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Culture, Life, Technology

New Phone, New OS, No iPhone No More

A couple of months ago I made a life changing decision, the kind of thing that will change the entire trajectory of your life.

Ok, not really. Only today could we call it that (even as a joke). I switched from having an iPhone to having a Windows Phone, specifically a Nokia Lumia 1520. It wasn’t an easy choice. I had investment in the iOS ecosystem. I had purchased Apps, Books, even a couple of songs. All of that would be gone with a new phone OS.  I’ll admit, I was hesitant to do it.  That’s a big step, especially since my wife and older son both have iPhones.  There is that connection that won’t be there anymore.

So why did I switch? Well here are a few of my reasons for trying it.

  1. As I’ve gotten older the idea of a larger screen on my phone has become appealing. And, Windows Phone comes in flavors as large as 6” (the one I got was that size).   And it wasn’t just larger, it made use of the larger size by allowing for more columns on the screen (not just larger columns).
  2. Better Camera. Some Windows Phones have cameras as high as 41 megapixel. That’s huge. Even with the 20 MP on the Lumia 1520 the pictures are much better than on the iPhone 5 (see below for images).
  3. No longer tied to the basic grid format on the screen. iPhones and Android are limited to a simple grid, not so on WP. You can change the size of icons (they call them Live Tiles, more on that next) so that the layout is more dynamic and fit to what you want to see on your home screen.
  4. Live Tiles are great. If you want to know what the temp is outside while you’re at the office on your iPhone (or perhaps what the weather will look like tomorrow) you have to open the weather app. WP allows that information to be right on your home screen. You got an email? Just look at your phone and it will tell you who sent the email and what it’s about. Live Tiles are easily one of the great things about WP. It’s almost heaven for a guy who’s slightly ADD. Just look at your phone, it’s always changing; you don’t even have to do anything.

I do wish the app store was more mature. Some apps that you’d expect (yes I’m talking about you Barnes and Noble, where’s the NOOK app for WP?) aren’t there. Honestly though, I haven’t found any I can’t do without. There are some nice surprises as well. There were times when I skipped an email and didn’t read it. Then it gets buried in my emails but that annoying little red 1 won’t go away. So I’d have to search for it through my email. With WP you just swipe to the side and there are all your unread emails. I also like that each email address has its own tile and, potentially, notification sound. My Hotmail gets an email, that’s one sound, rocketmail, that’s another. That’s tremendous. I know which email account got an email just by the sound my phone makes. That’s huge (at least for me).

I’m glad I switched. No regrets at this point, even now that the new larger iPhones are out. Not that there aren’t some great improvements (surprised the camera is still 8 MP) but there was nothing to make me regret the choice.

So if you’re considering the switch I’d say go for it.

As far as the Nokia Lumia 1520, I honestly can’t say anything bad about it. The first week I had it I was walking across the parking lot at work reading a text message from a co-worker and realized I was reading my phone in full sunlight without a problem. I’ve never done that before. I’m not sure how they did that but it was awesome. And the battery life is phenomenal. In the past I’ve always kept a charging cable at work, not because I’ve ever had a battery die, but I don’t want to start. However after using my phone (as usual) I’m rarely under 90% at 6 PM and never under 85%. Design wise it’s very clean and not as heavy as I expected. And even though it’s a plastic phone (rather than the metal iPhone I’m used to) it feels very solid in my hand. All in all a very good phone.

Our day at the beach (click for full resolution)

Our day at the beach (click for full resolution)

Some Seagulls using the digital zoom (click for full resolution)

Some Seagulls using the digital zoom (click for full resolution)

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “New Phone, New OS, No iPhone No More

  1. I’ve been using iOS for a long time and in needs of new phone have decided to switch to WP. I picked dual-sim Lumia 630 and I’m too quite happy with my decision. My primary reason for switching was that I could not justify spending $800 for a newly released gadget and I needed a phone supporting two numbers so I could stop carrying 2 phones around. in general,I’m loving the WP experience, however, compared to iOS, the WP platpborm

    Posted by sergei.emelianov | September 24, 2014, 7:43 pm
  2. I’ve been using iOS for a long time and in needs of new phone have decided to switch to WP. I picked dual-sim Lumia 630 and I’m too quite happy with my decision. My primary reason for switching was that I could not justify spending $800 for a newly released gadget and I needed a phone supporting two numbers so I could stop carrying 2 phones around. in general,I’m loving the WP experience, however, compared to iOS, the WP platform still has few glitches which make the experience a bit negative. Obviously, native Office support is great and it makes pleasure working with documents on the phone. There are two things that I can’t tolerate however – lack of OpenVPN support and lack of fully capable SIP soft phone.

    Posted by sergei.emelianov | September 24, 2014, 7:51 pm
    • Unfortunately what you’re seeing is very true. I would hope that the app store would pick up the slack but because currently WP is at about 3.5% market share developers don’t bet on WP, which stinks. The lack of a truly mature app store keeps the market share low. Honestly for me I don’t require either. I was very interested in the Office support but that was mostly for the ability to maintain my blog with more tools than WordPress’s mobile app has. I was surprised by the lack of a WordPress app for WP (though not as much as the lack of a NOOK app) but even that wasn’t insurmountable. Considering it’s significantly newer to the game than iOS or Android I’d say MS has done a good job with the OS though.

      Posted by Far Out Madman | September 24, 2014, 7:58 pm

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