ZOMG A BLOG POST. What is this? 2003?
Anyways, after four years of living comfortably in Steve Jobs iOS bosom, I’ve spent a week navigating the uncharted seas of Windows phone 8 on the Lumia 920 and thought it warranted a write up.
The first thing you notice about this phone upon picking it up is that it’s a tank. It’s longer, thicker and heavier than my last phone [iPhone 4] and is practically a tablet when compared to the iPhone5. The extra heft does prevent it from feeling cheap however and after a few days you hardly notice.
One minor annoyance is that the volume, power and dedicated camera button are all down one side, which means you have to slide you finger along to find the right button when you’re groping the phone inside your pocket/handbag.
The micro USB charge port is something I didn’t think I’d enjoy so much. Now I can use the same cable to charge my Kindle and my phone, and every time I plug it in I feel like I’m giving Apple the middle-finger salute.
Battery life is pretty brutal. I’ve so far had to charge every day. although this will be less painful when the sexy wireless charge mats are made available.
After living with Windows Phone 8 for a week I can’t imagine going back to the Fisher-Price simplicity of iOS. The customisable homescreen alone makes WP8 the superior choice for those who use their phone for non-phone related activities most of the time. To the right you can see the top 3/4 of my homescreen.
When you start up the phone for the first time it asked for your MSN/Google/Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin account details and before you know it, all your contacts are consolidated in one place. Awesome. You can even choose to filter certain accounts [like Twitter] to keep Lady Gaga from showing up in your contacts.
Whereas iOS feels like it has had bits strapped on since it’s launch, WP8 feels like it has been designed from scratch for modern times. One of the best examples of this is the date picker:
On the left is iOS, WP8 is on the right. Now, pretty much anyone could look at the iOS version and figure it out. The Windows version on the other hand assumes that you know that you’re holding a touch-screen device and only reveals the other dates/months when you swipe. It doesn’t even indicate that the dates are swipeable!
It may be that I find this so refreshing because I spend my days putting ugly arrows on my designs to serve small pockets of idiot users but there’s a certain joy in having an interface not talk down you like you were born before WWII. It feels like digital has finally matured to the point where you don’t need to have your hand held.
Setting foot in a new mobile OS, I expected to take a hit in the app department but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. All my most frequently used apps are available and most of them work better than their iOS counterparts. Many of the best ones follow the WP8 design guidelines with simple, spartan interfaces backed up by powerful options that are hidden away.
Plugging it into my Windows 8 PC, an app installed automatically allowing me to sync items to the phone. It’s pretty basic for now but hopefully it will become more useful over time. Top on my wishlist for features is the ability to transfer playlists from iTunes [I know you can supposedly do this from the desktop app but it doesn't work for me].
The phone automatically syncs everything with your Xbox and PC as you’d like it to, which is nice, although I can’t help but wish it would sync wirelessly [not that wireless syncing for iOS ever worked for me].
Xbox music is awesome if you’re a radio sort of person but their library is too restrictive for my tastes.
The camera is ok I guess. I think with all the hype my expectations were a bit high. It does it’s job but photos tend to be blurry at the edges. Being able to use different lenses is a nice and well implemented gimmick.
Buy this phone if
- You are bored with iOS
- Use your phone a lot
- Use your phone’s camera a lot
- Are reasonably tech savvy
Don’t buy this phone if
- You have small hands
- You always wear tight pants and don’t carry a handbag
- This is your first smartphone
- You can’t live without Instagrammed photos of your friends meals
- You just want a phone with Facebook