Living With Windows Phone – Week 1

I’ve had the Nokia Lumia 820 (Windows Phone 8) up and running for nearly a week now, including a full bank (national) holiday weekend.  What did I make of it?

On the positive side:

  • I like the merged contacts … on a personal phone.  I hate the default merge from the social networks on a business phone.  For personal usage, I like going to one place to start a conversation.  Any people that weren’t merged automatically were merged manually on the phone with very little effort.
  • The core app functionality I want is there.  I’ve seen complaints about the Twitter and Facebook apps.  They’re simple and clean and have the functionality you need, just how I like it.

On the negative side:

  • The breadth and quality of apps is poor.  You want a big name app?  Odds are it is not there in the Marketplace.  You want a jerky moving stickman sprite?  You got it!  Offering $100 to app devs will only continue this problem, not fix it.  We want quality, not quantity.  Microsoft needs to court the established app developers on other platforms instead of tempting students into earning beer money in return for cr-apps.
  • 8 GB of storage, even with expansion, is not enough.  I’ve added a 16 Gb MicroSD card but that is only used for video/document/music storage.  Apps must be installed on the internal (8 GB) storage, and apps often (Audible for example) ignore the available storage expansion.  I have to limit app installs and Nokia map downloads because I’ve used 80% of the available 8 GB in a week (after clean up).
  • The battery life of the Nokia 820 is not good.

Let me expand on the latter.  My work phone is a HTC 8x WP8 handset.  The battery life on it is similar to an iPhone.  It’ll sit on my desk, lightly used to be honest, for 2 days without power and without complaining.  This morning I used the Nokia for 15 minutes, while tapping the snooze button, on my house Wi-Fi (not 3G) while I checked e-mail, Facebook, etc.  The battery was drained by 16%.  I listen to audio books in the car (I got bored of bank scandals 2 years ago).  The FM transmitter is powered directly from the cigarette lighter.  I have been forced to power the phone from the USB slot on the transmitter because I’ll drain the battery too much during the 1 hour commute.

The phone actually gets quite warm while being used.  You can feel the heat through the back of the handset.  This is surely indicative of some inefficiency in the design of the handset?  I’ve never had another “hot” phone.  I have to charge this phone in the office, on the lead intended for the 8x.  The 8x is OK because it’s not as used/power hungry.  I never had to do this with my iPhone.

So far, I have to rate the HTC 8x as a much superior phone to the Nokia 820 but the Windows Phone 8 adventure continues.

By they way, I handled a Sony Xperia Z Android phone today.  Surprisingly light.  The square corners are a concern … I think I’d have to walk and sit down very carefully with that phone in my pocket.

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