Aug 3, 2013

In two weeks time I'm officially weened off from iOS for two months.  It was a hard decision on jumping to the Windows Phone bandwagon but Nokia's beautiful and quality design and Microsoft's Windows Phone UI was so irresistible that I had to abandon my plans on going all-in with Apple.


For a brief history I have been a Nokia fan since year 2000 when I first got my 5110.  Then it progressed on to the 3310 and yes I got the 5510 which was a head turner back in the day.  Then the N Series came out and I got the N82 then the Nokia 6260.  Somewhere along the way I also had the Nokia 6120c and Nokia Xpress Music phone (which are still alive and kicking until this day).  And oh, lest I forget I also had the Nokia Ngage QD.  So yeah, I'm a pretty die hard Nokia fan until 2010 when I switched to the iPhone 3Gs and it was the best thing ever back then.  The Nokia N900 showed some kind of promise but somehow Nokia discontinued Meego.

Last year, I get to play with the Nokia Lumia 800 and absolutely fell in love with the device and Microsoft's Windows Phone interface.


It was not just jumping into Windows Phone but it was also abandoning my plan to go all-in with Apple.  I think the Windows ecosystem is the right platform for me and I do want a consistent experience with my devices.  Don't get me wrong, I still dabble with other platforms from time to time and play around with them but I think you go to have that one platform that you can work on.  It's just a matter of preference really, others prefer using multi platforms, I prefer a unified experience.


The Nokia Lumia's design is beautiful.  It is modern, simple, clean and the screen really just pops out.  A lot of co-workers were stunned by the device's screen and most of them have S4's.

The Lumia 920's design and Windows Phone UX really is a different approach compared to the traditional experience with iOS and Android.

It's not interesting to do something different for the sake of being different. You want to do something that's meaningfully better. — Marko Ahtisaari

Despite the lackluster reviews and support from so-called "tech analysts" and developers respectively, Windows Phone really is a great and a unique mobile operating system.  From the live tiles to deep integration of social media the design just goes beyond just aesthetics.  Nokia delivered the final punch by delivering what they do best, great quality design and hardware.


Despite a couple of new Lumia flagships namely the Lumia 925 and the Lumia 1020, the 920 never seems outdated or you don't feel your device is old.  It is contrary to what you feel when a new iPhone or a Galaxy comes out.  Trust me, I've been there.  When the iPhone 4 came out just months after I got my 3Gs, there was little anxiety of getting left behind technology.  Not with the 920 and I think you have to give props to Nokia for this strategy.

One of the greatest strengths of a Lumia is the camera but we'll dig in to that later.  There are some minute details of Windows Phone that I love and one of that is the "tap-on-the-side-to-select".  TOTSTS is a one tap less than away on selecting threads on your messages and email on your inbox.  Other platforms have the "edit" or "select" button then a box comes up beside the items for you to select.

Another feature that I like is the Live Tiles.  Android boasts of its widgets but often these widgets are clunky and they have different design, typography and animation.  For me it is a convoluted mess on the homescreen.  Live Tiles have the same language.  It's animation are similar and they are really beautiful to look out when they flip and slide.  Typography is clean and it gives you the information and the notification you need.

Last and of course not least, the camera.  You know the specs, it has Pureview technology and the floating lens.  I have tried the Nokia 808 Pureview courtesy of Nokia Connects and it the camera was just amazing.  The Lumia 920 is not the Windows Phone counterpart of the 808, the 1020 is, the 920 still takes amazing low light photos.  The above photo was taken around 6 PM and I was amazed how this phone can capture light even the faintest.

I charted some of the amazing photos from my Lumia 920 on Lumianography, check it out.  It's also an open blog, if you have a Lumia you can submit your photo here and we'll publish it for you with your credentials.


Like every platform, it has issues and you have no other choice but to deal with them patiently and wait for an update.  Here's a few: Metadata issue with Music + Videos app, Unread emails count drops back to zero once you open the app, IE on Windows Phone 8 is a bit slower compared with the experience I had with Safari on the iPhone 3Gs and of course, more apps please.

Regarding on apps, Windows Phone doesn't really need a huge collection of apps but what we need are quality apps and apps that really matter.  For example, Windows Phone doesn't really have a great eBook reader app.  Seriously, have you used Readmill?  That app catapulted my reading spree during the summer and I am not that of much a reader.

I have finished 3 Haruki Murakami novels during the summer (well that last one, almost...).  It may not be much of a feat to you but for me to go on a reading spree like that, it is.  Windows Phone needs to pick up the pace on much needed apps and updates.  You should follow me on Readmill here.

Red + Steel

I would also like to see Nike+.  Windows Phone has some good running apps but I always prefer the Nike running app.

Red + Steel

Plus, I am also a Nike fanboy myself.


Making the switch from the iPhone meant change and patience and getting used to.  Windows Phone has a big gap to fill but that gap has closed in a couple of months.  Microsoft needs to amp up apps and updates and I hope they continually improve the design and UX of Windows Phone.

I think Andrew Kim explained it right on the spot and I am going to leave you with this.

Many people aren’t going to understand what I’m getting at. To be honest, I’m having a hard time grasping it myself. The 920 achieves something truly great at an emotional level. It is an honest, pure and passionate design that shows care. There’s something magical about its presence. It feels special. It gives me a similar feeling to the first time I held an iPod mini. And sadly, iPhone has forgotten how to do that. — Andrew Kim

You can read Andrew Kim's extensive review on the Lumia 920 here.