User Experience of Windows Phone 8, Lumia 920. by Spiffy

 

A windows phone 8 user, Ghislain, shares with us his experience using Lumia 920.

Ghislain d’Adesky has been working in the mobile industry for the past 12 years. Ghislan has a strong multicultural background and is currently works at a multinational Chinese telecommunications equipment and services company as a Business Consultant. His specialties include competitive intelligence, international project coordination and networking. He holds a Master Degree in Management from SKEMA Business School (Lille, France) where he graduated in 2001.

 

 

Here’s what he has to say:

I have to admit, I am a bit of a smartphone addict.

My first smartphone in 2003 was the Sony Ericsson P800 and it didn’t come out of the blue but rather as replacement for the Palms I had in the 90s. My next smartphones were T-Mobile branded HTC devices running on Windows Mobile (2003 SE, 5 and 6).

In 2008 I moved on due to a mix of curiosity, peer pressure and availability issues of Windows Mobile devices in Bahrain, where I had moved. I became a Blackberry user for 3 years and I was quite happy with them.

Nonetheless, I felt nostalgic after a while so I bought a Sony Ericsson Xperia X2 (Windows Mobile 6.5) to try it out at the beginning of 2010. The performance of this device and its size were disappointing and inconvenient. BBM also proved to be way too addictive so I ended up putting the device into a drawer and gave it away to a friend and that was probably not among the nicest gifts I ever made.

At the beginning of 2011 I gave in and I bought the device I had sworn I would never acquire or even keep if offered: the iPhone (iPhone 4). After getting over the loss of a keyboard and BBM, I reluctantly had to admit that it was the most advanced smartphone I had ever used/owned. Being a frequent traveler I always need a second device and that I had the opportunity to discover Google’s Android, however the fact that these are mostly entry level devices that had their limitations i.e.: in terms of storage capacities or processing power, I couldn’t say that I had given Android a fair chance in comparison to iOS (since then I acquired a 7’’ tablet running on Android 4.0 and it changed my perspective of that OS).

My iPhone didn’t age well e.g.: the pictures taken with it were all blurry after less than one year apparently because of too many scratches on the lens.

With the release of Mango/Windows Phone 7.5 and the eye catching Nokia Lumia 800, I started to follow again what Microsoft was doing on the handset field.

As I was starting to get bored with my iPhone and had already passed a first replacement opportunity: the iPhone 4S (couldn’t see how to justify an upgrade from the 4 to the 4S). Then Windows Phone 8 was announced. Microsoft’s new mobile OS looked nice, and despite wishing them
success with it, I was waiting for the iPhone 5 to come out. I had grown accustomed to iOS but it was no longer a love match, habits/convenience had set in.

However the iPhone 5 once again turned out to be a disappointment: only incremental changes and apparently made of shoddy material (I am thinking Scuffgate here). It made it at best uninteresting or unexciting as a replacement and at worst look like a rip off in any case it seemed Apple was taking its customers for granted. I didn’t like that so I decided that I would ditch the iPhone and move on to something new: the renewed version of the mobile OS I had been familiar with a couple of years before: Windows Phone 8.

At first I was hesitating between the Samsung Ativ S and the Nokia Lumia 920. But the reviews, the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft and ultimately the availability made me choose the Lumia, my first Nokia ever. I ordered a black one in November, not my first choice: wanted a matt one but the gray seemed to exist only on pictures and the blue one exclusively sold in the US.

However a delivery issue meant that I had to leave for weeks to Indonesia on a business without my new smartphone which was frustrating. It’s only shortly before the holidays that I could finally lay my hands on my Lumia 920 and it felt like Christmas came (several days) early!

 

First impressions of WP8

Finally something fresh, it’s a mobile OS that is very user friendly and intuitive yet still exciting to discover and to use also for long time smartphone users. I instantly liked to “look and feel” of the OS, even the fonts look great, special attention to details had obviously been given.

If you choose Bing as a lock screen, you will get a beautiful daily updated background picture. And every day I eager to see what it will be.

The “Live Tiles” interface is absolutely brilliant. It is a smart and original way to combine icons and widgets and it makes every one’s Windows Phone unique. Yet personalization didn’t come at the expense of aesthetics and ease of use. Kudos Microsoft !

I noticed that even die-hard fans of competing mobile platforms are impressed or even jealous when they see WP8’s home screen.

It is also the first time I get to experience the benefits of the ”Cloud” on a mobile.

Skydrive enable eamless synchronization with my PC, my Android tablet or even my old iPhone. My pictures are automatically uploaded/shared, same thing goes for the notes taken with OneNote, or with the documents I wish to place on it. On my PC, Skydrive is actually a  drive of its own right, appearing on Windows Explorer just as clearly as the local drives (C: D: ect.). It is a great experience, it’s very convenient and I told that this is just the beginning, that Microsoft is working hard a developing a fully integrated ecosystem

Admittedly, Apple has the iCloud, tried to use it and couldn’t see the benefit of it.

Teething problems with WP8 that will need to be addressed:

  • Storage place loss over time due to an ever-growing section called “Other”, am told the first Androids had that issue too.
  • The PC synchronization software for Windows 7 is still a work in progress

Missing on Windows Phone 8 and hopefully available soon:

  • Data usage counter (DataSense is available in the US and Nokia Counters for WP7: so it shouldn’t be difficult to release it for everyone). Having an indication of mobile data consumption is usually considered as a basic function on smartphones.
  • Ability to edit forwarded emails.
    Ability to reply/forward emails from another email account than the one it was received with.
  • Notification Center
  • An easier way to close apps individually.
  • Ability to “sign out” of Skype.
  • List of purchased/installed apps in the Store and ability to automatically reinstall all of them on a new or reset device.

And my wish list when it comes to third party/app developers:

  • Apps for my favorite newspapers/subscriptions: Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Economist.
  • A more powerful Facebook app (i.e.: ability to save pictures, change visibility of post according to privacy needs, ability to change friends lists)
  • Gold version/more functions for the Worldmate application.
  • Ability to “Shazam” songs while being offline and submit them when online again (like it
    is possible on iOS).

 

On the Nokia Lumia 920

I have yet to use it on an LTE network and to use/get familiar with NFC.

Pros:

  • Slick 4.5inch screen, very high pixel density, best display quality I have seen on a smartphone so far.
  • PureView camera technology and even the Optical Image Stabilisation technology that are generally found only in dedicated cameras give the device an obvious competitive advantage. In a nutshell this phone takes great pictures, and the videos shot with it compare to cameras not to any other smartphone currently available.

Day time panorama with Lumia 920

Night time shot with Lumia 920

  • Super sensitive screen: being able to operate the phone with gloves. Here in Poland not having to freeze ones hands off when using the device outside in the winter is a luxury one gets used too very quickly.
  • Nokia exclusive apps such as: superior Maps and Drive (GPS) (that work perfectly offline as well); the impressive Photobeamer (enabling to show the phone pictures on any screen), Citylens (my first encounter with Augmented Reality), Panorama (an easy to use panorama camera app), Trailers (a great app for viewing trailers) and more. I still have to check out Smartshoot and Cinemagraph (supposedly
    great too)…
  • Wireless charging: I was not convinced at first, I didn’t think I would need it. It turns out to be convenient and addictive once you start using it.
  • High quality build and minimalistic design with a curved screen.

Cons:

  • Battery capacity
  • No expendable storage/no microSD slot
  • Size?  Some people complain about the weight of the Lumia 920s. But I don’t see it as an issue, after all nobody thinks that iPad Mini is heavy and the Lumia is nearly/only half of it. One should also not forget that most of the high-end devices released now or that are announced have 4.7inch or larger screens so this is something one better gets used to (well, unless you are an iPhone aficionado)…

To wrap up this review, I have no regrets of having switched to Windows Phone 8 and the Nokia Lumia 920. This device could be the light at the end of tunnel for Nokia, and it is a great launch pad for Windows Phone 8.

It’s exciting to be an early adopter of such a promising platform.

I was proud at managing to convince a work colleague to switch to the Lumia 920/WP8 within a week of starting to use mine, but to be honest, it was easy as Microsoft and Nokia did the work by being competent, innovative and fun. The Lumia 920 is probably the best smartphone currently available! (not only according to me but also: Engadget, CNET, Mashable etc…)

Ghislain d’Adesky

The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity.

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2 Responses to “User Experience of Windows Phone 8, Lumia 920.”

  1. Deepak

    For the battery capacity – I have found that charging on a wall socket with the nokia provided charger gives longer battery range. If you are used to charging from a laptop or another cable, reboot the phone using the power & lower volume key and recharge with nokia cable and power adapter. This makes a big difference.

    Reply
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