Perhaps, like many of you, when news of the latest Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview build started hitting the news cycle, I was quick to hop on board. I grabbed the closest device near me, downloaded build 10080 and slapped it on my device. As the progress bar inched closer to complete, a wave of excitement was building. My screen went blank, then flashed a series of brand logos, and finally I was able to begin playing around in the new Windows 10 Mobile world.
Unfortunately, for me, much of the pleasant time I had with Windows 10 Mobile build 10080 ended after the download process. I quickly realized that Windows 10 Mobile isn’t ready for use, especially on a phablet, and that I was going to have to roll back my device soon.
Once the install was complete, it took nearly 2 minutes for a Start screen to appear after unlocking my phone. When it did finally appear, there was an odd amount of space to the left of the screen. This open area reminded me of the 'spacegate' that Windows Phone 7 went through when armchair designers thought the removal of the ‘more apps' arrow would net them more room for tiles. Beyond odd spacing, (which I later found out could fit another mid-size tile) the resolution was off on most of the art on my Live Tiles. The heavily touted customization of the Start screen became an unbearable nightmare for me. On a 6” device, background images auto cropped when you navigated to and from the Start screen, leaving odd black/white background space to the left of the picture. Adjusting the tile layout was a glitchy mess that more often than not, resulted in the Start screen crashing. I also experienced an odd bug that cropped up when attempting to switch the background image to the familiar Windows 8.1 on tile theme. Instead of seeing the usual parallax effect, I got the same image cropped and placed on each live tile.
The lock screen customizations on my Lumia 1520 was non existent. Any attempt to alter the lock screen resulted in a crash of the settings app. Typically, any form of customization in build 10080 on my Lumia seemed like a close-your-eyes-and-wish process. Sometimes things would work (and only for while), but usually they would just crash the app. This build also introduces a number of new apps. I had some fun playing around with the new Music, Video, OneDrive, Store (Beta), Windows Insider, Xbox, MSN, and Office apps.
If I had to sum up build 10080, it would be that the Windows Mobile team offered more without fixing what was broken. Particularly in the case of the Lumia 1520, resolution issues cause touch targets to appear unnecessarily small, or in other instances pixelated. Navigating throughout the OS has become a chore. Glitches, freezes, and crashes feel like they are occurring more than on previous builds. Perhaps, influenced by the sales of the low end Lumia devices, I'm noticing the performance and stability of this build working much better on devices with lower RAM, than on my 'mega-spec'd' 1520.
I had downloaded the previous build of Windows 10 for phones back in mid-March. At the time, I understood the that the build was pre-production software and was being released with its fair share of bugs and issues. Ignoring the caution signs, I put the build on my Lumia 1520 and played around with it for a couple of days. My mindset going in was to offer some feedback and perhaps use the build on a secondary device for journalist purposes, and that’s exactly what I did. After a couple of days, I rolled my daily driver (the 1520) back to 8.1 and kicked the build on to a Lumia 635. The experience was as expected, night and day, but not in promising ways.
This time around, the experience for me was even less exciting than before. After only 12 hours with the build, I offered as much feedback as I could and rolled my device back once again to Windows Phone 8.1.
Here’s hoping to the next build.