Dissecting Windows 10 Mobile: Gapless playback on Groove Music (video)

Gapless playback, or the lack thereof, has been the bane of existence for Microsoft’s mobile music offerings since Windows Phone came about. Despite countless cries to add this incredibly basic feature and being at near the top of every single feedback wishlist, Microsoft has, in between its annual music service and app re-brandings, stubbornly refused to add this feature until just recently.

Finally, gapless playback came to Groove Music in Windows 10 Mobile a few months ago.

You’d be forgiven for not noticing this feature has been added, because other than a small banner that was briefly shown after the app update, no other notice of the feature’s implementation is seen in the app. The reason for this is simple: now, everything is gaplessly played back. There’s no way to turn it off. Not that you’d have any compelling reason to.

In my experience, the feature works pretty reliably. Occasionally, there will be slight micro stutters between tracks, which isn’t good, but it happens so infrequently it’s hard pin down whether I’m genuinely upset about it or not. What I am upset about, is what appears to be the feature’s rather crude implementation.

During the last 5 seconds or so of any given song, Groove Music suddenly enters the Bermuda triangle. Any attempt to control Groove Music’s tracking when the app is in this zone results in vomiting rainbows. It will immediately and forcefully change to the starting line on the next track while simultaneously stalling itself.

What happens next is anyone’s guess: it could be stuck there until I pause and replay, it could continue playing after hesitating for a few seconds, or, very often, it could just completely eviscerate all of my Lumia 950’s audio capabilities.

For people like me, who love rewinding songs to listen to certain parts, this can be quite annoying. But most people, who just hit the play button and pretend to do intense workouts at the gym, this will likely never encounter this problem.

I don’t really know how to feel about this situation. On one hand, I’m glad Microsoft’s getting its feedback game together and is checking off these long-requested features. On the other hand, is it really too much to ask Microsoft to get the most basic of basic features working without fuss?

Either way, gapless playback is here, and most of you will enjoy it without reservation.

This examination was done with OS build 10586.29 and firmware revision 01078.00027.15506.02004, which is currently shipping and updating with the Lumia 950. This Lumia 950 is not in the Insider program. 

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Have you been enjoying this long-awaited feature?