes:
The full release notes are here.
In addition, there's a whole skew of updates for Edge, pushing even more epub and ebook features into the browser.
As ever, click here for the full release notes.
AMD have been quick to issue a statement, stirring the waters a touch by somewhat-incorrectly stating their CPUs aren't affected, while indulging in some intel bashing along the way:
... and there you go... it seems you should run out and buy an AMD processor and motherboard right now! But hang on a minute... it's not quite as simple as that - lets look at what the bugs actually are, and what they actually affect.
What's the big deal?
Details of the bugs are still being kept somewhat under wraps, but the major high level details, including example exploitations, have now been revealed (here: meltdownattack.com). There are in fact two separate, but related bugs, which have been called Meltdown & Spectre. While related, they work in slightly different ways and use slightly different attack techniques to trick the affected CPU to incorrectly allow access to what should be secure memory locations. Both bugs are significant and both have a high impact on anything and anyone running an affected CPU.
In essence, these bugs affect any CPU which features "Speculative Execution". Speculative Execution is a feature designed into modern CPUs whereby a processor looks at the code currently being run and "guesses" what code may be needed next. It then goes and runs that code (using another feature known as "Out Of Order Execution") in case the user / application requests it, thus speeding up the overall response of a system. The bugs relate to the way in which CPUs perform that speculative execution and the security the place around the contents of memory produced as a result of, or accessed during, that speculative execution.
Meltdown is a bug which affects mostly intel CPUs - it involves a process whereby the CPU can be tricked into allowing "user mode" applications to access "kernel mode" memory locations. (User mode in this case equates to what an application sees as being available; kernel mode equates to a highly restricted, god-like, see-all-do-all view of what data is available) This has the potential to allow for a malicious application to read the contents of kernel memory and reveal important, secure, information such as system passwords or other restricted information. Meltdown is so named because the bug "melts security boundaries which are normally enforced by the hardware".
Spectre is a bug which affects pretty much any CPU, certainly any which features Speculative Execution, specifically pretty much any intel CPU, pretty much any AMD CPU, pretty much any ARM CPU and probably many others. It involves a process where an application tricks the CPU into giving access to, and reading, memory allocated to (and therefore supposedly protected by) another application. Again, this has the potential to allow for a malicious application to read the contents of any other application's memory and reveal important, secure, information such as system passwords or other restricted information. Spectre is named after the root cause of the bug - "Speculative Execution".
What is affected?
Meltdown affects any device running an intel CPU. This includes some tablets; most laptop computers; most desktop computers; most servers (physical and virtual) and most of the hardware behind Cloud services. In other words, all Apple Mac computers; most Windows computers; most Linux (or *nix) computers; most Windows servers; Google Cloud servers; Amazon AWS Cloud servers; Microsoft Azure Cloud servers; VMWare servers; XEN servers; HyperV servers etc. Spectre affects pretty much any device with a modern CPU within it. This includes all Apple iPhones; all Apple iPads; all Android tablets; all Android phones; all Windows phones; all laptops, desktops, servers etc. running AMD processors; network switches; robot vacuums etc.
Mitigation against these bugs is not easy. Spectre especially will be with us for some time as the only way to actually "fix" the bug is to re-design the processor architectures to avoid the issue occurring. Meltdown can be mitigated by re-writing the kernel (or base level) code used by devices. The fix involves moving the kernel-level memory to a different physical location within a processor's memory system, thus making it impossible for the bug to be used to read that memory. Unfortunately doing so introduces a performance hit to the system that kernel is running. This is currently being estimated as being between 5% and 30%, depending on the task being undertaken.
Microsoft, Apple, Google, Cisco & Linux have all now confirmed patches for their relevant systems, although in some cases actually getting those patches may not be as easy as it should be. Below is a breakdown of what is know of each company's patches at the moment:
Microsoft have released patches for Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10, along with all supported versions of Windows Server. However, for the patch to be enabled, there has to be an update to, and co-operation with, any installed Anti-Virus software. This is to ensure against an old (bad) anti-virus software causing a system crash as a result of the Microsoft patch. Most AV software has now also been updated, but if you're not sure, uninstall your third party AV and let Windows Defender do the work - it is up to date and does enable the patches to function.
Apple have stated that their latest iOS (iPhone and iPad) and MacOS (Macbook, iMac etc.) releases already contain patches to mitigate against these bugs.
Google say that if you are running the "latest security patches" for Android, then you are already protected from these bugs. However, due to the unique way Android works, your device manufacturer (Motorola, Samsung, LG, One+ etc) may not have released those patches yet. Indeed, even if the manufacturer has released the patches, your phone network provider (O2, Vodafone, EE, 3 (in the UK)) may not yet have approved them.
Cisco have released patches for their networking equipment "just in case". To get these patches you'll need a device that is still in support, plus a valid support contract from Cisco.
The latest Linux kernels contain patches to mitigate against these bugs. It is of course up to individual Linux distributions to package those kernels into their software.
...we'll keep updating this article as and when more information becomes available...
In addition to this, there's the usual raft of fixes and improvements to Edge, with Cortana getting a bit of love as well. The full release notes are here
Firstly, here's an up-to-date comparison table based upon our latest testing criteria. Comparing phones is always a somewhat emotive opinion on the part of the person doing the comparison, so I have tried to keep this one based upon facts rather than feelings. Some may argue with some of the decisions and some may need explanation. The winning phone in each category is shown in dark green and gains 2 points. Where no obvious winner exists, "highly commended" scores are in light green and gain 1 point)
Feature LG V30 Galaxy S 8 Construction Candybar, aluminium & glass Candybar, aluminium & glass Size 151.7mm x 75.4mm x 7.3mm 148.9mm x 68.1mm x 8mm Weight 158g 155g Screen P-OLED 6.0" 2800x1440 538ppi S-AMOLED 5.8" 2960x1440 570ppi Screen / Body Ratio 81.2 % 83.6 % Battery 3300 mAh 3000 mAh Processor Snapdraggon 835 Exynos OctaCore RAM 4GB 4GB Storage 64GB / 128GB + MicroSD 64GB + MicroSD Camera (rear) Main: 16Mpix f/1.6 (71deg)& Wide: 13Mpix f/1.9 (120deg), Phase Detection Autofocus, Laser Foucs, IOS, HDR10, Assisted Zoom 12Mpix f/1.7, Phase Detection autofocus, IOS, HDR Camera (front) 5Mpix f/2.2 (90deg) 8Mpix f/1.7 Connectivity 3G, 4G, LTE, WiFi AC, NFC, GPS, Bt 5.0, USB 3.1 3G, 4G, LTE, WiFi AC, NFC, GPS, Bt 5.0, USB 3.1 Operating System Android 7.1.2 Android 7.1.1 Biometrics / security Fingerprint (rear - middle), face detection, Knox Fingerprint (rear - left), iris detection, face detection Protection Waterproof (IP68), Shockproof Waterproof (IP68) Charging QuickCharge 3.0, Wireless Charging QuickCharge 3.0, Wireless Charging Price £ 799 £ 869 Availability Now Now Total points 9 9 As can be seen, the phones are very closely matched when comparing the raw specs. The S8 wins out in a few categories purely because it is smaller (weight, screen resolution, screen / body ratio), whereas the V30 wins out in battery size and camera ability (due to having two of them). This means that any "winner" is going to be based pretty much purely on user experience; performance in the real world; and other personal views of the differences between the two.
The S8 clearly has the best screen when comparing resolution and dpi, but the V30 is no-where near as bad as some reviews make out; indeed for 98% of the time it looks just as good as the Samsung one. Sure, it's a pity it can't run at the same resolution as the S8, but that's un-noticable in the real world (I never run my S8 at full res due to how it kills the battery), and the "colour banding / backlight inconsistencies" issues which have been reported regarding the V30 are completely non-existent unless you actually go looking for them, in which case the S8 (certainly in my experience) does just as badly!
This is a clear win for the V30 - in a typical day's usage of commuting, being used at the office and at home, my S8 will go through 60 - 70% of it's battery, sometimes more, getting as low as 10% before it's put back on charge. In the same time periods and with the same overall usage pattern, I have yet to see the V30 use more than 55% of it's battery. The difference in size of the batteries may not be significant, but that coupled with the slightly lower res screen (although my S8 is never driven at full res, whereas the V30 is) seems to make a huge difference to daily usage.
Both these phones support QuickCharge (or technically Samsung's name for the same tech) and both do well. Charging via USB cable, even when plugged in to a PC rather than a "charger" is admirably fast on both handsets; the V30 feeling like it has a slight advantage in speed. However, when charging wirelessly (using one of Samsung's wireless charging pads) the S8 is noticeably quicker and seems to run the charger "harder", as evidenced by the charger's cooling fan coming on frequently. That said, the V30 is still perfectly capable of recharging itself wirelessly over a 4 or so hour period.
This is somewhat more of a personal preference decision... Both handsets are lovely to hold, although the V30 is obviously bigger than the S8, it's shorter although slightly wider than the S8+ and Note 8. The differences are not that significant (1.8mm longer, 7.3mm wider, 0.7mm thinner), but the width feels a lot wider than that 7.3mm would have you believe. It feels more like a "normal" format phone rather than the elongated stick that is the S8. Ultimately this makes one-handed operation a bit harder as there's further for thumb and finger to reach, but it's not uncomfortable by any means. You notice how much thinner it is too. All that said, for my hands, the S8 is the better fit.
UI and UX
Touchwiz hasn't exactly had the best reputation in times past, but it's come a hell of a long way recently. I actually quite like it, and I found myself wishing I could apply it to the V30. That's not to say the V30 UI is bad - it's not. It is far more stock-Android than the S8, but it's still got some useful additions from LG. For example, if you long press on any application icon, the V30 will pop up a context menu for you with the most commonly used functions of that application. And best of all, this works for all applications, not just the pre-installed LG ones.
On the other hand, much as Touchwiz on the S8 is now pretty great to use; Samsung have still been pretty restrictive in some areas - for example it's impossible to change the default Gallery application on the S8, but is very easy to do on the V30, and personally I find their settings app to be confusingly laid out.
Both phones are pretty comparable on features. The V30 obviously has more versatility in it's camera application (due mostly to having 2 rear camera), but the S8 has possibly the better colour reproduction in those photos.
The only significant difference I could find is that the V30 doesn't (yet) allow WiFi calling or VoLTE. Both these features are supported by LG's software, but for some reason they are disabled in the SIM free UK firmware I have. (LG allow the phone's bootloader to be unlocked, so that along with root access will allow you to enable both these features in the phone's build.prop file)
Living with the phone
Possibly the most awkward one to answer - initially on getting the V30 I was disappointed and kept wanting to go back to the S8. However, having used the V30 exclusively for 6 days now, my mind is far less clear. Ultimately I want a mix of the two - the features of the V30 with the UI of the S8. The biggest difference can be seen in the battery performance, and on that count the V30 wins absolutely hands down!
... so which is the winner...?
I fully expected to end up with a firm favourite here, with an obvious decision about which phone to keep. Unfortunately that hasn't proven to be the case and I now like both to equal amounts, albeit for different reasons. Therefore, I'm going to sit firmly on the fence and say ... Both!
Yet more changes for Edge - this time you get the ability for Edge to auto-fill address info on forms. Access to UWP applications (Metro apps to you and me) settings directly from the application icon in the Start Menu. This is way, way simpler than the old Settings > Apps & Features > App > Settings route you used to have to take, and a big UX win. Yet-more emoji changes. To be honest, these bore me - they're hardly core-OS functions. Here's the full MS release notes: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/11/22/announcing-windows-10-insider-preview-build-17046-pc/#j8WGYt6Wkvq76y4i.97
In addition to this, there's a few more input and handwriting tweaks, plus those aforementioned bug fixes. Here's the complete listing: Windows 10 17040 release notes
More changes and improvements to Edge - there's now the ability to "Mute" a tab (such as when opening those sites that start an annoying video advert).
There's lots of changes regarding input and typing, especially for Japanese character sets.
You can now buy Microsoft hardware from the Windows Store (if you're in the UK, US or a couple of other places)
Oh, and there's a nice feature called Near Share (only works with Windows 10 builds of 17035 or greater) allowing wireless sharing of data between two machines in close proximity.
The full Microsoft release notes are here: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/11/08/announcing-windows-10-insider-preview-build-17035-pc/#qFAA8CXrAT4lYO3X.97