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Found 109 results

  1. Stuclark

    Insider Preview build 15048

    It's becoming quite hard to keep up with all these releases, which can mean only one thing - the Creators Update can't be far away! This build is mostly bug fixes again, but there is one interesting thing to report in this build ... the build tag is back on the desktop. It's been absent in the last two builds, but is showing up in this one... I'm not quite sure that we can take anything from that, other than maybe this build has not gone through the same release candidate testing or production process as the previous two. As usual, the release notes are here.
  2. Microsoft yesterday released *yet-another* Windows 10 build, number 15048. It's becoming quite hard to keep up with all these releases, which can mean only one thing - the Creators Update can't be far away! This build is mostly bug fixes again, but there is one interesting thing to report in this build ... the build tag is back on the desktop. It's been absent in the last two builds, but is showing up in this one... I'm not quite sure that we can take anything from that, other than maybe this build has not gone through the same release candidate testing or production process as the previous two. As usual, the release notes are here. View full news
  3. I already have an HP Microserver G8 (GT-1610) running FreeNAS which works very well, but I wondered if there's anything in the Microsoft camp which could provide similar functionality. With this in mind, I started off by buying another Microserver G8 as, even in their base specification, they provide a Celeron 2.3GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 4x 3.5in (non-hot swap) drive bays, internal USB and MicroSD card support, dual Ethernet plus iLO and a PCIe expansion port. This spec is good enough to run FreeNAS out the box, meaning I'd always have something to fall back on if my endeavours ultimately failed. The first decision was to get some more RAM - the G8 only has 2 DIMM slots so RAM needs (or at least should) be in matched pairs. For now mine is running 1x 8GB DIMM and 1x 4GB DIMM, giving an useable 12GB for the development work (the box will be upgraded to 16GB in the near future). Should the box end up running either Windows 10 or Server 2016 then i'll need a better processor than the Celeron it comes with, especially as it will get tasked with running my Emby media library as well, so a Xeon low power processor is on the cards, but only once the initial testing has been done. I should probably add that all this is going to be getting benchmarked against my existing FreeNAS setup, also running on a Microserver G8, and my existing Emby server, which is a MacMini with i7 and 32GB RAM, oh, and that's running Windows 10 of course. The first strugle with this plan is to get Windows installed on the MicroSD card that's sitting inside the G8. The reason for booting off a MicroSD card is twofold - 1) I've got a DVD-RW drive in the optical bay, so can't populate that space with internal SSDs; and 2) I already boot FreeNAS from the SDCard in my other G8, so if Windows is to win out in the new solution it has to do the same. It also keeps the OS and the disks which will make up the actual NAS element seperate, which is no bad thing. (infact, Windows does not allow a boot disk to be part of a Storage Spaces pool or cluster, so this is necessary to avoid loosing capacity) Microsoft *STILL* don't support booting Windows from any form of removable drive, unless you're opting to use Windows-to-go, which itself only works on USB pen-type drives (sticks) and not on SD cards. However, Windows runs absolutely fine from either SD or USB, so long as your machine's BIOS is able to address them as a boot device. To get round this, it is necessary to get a little bit inventive with Microsoft's imaging tools; which, when used in the right order, make this a simple, if time consuming job. First off (at least on the G8), make sure the SD card you'll be using as your ultimate boot device has not volumes on it; most cards ship pre-formatted these days, so use the Windows disk manager tool to delete any partitions showing on the card. Next, you'll need to have a bootable installation media for whatever version of Windows you choose (I picked Server 2016 over Windows 10, but both work in the same way) - I used Rufus to burn the Windows ISO onto an 8GB USB stick. Next, put the SD card and USB stick in the G8 and boot the machine. (you'll need to check that booting from USB is enabled in the BIOS if the machine is not set at its facrory defaults) Once the Windows installer boots, it will present you with a language, location & keyboard choice screen - leave all these as default as we're not going to be using the wizard to install Windows anyway. On the next screen, which is the "Install Now" screen, instead click on the text link marked "Repair your Computer" then click on the Troubleshooting and Command Prompt buttons on subsequent screens to get the installer to drop you into the Windows command line. It's here we'll actually do the work which will allow us to install Windows on the SD card. Next, we need to make a partition on the SD card using the command line DISKPART tool. To do this enter the following commands: (where the X below is the numerical value for the SD card (disk) in your system. Usually it will be 1 as Windows has booted from the USB disk 0) diskpart list disk select disk X clean create partition primary format quick fs=ntfs label="SD-Card" active At this point we need to assign a drive letter to the SD card, but becuase we're going to subsequently boot from this drive, it *has* to be drive letter C:. Unfortunately Windows has "stolen" C: for the USB drive we're currently booted from. To resolve this minor issue run these commands. (this is still within DISKPART, and you'll need to replace the values for X and Y with those shown in the list volume command. Usually volume 0 will be the volume from which Windows has booted, and so volume 1 will be the one on your SD card. This would mean X = 0 and Y = 1) list volume select volume X assign letter=D select volume Y assign letter=C exit Next, we need to apply the Windows install image to our newly created C: drive (SD card). Use the command below to do so. There's two versions of this code listed, depending on whether you're using a Server 2016 or Windows 10 boot image. WARNING: The dism command takes a looong time (30 - 40 minutes) to run. Windows Server 2016 version: dism /Apply-Image /ImageFile:D:\sources\install.wim /index:2 /ApplyDir:C:\ Windows 10 version: dism /Apply-Image /ImageFile:D:\sources\install.wim /index:1 /ApplyDir:C:\ Finally, once the DISM command has eventually finished (and you've drunk a lot of tea), the last step is to make the SD card bootable. Run these commands to do so, and once complete, feel free to reboot the computer. (remember to remove the USB stick when doing so) bootsect /nt60 C: /force /mbr bcdboot C:\Windows When the computer reboots, if you've got all the above correct, the machine will boot from the SD card and "Iinstall" Windows on to itself. In reality it is just going through the first run setup and "discovering devices" stages that we're used to seeing when installing Windows, but it will seem to take an age this time. Stick with it, and after a reboot or two, the system will eventually boot up with a fully installed copy of Windows, be it Windows 10 or Server 2016. Part 2 will cover the fun had in getting Storage Spaces to actually work on our newly installed machine... stay tuned!
  4. After a week without any builds, Microsoft on Friday released Windows 10 Insider Build 15042. This build focusses more on stability than have previous builds, and indicates we're getting close(r) to the public release of the "Creators Update". While the changes in this build might not at first seem too exciting, there's a few things which can be gleaned from the release notes. Firstly, a few of the "annoyance" bugs which have been hanging around for the last few builds (such as Windows incorrectly saying "some settings are managed by your organisation" have been fixed, and clearly much work has gone into "polishing" this build. Also notable by it's absense is the build identifier string on the desktop. This comes and goes on different builds in the Insider Program, but usually it only "goes" when Microsoft start testing builds as release candidates for a major public release. In other words, the fact that it has disappeared after having been on every build since the RS_1 release, means MS must be getting close to the RS_2 release. Other changes this week include the usual raft of Edge updates, plus a few fixes for Game Bar. I guess those only really matter to you if you make use of those programs or featuers. View full news
  5. Stuclark

    Insider Preview build 15042

    While the changes in this build might not at first seem too exciting, there's a few things which can be gleaned from the release notes. Firstly, a few of the "annoyance" bugs which have been hanging around for the last few builds (such as Windows incorrectly saying "some settings are managed by your organisation" have been fixed, and clearly much work has gone into "polishing" this build. Also notable by it's absense is the build identifier string on the desktop. This comes and goes on different builds in the Insider Program, but usually it only "goes" when Microsoft start testing builds as release candidates for a major public release. In other words, the fact that it has disappeared after having been on every build since the RS_1 release, means MS must be getting close to the RS_2 release. Other changes this week include the usual raft of Edge updates, plus a few fixes for Game Bar. I guess those only really matter to you if you make use of those programs or featuers.
  6. After the repeated failure of my QNAP NAS, I decided the time had come to start experimenting on how to build my own. In this, the first part of a series of articles, I'll go through hardware choice and show you how to get Windows installed and running FROM an SD card (something Microsoft say you can't do). I already have an HP Microserver G8 (GT-1610) running FreeNAS which works very well, but I wondered if there's anything in the Microsoft camp which could provide similar functionality. With this in mind, I started off by buying another Microserver G8 as, even in their base specification, they provide a Celeron 2.3GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 4x 3.5in (non-hot swap) drive bays, internal USB and MicroSD card support, dual Ethernet plus iLO and a PCIe expansion port. This spec is good enough to run FreeNAS out the box, meaning I'd always have something to fall back on if my endeavours ultimately failed. The first decision was to get some more RAM - the G8 only has 2 DIMM slots so RAM needs (or at least should) be in matched pairs. For now mine is running 1x 8GB DIMM and 1x 4GB DIMM, giving an useable 12GB for the development work (the box will be upgraded to 16GB in the near future). Should the box end up running either Windows 10 or Server 2016 then i'll need a better processor than the Celeron it comes with, especially as it will get tasked with running my Emby media library as well, so a Xeon low power processor is on the cards, but only once the initial testing has been done. I should probably add that all this is going to be getting benchmarked against my existing FreeNAS setup, also running on a Microserver G8, and my existing Emby server, which is a MacMini with i7 and 32GB RAM, oh, and that's running Windows 10 of course. The first strugle with this plan is to get Windows installed on the MicroSD card that's sitting inside the G8. The reason for booting off a MicroSD card is twofold - 1) I've got a DVD-RW drive in the optical bay, so can't populate that space with internal SSDs; and 2) I already boot FreeNAS from the SDCard in my other G8, so if Windows is to win out in the new solution it has to do the same. It also keeps the OS and the disks which will make up the actual NAS element seperate, which is no bad thing. (infact, Windows does not allow a boot disk to be part of a Storage Spaces pool or cluster, so this is necessary to avoid loosing capacity) Microsoft *STILL* don't support booting Windows from any form of removable drive, unless you're opting to use Windows-to-go, which itself only works on USB pen-type drives (sticks) and not on SD cards. However, Windows runs absolutely fine from either SD or USB, so long as your machine's BIOS is able to address them as a boot device. To get round this, it is necessary to get a little bit inventive with Microsoft's imaging tools; which, when used in the right order, make this a simple, if time consuming job. First off (at least on the G8), make sure the SD card you'll be using as your ultimate boot device has not volumes on it; most cards ship pre-formatted these days, so use the Windows disk manager tool to delete any partitions showing on the card. Next, you'll need to have a bootable installation media for whatever version of Windows you choose (I picked Server 2016 over Windows 10, but both work in the same way) - I used Rufus to burn the Windows ISO onto an 8GB USB stick. Next, put the SD card and USB stick in the G8 and boot the machine. (you'll need to check that booting from USB is enabled in the BIOS if the machine is not set at its facrory defaults) Once the Windows installer boots, it will present you with a language, location & keyboard choice screen - leave all these as default as we're not going to be using the wizard to install Windows anyway. On the next screen, which is the "Install Now" screen, instead click on the text link marked "Repair your Computer" then click on the Troubleshooting and Command Prompt buttons on subsequent screens to get the installer to drop you into the Windows command line. It's here we'll actually do the work which will allow us to install Windows on the SD card. Next, we need to make a partition on the SD card using the command line DISKPART tool. To do this enter the following commands: (where the X below is the numerical value for the SD card (disk) in your system. Usually it will be 1 as Windows has booted from the USB disk 0) diskpart list disk select disk X clean create partition primary format quick fs=ntfs label="SD-Card" active At this point we need to assign a drive letter to the SD card, but becuase we're going to subsequently boot from this drive, it *has* to be drive letter C:. Unfortunately Windows has "stolen" C: for the USB drive we're currently booted from. To resolve this minor issue run these commands. (this is still within DISKPART, and you'll need to replace the values for X and Y with those shown in the list volume command. Usually volume 0 will be the volume from which Windows has booted, and so volume 1 will be the one on your SD card. This would mean X = 0 and Y = 1) list volume select volume X assign letter=D select volume Y assign letter=C exit Next, we need to apply the Windows install image to our newly created C: drive (SD card). Use the command below to do so. There's two versions of this code listed, depending on whether you're using a Server 2016 or Windows 10 boot image. WARNING: The dism command takes a looong time (30 - 40 minutes) to run. Windows Server 2016 version: dism /Apply-Image /ImageFile:D:\sources\install.wim /index:2 /ApplyDir:C:\ Windows 10 version: dism /Apply-Image /ImageFile:D:\sources\install.wim /index:1 /ApplyDir:C:\ Finally, once the DISM command has eventually finished (and you've drunk a lot of tea), the last step is to make the SD card bootable. Run these commands to do so, and once complete, feel free to reboot the computer. (remember to remove the USB stick when doing so) bootsect /nt60 C: /force /mbr bcdboot C:\Windows When the computer reboots, if you've got all the above correct, the machine will boot from the SD card and "Iinstall" Windows on to itself. In reality it is just going through the first run setup and "discovering devices" stages that we're used to seeing when installing Windows, but it will seem to take an age this time. Stick with it, and after a reboot or two, the system will eventually boot up with a fully installed copy of Windows, be it Windows 10 or Server 2016. Part 2 will cover the fun had in getting Storage Spaces to actually work on our newly installed machine... stay tuned! View full news
  7. Stuclark

    Insider Preview build 15031

    This build's headline new feature is the Compact Overlay Window - think of it as a picture-in-picture clone from your TV and you'll not be far wrong. It essentially allows app developers to write code that allows their apps to peak through another app's windows and appear on top (um, like that's been possible for years) - ah yes, but this new method allows that "peaked" window to take on a new compact design, only showing the contents (such as a video or TV stream) rather than all the fluff around the content. As always, the full release notes are available here for all to see, and they include a screenshot of what Compact Overlay Windows will allow (once every app under the sun has been re-coded to use the feature). As for user experience changes, I can't say I've noticed any yet, but if they crop up I'll add them to this post.
  8. Breaking the once-weekly release cycle for the first time this year, Microsoft yesterday released into the wild Insider Preview build 15031. This build's headline new feature is the Compact Overlay Window - think of it as a picture-in-picture clone from your TV and you'll not be far wrong. It essentially allows app developers to write code that allows their apps to peak through another app's windows and appear on top (um, like that's been possible for years) - ah yes, but this new method allows that "peaked" window to take on a new compact design, only showing the contents (such as a video or TV stream) rather than all the fluff around the content. As always, the full release notes are available here for all to see, and they include a screenshot of what Compact Overlay Windows will allow (once every app under the sun has been re-coded to use the feature). As for user experience changes, I can't say I've noticed any yet, but if they crop up I'll add them to this post. View full news
  9. Yesterday Microsoft released the first "bug bash build" of the upcoming Windows 10 Creator's Update (build 15025) to Windows Insiders. This build is the first in a series of builds which will be released, probably with increasing speed, in the build up to the next public release of Windows 10 - the Creator's Update (or Redstone 2 (rs2) release, as it's known internally). The release notes are available here and show that this build is not about adding new features, but is the first take on polishing the features already in the rs2 builds. An interesting issue with this build though is that it currently won't install on an x86 based computer; only the x64 version works. Microsoft's answer to this is to simply not release an x86 build at this stage, instead promising an x86 ISO later in the week. [more to follow] View full news
  10. Stuclark

    Insider Preview build 15025

    This build is the first in a series of builds which will be released, probably with increasing speed, in the build up to the next public release of Windows 10 - the Creator's Update (or Redstone 2 (rs2) release, as it's known internally). The release notes are available here and show that this build is not about adding new features, but is the first take on polishing the features already in the rs2 builds. An interesting issue with this build though is that it currently won't install on an x86 based computer; only the x64 version works. Microsoft's answer to this is to simply not release an x86 build at this stage, instead promising an x86 ISO later in the week. [more to follow]
  11. Stuclark

    Insider Preview build 15019

    The biggest change this week is the inclusion of "Gaming Mode" for those people who are Windows and XBox Insiders. Microsoft have been blogging about this during the week, making it somewhat confusing to know what is and isn't in the Windows Insider build (and also mudying when the build was going to be released) for us "mere mortals"; but now it's here this is what we're being told from the build's release blog entry. First off, it seems that Gaming Mode has been made available to everyone, whether or not a member of the XBox Insider programme. I don't have many any games installed on my test devices, so can't comment on the functionality at the moment, but there's lots of options (mostly centred around sharing and recording game experiences) to try out. Also new is the renamed "Holographic Options", which is now called "Mixed Reality". Again, there's quite a few options within here, but no as-yet obvious method of adding a mixed reality device, although there is interestingly an option to completely uninstall the Mixed Reality options. (although, Microsoft have again said we shouldn't be seeing this menu option yet) Other new features and changes of note include: Wi-Fi Captive Portal: The Wi-Fi connectivity experience in OOBE has been updated to support “captive portal” Wi-Fi networks. When connecting to such a Wi-Fi hotspot, OOBE will navigate to a lightweight browser experience allowing you to complete the connection and reach the internet. We’ve also included some updates allowing you to configure some basic properties for the Wi-Fi network during OOBE. This might not seem like much; but if you've ever tried to work out the continual circle of not being able to activate a device because you can't sign in to a wireless network to get an internet connection to activate the device because the device isn't activated and so you can't open a web browser to complete the wireless network sign in because the device isn't actvated and so you can't open a web browser because you've not activated the device because you're not signed in to a wireless network because you can't open a web browser to sign in to the network because you can't open a web browser because the device isn't activated ... (you get the idea), then this really is a huge, huge deal! Improved high-DPI support for ITPros: With Build 15002, we shared our new option to override a GDI-based app’s high DPI scaling with our own System (Enhanced) scaling. With Build 15019, we’re happy to let you know that this System (Enhanced) application compatibility setting will now also available to be enabled or disabled via the Windows ADK for IT Professionals, so you can make adjustments to a broad audience of PCs. I mentioned this before in the 15007 article, sufice to say that while I haven't noticed any apreciable differences in 15019 (System (Enhanced) scaling still breaks Photoshop CS6), any advances in these settings are a good thing in my book.
  12. Today's Windows Insider build, 15019, promises to be quite a big one. As always, what are the new features we should care about this week? The biggest change this week is the inclusion of "Gaming Mode" for those people who are Windows and XBox Insiders. Microsoft have been blogging about this during the week, making it somewhat confusing to know what is and isn't in the Windows Insider build (and also mudying when the build was going to be released) for us "mere mortals"; but now it's here this is what we're being told from the build's release blog entry. First off, it seems that Gaming Mode has been made available to everyone, whether or not a member of the XBox Insider programme. I don't have many any games installed on my test devices, so can't comment on the functionality at the moment, but there's lots of options (mostly centred around sharing and recording game experiences) to try out. Also new is the renamed "Holographic Options", which is now called "Mixed Reality". Again, there's quite a few options within here, but no as-yet obvious method of adding a mixed reality device, although there is interestingly an option to completely uninstall the Mixed Reality options. (although, Microsoft have again said we shouldn't be seeing this menu option yet) Other new features and changes of note include: Wi-Fi Captive Portal: The Wi-Fi connectivity experience in OOBE has been updated to support “captive portal” Wi-Fi networks. When connecting to such a Wi-Fi hotspot, OOBE will navigate to a lightweight browser experience allowing you to complete the connection and reach the internet. We’ve also included some updates allowing you to configure some basic properties for the Wi-Fi network during OOBE. This might not seem like much; but if you've ever tried to work out the continual circle of not being able to activate a device because you can't sign in to a wireless network to get an internet connection to activate the device because the device isn't activated and so you can't open a web browser to complete the wireless network sign in because the device isn't actvated and so you can't open a web browser because you've not activated the device because you're not signed in to a wireless network because you can't open a web browser to sign in to the network because you can't open a web browser because the device isn't activated ... (you get the idea), then this really is a huge, huge deal! Improved high-DPI support for ITPros: With Build 15002, we shared our new option to override a GDI-based app’s high DPI scaling with our own System (Enhanced) scaling. With Build 15019, we’re happy to let you know that this System (Enhanced) application compatibility setting will now also available to be enabled or disabled via the Windows ADK for IT Professionals, so you can make adjustments to a broad audience of PCs. I mentioned this before in the 15007 article, sufice to say that while I haven't noticed any apreciable differences in 15019 (System (Enhanced) scaling still breaks Photoshop CS6), any advances in these settings are a good thing in my book. View full news
  13. Microsoft have brought the revolution to phones. Ultimate battery life is assured with this ultra-simple UI, offering the best user experience of any device. In our tests, we found it worked best in a cinema environment.https://www.youtube....bed/irJQDGw8Ptk Click here to view the news
  14. Stuclark

    Microsoft Launch MS-DOS Mobile

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/irJQDGw8Ptk
  15. Here's the press release:
  16. Microsoft have launched two new affordable mid-tier handsets with decent specs. The Lumia 640 and 640XL look like bargains when you look at the specs with decent camera, enough oomph for most day to day tasks and also 1 year Office 365 Personal subscription (that means you also get 1TB One Drive storage too). We expect to see these May / June time.Here's the press release: Click here to view the news
  17. Stuclark

    News: Lumia 830 review

    The Nokia Microsoft Lumia 830 is a 5.0 inch screen Windows phone 8.1 handset aimed squarely at the middle of the Windows phone market. It is one of the increasingly common not-quite-flagship-but-ultimately-capable Lumia handsets which comes in at a quite reasonable SIM free price of just under £300 (£279 PAYG on EE). The big question though is should you buy it?I'm coming to this phone from having used various flavours of Android for years as my mobile OS of choice, and having more recently been using Windows 8.1 as my desktop & tablet OS of choice. I want to like Windows Phone, but I remember the mediocre reviews and limitations it had when Windows Phone 7 (re)launched a few years ago. But to the Lumia 830 itself: Firstly its physically quite a big handset for a 5.0 inch screen, easily outsizing a Samsung Galaxy S4 and being almost identical in size to the LG G3 (which boasts a 5.5 inch screen). One of the reasons for this is the excessive top and bottom bezels around the screen, plus Windows Phone's use of "fixed" touch buttons for navigation. The handset itself is actually more rectangular than it looks, with the metalic corners of the chassis being quite a pronounced rectangle, whereas the screen corners are far more rounded. While this produces quite a nice design statement, it doesn't necessarily make the phone the most comfortable to hold. Being a mid range handset means that the phone sports a relatively old "platform" - the processor is a 1.2GHz. Snapdragon 400 with 1GB RAM and 16GB onboard storage. The phone also supports up to 128GB MicroSD cards and has a thankfully removable 22mAh battery. The phone's screen is a slightly mediocre 720 x 1280 (720p) resolution, which is quite a way below the qHD and 4xHD screens we're seeing on flagship devices now, but due to the clever design of the Windows Phone UI, along with the strict design parameters that Microsoft have implemented, the lack of resolution is not a major problem; indeed most of the time you don't even notice it! (the screen is a RGB matrix IPS panel, which means it has more sub-pixels than a similar Pentile panel, greatly helping the look of the display) What does get noticed, quite a lot on my review handset, is the relative weakness of the phone and its chassis in particular. With the recent "bendgate" furore surrounding the iPhone 6, inherent phone strength is quite a big deal at the moment, and unfortunately I have to report that the Lumia 830 doesn't do very well here at all. OK, so it doesn't have a tendancy to bend in half like the iPhone does, but it is very susceptible to the chassis being twisted along its length. This then causes issues with the touch layer of the screen either not working, or as I've seen a lot, producing constant key presses on the search key, putting the phone into a pretty relentless search / Cortana loop. Talking of Cortana, the Lumia 830 comes with the "Denim" (GDR1) update to Windows Phone 8.1, which brings Cortana to the UK, albeit in beta form. I've got to say, as someone who doesn't really get on with Siri or OK Google either, that I found Cortana to be a bit of a pain and something which I didn't make much use of. If the recent TV adverts are to be believed, then it could be a useful feature, but then again, we've heard that before... I think in realistic terms its one of those features you'll either love or hate - there's nothing wrong with it per-say (barring a couple of "random" results), but I doubt it's going to set your world alight. Of way more use is the camera on the Lumia 830 - being a mid-range handset it's not one of Nokia's 40odd MPix efforts, but rather a 10MPix shooter which incorporates a new OIS (optical image stabilisation) platform. There's various blog posts about some new software which allows for 2 photos to be taken about 43ms apart, then post-processed together to give a sort of HDR effect; alas I couldn't actually find the software on the phone, so what you get is essentially just that 10MPix lens. Camera results are pretty reasonable, but not exceptional. In general light and shooting a mid-distance subject the levels of detail reproduced were entirely acceptable, but the camera does suffer in low lgiht conditions, both with and without the single LED flash. Noise levels in these situtions were worse than expected, but again certainly not the worst I've seen! Almost suprisingly, video recording is pretty decent; mainly due to the Nokia deviced multi-microphone rich audio recording system, which produces absolutely stunning audio quality. As a phone (calls, texts etc.) the Lumia 830 is as reliable as you'd expect from a Nokia handset - audio quality in calls is excellent, signal strength is good, and basically there's no surprises. It all works nicely! I'm not going to go into a full review of Windows Phone 8.1 here as we've covered that before and there's countless reviews and hands-on available on the net; suffice to say it's now a properly usable platform; while it may have a somewhat more limited application pool than Android or iOS, there's now enough options available in the Windows Store to mean you're not loosing out by using Windows Phone. I actually found it a joy to use and at no point did I find myself wishing "if only it could do this". Being a Microsoft OS, it goes without saying that integration with Microsoft's other services is exemplary; one of the potential killer features now being that Microsoft are to begin offering truly unlimited storage on OneDrive. That alone makes this a very had device to ignore! Charging wise, the Lumia 830 supports wireless charging, as is becoming the norm these days. There's not much to say about this, but actually you should take that as a great compliment to the phone - it "just works", brilliantly. The Lumia 830 charges in slightly less time (about 50 minutes) than my LG G3, making it pretty quick; and best of all, that battery lasts forever! I'm going to say this again, as it's easily my favourite feature of the phone - the battery lasts forever! After a full charge, and doing exactly the same set of tasks as my Samsung Galaxy S4, the Lumia 830 outlasted the S4 by over 4 days! If left turned on and receiving push email alone, the Lumia 830 can quite happily last well over a week between charges - this makes it an absolute god-send of a secondary "work" phone, which is how I found myself using it most of the time. But in summary, I have to ask the two questions of would I buy this phone for myself, and would I recommend it to others? - well, to answer in reverse order: I already have recommended the Lumia 830 to a couple of friends who want a "cheepish but well specc'd smartphone" - if you're not after an absolute top of the range device, then the 830 is perfectly capable. It's relative slowness of platform doesn't translate into a slow, or clunky handset in use. It's brilliant in what it does. And lastly - I wouldn't buy the Lumia 830 as my main handset, mainly because of the screen size versus chassis size ratio mentioned above; but as a secondary phone, as a "work" phone, yes, I'd quite happily buy the Lumia 830. I think that's praise indeed! Click here to view the news
  18. Stuclark

    Lumia 830 review

    I'm coming to this phone from having used various flavours of Android for years as my mobile OS of choice, and having more recently been using Windows 8.1 as my desktop & tablet OS of choice. I want to like Windows Phone, but I remember the mediocre reviews and limitations it had when Windows Phone 7 (re)launched a few years ago. But to the Lumia 830 itself: Firstly its physically quite a big handset for a 5.0 inch screen, easily outsizing a Samsung Galaxy S4 and being almost identical in size to the LG G3 (which boasts a 5.5 inch screen). One of the reasons for this is the excessive top and bottom bezels around the screen, plus Windows Phone's use of "fixed" touch buttons for navigation. The handset itself is actually more rectangular than it looks, with the metalic corners of the chassis being quite a pronounced rectangle, whereas the screen corners are far more rounded. While this produces quite a nice design statement, it doesn't necessarily make the phone the most comfortable to hold. Being a mid range handset means that the phone sports a relatively old "platform" - the processor is a 1.2GHz. Snapdragon 400 with 1GB RAM and 16GB onboard storage. The phone also supports up to 128GB MicroSD cards and has a thankfully removable 22mAh battery. The phone's screen is a slightly mediocre 720 x 1280 (720p) resolution, which is quite a way below the qHD and 4xHD screens we're seeing on flagship devices now, but due to the clever design of the Windows Phone UI, along with the strict design parameters that Microsoft have implemented, the lack of resolution is not a major problem; indeed most of the time you don't even notice it! (the screen is a RGB matrix IPS panel, which means it has more sub-pixels than a similar Pentile panel, greatly helping the look of the display) What does get noticed, quite a lot on my review handset, is the relative weakness of the phone and its chassis in particular. With the recent "bendgate" furore surrounding the iPhone 6, inherent phone strength is quite a big deal at the moment, and unfortunately I have to report that the Lumia 830 doesn't do very well here at all. OK, so it doesn't have a tendancy to bend in half like the iPhone does, but it is very susceptible to the chassis being twisted along its length. This then causes issues with the touch layer of the screen either not working, or as I've seen a lot, producing constant key presses on the search key, putting the phone into a pretty relentless search / Cortana loop. Talking of Cortana, the Lumia 830 comes with the "Denim" (GDR1) update to Windows Phone 8.1, which brings Cortana to the UK, albeit in beta form. I've got to say, as someone who doesn't really get on with Siri or OK Google either, that I found Cortana to be a bit of a pain and something which I didn't make much use of. If the recent TV adverts are to be believed, then it could be a useful feature, but then again, we've heard that before... I think in realistic terms its one of those features you'll either love or hate - there's nothing wrong with it per-say (barring a couple of "random" results), but I doubt it's going to set your world alight. Of way more use is the camera on the Lumia 830 - being a mid-range handset it's not one of Nokia's 40odd MPix efforts, but rather a 10MPix shooter which incorporates a new OIS (optical image stabilisation) platform. There's various blog posts about some new software which allows for 2 photos to be taken about 43ms apart, then post-processed together to give a sort of HDR effect; alas I couldn't actually find the software on the phone, so what you get is essentially just that 10MPix lens. Camera results are pretty reasonable, but not exceptional. In general light and shooting a mid-distance subject the levels of detail reproduced were entirely acceptable, but the camera does suffer in low lgiht conditions, both with and without the single LED flash. Noise levels in these situtions were worse than expected, but again certainly not the worst I've seen! Almost suprisingly, video recording is pretty decent; mainly due to the Nokia deviced multi-microphone rich audio recording system, which produces absolutely stunning audio quality. As a phone (calls, texts etc.) the Lumia 830 is as reliable as you'd expect from a Nokia handset - audio quality in calls is excellent, signal strength is good, and basically there's no surprises. It all works nicely! I'm not going to go into a full review of Windows Phone 8.1 here as we've covered that before and there's countless reviews and hands-on available on the net; suffice to say it's now a properly usable platform; while it may have a somewhat more limited application pool than Android or iOS, there's now enough options available in the Windows Store to mean you're not loosing out by using Windows Phone. I actually found it a joy to use and at no point did I find myself wishing "if only it could do this". Being a Microsoft OS, it goes without saying that integration with Microsoft's other services is exemplary; one of the potential killer features now being that Microsoft are to begin offering truly unlimited storage on OneDrive. That alone makes this a very had device to ignore! Charging wise, the Lumia 830 supports wireless charging, as is becoming the norm these days. There's not much to say about this, but actually you should take that as a great compliment to the phone - it "just works", brilliantly. The Lumia 830 charges in slightly less time (about 50 minutes) than my LG G3, making it pretty quick; and best of all, that battery lasts forever! I'm going to say this again, as it's easily my favourite feature of the phone - the battery lasts forever! After a full charge, and doing exactly the same set of tasks as my Samsung Galaxy S4, the Lumia 830 outlasted the S4 by over 4 days! If left turned on and receiving push email alone, the Lumia 830 can quite happily last well over a week between charges - this makes it an absolute god-send of a secondary "work" phone, which is how I found myself using it most of the time. But in summary, I have to ask the two questions of would I buy this phone for myself, and would I recommend it to others? - well, to answer in reverse order: I already have recommended the Lumia 830 to a couple of friends who want a "cheepish but well specc'd smartphone" - if you're not after an absolute top of the range device, then the 830 is perfectly capable. It's relative slowness of platform doesn't translate into a slow, or clunky handset in use. It's brilliant in what it does. And lastly - I wouldn't buy the Lumia 830 as my main handset, mainly because of the screen size versus chassis size ratio mentioned above; but as a secondary phone, as a "work" phone, yes, I'd quite happily buy the Lumia 830. I think that's praise indeed!
  19. Forbes is reporting that Microsoft is expected to launch their own smartwatch within the next few weeks, and before the American holiday season. What makes the rumoured watch particularly exciting is that it is expected to work with Android and iOS, as well as Windows Phone. This would make it the first cross platform smartwatch from one of the major tech companies. It's also rumoured to have a heart rate monitor and two days battery life. Given the current problems with many smartwatches, some of which fail to last a whole day, and Apple's reluctance to give a battery life on it's Watch, this makes Microsoft's the one to (ehm) watch. Click here to view the news
  20. normal

    Microsoft Smartwatch Imminent

    What makes the rumoured watch particularly exciting is that it is expected to work with Android and iOS, as well as Windows Phone. This would make it the first cross platform smartwatch from one of the major tech companies. It's also rumoured to have a heart rate monitor and two days battery life. Given the current problems with many smartwatches, some of which fail to last a whole day, and Apple's reluctance to give a battery life on it's Watch, this makes Microsoft's the one to (ehm) watch.
  21. Microsoft took IFA as an opportunity to talk more about Windows Phone and it's newly acquired Lumia devices, and show off a couple of handsets. So what did they have to say?Sometimes it's hard to remember, that not only Microsoft make Windows Phone devices. HTC make one too, so they quickly talked about some universal Windows Phone 8.1 updates. These include UK now having Cortana, creation of folders, and interestingly the creation of a private VPN connection when connecting to wifi, for additional security when connecting to public wifi. They then focused purely on Lumia devices. Firstly, there's a new Denim update which will be rolled out through the range this year which mostly revolved around small improvements to the camera photos and also activating the camera. It also include voice activation for Cortana, so it becomes similar to Google's 'OK Google'. Microsoft want to create 'flagship' devices at a lower price point. With that in mind, they created the Lumia 830 (€330). It has a Snapdragon 400 quadcore processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage (expandable to 128GB), 5" 1280x720 display, 10MP Pureview rear camera, 0.9MP front camera. To be blunt, it's not flagship specs, and is firmly planted in the lower end of mid-range of Android handsets. It has to be noted that the audience needed to be prompted to give any applause. They then went on to talk about the Lumia 730 / 735. Whilst the 735 will be available for €219 and come with LTE, the 730 will be a dual sim version without LTE. Otherwise they are the same. Of key interest is the 5MP front camera with a 24mm lens. It gives a wider angle shot, as demonstrated in a rather bizarre attempt to recreate the Ellen selfie. Unfortunately, it wasn't a very fair comparison, and was a bit tedious... Spec wise, it comes with a 4.7" 1280x720 display, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage (expandable), Snapdragon 400 processor and a 2200mAh battery. That's not too bad for the price. Microsoft will also include 3 months unlimited Skype subscription and 15GB One Drive for the new Lumias. Not exactly generous. Click here to view the news
  22. Sometimes it's hard to remember, that not only Microsoft make Windows Phone devices. HTC make one too, so they quickly talked about some universal Windows Phone 8.1 updates. These include UK now having Cortana, creation of folders, and interestingly the creation of a private VPN connection when connecting to wifi, for additional security when connecting to public wifi. They then focused purely on Lumia devices. Firstly, there's a new Denim update which will be rolled out through the range this year which mostly revolved around small improvements to the camera photos and also activating the camera. It also include voice activation for Cortana, so it becomes similar to Google's 'OK Google'. Microsoft want to create 'flagship' devices at a lower price point. With that in mind, they created the Lumia 830 (€330). It has a Snapdragon 400 quadcore processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage (expandable to 128GB), 5" 1280x720 display, 10MP Pureview rear camera, 0.9MP front camera. To be blunt, it's not flagship specs, and is firmly planted in the lower end of mid-range of Android handsets. It has to be noted that the audience needed to be prompted to give any applause. They then went on to talk about the Lumia 730 / 735. Whilst the 735 will be available for €219 and come with LTE, the 730 will be a dual sim version without LTE. Otherwise they are the same. Of key interest is the 5MP front camera with a 24mm lens. It gives a wider angle shot, as demonstrated in a rather bizarre attempt to recreate the Ellen selfie. Unfortunately, it wasn't a very fair comparison, and was a bit tedious... Spec wise, it comes with a 4.7" 1280x720 display, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage (expandable), Snapdragon 400 processor and a 2200mAh battery. That's not too bad for the price. Microsoft will also include 3 months unlimited Skype subscription and 15GB One Drive for the new Lumias. Not exactly generous.
  23. Microsoft are continuing the charge in the budget smartphone market with the new Lumia 530. Due for release on 4th September through all the usual networks and high street chains for £60.The odd thing about this in many ways for myself is how the press release never mentions the 'N' word, so although it pops up on Nokia's mobile website, the press release only talks about Microsoft's Lumia 530. But I digress! I would imagine that these use the same fine plastics as in past generations. The phone receives a useful speed bump to a Snapdragon 200 processor (I bet you didn't know it was quad-core). It also has a 854x480 4" screen and a 5mp rear camera (no front camera). It also comes with 512mb RAM and 4GB of built in memory (supports up to 128GB micro SD cards). What is missing from this handset which was first launched in developing countries, is the dual sim function which would have made this mildly interesting for budget smartphone people. Naturally, people won't be using this for Microsoft's Skype (although it is included) or for Selfies, but then again, those people will probably be far more interested in what Microsoft has to say in two weeks from now...... Click here to view the news
  24. The odd thing about this in many ways for myself is how the press release never mentions the 'N' word, so although it pops up on Nokia's mobile website, the press release only talks about Microsoft's Lumia 530. But I digress! I would imagine that these use the same fine plastics as in past generations. The phone receives a useful speed bump to a Snapdragon 200 processor (I bet you didn't know it was quad-core). It also has a 854x480 4" screen and a 5mp rear camera (no front camera). It also comes with 512mb RAM and 4GB of built in memory (supports up to 128GB micro SD cards). What is missing from this handset which was first launched in developing countries, is the dual sim function which would have made this mildly interesting for budget smartphone people. Naturally, people won't be using this for Microsoft's Skype (although it is included) or for Selfies, but then again, those people will probably be far more interested in what Microsoft has to say in two weeks from now......
  25. First news is that Microsoft have announced that LG, Lenovo and ZTE will, amongst others, become partners in making new handsets. So not everyone is abandoning them because of their purchase of Nokia. Maybe Google's partnership with Samsung has something to do with it.... Windows Phone 8.1 should also be available to those currently running 8.0. Amongst the announcements, they include support for a wider range of chipsets, dual sim (for developing markets) and also storage of apps on memory cards.