Editorial

Editorial: Three months with Windows Phone 8

Ever since I unboxed the Windows Phone 8X by HTC back in November 2012, I've been using Windows Phone 8 as my daily driver, and a couple of days ago marks a full three months of using the platform. I wanted to give myself a decent stint using Windows Phone to see whether the operating system is the right choice for me - I've even used it across three devices - and the verdict is in: I won't be sticking with WP8.

As a reviewer I'm in a rare position where I can simply pick and choose whichever phones and operating systems I want to use. I have the opportunity to test a range of different hardware and software over the course of a year, and if I don't like something I can simply return to Android or iOS without any serious cost to me. Writing for a website that covers a lot of Windows Phone, I wanted to get some serious use of the refreshed OS under my belt, but after using it for three months it just isn't right for me.

So why isn't Windows Phone 8 the right choice? Here's an outline of what I found awesome about the platform, and what needs improving before I can call it my #1 choice.

The Highlights

Undoubtedly there are some great things about Windows Phone, a lot of which I will miss when going back to using Android devices. One thing in particular that needs reiterating is how good some of the hardware is: from the spectacular low-light camera on the Lumia 920, to the sleek design and beautiful display of the HTC 8X, and even to the compact yet solid HTC 8S, I never felt as if the hardware of the smartphones was hindering my experience using the software, and that's exactly the way it should be.

One of the definite highlights of my time using Windows Phone 8 was the Live Tile touting Start screen, which is by far the best way to quickly display information on the homescreen of a device. Everything you want to know is just there, at a glance, without any of the hassle of having to open up an application. And the square grid arrangement - complemented by icons, colors, photos, and data - is simple yet aesthetically sublime.

The other highlight is the fluidity of using the operating system. Animations are smooth, transitioning beautifully from app to app with little delay, while general UI actions feel incredibly responsive and fast. When using third-party apps it never feels like you've left the Windows Phone environment, as the vast majority of developers have coded applications to the same design standards used throughout the system interface.

I enjoyed waking up every day to a different lock screen image thanks to Bing's rotating backgrounds, and searching was always visually pleasing and quick, thanks to the combination of a physical search button and the imagery used in the search app. Information was always presented in an uncluttered way, so that the important stuff was always front-and-center without any unnecessary distractions.

Windows Phone's included keyboard is also one of the best going around, offering quick predictions and fluid use in a simple, "it just works" fashion. Even using the keyboard across a range of phones with different display sizes and resolutions, the learning curve was always small, allowing me to simply pick up another device and continue my typing style without any significant changes. You can't use a third-party keyboard in WP8, but so what? The included one doesn't need replacing.

Praise also needs to be given for the Gaming Hub, which is a go-to destination for all smartphone games on Windows Phone that prevents app list clutter from having games slotted in-between productivity apps. A number of games are integrated with Xbox Live, meaning I can add to my gamerscore on the fly (and increase my e-penis lead over my friends), and SmartGlass integration with my Xbox 360 works the best on Windows Phone.

Finally, the default, out-of-the-box Windows Phone 8 configuration is one of the best going around. Often when I get an Android device into my office for testing, and I'm setting it up for first use, I need to comb through the device and app settings to make sure everything works the way I like, but with Windows Phone there's little that needs tweaking; and let's not forget device syncing to the cloud which makes setting up a new Windows Phone even easier.

The Problems

With Windows Phone 8 there is no glaring flaw, or huge omission that makes the entire operating system a pain to use, but more a combination of smaller factors and annoyances that aren't present on other established platforms. What makes these issues more annoying is that with a bit of extra time, polish and development, all of them could be addressed in a future update with relative ease.

The principle used for Windows Phone, like iOS, is that for the most part it "just works" with little configuration needed. For end-users and those with lesser experience using smartphones, this approach is fantastic as a complex array of settings and options can be overwhelming, and often some feature highlights can be missed unless you are told they are there. With Windows Phone the best stuff is enabled by default, and a variety of other extra features are very easy to enable.

The problem I have is that the best configuration is not necessarily the configuration I'm after. I've been spoiled by Android with its multitude of options, and switching to Windows Phone eventually became a downgrade in this respect after the initial wow-factor had disappeared. After several months of use the functions of Windows Phone became the norm, and I was left wondering why the platform couldn't do certain things. I started to remember that previous Android phones I'd used, such as the Galaxy S III and HTC One X, had some cool extras, and I began to question why the Windows Phone I was using couldn't do these things.

Of course none of these things were particularly big, but as I mentioned before they all add up. Why can't I easily change from vibrate mode to silent mode for sleeping? Why can't I set a different volume for notifications and music? Why can't I check what apps have been using battery? Why can't I get a report of my phone's data use? Why can't I change the default mapping app from Bing to gMaps? Why are there only three manual brightness levels? Why isn't the search button contextual? Why isn't the clock always shown in applications? The list goes on.

Then there's a bunch of things that just seem poorly executed. The Lenses feature for enhancing the functionality of the camera is a good idea on paper, but accessing these extras is just plain slower than having them integrated into the camera app; not to mention how most of the good Lenses are Nokia exclusives. Internet Explorer 10 is fast and easy to use, but the persistent font size and rendering weirdness just pisses me off every time I have to deal with it.

And let's not forget Google integration: a complete and utter mess that needs attention from both parties. It's like a breath of fresh air going back to Android and having a proper Gmail app, full Calendar integration, and a decent mapping app.

Another thing that draws me away from Windows Phone is that the quality of some of the top apps available for Android and iOS is far beyond that of WP8. I recently went through and updated and installed some new apps on my Android smartphone, and after downloading Falcon for Twitter I realized how lacking Rowi - and other WP8 Twitter apps - are in comparison not only from a feature perspective but also from design. If there's an app available on both Android, iOS and Windows Phone, you can almost certainly bet that the former two are the better renditions (just look at Facebook).

This is, of course, completely ignoring the persisting lack of popular apps on Windows Phone (Instagram comes to mind) and the slim selection of games (just look in the iOS or Android app stores). I know this is something that can only be fixed through time and Microsoft's persistence, but it is still a factor that detracts from the platform and a major reason why I struggle to recommend it to people wanting to move away from more established ecosystems.

The fact is that I was once picking up Windows Phones and going "oh wow, this looks beautiful and functional" and now I'm picking up Android devices and going "oh wow, I can actually do this with my smartphone". Windows Phone 8 is good, but it's not yet great, and that's why Microsoft needs to look closely at what consumers like about Android, iOS and others and start implementing the best ideas they have.

At one point I was seriously considering moving permanently to Windows Phone as my platform of choice, but after three months of use I just can't bring myself to make the switch. Windows Phone 8 is close to doing everything I want, but Android is just that little bit closer.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

New Sony patent application shows an "Eyepad" tablet game controller

Next Story

From the Forums: More thoughts on the Windows 8 Start menu debate

143 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

i just got my 920T, 3G/LTE for China, with the new GPU... it's so damn nice... Actually i don't have as many issues as the one in the reviews, i can set vibrant / ringer by just pressing the up / down volume and an icon appear in the top/right of the screen for switch. I also have the draft sms, the camera is great, the colors are really nice. i've enough apps for what i need, and the integration with exchange server is just perfect.

I was so tempted to go for this phone but decided on Samsung Galaxy Note II instead. Do I regret the decision. Um... no.

I have been using a Nokia Lumia 920 since release going from a GS3 and I must say I do not miss Android one little bit. I had no problems with Android or indeed the GS3, but I simply find WP8 a far nicer experience to use.

The intergration of contacts and calendars across my multiple e-mail accounts means it's far quicker for me to do what I need to do. I appreicate the App store is lacking in some areas but most of the key features for me are baked into the OS negating the need for a seperate app - Having my twitter and facebook feeds all in one place via the people hub as an example.

I'm not going to claim one is better than the other as it all boils down to personal preference and the needs of each user. For me the overral user experience and functionality of WP8 makes it my prefered choice.

Forgot to mention that I doubt the Verizon 8X will ever receive the Portico or any update, but that's what you get with Verizon. Take the Thunderbolt fiasco for example.

I'm in the exact boat my friend. Great article. I'm not a fanboy for any OS, and I've had my 8X for about 2 months. It's a great device as far as hardware, but everything you stated about both the OS and Applications is true. They just simply aren't as developed. Granted I enjoy a few over their Android counterparts, but still I'm switching back to my Nexus when it comes back from the repair shop.

I agree with what you said and thats only after I used windows phone for a few hours, but when you look back android has only recently got all those extra features, when it first started off it was a rubbish OS. Im sure WP will catch up to that and they should seriously listen to their customers, these days they have been ignoring a lot of things just like with windows 8.

Unfortunately windows 8 and WP8 fail in so many ways that i cannot explain them. The new interface sucks. If they did it the classic way there would be success.

I agree with some of the comments about WP as well. Volume controls definitely suck big time (including vibration/silent modes), lack of integrated notification center is a major drawback, also hiding the top bar in almost all apps (even when visible, only the clock shows - you have to swipe down to see the rest; not very intuitive), the search isn't context aware but always brings up Bing (which isn't so great either) and so on.

Although Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive provide a nice overall experience, Google Maps on Android is in fact better (everything integrated into a single app). I hate sometimes looking up a place in the Maps app and then having to copy and paste the address into Nokia Drive. The default Bing Maps are simply laughable for navigating - you have to tap the screen at every turn - talk about literally unsafe (almost dangerous to use) when driving.

And I'm not even going to go into the whole apps thing as it has been discussed to death and everyone knows the situation sucks big time and it isn't being improved much...

Definitely not looking at WP for my next device. Even iOS sounds like a better alternative at this point after the initial WOW factor passed...

Obry said,
I hate sometimes looking up a place in the Maps app and then having to copy and paste the address into Nokia Drive.

You don't have to copy and paste. Go ahead and get directions in Nokia Maps. When the directions come up it will have a button to "Start Navigation." This will bring up the same directions in Nokia Drive, or if you have multiple navigation apps installed (like gMaps), it will let you pick.

Just to chime in, it's obviously worth noting that this is a Windows Phone, and that you're always going to get the best-in-class Google experience on a Google device. That pretty much goes without saying. Not to say Microsoft can't improve their game, but Google are massively to blame. It's also worth noting if you're firmly in the Microsoft ecosystem, things are very, very nice for you (I firmly believe people should pick their ecosystem and stick with it. It makes life easier). I'd also disagree about Google maps being a breath of fresh air. I *love* the Nokia maps.

Tim, I agree with the Datasense complaint and lack of apps / games. But rest of your complaints exist only because Android has pampered you with such features and not because these features are really useful or necessary. Remember iOS lacks a lot of customization found in Android and always gets a pass in comparisons with Android.
Nokia Maps is available only on Nokia Phones (not HTC). Google Maps might be better than Nokia Maps in a handful of western countries but needs a lot of catching up to do in the rest of the world.
WP8 + Nokia Extras (which are unavailable on HTC handsets) are good enough for me. I am very likely to pick a Lumia 620 as my next Phone.

As a big fan of WP, there are parts to this article I agree with. I definitely would like more "options"... Options for the simple things, like being able to swipe down and see my status bar in ALL apps, not just some. Being able to control the colour scheme even more, including the background. There are plenty of other issues sure, but I definitely feel WP needs more customisation options. Hide them from your average users, sure, but put them in there for the power users.

My wife has a Nexus Android phone and I had a Droid Incredible a couple of years ago. Work got me a iPhone 4S so that's what I have now. I didn't care for Android when I had it. the Incredible was too small for my fat fingers and the 4S isn't that much bigger. Work has ordered me a Lumia 920 after I played with one at the SharePoint Conference in Vegas last year. While I respect the editorial, the Lumia will work fine for me. I don't use a lot of the apps on my 4S and the apps will come to Windows Phone so I'm not too concerned. Also, the Nokia maps rated really well and I could care less about the Google integration seeing as how I am an Exchange admin plus I have an Office 365 account for my personal Exchange email and my SharePoint webpage.

Haha.... literally my comment above is the same. I was at WinDev Connections conference at Vegas too! Personal 365 account plus also exchange admin, phone works flawlessly with these. If you have a WP8 the migration from Google to Microsoft mail is a must, as it will make your life so much easier.

Thanks for the info! I am stoked to be trying this out as I REALLY loved the speed and ease of use of the Lumia. I just can't get it in my hands quick enough

Well i haven't yet received my recently ordered Lumia 820, but apparently WP8 doesn't handle notifications very well. As in you can't have a custom sms tone, no phone uses LED's to inform you of new messages, which even my 2005 feature phone does.

Microsofts seeming inactivity around a lot of their platforms lately is starting to be a worry.
Hell, they haven't even updated the Calender to fit in with Skydrive and Outlook.com.

I don't find the lack of Google support to be much of a dealbreaker to me. After all, it's Microsoft's platform, not Google's (where Google services dominate). Also, on Android, any Microsoft apps are made by Microsoft; Google needs to write apps for WP7/8. I just use Microsoft's calendar, and my hotmail/live/outlook account has been my default mail address for years already. I have Google stuff, too, but for me it's just for the sake of having it and playing around with it, I don't use Google's services for anything serious. Except for searching, of course; I've been trying to use Bing whenever possible just for the sake of unity, but sometimes I'm just not getting the results I'm looking for and I'll check Google to see if I can get better ones (which isn't always the case; it's difficult to find what I'm looking for on either platform these days and I really miss 2003 when I could still do a Google search for anything and always find exactly what I was looking for within the first 3 results).

Edited by Darrian, Feb 17 2013, 7:53pm :

Exactly, why would you want to use Google with this phone? I have a personal 365 account and a work Exchange account hooked up on my HTC 8x and it works flawlessly. Contacts, Mail, etc.

Darrian said,
I don't find the lack of Google support to be much of a dealbreaker to me.
True, I really do not see what anything Google does is any better compared to the WP offering. Maps, navigation, mail are all there and just as free. IMO social media integration (and personal media in general) is much better in WP, as in way WAY better

I agree with most of the author's points, as they're things I've noticed on my Lumia 920 as well, and while they are very annoying, they're definitely not deal-breakers for me. Hopefully Microsoft fixes these problems in Apollo+...

I recently went back to Android for a bit using a Galaxy TAB2 7inch and found it to be a horribly clunky and lagging experience.

The implementation of the keyboard is horrific, the way it obscures the text you are typing in landscape mode unworkable and the fact I _need_ to use two apps for mail (gmail defaults to it's own app always it seems) is just plain stupendous. In contrast on my Lumia 800 all my mail sits in a shared/linked inbox and calendars are in a shared/linked view. All my contacts in one place and a two tap way of switching from one destination to another when texting.. Friend underway send a text, TAP TAP and I respond to his Facebook messaging in the same conversation.. easy peasy and no frekking way you can do that in Android..

On several occasions it took seconds to get to the home screen, often with noticeable lag in redrawing the screen. Touch was often unresponsive and not having live feedback from my apps makes the whole experience stale and cumbersome.

I figured this was all just because I was missing something or should be getting one of these many top notch apps there seem to be in the play store, but it's just a mess of similar apps, a barrage of add infested bloatware and generally horrible quality. Several attempts to get some help from user forums resulted in a total of 0, nada, NILL responses and I took extra care not to come a cross as trolling and was very polite and straight forward in what I was looking for to make the experience better.

So I got rid of the TAB real quick with a minimal loss and that was it. With a Surface Pro on its way I guess it's all in the past now anyway..

I think the editorial is about WP8 "versus"Android on a phone and not about Windows 8 Pro versus Android on a tablet.

And let's not forget Google integration: a complete and utter mess that needs attention from both parties. It's like a breath of fresh air going back to Android and having a proper Gmail app, full Calendar integration, and a decent mapping app.

So really coming into this you had no interest in actually using the MS services. How great of an experience would I have on Android if I wanted to use Hotmail, Exchange and Bing maps by default?

"A decent mapping app"?? How about we keep the writers who are obviously biased to Google only writing only Google articles instead of wasting our time?

All i'm going to say is that these minuses he mentions are not important to me, while the highlights are. This is what I like about Windows Phone:
1) The reinvented GUI that breaks with the desktop convention of grid over icons and truly focus on what is most convenient for a device that you'll be operating with one hand, tapping with your thumb, while walking, driving, and having to have to your attention elsewhere. The tiles are big, clear, a quick glance gives you what you want, text is clear, UI is open and animations serve a purpose to give sense of the flow. When you are driving, walking, you can't be panning through pages of grid of icons to find the app you want, scrolling through lists of notifications. The Start screen serves the purpose of quick application launching, quick notification, and widget screen, without having lots of widgets each using CPU, without endless customizations.
2) It is for pro and casual users at the same time. I'm a tech savvy user and this phone can be used in a corporate environment, and got some advanced apps. But I'm still surprised about my friend who is not tech savvy at all and how he discovered the speech recognition and uses it to reply to text messages, look for restaurants and dial to make reservations, while he only used his previous android phone to make calls. He would say movies, a quick list of movies appear, tap on one, see synopsis, pan to right, see showtimes, tap on theater, jumps to the theater location in the mall, see which stores and restaurants are nearby. It just connects a series of apps fluidly. In android, search movies and it just takes you to a browser. Not convenient when you are driving and you want answers fast.
3) It is solid. Low end hardware, high end hardware, WP is solid, it never slows down, you can't break it. Plus is you got a Lumia 900/920, the hardware is virtually unbreakable. No phone would have survived mine falling onto the asphalt with no protective cover at all. Just a tiny dent in my lumia. An iphone would have broken glass on both sides, a Samsung would have the battery and cover detach.
4) Integration with third parties. The pics of your facebook friends are available in the pictures hub, no extra app or browser required. Tweek, FB chat and other social notifications natively while my iphone friends need to keep accessing FB app over and over. Apple and Google don't know how to work and integrate with others, they always try to make their own service, failing most times (ping, G+). MS either integrates (yelp, tweeter, FB, linkedin, Nokia) or buys (Skype, tellme), and if their own attempts fail, they just kill them (Live spaces, messenger), simplifying our options. Choice is great, but standardization is better. We don't need more companies bringing more redundant stuff, I don't need to sign into another social network, another video conferencing service, etc. or having friends annoyingly asking me to join them. Arent you glad that FB bought Instagram, so we might eventually end with the ridiculousness of posting in Facebook an instagram photo, when you could have just posted the same photo in FB?
I know, Android fans will come back and say they could customize and add apps to android and do the same WP does. But you are missing the point. An OS that requires so much customization that it makes it difficult to figure out by another user of the same OS is not a well designed OS. If you work in IT or have to be constantly training people, you want easy to use out of the box and standardization. WP is personal, customizable, but doesnt break standardization.

You could easily write the same review for an iPhone or Android phone and conclude to go back to Windows Phone after 3 months. Every phone OS today offers great features that makes it unique, but also suck at some other features. I could list at least 10 annoyances for iOS or Android that would keep me from going back to either one. It all comes down to what works best for you.

I agree completely with this review, I've been a Windows Phone user since the first launch of WP7, and a Windows Mobile user before that. Right now I'm using the second generation which is a Samsung Focus S with WP7.8, but now that I'm considering to replace my phone in the coming months, my options are the Windows Phone 8 or the new/next generation of Android phones, like Galaxy S4, Xperia Z, etc. I like Windows Phone but some of the annoyances you have mentioned on this article are some of the things that make me hesitate on what platform to choose. Almost all my friends are switching to Android and I must say it has some pretty nice features, I don't doubt it has its annoyances but it looks powerful.

I'm just hoping that by the time that I have to buy a new phone, Microsoft has addressed most of the complaints on this article, otherwise I'm going to switch to Android.

Edited by daniel_rh, Feb 17 2013, 3:41pm :

I love my Lumia 920.

- The issue with not being able to set individual volume levels is annoying.
- The lack of universal search is also frustrating. At times I just want to search my phone, not the web.
- Notification Center shouldn't even be a discussion point anymore, shame on MS for letting this even be an issue.
- To me Skype feels like an app and not a native function of the phone. They need to bake it deeper in the experience of the OS.
- A folder live tile would be cool. I could drop other tiles in there.
- Also, the "number" lock screen is so old school. Why not allow patterns?
- Allow more color/themes options.
- Numeric battery indicator.
- I want the ability to actually close apps.
- I want the ability disable a live tile/app. Sometimes I just want to turn off an app entirely and not uninstall it.
- As others have mentioned I want per app battery/data usage logs

To me, it just feels like MS doesn't have the peddle to floor and going all out. It is not OK to be an "also ran". IOS and Android are pretty far ahead, MS needs to start acting like desperate under dogs trying to win to race.

- crank out updates faster
- allow users to by pass the carriers approval process. Why do we need to wait for ATT et al before we get updates?

Want to close apps? Press the back button in the app instead of the home button. It will close it (except apps that work in the background by default like whatsapp etc)

you my sir, should go work at Microsoft! these things are exactly what we need! they are small, yet make a huge difference!

instagram LOL. oh what will they find next after it arrives.

I left android because I spend more time managing my phone than using it. for example, all the battery options are great...until you realize it is there to make up for the abysmal battery life of android sets...

neonspark said,
instagram LOL. oh what will they find next after it arrives.

I left android because I spend more time managing my phone than using it. for example, all the battery options are great...until you realize it is there to make up for the abysmal battery life of android sets...

i agree, i had an iPhone, then Android (because i got bored of iOS), but then realise that it's still need a lot of maintenance... now i'm waiting my 920T that should arrive tomorrow, then will see if i can stay away from iPhone.

Windows phone 8S which i own... by HTC....is really great... i prefer it over android... ist more stable and stuff... thou ist still Young... just gotta wait for more apps to grow and stuff.

I believe all consumers will benefit if we have at least 3 or 4 strong Mobile OS platforms coexist along site. The Smartphone market and its app developer's will all be better off when customers are offered a choice.
The whole point of WP is to offer a different user experience and yes, you can debate in length the 'want to have's' which may add to your user experience. And sure, we should.
Nevertheless, IMO this editorial seems to suggest WP to change towards Andriod if it were to become on par. This reasoning seems to make no sense to me.
I used BB for years and switched to WP8 (HTC 8X) last November. Sure I miss the BB notification blink light but overall, the WP8 experience is of a totally different dimension. Oh well, it must be a personal thing which satisfies someone's user experience. Having a choice between differences - and not a choice of more of the same - is what counts a guess.

There's some valid point you make ... for you. I have been using WP7 - 7.5 now for over 2 years on my Samsung Omnia7, and the apps you say are missing I have no need for. The google integration I have never had a need for because I only use one gmail account and it syncs fine, never used their Calendar because I have always been on Outlook/Exchange. Lenses ... well nI have no need for funny pics, I rather make normal pics. Never had any rendering issues in IE.
Never had a need for separate twitter apps, it's baked into WP, same for Facebook, no need for it.

Ultimately it depends on every single person's circumstances and uses what works best for them.

The core of the OS is solid. Just give it some time and It'll certainly get all these features and maybe even more soon.
After all, they just switched to a new and completely different kernel.
Considering that WP now runs on NT kernel, you can expect to have many minor and major updates in its life span.
This is one of the strengths of windows after all.

The problem is that it is closed and limited in content at the same time. Windows was not closed and had lots of content and win, Linux was open but limited. Android is open and unlimited in content - win. iPhone (which is already failing) is closed and unlimited.
Make your conclusions.

I'd be interested to know where you're seeing these persistent issues with rendering and text sizes in IE. Because I'm not seeing them anywhere

Scorpus said,
Desktop mode Wikipedia, Neowin (try scrolling), The Verge reviews often have inconsistent font sizes... it's everywhere

I'm not seeing it. One thing that I love about WP is IE, it's a great browser. It's smooth, fast and it loads perfectly. I'm comparing this article on my phone and computer as I type this and they look identical.

Scorpus said,
Desktop mode Wikipedia, Neowin (try scrolling), The Verge reviews often have inconsistent font sizes... it's everywhere

I use IE10desktop as my main browser, which im using right now for neowin, i also have a Wikipedia tab open.
And even though i run into some rendering issues every now and then (trident isnt perfect either).. The font is fine, even better then Fx or Chrome's font rendering imo.

To each their own. For me it was the other way around. There are some things I dont like about Windows Phone but the overall experience is better for me then Android. Mainly I do miss some features on WP but having the basic functionality be smooth, cohesive and easy is more important to me.

To address two of the issues:

"Why can't I check what apps have been using battery?"

Probably because you don't need to. Windows Phone doesn't allow apps to run all the time, so when you're not using them, they're suspended, effectively using no power. It's the same on Windows 8, so this feature is not necessary, and therefore, not really an issue.

"Why can't I get a report of my phone's data use?"

You can (Data Sense), provided your mobile provider has enabled it apparently. Unfortunately, the odds of Helstra and Optus doing the necessary groundwork would most likely be low, but there's always hope I guess.

> Probably because you don't need to. Windows Phone doesn't allow apps to run all the time, so when you're not using them, they're suspended, effectively using no power. It's the same on Windows 8, so this feature is not necessary, and therefore, not really an issue.

False, background apps like Nokia Drive were known to kill battery prior the update that added a battery saver feature

Also, WP start screen is horribly buggy, causing battery drains, so having this would help

http://wmpoweruser.com/hacker-...hone-7-8-thoroughly-broken/

Same with WP8

> You can (Data Sense), provided your mobile provider has enabled it apparently.

False. Nokia Counters (for WP7) had this feature and requires no carrier intervention, same with Android.

It's just another Microsoft BS to get into carrier's anuses while average consumers suffer.

A list of apps that can run as background tasks is accessible from the Settings screen. To all intents and purposes this is a list of apps that are likely to use up battery. Another mistake in the article.

Ideas Man said,

You can (Data Sense), provided your mobile provider has enabled it apparently. Unfortunately, the odds of Helstra and Optus doing the necessary groundwork would most likely be low, but there's always hope I guess.

Telstra have said they will be introducing the feature but they haven't yet... Optus probably won't ever. Datasense doesn't just count data like in Nokia Counters, it's also about minimising data usage with a feature which compresses data sent to the phone. Of course this minimizes user download quota which ultimately may reduce profits... I say MS should bake it into the next update and basically stop tip toeing around carriers. The only problem is that carriers are promoting the phone and it's not in a market dominant position like the S3 or iPhone 5

ingramator said,
I say MS should bake it into the next update and basically stop tip toeing around carriers.

How would that even work? You need a server at the other end to compress the data.

Ideas Man said,

You can (Data Sense), provided your mobile provider has enabled it apparently. Unfortunately, the odds of Helstra and Optus doing the necessary groundwork would most likely be low, but there's always hope I guess.

Microsoft decision to bend to carriers and let them decide to implement or not Data Sense was asinine to say the least. It could have been a great selling point... Not to mention that I had similar counters on my Motorola MicroTac in 1990.

FoxieFoxie said,
> Probably because you don't need to. Windows Phone doesn't allow apps to run all the time, so when you're not using them, they're suspended, effectively using no power. It's the same on Windows 8, so this feature is not necessary, and therefore, not really an issue.

False, background apps like Nokia Drive were known to kill battery prior the update that added a battery saver feature

Also, WP start screen is horribly buggy, causing battery drains, so having this would help

http://wmpoweruser.com/hacker-...hone-7-8-thoroughly-broken/

Same with WP8

> You can (Data Sense), provided your mobile provider has enabled it apparently.

False. Nokia Counters (for WP7) had this feature and requires no carrier intervention, same with Android.

It's just another Microsoft BS to get into carrier's anuses while average consumers suffer.


A small percentage of users doesn't make something "horribly buggy". :eyeroll:

Another less than factual post by you... *sigh*

But this is a brand new generation of phone, so of course uptake will be slow.

Microsoft's exclusivity deal (in the UK) with EE has not helped get their phones out to the masses, which is where Android succeeds.
Even now, I can only buy an unlocked Lumia 920 from a couple of stores, it's not on Amazon (from Amazon) either. Plus, nobody seems to have the cyan version. Then you get the puzzle of which version you will get, either the 3G version or the fully fledged 4G... talk about putting people off.

Yet both Nokia UK and Microsoft don't bother answering the above concerns (I WANT to give them business FPS), but come to that, neither does Android or Apple. My lady friend is still waiting for the 4.2.1 update that I have had for months - we have the same phone. Mine just a few days ago had a 4.2.2 update. It failed on installation and now can't find it again. Lady friend's phone doesn't see that either.

Every phoen OS has it's drawbacks.

WHAT Microsoft exclusivity deal with EE? Wasn't that Nokia?

Also, all Lumia 920 phones are 4G capable in the UK. Not sure where you got that idea.

Bing does not really work outside the US. The results you are getting are just miserable.
Local scout is not enabled in many countries of Europe and if you do enable it by a workarround the results are miserable and wrong.

Being not able to use Google services seamlessly is a show stopper for many people outside the US.

I disagree. I'm in Australia and Bing works fine here. If you need to use Google services (the only ones I "need" on my phone are YouTube (metrotube)and Google.com (IE10).

ingramator said,
I disagree. I'm in Australia and Bing works fine here. If you need to use Google services (the only ones I "need" on my phone are YouTube (metrotube)and Google.com (IE10).

To be honest Bing in Europe is not very good.

Good ballanced review, have been considering getting a WP8 device but will hold off buying one until the issues you mentioned have been fixed

Good review. An honest look at WP8 it seemed.

You could list other apps as examples of poor app execution, like Foursquare, the official Twitter app and some other high profile apps.

On the other hand, there are some wonderful apps that are better or exist just in WP like 4th & Major (Foursquare client), NextGen Reader (Google Reader client). I have a Nexus 7 and in my opinion there are better Twitter clients on Windows Phone than Android.

I have Falcon Pro, Tweedle, Carbon and TweetLanes on the tablet. On my 8X I use Mehdoh and rowi. They are much much better than their Android counterparts and sometimes they have even more features. The one I use the most on my tablet is Carbon.

The little things that need "fixing" on Windows Phone should get addressed. As you said, they add up, even if the user experience is better than the competition (arguable, depends on personal opinions).

My main concern since WP7 came to life was to close the ubiquity gap that exists between Android/iOS and Windows Phone. By this I mean the way most people think of just these two OS. Many haven't seen a WP phone first hand.

Once (right now, a big "if") companies and brands start offering their apps for WP, people will be more aware of it the things this platforms gets right or better than the competition. Until then, even when I really like and think that WP8 is better for the most parts, Android and iOS will continue its dominance.

PS: sorry for the long post

jakem1 said,
Lenses are integrated into the camera app.

No, they open a separate app after you choose to launch one from the button in the camera app

The fact that there is a button means that the lenses are integrated into the camera app. It makes sense to load them the way it does because they can include non-camera functionality.

But they aren't part of it like with Android camera apps, which have access to similar features (sometimes even more features) in a fraction of the time

All I got with this article is that Android has spoilt users all around the world with it's bombardment of features.

And that is exactly why I don't like Android - it has too many features, to the point where it's becoming superfluous (I can't believe that people are digging 1080p screens). Windows Phone is simple, even with plenty of features. And it's elegant.

Android may have ticked all the checkboxes when it comes to the list of features, but i'm not looking just features, for me, i'm looking for a experience, and Windows Phone has always given me a wonderful experience. It's just....nice. I would never describe Android as "nice". You can't attach a dollar value attached to "nice"ness.

Is this post sarcastic? I hope so...Since when is 1080p displays, "too many features" and having "ticked all the checkboxes" a bad thing?

You are right though you can't attach a dollar value to "nice" ness...which is why nobody is buying WP and everybody is buying Android for those "too many features"

Sonne said,
Is this post sarcastic? I hope so...Since when is 1080p displays, "too many features" and having "ticked all the checkboxes" a bad thing?

You are right though you can't attach a dollar value to "nice" ness...which is why nobody is buying WP and everybody is buying Android for those "too many features"

What the hell is the point of a 1080p screen on a FIVE INCH SMARTPHONE?

siah1214 said,

What the hell is the point of a 1080p screen on a FIVE INCH SMARTPHONE?

What do you mean? One of my favorite hobbies is to look at the pixels on my phone with a magnifying glass. You're telling me you don't do that?

siah1214 said,

What the hell is the point of a 1080p screen on a FIVE INCH SMARTPHONE?

Last year microsoft zealots were saying what is the point of dual core, what is the point of 720p, what is the point of 1gb of RAM etc....yawn

Convergence my friend, these aren't just phones anymore

Sonne said,

Last year microsoft zealots were saying what is the point of dual core, what is the point of 720p, what is the point of 1gb of RAM etc....yawn

Convergence my friend, these aren't just phones anymore


Ridiculous.

First, WP users were saying that WP, unlike Android, doesn't NEED dual core to not flicker and slow down. WP didn't need that. Same with RAM...

Second, there is no point to 1080p screens. Only a fool would think this would make any noticeable difference.

Sonne said,
Is this post sarcastic? I hope so...Since when is 1080p displays, "too many features" and having "ticked all the checkboxes" a bad thing?

It's not a bad thing when a new feature adds value to the everyday experience of using the phone, but Android has 1001 ways just to do the same one thing, and all those features, I see it as excess, it's superfluous.

Added new features are great if they add value, but not so much when it is just incremental and adds to the feature creep. Microsoft learnt this the hard way with Windows PC's, and now every single Windows PC comes with excess baggage that even Microsoft is struggling with (e.g desktop in Windows 8).

You can't tell the difference between a 1080p display and at 720p display in day-to-day use. It's a spec bump that, I think, adds little or no value. That's why I don't understand why people dig it. It's so incremental and yet people are going hoo-hah over it.

The saddest thing is how Android fanboys (i'm not saying you're one) and even some critics or so-called "reviewers" brag about how Windows Phone is behind in terms of such features when Android OEMs bring such unneeded things to the market just in the name of "choice" and "openness" or worse, "innovation" (seriously? Incremental spec bumps are innovative in 2013?). Windows Phone is not behind, Microsoft is just avoiding feature creep in order to preserve the elegent experience of the OS.

People are buying Samsung, not Android. And they're buying Samsung because people, most average consumers, don't know what Android phone to buy because the market is flooded with this thing nicely called "choice".

Windows Phone on the other hand, has different phones, with clear differentiation among them, easily identifiable by the average consumer, which I think is waaaaay better than 1080p screens or something like that.

At the end of the day, i'm not saying Android is bad, i'm just saying that Windows Phone has alot of merit to it that people seem to simply ignore. This Neowin article included.

Edited by FalseAgent, Feb 17 2013, 6:21pm :

M_Lyons10 said,

Ridiculous.

First, WP users were saying that WP, unlike Android, doesn't NEED dual core to not flicker and slow down. WP didn't need that. Same with RAM...

Second, there is no point to 1080p screens. Only a fool would think this would make any noticeable difference.


I have perfect Eyesight and i'm having a real though time distinguishing the pixels on my 920, it is almost impossible without jamming my eye against the screen.

So yeah, why do we need higher resolutions again?

Two features that I want in WP8 is a notification centre and the option to install apps to a SD card. "Apollo Plus" is supposed to be a major update for WP8. It won't have a notification centre but I'm hopeful that it'll have the SD card feature.

As for when we'll see a notification centre, Microsoft said they'll implement it at a later date.

Anaron said,
Two features that I want in WP8 is a notification centre and the option to install apps to a SD card. "Apollo Plus" is supposed to be a major update for WP8. It won't have a notification centre but I'm hopeful that it'll have the SD card feature.

As for when we'll see a notification centre, Microsoft said they'll implement it at a later date.

We'll hear about the notification center in a week at MWC. They have been strongly indicating that this is when they'll show it off.

> We'll hear about the notification center in a week at MWC. They have been strongly indicating that this is when they'll show it off.

According to WP insider, MSFT is yet to start coding notification center.

rfirth said,

We'll hear about the notification center in a week at MWC. They have been strongly indicating that this is when they'll show it off.

That's great. Hopefully, they'll implement it in the update after Apollo Plus. Unless they surprise us by including it with that update which is doubtful. Microsoft already stated that they "ran out of time" with including the notification centre in Apollo Plus.

Anaron said,
Two features that I want in WP8 is a notification centre and the option to install apps to a SD card. "Apollo Plus" is supposed to be a major update for WP8. It won't have a notification centre but I'm hopeful that it'll have the SD card feature.

As for when we'll see a notification centre, Microsoft said they'll implement it at a later date.

I still boggle when I see people waiting for a notification center on WP. The home screen IS a notification center. Why would I need to jump to another screen to tell me what is absurdly clear not only from the lock screen but even more so from the live tiles?

FoxieFoxie said,
> We'll hear about the notification center in a week at MWC. They have been strongly indicating that this is when they'll show it off.

According to WP insider, MSFT is yet to start coding notification center.


That is a blatent lie as Microsoft stated before WP8 came out that they had been working on a Notification Center for that release but it wasn't done in time. This, quite clearly indicates, that work had begun on it AND that it is something they intend to get into an update (which they also stated).

Anaron said,
That's great. Hopefully, they'll implement it in the update after Apollo Plus. Unless they surprise us by including it with that update which is doubtful. Microsoft already stated that they "ran out of time" with including the notification centre in Apollo Plus.

They "ran out of time" for Apollo, not Apollo Plus.

echostorm said,

I still boggle when I see people waiting for a notification center on WP. The home screen IS a notification center. Why would I need to jump to another screen to tell me what is absurdly clear not only from the lock screen but even more so from the live tiles?


Get this through your head. PEOPLE DONT WANT TO PIN EVERY SINGLE APP TO THE START SCREEN. I don't want to have to pin draw something or alphajax just so I can see when somebody played back. I want my most important apps on my start screen, not literally every freaking app I have. SHUT UP. the start screen is not good enough to be a notification center.

onedrummer2401 said,


Get this through your head. PEOPLE DONT WANT TO PIN EVERY SINGLE APP TO THE START SCREEN. I don't want to have to pin draw something or alphajax just so I can see when somebody played back. I want my most important apps on my start screen, not literally every freaking app I have. SHUT UP. the start screen is not good enough to be a notification center.

Dude, simmer down. I was expressing confusion, not eating babies.

I would imagine that a lot will be coming with the Windows Phone Blue update later this year, that is the first major update scheduled for Windows Phone 8. don't be looking for anything before that update, you may get minor updates but nothing like a notification center.

i think you nailed it. almost. MS was atleast 3 years late and the iOS and Android apps simply will never be made for WP.

Google will never make Gmail, Google maps app for windows phone. while Outlook and Bing maps are decent alternatives. lot of users of those two applications have already moved on to google applications. They will never stop using GMail / GMaps as MS doesnt yet offer anything compelling feature to bring them back.

MS should just give up and do what blackberry /Amazon did. get Android runtime on WP8 that'll make all Android 4.0 apps compatible.

Edited by guru, Feb 17 2013, 10:46am :

guru said,
i think you nailed it. almost. MS was atleast 3 years late and the iOS and android apps simply will never come.

MS should just give up and do what blackberry /Amazon did. get Android runtime on WP8 that'll make all Android 4.0 apps compatible.

I disagree. MS have the potential for greatness with windows phone 8. They shouldn't stop now. What they should do is focus on these little things, as mentioned in the article, to further polish the platform.

also, regarding the issue with google not making apps for windows phone, that's just hilariously hypocritical of Google. Look at their about page. It says making their content available for all platforms. Here they're excluding windows phone, which is a viable ecosystem. It's silly of them

Google will never make Gmail,

Use in the inbuilt mail app? Why do you need a separate app for something every single smartphone does OOB?

Google maps app for windows phone

Has existed since the early days of WP7. It's not an official app but it has everything the official apps do (apart from offline nav, not sure about that).

kidjenius said,

I disagree. MS have the potential for greatness with windows phone 8. They shouldn't stop now. What they should do is focus on these little things, as mentioned in the article, to further polish the platform.

also, regarding the issue with google not making apps for windows phone, that's just hilariously hypocritical of Google. Look at their about page. It says making their content available for all platforms. Here they're excluding windows phone, which is a viable ecosystem. It's silly of them


Google has shown to be very anticompetitive. We'll get those apps when they get in trouble for it.

@razor.
I was replying to the author who wanted the gmail app from google with all the bells and whistles. I myself am perfectly happy with the native gmail support in WP8.

the reality of situation is Apps these days get made only for iOS and Android. WP apps tend to be either third party apps that donot have the feature parity.

There are exceptions , BookMyShow in India for example is a much better on WP8 than on Andorid

by pressing one of the volume buttons you get the volume screen and from there you can change from ring to vibrate, etc which id argue is enough to be honest.

thechronic said,
by pressing one of the volume buttons you get the volume screen and from there you can change from silent, vibrant, etc which id argue is simple enough to be honest.

actually, if you have vibrate turned on in the settings, you can't turn it off by the method you described. You have to go into settings to switch from vibrate to fully silent. I agree with the author that this needs to be addressed. Perhaps allow three taps on the volume drop down rather than just two right now.

kidjenius said,

actually, if you have vibrate turned on in the settings, you can't turn it off by the method you described. You have to go into settings to switch from vibrate to fully silent. I agree with the author that this needs to be addressed. Perhaps allow three taps on the volume drop down rather than just two right now.

Wow. I like WP8 but that's just ridiculous. I can easily switch between various sound profiles on my BlackBerry Curve 9300 3G from the main screen. Hopefully they'll address that in the upcoming Apollo Plus update.

Anaron said,
Wow. I like WP8 but that's just ridiculous. I can easily switch between various sound profiles on my BlackBerry Curve 9300 3G from the main screen. Hopefully they'll address that in the upcoming Apollo Plus update.

Agreed. There's a lot of room for improvement in the way WP8 handles sounds, etc. You should at the very least always have to option available to set to silent and vibrate.

kidjenius said,

actually, if you have vibrate turned on in the settings, you can't turn it off by the method you described. You have to go into settings to switch from vibrate to fully silent. I agree with the author that this needs to be addressed. Perhaps allow three taps on the volume drop down rather than just two right now.


I just enabled vibrate in the settings and disabled ringer.
I can still switch from vibrate to ringer from the volumekey-dropdown menu.

Another question, why were you using Bing? Nokia maps/drive is so much better. I suppose it depends on your region, but I find Nokia maps better than google and Bing thanks to its 100% offline turn by turn navigation and offline maps.

I did use Nokia Maps with the Lumia 920, but I also used a HTC 8X and HTC 8S - and (at least in my region) you can't download Nokia Maps for those devices

Scorpus said,
I did use Nokia Maps with the Lumia 920, but I also used a HTC 8X and HTC 8S - and (at least in my region) you can't download Nokia Maps for those devices

I'm not too positive about this, but wasn't Nokia maps just recently released to all windows phone 8 devices? Perhaps it's actually Nokia Drive, but regardless, they're maps. Are you saying you weren't able to download this in your region?

FoxieFoxie said,
Nokia Maps is overrated, it is worse in certain regions than Bing and lacks hd imagery

if that is your logic then google maps is overrated too, because it is worse in certain regions than Bing as well.

Scorpus said,
I did use Nokia Maps with the Lumia 920, but I also used a HTC 8X and HTC 8S - and (at least in my region) you can't download Nokia Maps for those devices

Nokia Drive is available for all Windows Phone 8 devices, including the HTC 8X and 8S. Offline maps can be downloaded for all devices. Bing and Nokia Maps uses the same underlying map data...

kidjenius said,

nokia maps is amazing here in Canada. So like I said, it's region dependent. The feature that puts it ahead of google maps is offline maps and navigation.

Google added offline maps feature to Android a year and half ago

kidjenius said,

if that is your logic then google maps is overrated too, because it is worse in certain regions than Bing as well.


Yes Bing maps are my favorite ones, and I have a Lumia 920.

I don't yet have a Win Phone 8 device, and am still stuck on Symbian just for Nokia Maps.
Where I live, 3G data is expensive and the network is flaky at times.

I swear by Nokia Maps because we were stuck in a remote forest region at night without knowing where we were because the car driver (chauffeur) was over confident.
No network.
Out comes my outdated, yet faithful Nokia. Used the maps to guide us to nearest town, checked into a hotel. That night I swore that I will only buy a phone with offline maps. No, not the Google kind where you can only cache a city at a time. That would have been useless in above situation.

Case 2: I needed to travel abroad, and the data plans were _exorbitant_. So, enabled only calls, and loaded the maps offline onto my Nokia before I left the country.
End of Story. Money saved, is money earned.

Gmaps on phones is useless in rural areas due to network reliance.

kidjenius said,
Another question, why were you using Bing? Nokia maps/drive is so much better. I suppose it depends on your region, but I find Nokia maps better than google and Bing thanks to its 100% offline turn by turn navigation and offline maps.

Sadly for a lot of places in the world (including rural province of Quebec) Google maps is still king.

After using WP7 for 2 years and WP8 for 3-4 months, I can tell that MSFT does not really care.

They made promises like gameloft games for 2012, none, enthusiast program? No. Photosynth, etc. It lacks hundreds of things and with Andorid 5 coming with 1080p phones, WP will be again stuck with low end hardware, 720p screens and no updates till the end of 2013.

And when we get updates, it still wont include even the most basic features that we can't get for two years now.

If you want features, go with a 5 year old Nokia phones, it still has more of them than Windows Phone

FoxieFoxie said,
After using WP7 for 2 years and WP8 for 3-4 months, I can tell that MSFT does not really care.

They made promises like gameloft games for 2012, none, enthusiast program? No. Photosynth, etc. It lacks hundreds of things and with Andorid 5 coming with 1080p phones, WP will bb again stuck with low end hardware, 720p screens and no updates till the end of 2013

WP8 has already received an update called Portico. Also, the Lumia 920's screen is better than 720p isn't it? The width is 768, right?

No, my friend who has unlocked 920 from UK did not yet receive Portico and what does it bring anyway? SMS drafts? Wow...

Call to reject...

Nothing. Where are separate volume controls, call grouping, notification center, bluetooth profiles, ability to actually close apps, password ****ING support for IE, waht is this, year 1999? Text reflow, anything at all

Microsoft is supposed to stand for amazing software. Instead, its competitors that have FAR LESS knowledge are beating them in every front.

TheGameloft titles were promised by Gameloft, it is completely out of Microsoft's control as to when they are released. I've just emailed them to see if we can get an ETA and I advice NeoWin to contact them as well because we have been left in the dark!

FoxieFoxie said,
There is no MSFT conference at MWC, only Nokia's

Microsoft is listed on the MWC 2013 website as an exhibitor.

> TheGameloft titles were promised by Gameloft, it is completely out of Microsoft's control as to when they are released.

Microsoft's WP division top head promised them

Check blog posts by terry mayers

rfirth said,

They've obviously been waiting for MWC to announce these things. Patience. MWC is only a week away.

I am more interested about release date than announcing one....
Also I am very dissatisfied with Nokia: I bought aLumia 920, Sim free, paid it Euro 600 . Last week, tired to wait I had to use Navifirm to get Portico.

Not on a Lumia 920 I was using the other day. I had written a 4-text long message, went to check some other messages and write an email, went back and it was gone - this happened twice, infuriatingly

Scorpus said,
Not on a Lumia 920 I was using the other day. I had written a 4-text long message, went to check some other messages and write an email, went back and it was gone - this happened twice, infuriatingly

I did that just now and my draft is still there. I'm running a Lumia 920. Do you not have the portico update?

kidjenius said,
Do you not have the portico update?

I don't (no idea why, my 8X has it). But considering it's in the update I'm going to update the article because it has been added in the most recent version.

I agree with this, have a HTC 8X myself (although it's in the shop due to the poly-carbonate coating peeling off in two spots) and I feel that WP8 still needs a bit of work.

That link is hardly descriptive.
Could you link to something directly related to Windows Phone devices where burn-in has been caused by live tiles.

Verifiable and credible sources please.

He seems to think that the live tiles just sit there on the screen for hours, but I think he forgets... this isn't a static grid of icons, and people don't leave their phone screens on for hours at a time.

Sartoris said,

Where did you get this from? Without a credible source, this is just a ridiculous claim.


All it is is a ridiculous claim...

I wholeheartedly agree with this article, which is exactly why I just moved from WP to Android with a Nexus 4 last week. As useful as Android is proving to be, I do miss WP terribly, but I will not go back to WP unless they bring the OS up to speed with competitors. Hopefully I'll be back by WP9... meanwhile, Android is serving my needs best at the moment.

Gabe3 said,

you must be joking. phones don't have burn in, unless you've got one with a plasma display. burn in your eyes? lol

Actually, they do. I can see the burn in from the Live Tiles on my Nokia Lumia 800. It's probably because I set my phone to maximum brightness, though, instead of the default automatic setting.

But. Live Tiles themselves don't cause burn in. That would happen the same with a grid of icons on Android or iOS, given the same hardware.

Sigh, if you are that far up Google's ass, then an Android is for you. To knock the platform over it is silly.

Terrible review, you missed actual qualms for the same old same old whines.

Gabe3 said,

you must be joking. phones don't have burn in, unless you've got one with a plasma display. burn in your eyes? lol

My Galaxy S2 has burn in, i can see the keyboard and the name of someone i use to text a lot