I chose Windows Phone

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

On the lookout for a new smartphone

We've all been there. That glorious time when we're out on the market, looking for a flashy, new smartphone to replace our hugely outdated device. It's a time of joy, excitement and discovery! But even in a saturated and booming market, such as the smartphone one, it's quite surprising how finding what's best for you may prove to be so difficult. My personal experience from a few weeks ago was particularly challenging.

Let me give you some background first.

I'm a long-time iPhone user who recently decided that the moment has come to move on to a more “flexible” and “open” experience. Naturally, there's only one mobile OS that comes to mind in such a case nowadays - Android. Having gotten used to the 'it just works' type of user experience with my iPhone, though, I didn't simply want an Android device. I wanted a high-end, polished product that aimed to deliver a feature-rich, yet streamlined package, so that's why I didn't waste much time choosing and went straight for the Samsung Galaxy S4. After all, how could you go wrong with one of the very best Android handsets out there? The Galaxy S4 has a super high-res screen, awesome camera, future-proof processor... I've made a true no-compromise decision, right? Well, it turns out I was wrong, and while I'm absolutely not trying to convince anyone that the Galaxy S4 isn't a good product, I'll just speak my mind as to why I decided to change it for a seemingly inferior smartphone. And boy am I happy I did so.

Defaulting to Android - not always a good idea

It's not that I wasn't happy with the GS4 at first, but as time went by the joy of getting my hands on this cutting-edge device started to make way for that nagging feeling that you have when you don't belong. Such was my relationship with Samsung's finest. Aside from the few technical issues I had with the phone, such as its poor outdoor visibility and occasional stuttering, the real problem for me was the lack of attention to detail in those areas that I really cared for. Truth be told, I love smartphones, but I rarely play games, watch full-length movies, or use other heavy-duty apps on them. That's mainly because I don't have the time, and when I do have time for some entertainment, I usually prefer the comfort of my desktop. So, my smartphone usage is mostly limited to calling, texting, email, browsing, social networking, as well as the occasional ebook reading and YouTube video watching. Of course, I also use typical smartphone tools such as the calendar, notes and navigation. As you can see, one can argue if I can really call myself a heavy user, as I mostly stick to the basic neсcessities, but the important thing is that I do use them a lot, and I really demand that those core smartphone features are executed as well as possible.

It turned out that the Samsung Galaxy S4, as powerful as it is, is actually the exact opposite of what I needed. Crammed with all kinds of features and options, this is a smartphone that is a jack of all trades, but master of none. While it can run the heaviest 3D games out there, its homescreen UI often stutters. While there are more than five ways to dial a contact, the phonebook itself is a mess. Battery life is also spectacularly short, despite my relatively modest needs. And, of course, while the screen is very big... the phone itself is also very big (just like any other Android flagship), which is definitely not a plus. Encased within a few thin pieces of plastic and full of UI inconsistencies, I realized that there's not much for me in the GS4 beyond its status of a cutting-edge device, which is why I made the decision to jump the Android ship about a month after I got on board. The ability to play various 3D games or install hundreds and hundreds of apps wasn't enough to keep me there, because I rarely took advantage of it.

But where to? “I should probably go back to my iPhone and hope that Apple's going to shake things up with iOS 7 and the next iPhone.” Such was my thinking back then, but then iOS 7 came along and I was somewhat disappointed by the new design direction and the lack of new jaw-dropping features. The redesign was obviously the thing Apple hoped to wow us with, but for me, it didn't work. My anticipation for Apple's upcoming smartphone software was quickly drowned in generic-looking icons and buttons that didn't look like buttons. Oh dear, I needed a new smartphone, but didn't have an idea which way to go.

Embracing Windows Phone

As desperation slowly started to settle in, it suddenly hit me – I like Nokia's Lumia range, but had largely ignored it thus far because of Windows Phone. Why? Well, you know, Windows Phone doesn't have a very rich app ecosystem yet, and let's just say that you have to be a really brave user in order to embrace Windows Phone right now, having in mind Microsoft's complete underdog status. However, it turned out that the third ecosystem can actually offer almost every single feature that I use in my daily grind. Design-wise, Windows Phone seems to be taking the middle ground between iOS and Android. It's neither tightly closed, nor too wide open. It offers things like USB mass storage, live tiles and a great navigation system, courtesy of Nokia, but it's also free from redundant OEM customization efforts and “extra” features that few people are ever going to need. It is also much more consistent and has the look and feel of a complete and polished product.

Even though Windows Phone is fairly easy to use, there is some learning curve with this platform, as it strives to do a lot of things differently. Once you get the hang of it, though, and personalize your homescreen so that it caters to your personal preferences, most everything can be accomplished quickly and easily.

Of course, when considering a purchase of a Windows Phone device, Nokia was the only logical decision for me, due to their commitment to the platform and arguably superior hardware, compared to the other WP vendors. In my opinion, the Lumia phones are great-looking products, and thanks to robust services like Here Maps, Here Drive, Nokia Music and some others, they are actually very decent packages that leave few gaps in terms of core functionality. That's why I decided to make what was probably my boldest move in the smartphone world yet and go for a Nokia Lumia 720. I decided to pick this mid-range handset because I liked the size and its overall great price-quality ratio. I don't regret this move one bit. Sure, the Windows Phone Marketplace looks pretty barren, but for a user that mostly sticks to basic apps like a versatile calendar, email and YouTube, it has everything needed.

I truly enjoy my Windows Phone experience with the Lumia 720 because it allows me to have things like appointments, weather and contacts accessible directly from the homescreen, in a way that doesn't compromise consistency and design. Everything works like a well-oiled machine, and while one cannot really go as deeply as with Android, the beauty of WP is that you rarely need to, because Microsoft has already taken care of the important things. For example, I don't need to go and look for a third-party QWERTY keyboard (there aren't any, of course), because the stock one is outstanding.

As I said, Windows Phone seems to be taking the middle ground between iOS and Android. It's neither too closed, nor too open. That in itself doesn't make it the perfect OS, of course, as there's still much to be done, but it shapes up as a great fit for those users who desire a bit more freedom than what their iPhones offer, but who also aren't willing to go all the way to an open platform that requires the user to “manage” every single aspect of the platform to have a satisfying experience.

At the end of the day, I have discovered that there's nothing to fear in having a Windows Phone as your primary handset, as long as you aren't doing stuff that's not yet available for the platform, which includes some popular social apps, or many of the high-profile games that are yet to grace the Marketplace. But, just in case those things aren't on your must-have features list, Windows Phone, as found on a quality Nokia Lumia device, has proven that it can offer a compelling and worry-free experience, and that's very promising, because the platform's app store is only expected to grow with time.

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274 Comments

273. CSJr-

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 03, 2013

Welcome to the Dark Side, Ray. Those of us who are misunderstood and hated by others. However it seems you took the apprentice device, it seems you don't really know the power of the dark side. Muhahaha. But in a few months, with training, you can hold power of the Sith Lord. Lumia Phablet!

274. Jehovah

Posts: 69; Member since: Jun 25, 2013

Yes! There is an appeal on joining the bad guys...

272. sreesnadh

Posts: 7; Member since: Jul 31, 2013

android always for toys lovers

271. sreesnadh

Posts: 7; Member since: Jul 31, 2013

windows phone is best \

269. GBanker

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 02, 2013

WP has a great potential but MS shows no passion in competing in mobile market. WP still don't have some basic features of smartphone for about 3 years. MS should stop making something fancy. MS should make something the market really needed.

268. Sondae

Posts: 291; Member since: Jan 02, 2013

This is odd that Ray S switch in windows phone.

267. Jillxz

Posts: 149; Member since: Jun 04, 2012

Yuk. More wide end bezel and sides too.

263. Altair

Posts: 367; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

Good move Ray!

257. ajiboola

Posts: 5; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Your article is very bias and 1 way advertisements!

250. ajac09

Posts: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

congradulations. Still not into them.

249. only1penny

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 21, 2013

I feel the exact same way as the author. I have been an android guy for numerous phones now and I love the customization of it (sense/touchwiz only lasts a couple days before I flash something Google), but I don't do a ton of stuff on my phone. I do a few things all the time. I also don't need the ultimate specs anymore. I have a one s running 4.2.2 and a custom kernel. My wife has an 820 & I love that thing. It does everything well. Everything is so much sexier on a windows phone. An example would be the face book app. There is so much more "wow" than on the iPhone or android. Everyone should try it for 2 weeks before they talk smack about it. Its not about the boxes. Its what's beyond the boxes. The thing that I will struggle with giving up is Google now & swype. If windows has a good answer to those things I'm there for my next purchase.

248. breaky9973

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 19, 2013

I do agree with the writer in some ways. My current android phone, LG 4X HD, feels slower in daily use than my other phone, an Nokia 700, with good old symbian. Fluid experience of the UI is very important for a smartphone. When I want to do simple things like open contacts, dial a number, check calendar and calculate with calculator it still can be lagging with android. I thought it was only my phone, but the Samsung Note II and Sony Experia Z have similar issues when working with them, although less. I had to install different launcher, to make the system run smoother. Battery life is another issue. Moderate usage can make your android phone run out of juice before the day is over. The Nokia 700 offers a fluid experience + good battery life out of the box and that's how it should be. To bad Symbian is as good as dead. :( Ad

247. iWinDroid

Posts: 28; Member since: Jul 17, 2013

calm down,stop being so immature, its his opinion why he switched to WP, nobody asked y'all to go for WP too.. lmfao reading your rants! grow up kids..ahhahah!

244. adit38

Posts: 25; Member since: Jul 02, 2013

Lumia 720 is great phone for its price.....

243. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

God people... The article was amazing and the guy really proved his point. Stop the immaturity and, pardon the language, grow the f*** up. No one is forcing you to be here. Is Samsung paying you for starting fights over the internet? Google? Apple? Nokia? No? That's what I thought.

241. Ruisleipä

Posts: 31; Member since: Apr 06, 2013

People are simply afraid of change.

240. timepilot84

Posts: 113; Member since: Aug 16, 2012

I tried Windows Phone 8, twice. I bought a Nokia Lumia 928 the first day they were available at the Verizon store and was amazed at how few apps were available. I liked the phone and the OS, but I couldn't get over how little I could do with it without apps. The killer was that it was getting lousy reception at my apartment. That was the dealbreaker. It went back to the store. Flash forward to last week. I saw someone selling a 928 on Craig's List for $300. I'd been noticing that my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 wasn't getting great reception at my apartment recently, too, so I thought maybe I was a bit too harsh on the 928. I bought this one off of CL, connected my account and brought it home. Where I was getting lousy reception on my Note 2, I was getting NO reception on the 928. Put the SIM back in the Note 2, switch it over on the web site, reception on the Note 2. Fortunately I was able to sell this one tout de suite on CL again and get my money back. I really liked the 928's camera, but I think I'm going to wait on purchasing another Nokia phone. Give me more apps (Instagram!), a bigger screen (it was hard going from the luxurious Note 2 down to the dinky 4.5" 928), and decent cell reception and I'll be back.

237. gazmatic

Posts: 822; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

Java sucks here's to klp sans java

236. mousesports

Posts: 286; Member since: Feb 28, 2013

Nice story Ray ... The Best way to explain them what wp can offer .

234. slyhounddog

Posts: 22; Member since: Jun 28, 2013

This article alone convinced me to buy a lumia 928. Saying goodbye to my galaxy note 2 a little reluctantly...

233. scottae316

Posts: 10; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

This whole flame war is actually funny. One person said they were surprised at the Android fanboys, well considering most of these comments seem like they are from "younger" individuals it should be no surprise. I don't read this site often, but this article was refreshing. I have used BBOS, BB10, Android 2.x, iOS, WP7.5, and even WebOS. They all (yes even Android) have weaknesses and strengths. It is what works best for you and your personal tastes and interests. Ray S. went from iOS to Android, didn't like Android and tried WP8 and liked it. I am glad he found something that works for him. He has had a change of opinion it seems, adults grow and change.

230. godsdragon

Posts: 5; Member since: Dec 11, 2012

Thanks for the review... After getting scared away from the iPhone lines, this is one of the phones I am considering this coming October...

228. 7thspaceman

Posts: 1597; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I got a Windows 8 smart phone because of 2 reasons != I wanted a smart phone that had more then dead pretty little ICONs on the screen. Some Windows 8 tiles update their info in real time that is cool too me. 2= The Windows 8 has The Windows "NT" kernel as the core of it's OS. Windows "NT" is a server and desktop OS that has been around a long time and is the base Kernal for the Windows 7, Vista and Windows XP desktop computers OS. Confident programmers should be able to write some good APPS for it

227. gazmatic

Posts: 822; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

wp8 has a better native calender, sms, email and offline maps that is what is keeping me here... the sync, the offline, the deep integration, etc so far nothing on android has made me say... wow, i should switch back to android android is handicapped from the start with that horrible java vm if klp fundamentally changes android like wp8 did to wp7 then I may consider switching back til them no android for me. no java vm for me tired of rooting, cache clearing, resets, custom roms, Fc, Rr, etc i've reset my lumia ONCE in the eight months since i bought it.... and that was to clear the "other" nonsense before the Nokia storage check i've owned two android phones in the past sgs3 and htc1x+ the 1x+ was and awesome device but with the normal android headaches with the lumia 920 i dont get those headaches i will def buy a 1020 because i am impressed with the lumia the is a reason i didnt buy the sgs4 or the htc1 i am wp8 until java is exiled

222. kabhijeet.16

Posts: 895; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

The author says that he "rarely play games, watch full-length movies, or use other heavy-duty apps on them. That's mainly because I don't have the time, and when I do have time for some entertainment, I usually prefer the comfort of my desktop. " for him even a feature phone would be enough... He can replace S4 with a Nokia 1100 also...

229. yann

Posts: 616; Member since: Jul 15, 2010

Meybe you din't read carefully. He uses internet and other things that you can't find on 1100, but ... it's your opinion. Generally, I'm supporting Ray.S I've personal Galaxy Note II and company Galaxy S4. I've never used iPhone, because of my personal reasons. Not need to discuss. For me is important to have good internet browsing and e-mail features, calendar, music and very good camera. So, i'm thinking for NOKIA 1020, but lets see... The screen is enough big and the pixels are more than i can see. I don't wear spyglass with me to search for them :-). The only part that i don't find is FM transmitter, which i had on my old, old, old N8. Honestly, i don't like Android at all, but is JUST ME. Don't hate me for that because is at least stupid.

270. z4520ft

Posts: 4; Member since: May 30, 2013

I'm in the same boat with the author. I prefer to use my desktop and laptop for my entertainment but some time when both of them are not available, I rely on my phone. To be honest I installed most recent xbox games on my lumia 920 but when I'm outside, waiting for my girlfriend to do shopping, I play simple games like wordament and temple run for quick entertainment or checking up my email. Both of these are not possible with feature phone and achievable even without the best android phone market has to offer.

218. cam-whore

Posts: 164; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

this is really great news Ray S. You just don't know how much you were hated before for bringing out articles so obviously biased with stupid iphone. But it's good to hear you finally saw the light. Congratulations bro

215. dre786

Posts: 46; Member since: Nov 10, 2012

what really is these android fans problem why are you so afraid of WP growth. if all those million of manufacturers of android devise cant decrease Samsung share then what really you guys think that Nokia would do. Nokia keep doing your thing with MS and WP8

213. vgyliu

Posts: 7; Member since: Jul 15, 2013

Until WP have a MangaRock and other anime or manga related apps that i use i dont think i will ever switch to WP. After android it will have to be iOS then WP if Ubuntu was out and stable i would use that over WP lol . I use ebook readers to read the anime light novels too.

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