So I recently got my hands on a new Nokia 920 with Windows Phone 8 and got to use it as my primary phone for two weeks. Before this I was using an iPhone 4s that I have had for about a year. So here’s my review.
I like the phone. It feels solid, works well and just feels like a nice device. I did feel like it was too big to hold comfortably one handed though which is a common complaint of these phone with larger screens and the 4.5 inch display here is certainly large, especially compared to the 3.5 inch one on the iPhone 4s.
Things I liked – Hardware:
- The larger display made taking pictures easier as it was much easier to see what I was shooting.
- The volume controls give you a much wider range of choice which I found useful for finding a more comfortable volume when listening to different styles of music.
- Default 32 GB of space meant I didn’t have to worry as much about what to put on the phone or if I would run out of space while recording video.
- The camera button does have a hold down halfway to auto focus feature.
Things I liked – Software:
- The people app acts much more like a customized feed reader from common sources like Twitter and Facebook in addition to being the contacts app. This is actually a really great feature as I can effectively read Facebook without al the ads, fluff, and stupid posts that clutter my feed. The weird part here was that it took awhile to understand this feature and concept until I was actually playing with the phone.
- Live Tiles are surprisingly useful. That and coupled with the ability to change the size of the tiles really does make it feel more customized for me and what I wanted to see.
Now I admit I was surprised at some of the nice ideas and things that were different from my iPhone. However as the title suggests there were a few things I didn’t like as well.
Things I didn’t like – Hardware
- The placement of the buttons on the side. There was no way to hold this phone without feeling like I was going to accidentally hit the sleep/wake button or camera button.
- I had to adjust holding the phone constantly in order to use it with one hand. (Seriously I actually felt I was starting to develop pain in my hand because of this thing)
- Going back to my iPhone I really felt how heavy this thing truly is. (I can’t really say if this is good or bad but more just a very noticeable difference)
Things I didn’t like – Software
- Games seemed more expensive. Most of the major title games were all going for more then the seemingly common $0.99 that iOS apps are. And the selection of free games seemed very “Eh” at best.
- No built in free messaging. Granted I was able to download and install Skype and WhatsApp messenger but both are somewhat clunky and I didn’t realize how much I would miss iMessage and Google Voice.
- Speaking of Skype, if I logged into my phone with a MS account, you would think it would ask me to auto login with same Skype account. It didn’t.
- The few apps I used on a regular basis (GroupMe, Skype, WordPress, WhatsApp, GunBros) didn’t really work all that well. Occasional crashes and deleted data etc. really provide for a overfeeling of just being half baked.
- Lots of extra menus or gestures to being up info. Hey I like whitespace as much as the next person but with such a large screen I just found it annoying to have to go though extra taps or swipe. Especially the menu bar at the top. Just permanently leave it there for the love of all that is good in the world.
So overall that biggest impression I had was that while this is a nice phone and OS, I had no reason to switch whatsoever. I suppose if I had never used a smart phone before then maybe I might consider this phone along side an iPhone or Android device but as an upgrade it just made no sense. There were plenty of little annoyances and no feature or functions that would make me want to switch. I always thought that when it comes to competing in a market you have to do three things… 1. Do everything the competition does. 2. Only better. 3. And then some.
A few questionable design issues, and nothing I can’t already do on my iPhone, I felt no reason to switch.