I’m an iPhone user, it’s my personal cell phone that I use for pictures, Facebook and texting. My work cell phone is an Android and I’m not a big fan of it’s email application or Touchdown – which is my primary purpose for my work phone. So when the Nokia 900 was heralded as the savior of the Windows Phone platform I was really looking forward to replacing my Android with it. I’ll go into details but in the interest of saving you some time here is the synopsis:
Today I returned my Lumia 900. The phone itself is OK and put up against 1-2 year old cell phones, it’s actually quite nice. However, put up against the competition in 2012 and the experience you’d get with any new phone, you’d either have to be an idiot or employed by Microsoft in order to buy one. Almost any other device on the market should be able to shame this device on usability, apps and battery.
Battery Life – It lasted way longer than any Android phone I’ve ever used. It was even better on phone calls.
Task Switching – Probably the best part of the Windows Phone experience, it seemed as if the Windows Desktop experience got ported to the phone and switching from one thing to the next was great. If the copy & paste worked any better I suppose this would be the killer feature.
Keyboard – While arguably better than the iPhone, it’s not even close to what Android and others offer. Compared to older versions of Windows Mobile and Windows Phone, the new keyboard feels smoother, more accurate and more reliable. I don’t think I’ve autocowrecked one word while having the phone 🙂
Brick feel – Phone feels much heavier and much larger than it appears. You never get that sense of the device disappearing and being immersed in the task as you do on the iPhone or Android. The key positioning and layout on the side / top of the device feels pretty unintuitive.
Swipe all day – Microsoft has tried to position the new OS as a way to get all the information you need right as you turn the phone on. Instead of opening apps up to see updates you could see them right away. Sounds great but that’s not quite how it worked out: I found that the social apps always showed outdated and useless information. For example, my Facebook was great at following people I don’t care about (full stream) but in order to update my status or dive any deeper on other folks timelines requires swipe after swipe after swipe. Almost all other apps worked the exact same way.
Microsoft advantage is barely noticeable – The selling point of using this phone in business (and we’re a Microsoft-powered business) was key, and the OS disappointed on that front. The whole experience feels like you’re messing around with notepad than an Office application.
Browser – Somehow, it’s worse than the Android. Almost every site I pulled up rendered the view as if it was running on a 24” screen not a 4” one.
Email – It felt like Outlook was taken over by Pinterest and then half way through decided it should look like a text message.
And the worst part, the reason you shouldn’t even think about this phone: Apps. The selection is terrible. The apps that are there look like trial versions of similar apps available on the iPhone and the Android. This of course is only when they aren’t freezing and crashing.
I feel too bad for Microsoft to be honest about how terrible this thing is. So I’ll try to be nice. It beats Palm Treo. It’s even better than Windows Phone 6.5. If you work for Microsoft or have to like them because you’re mooching off their ecosystem – you’ll love it – you have no other choice really.
If you’re on Android or iPhone that was built in the past year or two, you will find the upgrade disappointing. If you actually use your smartphone as a smartphone and depend on apps for both business and personal stuff (think photo taking/editing, tracking of your exercise or finances or notes or sports or..) you will be returning your phone as well.
If you’re a gamer.. Well.. I hope you have a nostalgic side for the Atari quality and experience. It was a nice throwback.
If you use your phone as a phone only and barely scratch the surface of the apps, I suppose it’s OK but there are many other phones with better battery, better price, better screen that are lighter, faster and even cheaper. With a 2 year contract the Lumia 900 costs –$50 (courtesy of a fumbled launch / bug) and if that’s the part that appeals to you get ready to be disappointed for the next 2 years.
I could not find one thing – from camera to keyboard to apps to voice quality – that distinguished this phone above and beyond all of it’s competitors. When you considered the Apps (the very reason for buying a phone) and the fact that there are practically none – what is the sense for purchasing the device?
There is still a chance that you’d love this device.
I love my 1975 Corvette Stingray. Despite it’s rust, lack of ABS or airbags I truly enjoy driving it. It has worse gas mileage than my Corvette Z06, it’s slower, it costs more to maintain and more to insure. Yet, I love it. The look, the feel and the noise is thrilling. Now if I could get a ‘75 Stingray with an LS7 engine, ABS, magnetic ride control and I still bought my rusty coffin powered by a LS82.. well, I’d be an idiot.
This is the choice that you have with Windows Phone. You can either get an iPhone and Android device that is far above and beyond where Windows Phone is.. or you can go with your heart instead. You like what you like, can’t argue that.. but apples to apples and android to iPhone to Lumia.. Hope you’ve got a big heart.