Been planning to do a review on Windows phone, but wanted to use it for a bit first. I suppose have to say hats off to Nokia, which feels very odd for me. Way back in the day, my very first cellphone was a Nokia. And it was terrible, had to be outside to get any reception and not exactly top of the line. So imagine my surprise …
The Windows phone, Nokia 925, is a beautiful piece of construction. And only difficulty is deciding what to credit, the hardware or the software. It has what they call “gorilla glass 2” – and since I have not used any android phone with that feature, makes the comparison difficult or at the least one-sided. The response of the Windows phone is amazing…even though my Android phone also had the snapdragon CPU. So I am tending towards crediting the touch interface and better construction.
There are two things I miss: Hangouts messaging service, and the official WordPress app. In researching on the Internet, it looks like at one time WordPress had an app designed for Windows 8, and then pulled it. But as to why or if they will release another version at some time — I don’t know. Of course there are a few games that I miss, but games are games and there are plenty to choose from on the Windows phone, especially with their Xbox platform and affiliation with EA game manufacturers.
The biggest problem I ever had with Android is how it is designed to leave every app running. In early stages of the OS, there were task killer apps that would shut off extraneous processes in the attempt to get some performance back for the device. But with later versions of Android, task killer apps were left unoperational — instead, the OS itself gives an option to keep a program or app, or disable it altogether. No in between. Now this becomes a security issue, with dicey legalities due to the required permissions for the installation of most apps.
Even with periodically going through and turning off the Android processes one at a time, was always bit of a fight to keep any sort of consistency in the realm of device performance.
Not so with the Nokia Lumia 925 … the Lumia consistently works and works fast. Windows email set at push, and there is no added battery drain. In that if you leave the phone sitting, it looses very little charge. From what I can tell, when exit an app to go back to the main screen, that app is turned off. If it is not one that is turned off, the app will be listed in the settings under application background tasks. From there gives an option to block the process–in which case the app stays blocked, no need to go back time and again to shut it down.
They say we make our own hells, and perhaps I did that with Android. Thing is I search for the best and optimal way to run any system, and try as I might the best I could ever pull off with Android was “good enough.” You do have to balance that with freedom in a system like Android. It is extremely pliable and the savvy user can root an Android system to gain even more control.
Which of course, that level of “tweaking” is not present within the Windows 8 system. The functions are set and user modifications are on the minimal side. Generally, I look at this approach as ‘computing for dummies’ … and why I have little respect for anybody that has to have an Apple computer to work a computer at all. However, Windows Phone has struck very close to a balance between those two extremes.
So anyway — rather than blathering on, I am thinking a list of pluses and minuses would be something to work on here.
- automatic pocket detection that shows the time
- touch surface collects very few fingerprints
- response level of touchscreen can be optimized to user preference
- text input for placing contact information on lock screen
- touch and hold Windows key for voice activation
- with bluetooth attached, voice service reads text
- uniformity within all app user interfaces
- scrolling very smooth and responsive
- so far no screen-freeze or need to reboot
- consistently fast battery charge, in 1 hr from 30% to 100%
- immediate detection when plugged into Windows 8 home desktop
- uploads photos automatically to Windows cloud
- has feature to silence/mute if placed face down on any surface (default)
- good bluetooth signal with little interruption
- no need to enter pin each time to retrieve voicemail, voicemail entries listed by name
- accurate listing of incoming and outgoing calls
- after exploring and optimizing battery expenditure, entire day normal use (internet, photos, phone calls, text, no games) left phone at 70% charge
- Windows interface keeps nice big lettering for headings
- dedicated camera button not only brings up app but can be used to snap picture
- phone is secure, this is a judgment call — but fair one based upon little to no change with installation of more questionable apps
- next-word text prediction very good, might even start using it
- tap-sound for keyboard subtle, pleasant
- volume level for music and media via bluetooth more than adequate, no need to tweak calibration
- software is fast and responsive, integrating seamlessly — have noted little to no “buggy” reaction
- are able to uninstall unneeded apps added by manufacturer and phone company, those outside basic Windows OS
- ringtones are too pretty, I need something annoying to get my attention — added own ringtone
- search engine for app store antiquated, too specific — used Bing to research names for apps
- Lumia 925 metal housing slippery — protective case a must-have
- high battery draw for games — however, doodlejump remains low-usage
- no transfer of app-ownership from desktop to phone — paid second time for apps owned on desktop version Windows 8 (if had known, would not have bought so many games for the desktop 8)
- no separate volume for media/ringer — remember to keep volume up high enough to hear calls
- found one bug, turning off “vibrate on touch” also turned it off for phone calls while still showing vibrate as on
- never did like color interface limitations imposed by Windows 8
- roadblock with Linux compatibility, unable to transfer files within phone system using Ubuntu
- account integration defaults. for example, all facebook birthdays end up on the Windows 8 calendar. deleting email from phone does not delete entries from email account (so why have delete option?). facebook and google+ events are suddenly all over the place, when if you are like me these are promotional and almost never personal events. to be fair, it is the excellent alert system on Windows 8 phone, that make unwanted entries more irksome.
- and…. i’m searching my brain for more but nothing is coming to me for the moment
In conclusion, and going over my own lists — it is really the hardware on the Windows Nokia Lumia 925 that make it stand out as the better, and obviously better, smartphone. But I don’t think it would give the same impression without Windows 8 software and UI. The Windows Lumia is fast and snappy and simply a very nice change from my adventure with low-end Androids. And I say “low-end” because am one to hunt for the bargain, so those I have used are not necessarily expensive models. However, have spoken with others who owned more expensive Androids such as Samsung, with same or similar complaints.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of the Android system, although am less than fond of Google. Google covers its ass too thoroughly to be considered a very trustworthy company. Just my take but I would take it to the bank. And I give a thumbs up for the Windows phone. Had my doubts, and why I waited this long to take the Lumia for a spin. Wish I had gotten it sooner.