I thought i would do a post on my recently bought phone. I did tons of research online between the Nokia Lumia 800 and the Apple iPhone 4S to weigh out the odds, through the pros and the cons. By the end of it all there wasn’t much of a difference on both sides. This was an open minded non biased research method. The last thing to do was to demo each handset and their running Operating Systems; Apple’s being the IOS 5 and Windows’s being the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango operating system. After visiting a few shops and demoing the devices it was the Windows OS that intrigued me more, but the comfort of the iPhone was slightly better. In short i was choosing the phone more for its functionality than its comfort and although it had to feel right in my hands they both weren’t far off. Nope i won’t be comparing much between the devices but more analysing and giving tips and information on the winner. Surprised or not, i chose the Nokia Lumia 800 and its WP 7.5 Mango Operating System. This post is for both people wanting to buy and people with one already as I’ll also be giving some tips and information.
*Everyone greatly inhales!*
Now that we have that in stone, i can move on. I have had the phone for a little over five months now and have used it thoroughly, without abuse. As we came to know Nokia was on the brink of being bankrupt and this phone was its make or break. It looks like it was a make. Nokia and Windows combined to make the aesthetics and functionality. Here’s my Lumia.
The size and shape of the device is fairly medium for modern day touch screen devices. Devices in the near past used to be much smaller but with the addition of touch and higher resolutions, screens have become much larger, thus making the overall phone larger. But i still don’t like the sizes of many smartphones of today, as i find them too large to be practical. The iPhone and Lumia seem to fit a shape that is somewhere in between for a nice perfect large screen while maintaining practicality. The Lumia’s size comes in at 116.5 mm in height and 61.2 mm in width, while being only a little over 1 cm in thickness. Most phones are cuboid in shape and its seems to work just fine that way. The one annoying thing about it is that the corners of the phone are in fact corners and if held with a corner in your palm, can be rather pokey. One of my favourite aesthetic parts of the phone has to be the curved, ClearBlack, AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic LED), corning Gorilla Glassed screen. Yeah that was a mouth full but had to be said. The glass curves to every side giving a smooth edge and a crystal clear vibrantly accurate picture. There are only 4 buttons on the right side of the phone; 2 being the Volume buttons, 1 for Power and 1 for Camera. The final aesthetic point is its compartments for the necessities such as charging port and sim card slot. The mechanism in which it works is very intelligent so that everything remains clean around the edges, which for some like me with OCD is awesome. This also helps all ports stay clean and not get filled with dust and fuzzballs. One possible downside is that the little door that opens up to reveal the charging port, looks flimsy enough to easily break. I have been lucky enough to not break it, but having OCD, i probably won’t break it. JINXED! Anyways the audio port is also located at the top which is handy.
The touch screen itself is smooth and accurate. Gliding your finger across can be done without great friction or greasy smoothness. So far i have had no problem with the touch screen, which is capacitive and not that annoying pressure sensitive type of screen. Although a lot of people complain about it having only one CPU at 1400 MHz, they forget that as long as everything runs smoothly on the device then single core, dual core or 20 core should not matter and from what i have tested, every swipe, application, and game has run perfectly smooth. The camera is 8 megapixel which is perfectly high for a mobile device, with auto focus and a bright flash. The interface is the interesting part. Microsoft are well into their Metro design, which is the design of an interface using simple shapes but mostly focusing on typography. This is what they have done to Windows 8, to the Xbox 360 dashboard and to Windows Phones. In my opinion, it’s a whole lot better than just the standard glossy icons that most other devices adopt. The phone interface is comprised of “Tiles”. Tiles are large square or rectangular icons that interact and update according to what you are doing or what things around you are doing…like the wasp hanging from your ear lobe. A tile can update with images and/or text. This means that you don’t even have to run an app to get information. All this plus multi-tasking on other apps and games without lag or crashes. So far over 5 months and not a single crash on my phone. Pretty good for the modern age where crashing is as frequent as having toilet breaks.
One thing that got me a bit confused at first was the “People” app. Instead of a simple contacts app, the People app houses all your contacts and friends from other places, such as your email accounts, or Social Networks. Luckily you can filter it properly so that you don’t have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MSN and hundred of people from other sources all i one contacts list. Later on i realised how useful this was. Not just for checking up on how your friends are doing and what they’re up to -if you like that sort of thing- but to have everyone you need there together so that you can contact anyone with ease all through the phone and without having to open up tedious apps to do all the work separately.
DID YOU KNOW? When you get texts the notification tells you how many texts you have received and depending on this number, the little face on the front of the tile will also change, from a smile to maybe a wink or even a shocked face.
The Calendar, To-Do, and Agenda together make the perfect organisation tools to keep you knowing what is happening around you, and as always the Calendar Live Tile updates on your home screen telling you directly what is happening. Also all calendar entries are synced up with your Hotmail email account so you don’t lose anything. Talking of organisation, the email linking feature also does wonders. You can either have all your emails separate or link them together into one Inbox. By selecting the options menu in one of the email inboxes you are able to select “Link Inboxes” and link other inboxes to it. Once all your email inboxes are linked, a Live Tile automatically appears on the home screen which will regularly update telling you how many emails you have received.
One of the core features of the Windows Phone OS is the Pinning feature. You can pin just about anything to your home screen, whether its a single contact of a friend, which will tell you everything happening with that person; or maybe an app so that you have quick access to it, or even a game, note, picture gallery, music, website and more. There’s even apps that let you pin headings so that your home page can also be organised, but more on apps later.
The browser being of Microsoft origin is of course Internet Explorer and it doesn’t fail. With HTML 5 and tabbing it runs every website perfectly. It doesn’t support Flash which most devices don’t for two main reasons; one is that flash is vulnerable to hacking and virus planting and the other is that Flash is eventually going to be phased out in time and devices won’t need it anymore as it can be quite power hungry. Zooming, pinching and swiping all work great with the browser. One thing i hope Microsoft update in the future is to have bookmark folders so that all bookmarks don’t just run in one list.
The Music interface has also been praised by many and i have no exception. It is very organised and looks sleek to use. The only downside to it is that i really do like the organisation of the iTunes computer software application, and all music has to be transferred using the Zune software application which isn’t actually that bad and is pretty straight forward to use. The 16gb internal memory gives enough room for all my music and more.
SkyDrive and Office
SkyDrive is the Microsoft cloud storage usable with this phone, and the storage is an absolute plus that is worth having alongside your device. You can store anything online onto your SkyDrive and that anything is accessible from your phone to see, watch, read, edit, remove or lick. This coincides well with the phone having Microsoft Office so that you can create, edit, and update any Word, Excel and PowerPoint document.
The settings are very simple and some may say too simple, but i guess its good as i haven’t had any problems with it. All the basics like Ringtones and Themes, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mobile Network, Date, Time and so on are easy to access and easy to change. The Applications side of the settings gives you access to Background Tasking, Games, Internet, Messaging, Phone, People, Camera and so on, type of settings. all easy to access and change.
I mentioned ringtones earlier and i thought i would delve a little deeper into that as modern phones are becoming much more reluctant to use your own ringtones or tell you how. On the Nokia Lumia 800 or Windows Phones you must make sure your music track is under 40 seconds long, is under 1 MB in size, is MP3 or WMA and finally not DRM protected. To actually get the track on your phone simply change the genre of the track to “ringtone”. You can change the genre in Zune or if you use iTunes you can do it in that but remember the track needs to be uploaded using Zune. By changing the genre to ringtone, the phone now recognises it as a ringtone and will appear only in the ringtone section and not in your music section which for people like me is awesomely organised.
There are a vast variety of games on the Windows Phone Marketplace. These games come in two categories. Xbox Live Games and well just Games. The difference with Xbox Live Games is that they directly impact your Xbox Live Account and have achievements that update on your Xbox Live Account, which you can see on the web and more commonly on your Xbox 360 console. The downside is that, there is not a super large library of these Xbox Live game titles and the marketplace is growing in time. The other downside is that because these titles have Xbox Live features such as achievements, the games tend to be a little more expensive than their Apple App Store counterpart. although recently these games have been coming out onto the marketplace cheaper and with the weekly Deal of the Week, there’s plenty of incentive to buy a game, or buy it when it appears cheaper. But with all that said there are hundreds or non-Xbox Live games, many of which are free. Yay freebies!
I will do a follow-up blog post on some of the best and most interesting titles i have come across.
The apps library is very vast in the Windows Phone marketplace, you will usually find what your looking for. there are many apps to fit all types of people, environments, feet and so on and so forth. With the Nokia Lumia 800 also comes the Free Nokia range of apps, including a Satellite Navigation System app that works very well minus the Yoda voice – sad face.
I will do a follow-up blog post on some of the best and most interesting apps i have come across.
So overall, the shapes good, with an awesome glassy screen and the touch screen works great. The People hub is a great new way to stay in contact with people whether just contacts or friends from social networking websites or people you wish to stalk (i do not condone such behaviour). Functionality in terms of organisation, tile pinning and calendar are excellently incorporated and keep you in the loop with ease. Internet browsing is easy and fluid. It is a great device to listen to music on. Document syncing and editing couldn’t be better with SkyDrive and Office, including features to upload pictures to store on SkyDrive to be accessible anywhere. Settings are simple and easy to change, while ringtones although a little tedious to make are placed well on the device. The final things are games and apps which are available in great masses and although Xbox Live game titles are a little more scarce, they are growing exponentially. I will follow up this blog post with probably two more posts; one for apps and one for games.
Hope you enjoyed reading and hope the information was useful to you. Thanks again, and remember ….. PHONE …HOME!