March madness? Going mobile one month with Microsoft-only tech

Microsoft offers a complete mobile ecosystem with computers, phones, and wearables. With a new Surface Pro 4 and Lumia 950 XL in hand, Matthew Miller is going all in with Microsoft this month.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

I started using Microsoft's mobile phone operating system back in 2000 and was thrilled by the massive phone refresh in 2010 with the launch of Windows Phone 7. My enthusiasm faded last year after continued frustration with changing mobile strategies.

As we enter the month when men's college basketball teams fight for survival, I thought the name was appropriate for one final in-depth evaluation of Windows 10 Mobile. ZDNet readers are quite supportive of Microsoft's mobile products and while a few may call me mad, I think many of you will help me get through this month.

I am going to spend the month of March with the following Microsoft gear and make every attempt to keep my primary SIM out of other phones. Due to the nature of my reviewer role here at ZDNet, I will have to test out some other Android phones this month, but will keep my primary SIM and focus on just using a Windows 10 Mobile device. Here's the gear I'll be using:


There are three computers in my list above so let me explain how these fit into my daily routine. As a professional engineer, I have a Dell Latitude laptop that is issued by my company and used during regular office hours.

My primary home computer for about the last two years has been a Surface Pro 3. Microsoft just loaned me a Surface Pro 4 so I'll be using that as my home office computer and traveling companion in March. I purchased the Surface Type Cover with fingerprint sensor and a new Surface Dock as well. With the new Surface Dock, I plan to use my Type Cover on the desk with a Microsoft Arc Touch Bluetooth mouse.

I recently posted my Dell XPS 12 2-in-1 review. The Dell representative stated I could use the computer for another month to continue testing it out and compare it to the Surface Pro 4 so I'll be using it from time-to-time as well.


I bought and then reviewed the Lumia 950 XL back in December, but returned it after experiencing continued frustrations with the software. In order to go all-in with Microsoft, I just purchased another Lumia 950 XL.

Given that I wasn't that impressed with the hardware, I ordered a Mozo leather cover that should be delivered in the next couple weeks. Everything I read about these covers indicates the cover gives a more premium feel to the Lumia 950 XL. They are sold out everywhere so I hope the cover lives up to the hype.

There have been some software updates since I last tested out the Lumia 950 XL and yesterday I discovered that T-Mobile visual voicemail is supported through the Windows Insider program. I installed the latest version of Windows 10 Mobile through that program and have my phone all setup and ready to go.

Microsoft March madness mobile image gallery


Microsoft's Band 2 is a powerful wearable and there have been a couple of software updates since my purchase that make it even better. I plan to use it for daily activity tracking, sleep tracking, and GPS run tracking. I'm on a serious weight loss regime and hope that using one wearable device and platform for an extended period of time leads to success in weight loss and health improvement.

Gaming and entertainment

While I don't spend that many hours gaming at home, my daughters bought me a Xbox One for Christmas so I could play Star Wars Battlefront. With the Windows mobile devices, I can connect to the Xbox and enjoy a richer overall experience. I also plan to use the Xbox One as a hub for entertainment this month and see how that works with these mobile products.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions, tips, or tricks as I try to stick with Microsoft products in March. I may post an update in a couple weeks, but will definitely have a summary article after my month of Microsoft is over.

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