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Nokia Lumia 950 - Hello and Contiuum

Sunday, September 11, 2016 in Technical Articles (Views: 1661)
Microsoft a while back released the Lumia 950, their flagship phone which includes 2 very promising feautures, facial recognition and Continuum. Now that it's been a while, let's see how these items stack up.

Scorecard on Windows Hello
Facial Recognition, also known as Windows Hello, was a highly touted Windows feature in 10. And, they also brought it to mobile. For Windows 10 on a tablet such as the Surface, it works exceptionally well, almost scary well. It's detected me with or without glasses and even while taking a drink.

On Windows 10 mobile, it's a bit different. Windows Hello is still to this day in beta, and is a little fuzzy on its results. I have to say that the bar was set so high from my tablet, the phone had to disappoint. So, the results were hit and miss, but overall decent for a first time.

For those of you not aware, Windows Hello doesn't just work with any cheap camera. It is about 3D modeling, so you can't just hold up a picture and expect it to authenticate you. For the price point, the hardware is worth it, jury is out on Windows Hello however. It was able to find me in the dark, not in decent lighting. I also had to exaggerate opening my eyes, whereas the desktop one I did not. My original recognition was done in decent lighting conditions. Often, I had to take glasses off.

I see this feature having a lot of promise, but for now, is a toy rather than a tool.

Scorecard on Contiuum
So, this has been tried before by Android, the device that would be able to fully convert from a phone to a desktop. It must not have gone over well, as it disappeared off the market. Microsoft has answered this years later with Continuum, which really had the attention of many as a serious "phone meets PC" market.

What's good about Continuum:
* It installs pretty much one touch. You are presented arrows on the desktop monitor and if it fits, click a button on the phone, and you're set
* Keyboard and mouse (some shortcuts we know and love missing) work quite well
* The lag you would expect isn't there

Now the product has been out a while, I purchased it, and with the most recent updates, Continuum is barely a toy to me, as it lacks a lot of critical features which can be solved by software:
* Most applications, including Continuum, are not supported on the desktop monitor. Yes, you can forget games. About all I saw compatible with it were the accessories like Calculator and Settings, and of course main apps like Edge, Word, and Outlook. Sure, this is the main piece of why Continuum exists is for business, but should be able to run any app.
* Apps are full screen, and don't snap, even like Windows 8 did. Let's keep in mind that the 950 is a Windows 10 phone, and not an upgrade like the 1520, which came with 8.
* Many keyboard and mouse shortcut options are missing. One example is going into Edge and right clicking a link: nothing happens. You can, if you remember old school, click the middle button (for some it's a wheel) to open a page in a new tab/window.
* The phone screen stays on. This is annoying as I simply want to just use the phone as a desktop, and don't want a dual display with a small screen. Of course, many apps can only open in this small screen as Microsoft can't or won't figure out how to make this work in Continuum.

I have to say this was a serious let down. If I didn't wind up paying $40 for this dock, I would have returned it. It's good for email, charging the phone, and a 3 port hub and projecting my screen. Outside of that, it's an epic fail until it actually truly emulates the phone to a desktop monitor.

The phone itself is solid and I do enjoy it. The Windows interface has always been the cleanest, most efficient, and easiest to use overall of the phones I've seen.

Until next time...


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