Living With Windows Phone – Day 2

Last night I finished setting up the new Nokia Lumia 820 Windows Phone 8 handset that came to me.  In summary – I’ve moved the SIM from my personal iPhone 4 to it with the intention of trying to use the WP8 machine as my normal phone.

It’ was an app-heavy night.  Starting with LastPass … cos I’ve lots of long passphrases recorded there Smile  Other apps that I found and (left) installed:

  • Accuweather: the best hour-by-hour forecast I’ve found
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Audible: I would prefer something that can play 3rd party audio but a 1 book/month subscription is cheap and is more than I can listen to anyway.  I can cancel at any point if I want.
  • British Airways
  • ConnectivityShortcuts: quickly disable connectivity, great for flying
  • XE Currency
  • Facebook
  • Football Live: NFL news because there isn’t an official app
  • Here Maps (Nokia): downloadable maps
  • Hotels.com
  • IMDB: perfect for those debates on the way home from the movies
  • Irish Tides: tidal app for landscape photography
  • IrishTimes: Irish news paper
  • Lastminute.com
  • LinkedIn
  • Lync 2010: Who knows when my O365 will be updated so I can upgrade to Lync 2013
  • My Travel Story Free: Snap holiday/travel photos by themselves are pointless.  Stick them in a “journal” to give them context.
  • Netflix
  • PDF Reader
  • PhotoBeamer (Nokia): Wonderful app for presenting photos to a web browser on your PC/projector
  • Photosynth
  • Podcast Picker: the best of a bad bunch when it comes to podcasting on WP8. It can find, download (must be harder than it seems because some bigger names fail), auto download, and allow me to create playlists.  I have no interest in McGuyver solutions based on iTunes.
  • Post-it Tiles: The sort of app I use to record the parking space I’ve used at the car park
  • Pumps.ie: get the price of car fuel at local locations in Ireland
  • RTÉ News Now: Irish news from the national broadcaster
  • Shazam: Find out what music is playing
  • SkyDrive
  • Skype
  • Sunlight: Get the sunrise and sunset times.  I am still looking for one that has the golden and blue hours.
  • Twitter

As for my car’s Bluetooth, it’s a Parrot CK3100 LCD.  It synced up easily enough with the handset.  My Belkin FM transmitter works well.

I also installed a free battery app called “Battery”.  It gives a more meaningful display of the charge via a tile, as well as predicted battery life (while disconnected) or charge time (while charging).  There’s also a graph to illustrate power usage over time.

There is a little concern about battery life.  It was gobbled up this morning while watching the recorded Samsung S4 launch coverage on TWiT during breakfast.  However, I charged it in the car via the FM transmitter and I’ve been showing the phone to a few people in the office.  The battery is still showing as 100% full.

Photography is a big thing for me.  I copied my “favourites” album from my Windows 8 tablet to the phone.  These photos are full sized JPEGs from my DSLRs over the years.  They’ll range from crops on an 8 MP camera to full sized 16 MP images.  And they only get into this library is the are sharp (focus + detail).  On Windows 8, I’ve noticed that there appears to be an API issue in the new UI when you zoom in on images.  The detail is lacking.  Open up the images in the desktop and they are much more crisp.  What would it be like on WP8?

I am used to some form of compression when copying photos onto the iPhone.  You get a certain amount of zoom but the transfer reduces the photo size to save space (I think).  I was at a photography club event and met another member I hadn’t seen in a while.  We shared “war stories” and showed our prizes on our phones.  He had an iPhone and could only zoom a bit to show detail.  My relatively low res Lumia 820 allowed quite a bit more zoom on my images while retaining detail.  It felt (subjective judgement) that the WP8 photos app zooms better than Metro apps in Windows 8.  Score one for the Nokia. 

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