My three days with Windows Phone
Using Apple’s iPhone has been a joy for me for years. The iPhone 4 was amazing, the iPhone 4S drastically improved a great experience and Apple wasn’t lying when it said the iPhone 5 is the most amazing iPhone yet.
However, the grass continues to be painted greener on the Android and Windows Phone fronts. I recently had the opportunity to get my hands on a Nokia Lumia 920, my first non-iOS smartphone experience since the HTC Shadow in 2008. Needless to say, I was excited.
After three days of all-out use, it became extremely obvious that Windows Phone isn’t quite there yet for me. That’s the bottom line. With that out there, here are five takeaways from my three days.
The camera is legit. A cell phone’s camera is vital to me. I need it to work well. During my three days with the Windows Phone I took 75 photos. I take that back, I’m sure I took closer to 150, but deleted half of them on the spot, which is absolutely normal for me. Here’s an example with my cute little cousin Elsie.
I’d put it right up against my iPhone camera for the most part. The only thing that wasn’t as comparable to me was the ease of snapping the photos.
Windows Phone needs more apps. I wasn’t expecting to find all of my favorite apps from iOS, but I was expecting to find most of them. Some pretty basic apps weren’t there, and it was very disappointing. RunKeeper, iHeartRadio, basically anything Yahoo!, Wells Fargo, Snapchat were some of the ones I was surprised by. I didn’t expect everything, but these are basics to me. The list of my everyday-use apps that were MIA was too big.
The Lumia 920 is HUGE. I don’t see a need for a bigger screen than the one found on the iPhone 5, but I’m open to the idea that I could be wrong on that. What I know I’m not wrong on, the Lumia 920 is WAY bigger than it should be. How in the world did Engadget name this phone the best phone of the year? If I was going to use a Windows Phone, I’d definitely go with the Samsung or HTC options that are out there. Even with the lack of the Lumia-specific apps. None of the apps make it worth dealing with the sheer size of the 920.
The keyboard was the final straw. Maybe there’s a way to get a new keyboard, I’m not sure. I didn’t find a way. Maybe I just needed to give the phone more time. In three days time I still wasn’t used to the new keyboard. Not only was I not used to it, I consistently got more and more annoyed with the sheer size of it. When doing normal tasks it filled ~60 percent of the screen. When using Excel in landscape mode it filled ~80 percent. These are not exaggerations.
Live tiles have a lot of promise. My favorite part of the phone never got boring. It was the moment after I unlocked the screen and looked at my customized live tiles. The different sizes, the movement, the sharp boxes, the bright colors of them. It worked well for me. It was extremely easy to navigate. This setup of the OS is something that could catch. The color schemes were neat, the customization was promising, and I think Microsoft could be on to something special.
My time with the Windows Phone was short and sweet, but overall positive. There are several deal breakers that could easily be fixed 12 months from now. Hopefully it continues gaining traction.