From iOS, to Android, to... Windows Phone? An Honest Review.
If you are reading this, hello! I'm writing this piece because I feel as though I should share with all of you what I've found to be as an interesting situation that I'm in. I'm using a Windows Phone.
It all started when I left my Motorola Q behind, and plunged for the iPhone. It was smooth, fast, beautiful, and just so different that I fell in love. I realized at that moment that I needed more than just a phone that made calls; the iPhone to me was a sign of the future. Alas, 4 months into owning it, the glow wore off.
Part 1: The Apple and The Garden.
After a few upgrades (3G, 3GS, 4), I found that iOS was starting to become drab. I was tired of having to wait for a jailbreak in order to customize the phone towards what I wanted to do at the time, and by jailbreaking, I often found myself riddled with glitches and bugs. Plus, the iPhone was a money pit in and of itself, simply because of it's fragility. I had the worst luck in the world, because even after purchasing an Otterbox, I STILL managed to shatter the screen. Most of all, I grew weary of iOS. I've always been big on design and minimalism, and something about the skeuphomorism on iOS constantly irked me. My friends who are all Mac-heads constantly raved about how beautiful the iPhone was, but I was never convinced. After all, I grew up on PC and my computers are all heavily skinned thanks to RainMeter and DeviantArt downloads. So one day, I decided to look elsewhere for my next phone. I was constantly being amazed with what Android was doing, and one day, I pulled the trigger and bought the Galaxy Continuum (that Galaxy with the second, small strip screen at the bottom). Man, what a phone.
Part 2: Are These The Droids You Are Looking For?
I fell in love with the depth and breadth of Android and its ability to adapt via. widgets/apps. If I didn't like the way my phone looked, I would just reskin it or get a ROM. However, as with every fairy tale, there's a catch. It seemed like a daily thing with force closes and app glitches. My OCD side could not ignore the constant jitter of the OS, nor the lack of any sense of design language. Aesthetically, Android just seemed "cheap", especially when it came to apps. While I could control the way in which my homescreen and lockscreen looked, the apps themselves ruined the experience for me.
I soon tossed the Continuum aside for a Droid X2, which was more or less the same thing. Next came the Droid Incredible 2, which was a blithering mess of glitches for me. Finally, I went with the Droid RAZR.
That was a big mistake.
The first 3 months were wonderful, but I was one of the many waiting to get ICS. Finally, the day came. We were promised a smoother phone. Sure, it looked miles better than it originally did. But it was a mess of problems from there. I've tried restoring the phone, resetting the apps, but force closes became a daily occurrence. Many times, I'd run into errors that brought the phone to its knees and mandated a restart. I sent in the phone, had another one sent to me, and the SAME THING HAPPENED. We tried a third device, but to no avail. JellyBean added some nifty features (Google Now was pretty slick) but what's the point of having endless features if your phone crashes every 15 minutes? Mind you, all of my phones were checked and double checked for any suspicious apps, and in fact, the only apps I ended up having just because I trusted them were Engadget, Instagram, and Facebook.
Part 3: He who lives in a glass house...
...must really love Windows. I for one did. I purchased a Surface on the release day, and I have been quite satisfied with it. My laptops were all upgraded to Windows 8, and I was enjoying constantly outbenching the MacBook Pro in both photo and video editing in terms of LR/PS/PP/AU performance. So naturally, I was following Windows Phone for a while, checking it out (from a safe distance, in case MS pulled another Kin).
I left my RAZR on the train by accident (good luck to whoever now has it), and I had an upgrade sitting because I originally wanted to wait until the 928 came to Verizon. However, with another line due for an upgrade the following week, I decided that it would be smarter to just get the Lumia 822 now, and use the other upgrade when the 928 hits home. That is, unless they announce a 41 megapixel EOS Lumia, in which case, that upgrade will be waiting until THAT phone is on Verizon.
Zeus almighty, this phone is nothing short of amazing. First off, I'd like to say that yes, I do miss Instagram. But not as much as I thought I would. However, this phone truly feels like a SMARTPHONE for me. Why? Where do I begin?
Part 4: Happily Ever After.
The first thing that I fell in love with was Microsoft's Predictive Text. Sure, Android has this too, but the one on the Lumia is actually quite accurate. The keyboard on my 822 is so much more accurate than the one on my RAZR. Mind you, both the RAZR and the 822 have similar screen sizes, so space and screen size is not to blame here. It is just plain and simple easier to type on a Windows Phone.
The speed of this phone HUMILIATES my RAZR, and even my friend with the iPhone 5 struggles to do as much as I can. We had a little "Smoked by Windows Phone" time at lunch during college, and I never lost a single match (except for the "post to Instagram" challenge, which left me feeling less than kawaii). Flipping between apps is seamless, loading times are barely noticeable, but the phone has never ONCE stuttered. That's...
What? Is this even possible? What black magic is this?
The OS is absolutely gorgeous. I find the need for a notification center to be something that I don't care for, simply because my homescreen is absolutely gorgeous in how it is laid out. Everything that I NEED updates for, I get. As for the one off games, yeah, maybe it would be nice to get a notification center just for those third party apps, but trust me, I don't feel like I need one. The OS is really focused around me, because everything from typography to design language is flawless. I find it weird that a guy like me who loves to tinker and customize things suddenly doesn't want to, but you know what they say- if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Flipping between texts, Facebook chat (through the stock messaging application), emails, One Note, Calendar, and other apps is just stupid fast. Literally, I just back button or hold back button and bam, bam, bam. Android made me afraid of notifications. Windows Phone made me love them.
There are so many intuitive pieces to Windows Phone that are neither original, or unique, but the way in which these pieces are implemented makes them feel completely special on Windows Phone. I for one, am actually fine with knowing that there are better Windows Phones out there. Before, I had upgrade anxiety- never satisfied with a purchase, and waiting to see what would come out next. Instead, I might not even upgrade this for a while. I just bought a Mugen Extended Battery for this phone because I'm constantly on it (another first for me). I actually WANT to use this phone. When I had an iPhone or one of my many Droids, I would only use the phone to text, or call someone. Stuttering and other issues made me dislike using my phones. But this phone is so unequivocally smooth and refined that I am encouraged to use it. For the first time in my life, I've bought an app. Asphalt 7 Heat. A racing game. I'm going to be buying more apps to support this ecosystem. Why? Every app I've used so far on this phone looks good, works well (except for the Facebook app, but I'm just using the integrated Facebook support and therefore, I don't care. Plus, I'm sure that it isn't that great of an app on purpose thanks to FB's dislike of Microsoft) and is fluid and fun.
I really cannot express how happy I am with this phone. If you're skeptical, give it a week. You'll find those tiles flooring your heart.