Setting up Windows 10 Mobile preview build 10549 on my Lumia 720

I thought that I would get some sleep this week, but I decided to upgrade my Lumia 720 to Windows 10 Mobile preview build 10549; and this required downgrading to Windows 8.1 first… what a time consuming process!

There is no rest for the wicked, as they say… it’s going to be a long night tonight. 🙂

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Upgrading my Lumia 720 to the latest WP10 Technical Preview build

Well, I got fed up with the situation and I decided to take the big step; I downgraded to Windows Phone 8.1 in order to see if I could install the latest TP build of WP10 (10.0.10536.1004). It was a longer process than I expected…only the process of restoring Windows 8.1 took me more than 1 hour! These are the steps I followed:

  1. Use the Microsoft tool for restoring Windows 8.1
  2. Go through the setup of Windows 8.1 before I can install the Insider app
  3. I had to install Cyan & Denim updates, restarting several times
  4. Cancel all time-consuming pending updates in the Store and install the Windows Insider app.
  5. Go through the installation of Windows 10 as an upgrade
  6. Hard reset and go through a clean installation of Windows 10
  7. Setup everything from scratch (apps, settings, accounts etc.)

I was working on other things in parallel so the whole process took me more than 4-5 hours in total. Was it worth it? YES!

My Lumia 720 is much more responsive with Windows Phone 10 now and I see less bugs. I still can’t tell about the battery consumption but the performance is greatly improved! I just hope that the upcoming builds will also be on the responsive side…

Issues upgrading to the latest Windows Phone 10 build (Build 10536)

I have joined the Insiders’ Program. While the updates are found and downloaded properly, I keep receiving an 0x800705b4 issue as soon as the installation reaches 6%. The issue seems to be pretty common but no solution is proposed and I have been trying for the last days (more than 20 times, including hard-resetting the phone), apart from downgrading to WP 8.1 and then installing the updates.

I will try that if I find the time; I don’t even know if it worths the time but my hands itches me whenever there is an update…

Lumia 735 – First impressions

I had my Lumia 720 for 1,5 year and I replaced it with a Lumia 735 about one month ago as I got some extra cash to spend. I am still using my 720 for testing purposes, having installed Windows Phone 10 and my frequently used apps. My first impressions from 735 so far, compared to my long experience with 720, are the following:

Screen: Lumia 735 has slightly larger screen and higher resolution. Both are more than welcome and nice improvements over 720.

Battery life: I still have the impression that Lumia 720 does better in terms of battery life, even though tests and specs are against that. Maybe it is the specific unit or my type of usage, but I believe that 735 drains battery faster using the same settings e.g. for brightness, battery saving and apps allowed to run in the background.

Camera: Mixed feelings here; Main camera has the same sensor and lens and the images produced may be a little sharper and with ore vibrant colors. In addition, front camera is a big improvement at 5MP. However, the lack of a physical button for the camera is a main issue, at least to me; it is really hard to take a selfie trying to reach and press the software button and even for normal photos, it is always easier when having a dedicated hardware shutter button.

Lumia 735_green

Other features: Both phones support NFC out of the box; Lumia 735 also supports wireless charging (charging pad should be purchased individually) as well as 4G (compared to the 4G of 720); both are nice improvements. 735 does not boast a unibody design, which means that It supports interchangeable covers and user replaceable batteries. So far I have not noticed any cranking noises, which was really nice.

Overall usage: Both mobile phones are really snappy in terms of everyday use. What I like in 735 is the fact that it features the hidden menu bar which bears the typical Windows Phone buttons (Back, Home and Find) – this allows for a little bit more usable space for typical usage and it just comes up by sliding from the bottom to the center of the screen. It took me some time to get used to it but now I love it! I also like the organization of the settings in groups; both improvements must be due to different software versions between 735 and 720. Another nice improvement are the hardware buttons which feel more responsive compared to the ones of 720.

Conclusions: I like my brand new phone, its larger screen with higher resolution, its bright-green colour and new software features. At the same time, I am still really annoyed by the lack of a physical button for the camera as it seems a major usability issue to me – but maybe this will make me use my Olympus E-PM1 mirrorless camera a little bit more!

My Lumia 720: successfully repaired!

To make a long story short: about 10 days before the Orthodox Easter, I started noticing a hissing sound / white noise during calls when using my Lumia 720; people could hardly hear me and I had issues hearing them, too. I tried to be patient and suspecting that it might be due to humidity inside the phone (which would be strange, but still a possible cause of the issue) so I used a hair dryer to make sure that it was dry inside (the 720 does not have a detachable back/cover) but it made no difference at all.

Right after Easter break (on Tuesday 14/4/2015, to be precise) I decided to send it for a check to the authorized service center (Nokia Care @ Alexandras Av.) in Athens. The phone was still covered by a warranty (purchased back in February 2014) and I was informed that I wouldn’t have to pay for the inspection nor for the repair in case it was a hardware issue (and not misuse; e.g. due to a fall or moisture); at the same time I was also informed that most of such cases were assigned to “moisture issues”, a fact that invalidated the warranty and resulted to a cost for the repair. Since I had paid 170 euros for my Lumia 720 and it was already more than 1 year old, I was not willing to pay for its repair; instead I could keep it as a camera/internet “box” and get myself another middle-range Lumia. They told me that it would take them a couple of days to check it and see if they could repair in in-store; otherwise, it would have to be serviced by the central Nokia Service in Athens (Arvato). They told me to call in the next couple of days to see how it goes.

Indeed, after a couple of days, I was informed that my phone could not be repaired in the store and had to go to the central service – there seemed to be a hardware issue. That process would take about two weeks (minimum) during which I would not have a decent phone (as my only backup phones were an old HTC Touch HD (Blackstone) and a malfunctioning LG Optimus 7) but it was my only choice.

I really hard a hard time during these two weeks (see next post) but in the end I received my phone repaired after exactly two weeks – the issue was its microphone. The best thing? The repair was indeed covered by the warranty (no excuses about moisture) so I did not pay a single cent!

So big thanks to both the Nokia Care Store at Alexandras Av. (Bikaki Maria) & the service team of Arvato (Athens) for treating my case with respect and honoring the warranty!

Living with the Nokia Lumia 720 – update to 8.1 & Cyan

I got my Lumia 720 back in February 2014, after a long time searching for the perfect budget phone; it had to be a Windows Phone (I was really pleased with my previous LG Optimus 7 / E900), with a large (but not huge) screen and feature a nice camera with a flash, FM radio, long battery life. In the list of Lumia models, 720 was the one meeting all these requirements and still it costed less than 200 euros. With its 4,3-inch screen, 6,7MP camera with LED flash and Zeiss lens, FM radio, 1GHz dual-core CPU and almost two days of battery life it is the perfect phone.

Since February the phone has served me pretty well and has been through a lot (including heavy internet usage and a drop to a cement wall, which just caused a slight scar at one of its rounded corners). I recently also updated the original OS (Windows Phone 8) to Windows Phone 8.1 and the Lumia Cyan firmware; I have to admit that I was really looking forward to checking the new version of the OS, which provided a few but substantial improvements.

The point is that the phone became laggy and not as responsive as it used to be…I rebooted a couple of times, also tried to soft-reset but still the issue remained; not only when scrolling through menus, but also when opening apps and typing, among others. My last resort would be a hard reset. In fact I did two of them! First I checked how I could back up my phones settings; it seems that Windows Phone did pretty well with that, as not only my settings were backed up, but also my SMS, my home screen tiles even the apps I had installed before the hard reset!

The I did a hard reset through the available menu option (Reset to Factory Defaults) and after it finished, I used the method with the physical keys’ combination. After that, I let the phone boot and started setting up everything again; my comments are the following:

  • As soon as the phone booted into Windows, I was asked to enter my PIN; this resulted in the phone automatically connecting to the internet using 3G – I do not have a data plan and this incurred a not-necessary cost… Next time I will have to remember to skip entering my PIN when prompted and only do so after I have finished setting up my settings;
  • I was prompted to restore my latest backup; this led to restoring my home screen tiles, my settings, my SMS, my installed apps etc. I had to verify my credentials (by receiving a code in the alternative email address that I had provided) and to manually enter the password for each email account I had set up;
  • Most of the settings were already correct (as I had set them up) but some of them not, such as the use of mobile data for connecting to internet, the regional settings (e.g. the time & date format), default location for storing new apps, photos and videos, NFC was left to on etc.
  • All apps were automatically installed but not their settings; I had to manually enter my credentials to all of them, check their settings and take some time to bring them back to my favorite ones. This was really time-consuming but I was informed that this is due to restrictions of the OS.
  • Drive+ and Maps were not automatically installed along with the rest of the apps; I saw that the tiles in the home screen had an exclamation mark on them, informing me that the apps were missing (while for the rest of the apps, the tiles were grayed-out before they were installed). I had to manually install them, which was not a big deal but rather strange.

The point is that it took me quite a lot of time to complete the process of hard reset and set up everything again but it seems that the phone is a little bit more responsive now. If I was aware of this fact, I would have gone through the process much earlier. Apart from that, I am still really pleased with my Lumia 720 and I do not plan to exchange it for any other model before it actually “dies” in my hands (more or less like the LG Optimus 7).