Nokia Lumia 920 / Windows Phone 8 Review

I’ve been using an iPhone since around 2008 and finally in February this year, I decided I had enough of an OS that was really not innovating fast enough. I sold my 4-month old iPhone 5 and switched to Lumia 920. The Windows OS looked sufficiently alluring and refreshingly different from iOS and Android.

The experience has been mixed, but by far the most frustrating part has been using the phone while running/exercising. I nearly yanked off and threw away my phone this morning!

I’ve tried Endomondo, SportsTracker, and RunKeeper but face huge reliability problems in all. The GPS just disconnects randomly mid-run leaving me with no track of my run. This is particularly frustrating while running in new areas where I have no distance markers. Have written to Nokia and Windows on Twitter but with no solution. Of around 6 runs I have tried with the phone, I have been able to record only ONE complete run.

As if that were not enough, the music interface on Nokia is infuriating to say the least. Initially I was very excited about Nokia Mix Music. I still think it is great to have readily mixed music on tap. And it streams quite well. The trouble is with the interface to access the music. To start with there are two entry points – Nokia Music and Music + Videos. Not sure of the difference between the two. Once you get to Nokia Music (which takes all of 4 seconds to start!!!) its a task getting to your own music collection. And then to browse by Artist/Album/Songs is another few clicks/slides. So lets take a very common use case for me – if I just want to start shuffling all my songs, on an iphone I just double-click home button, and click the Play button. Or better still, with my headphones on, just double click the headphone button.

I CANNOT do all this on the Lumia. To start playing my music, I have to launch the music app, scroll to my collection, and then songs and then slide down to reveal the Shuffle button. To make matters worse, even with shuffle on, sometimes it just plays one song and then stops. So you have to keep unlocking the phone and clicking to the next song!

Now imagine all this happening while you are running and have the Lumia strapped on with an armband. It is a task to simply want to play music while tracking your run.

And headphones which allow you to control both, song play as well as volume are hardly available. I think only the official Nokia accessories have that facility (which is probably 2-3 expensive models).

Running apart, I have otherwise had a mixed experience with the Lumia/Windows. The screen is great (the right size to my mind), the windows interface is definitely a refreshing change and quick smooth. Some things are actually easier to do – like setting up short-cuts for speed dial or frequent tasks etc. However, there is still a lot to be desired:

1. The browser sucks!! It is not HTML5 compliant and also does not always parse pages properly to show them in once screen. And the worst part is there are NO 3rd party browsers you can download and use. You’re stuck with the standard issue.

2. No Notifications center! If you miss a notification, good luck. They claim the Live Tiles are meant to fulfill that, but they don’t. Its okay for a missed call or SMS, but say an NDTV notification or an FB notification is very poorly integrated.

3. Usability, while in some cases is better than iPhone, overall its a bit worse (music is terrible!) For instance putting the phone on Silent is 3 clicks/actions!

4. The Nokia Lumia 920 is bulky, unwieldy in shape, and of a texture that makes it easy to slip out of your hands. Battery life sucks, even compared to the iPhone 5, although if data is turned off (like when roaming), its actually amazing. And the phone heats up quite often especially when using data.

5. Multitasking is VERY basic and difficult to use.

All in all, I think Windows Phone 8 has a good thing going and I would really like for it to give Android and iOS a tough run (and I think it can). But the next update of WP8 better be a serious improvement for me to continue to stick with it.

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Founded and run one of India's leading Interactive Marketing Agencies called Indigo Consulting (www.indigo.co.in). Based in Mumbai. Love the city. Love music, gadgets, travelling, the Internet. Check out our company blog Mood Indigo at www.indigo.co.in/blog.

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Posted in Gadgets & Tech, Music

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