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 That glorious time when we're out on the market, looking for a flashy, new smartphone to replace our hugely outdated device.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.



1. bloodline

Posts: 706; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

what the hell is this garbage

2. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

Fanwars will start in 3,2,1...

42. EXkurogane

Posts: 863; Member since: Mar 07, 2013

@tiara Or, you can view this article in a different way. "I want fanboy wars to start so that the website traffic comes in." :D

113. htc_evo_3d

Posts: 84; Member since: Mar 11, 2013

i see this PA becoming as an advertiser for WP phones recently.

184. whysoserious

Posts: 318; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

I somewhat agree. One of his reason to not liking S4 is its being "the jack of all trades, but master to none," but Lumia 720?!? WTF? It's like replacing a 700 horsepower well-balanced supercar with a 90 horsepower well-balanced mini cooper. I mean, I would totally agree with him switching to Nokia if he would choose Lumia 1020, but Lumia 720 over Galaxy S4?! GTFOH Ray.

187. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

What's the point of owning a "supercar" if you never use its capabilities? It's solely bragging rights at that point, and severely wasteful. A Mini works better in the city than a supercar, just as a truck works better on a farm than a supercar. A supercar only really "works" well on an expansive, sparse highway or racetrack, thus, not for everyone, just as a truck or being on a farm, or a Mini or being in a crowded major city is not for everyone.

190. whysoserious

Posts: 318; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

Well it's not like the S4's capabilities are unuseful like supercars on farm or city. My point is, why buy a supercar in the first place when you gonna settle into something so inferior when you get tired of it? If he enjoys WP that much, why not try the 920 or the 1020 as an alternative instead?

216. Mittal

Posts: 494; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

probably coz he doesnt want all that bulk of a camera and is getting a fluid enough interface at 40% of the cost

223. DKJnr

Posts: 24; Member since: Mar 11, 2013

I think you are missing the point. He seems to say that lower spec'd WP phone (Lumia in this case) works just as fluidly as a flagship Android and in his opinion better. My only hold back with article is for SGS4 he discredits it for stuttering especially on heavy games yet for Lumia 720 praises it for meeting his basic needs: email, calendar etc. I think that's unfair - he should compare both hadsets at same level even if he qualifies that as (i'm paraphrasin) doing the basics right & "fluidly" at a much lower price point.

245. emljmnz

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 17, 2013

I don't think he said that the SGS4 stutters when he on heavy games (he says he rarely does); I think he said occassional stuttering. And his complaint is that the core functions of a smartphone were forgotten by SGS4, or should I say not well executed by SGS4.

200. aldridhl

Posts: 76; Member since: Feb 12, 2011

nice analogy

221. descabar

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 16, 2013

Says the guy with username "htc_evo_3d" and a picture of the phone.

242. JojoGo101

Posts: 211; Member since: Dec 17, 2012

He made a choice, may his reasons be biased or not, neither of you fanboys are PA's Staff. If you don't like it, just don't read articles on PA anymore.

126. UrbanPhantom

Posts: 949; Member since: Oct 30, 2012

Every Android lovin' dog is in howling mode now ;o)

143. UrbanPhantom

Posts: 949; Member since: Oct 30, 2012

bloodline@duplicate accounts 40+ thumbs up for posting that dumb one liner? I seriously doubt it...

224. bloodline

Posts: 706; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

what you chatting about. The article was garabage and many agree. This is just my opinion and yet PA still send me a warning about trolling.

176. shy2papa

Posts: 336; Member since: Jan 23, 2010

Garbage indeed Breaking News MS now owns PA

179. papss unregistered

Right after one bloggers opinion that must be true.. Go back to whatever dream world you live in

14. EXkurogane

Posts: 863; Member since: Mar 07, 2013

It simply shows you dont respect other people's decisions. Some of my friends and me too switched to Windows Phone. If things dont work out the way you expected, ADAPT and change, unless there is something crucial to you missing. The same thing applied when i transitioned from windows 7 to windows 8 for computers and laptops. No start button? Stop using it then. Within a week i dont even miss that button anymore because i changed my methods of navigating and opening programs in a computer.

43. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

Why should you adapt to a device? You pay and then you adapt to a device? The device should adapt to you. You are not slave of the machine. The machine is your slave. I guess that's why WP is unpopular. You have to 'learn' and 'adapt' to the system. Nobody has that time and patience. Actually nobody should ever do that. Notification center, many basic apps, 'huge' battery life is non-existent in WP. These are kind of fundamental issues till this point.

50. EXkurogane

Posts: 863; Member since: Mar 07, 2013

"Nobody has that time and patience" That is a poor excuse. Even animals can learn to adapt to a different environment, you as a human are telling me you cant adapt to something new, then i really have no comments. Life is about learning something new regularly regardless of age.

175. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

Excuse? What excuse? It's the excuses from WP/Nokia trolls that we see here. I don't have to invent excuse for lacklustre performance of WP7/8. If I don't like WP, that means WP doesn't appeal to me. It's MS/Nokia's mistake that they can't make the package good enough for my use. If I don't like something, why should I waste time and effort on that? It's not as if my life is going to end if I don't use WP. I feel WP is not good for me, I simply don't use it. It's not my mistake that I find it lacking in apps and features. it's mistake of Nokia/MS that they don't have a value proposition which is good enough for my use. Can I find an app like Tasker in WP? Does it provide me the freedom to modify themes or every possible setting of the system? If this is not something WP can do, what's the point of using it? Do you deliberately want me to change to much inferior product? Here's a realty check for you guys - it has been around 3 years since WP7 was launched. Yet, it failed to gain much market share. Maybe, MS is doing something wrong. Else, why WP is failing so bad? You need to invent a lot of excuses for that. I don't need to invent many excuses to use a N4.

180. papss unregistered

No the reality is that you care enough about WP that you wrote this ridiculous rant about why YOU think it's failing.. My opinion is that it's not failing but that its not as large as your my space OS

214. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

Reality is that you are making excuses. WP is a fail - it's not my opinion. It's a proven FACT.

217. Mittal

Posts: 494; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

lol @ u WP might not be the greatest but is certainly not failing

51. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

So you buy any phone, except WP, and it adapts to you instantly??

55. EXkurogane

Posts: 863; Member since: Mar 07, 2013

When you use something new, you need to learn first, regardless of what OS it is. The first time you touched a computer as a kid, the first time you owned an iPhone or an android phone, you have to go through a process called learning and adapting to it. What rd_nest said are simply poor excuses. And the problem with most adults nowadays (compared to kids, teens, and young adults), they are lazy to learn using "no time" and "work" as an excuse. You are already convincing yourself you dont have time, then how to do you some free time for yourself? If you dont like it because it is lacking the features you want, that is fine. But if you dislike it because it is different from others and a "pain in the arse" to learn, then you are just making excuses.

63. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

My comment was for rd_nest actually, lol!

65. EXkurogane

Posts: 863; Member since: Mar 07, 2013

Im well aware of that, im also replying to him.

53. Dunknown

Posts: 84; Member since: Jul 23, 2012

What an old fashion way of thinking. You really have to step out from ur room men. Humans need to adapt to the changes in the surrounding in order to be innovative. Without adapting to Change why not u just stick to ur old phone. U don't have to get a phone with those special features.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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