At this point it is no secret that iOS (iPhone) and Android rule the roost. In fact, most companies will only develop applications for the big 2 because that’s what most people use. I wanted to branch out a bit and experience what it would be like to go from Android to Windows Phone. So I looked on Swappa and purchased the Nokia Lumia 925. I have had the device for about a week. Here are my first impressions.
*I am running the Developer Preview of Windows Phone 8.1. I do not know what it is like using WP 8. All of my impressions are based on my experience with 8.1 thus far. *
The design of Windows Phone has always intrigued me. I have been an Android user for 5 years now and there was always something about WP that drew me in. Their Metro UI or Modern UI or Windows Phone 8 UI is a flat minimalistic experience that is as smooth as I thought it would be. To me it is actually very refreshing, as it is different than any of the big 2 OS’s. It might get old eventually, but right now I am very much liking the experience.
You can choose between a black background and a white background. I chose the black, as I feel it looks cleaner with the tiles laid on top. My 925 also has an AMOLED display, so having more black provides a great visual experience and can save a tiny bit of battery in the process. Your “start screen” is where all of your important activity happens. I like that tiles can be resized to how you see fit, and all of your applications are just a swipe to the left away in an alphabetical list.
From your list of apps, you can pin them to the start screen and you can uninstall. I really love that functionality. You do not have to go into settings to find an actual list of your applications – this is minimal and clean. I really like the “live tile” feature of an application. Live tiles are when an application’s tile (or icon if that helps you) displays information on your start screen. This adds a whole other dynamic to your start screen and to the overall UI of the OS. If Android widgets and standard icons had a baby…that’s what a Windows Phone Live Tile would be.
Inside the Nokia Lumia 925 is a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon s4 processor. Needless to say, this is a dated processor. Coming from my Snapdragon 801 processor in my HTC One M8, I was more than skeptical, but Windows Phone is a different beast all together. Windows like Apple, has always done very well in the hardware-software optimization category. Something that Android has been doing really well with the release of Kit Kat. Needless to say, the experience is quick and smooth, even on an older processor. There are some apps like the Nokia camera, that have a loading process once opened – this has been greatly reduced with the newer WP handsets with an 800 chip inside.
Generally, when navigating the OS, it is quick and smooth. Animations are all over the place, and they are quite pretty to look at. Coming from Android to Windows Phone I was concerned about multitasking. Having been using the device for a week, multitasking is certainly not an issue. The overall action of viewing your open apps is not as quick as Android (stock Android). In order to multitask you have to long press the back button. This takes longer than it needs to.
If you want to play games on Windows Phone, a 512MB of RAM device won’t cut it. You should really plan on having at least 1GB of RAM. The 925 has 1GB. So when I start to test game performance, I should be able to download any title I would like.
It is no secret that Windows Phone doesn’t have the number of applications that Android has. While this is true, that doesn’t change the fact that the applications it does have, are actually really good. WP gets a bad wrap, I actually found that the only apps I was missing were Google related. In case you don’t know, Google and Microsoft aren’t exactly Mario and Luigi if you catch my drift. So, if you absolutely HAVE to have Google services, because to you, there is nothing on this planet better – then you should probably stay away from Windows Phone.
Since I am an Android user and have been for quite some time, I have been pretty invested in Google services. It’s a natural consequence from using Android. However, Gmail and my Google contacts sync’d up just fine. Any one that tells you differently, shouldn’t be listened to. You will need to prepare yourself, as there is no Google+ and there is no Hangouts. These are the only two services I have missed since I have gone from Android to Windows Phone. (I REALLY miss them.)
Overall I really enjoy Windows Phone. I could just be buzzed off of using something new, but there has been nothing that I hate about it. The UI is refreshing and the hardware that Nokia (Now Microsoft) provides is solid and attractive. I am really looking forward to learning more and more about the operating system. I still feel the hurt of losing Hangouts and Google+ in mobile form, but I’ll live for now.