Why I will not switch to Windows Phone 8
Recently for work I have been testing some applications on Windows Phone 8, I thought to myself ‘Hey, this is a great time to personally check out the Windows Phone system’. My current phone is an Samsung Galaxy S II running Jelly Bean 4.1.2. So I will be coming from that viewpoint. The phone that I go to review is the Nokia 820 running Phone 8
The first think that you notice when you pick up the phone is the weight. This phone feels like holding a brick. Granted it is 160 grams compared to the 135 grams of the S2, but it is extremely noticeable. But lets look at the Windows Phone 8 platform itself.
First lets go into settings. I am continually going crazy that there is no organization to the list of settings. Drilling down trying to find what to change is a pain. Perhaps once you get used to the phone it would be different but out of the box nothing makes sense. So for instance lets turn on Wi-Fi. You have to navigate to settings then to past Ringtones, Theme, Email, Internet Sharing, Lock Screen then Wi-Fi. None of these are in any order, or not any order that I would ever use. I turn Bluetooth on and off all of the time between car, office and home. after a few days I would have just thrown the Windows Phone out the window.
But why have to go into settings at all, in android you pull down the notification bar and tap the Wi-Fi on then a list of close Access Points appears, simple, intuitive.
The next irritation I have with Windows Phone is the top status bar. The default is to only show the time. During my testing I have to constantly swipe down to see if the Wi-Fi is connected and the battery status. This is a major flaw in the system. This simple status could be shown with no drain to the battery or problem with the display. I did put a live time battery display on the home screen but it did not update very well.
Don’t try to use the search button. At the bottom of the phone there is a search button that I am inadvertently hitting all of the time. Now if this was smart enough to just launch search in the app that you are currently in but no. This button is linked to Bing search. So it launches the Bing search app. On Android the search button is contextually aware and will search the current app. Even in the Microsoft developed app store you cannot use the physical search button, they had to put a soft search button in the store application.
Coming from android and the myriad of keyboards that you can choose from the Windows Phone keyboard is just difficult to use. There is no positive feedback for hitting any keys, I often hit wrong keys accidentally and don’t know it because of this. Selecting and positioning the cursor is not very functional. The menu buttons (back, windows, search) are getting hit all the time and launch you to where you don’t want to be. The lack of feedback from the keyboard just makes it completely unusable.
There are times when I want the phone screen to not timeout. This setting is locked by the carrier, some will allow it, in my case AT&T only allows you to set this to 5 minutes. Oh, and another thing the power button is in the middle on the side of the phone so anytime you pick up the phone you hit the button. Just another frustration.
So if you have an Android or iPhone save yourself the pain and stay away from Windows Phone. If you have a feature phone . . . . . nope, can’t do it. I can’t recommend it for those users either.