I announced to the world several times that I would attain a Windows Phone when Nokia produced one, so when it happened I almost felt obliged to do it. Instead I decided to do it because I wanted to. Last tuesday I took delivery of a Nokia Lumia 800 (free on the Optus $49 plan (offer available until thursday), with way more than enough calling and 1.5 jiggles of downloading). I got the black one, because for some reason it was the one available on the parenthetical special offer there, else I’d probably’ve attained the cyan one. Mostly to be different. Anyhoo, this post is to wax on and off about it so I’d best get to that. First impressions upon handling the device were universally positive from all in the office who had a go. Full disclosure, I work in an office full of people who work in a telco related environment, it’s about 50/50 iPhone/Android (mostly Galaxy Nexus) users who are well into knowing about things of this nature. The two main things exclaimed were that it feels well made (it’s a little hefty) and that it has a great screen. It’s not as dense (pixel-wise) as some other phones, but everything really pops on it. We did a side-by-side with a Galaxy Nexus on the same website and the Nokia was noticably more vibrant. It was also noticibly slower to load the page though, so there’s that. Also it’s lower res, but it’s a smaller screen so heigh ho. Size-wise it’s a little more in each direction than an iPhone4S, with a 3.7″ screen that’s super responsive, though if I use the side of my finger my nail seems to cause some false clicking when I’m trying to scroll.
The Metro UI is a suberbly coherant thing, perfectly content to present an electronic device rather than being reminiscent of a notepad, casino, wild west saloon and three other things at other times. No drop shadows, no foofaraw, just a super clean no fuss look. I really like it. I’ve heard some gripes about the back button being odd here and there but I’ve no idea why as it immediately clicked for me. Back goes back, funnily enough. If you want to multitask you hit start again to start again, and to get to the other tasks you simply hold back and select the other thing. Simple. It is a little funny to have a ‘search the web using Bing’ button present at all times, especially when there’s an additional soft search button that pops up for things like your contact list. Not sure I need to have Bing available to me at all times, but that’s really a minor thing. There’s hardware buttons on the right side for volume (also functions to silence the ringer, it’s a press and a tap), lock and camera (tap the screen to take the shot (I can’t take the shot!)) so that’s all covered nicely. Battery life is edging into two days, though I’m assured by The Internet that the latest firmware will up to triple it. Even if it doubles it, that’s pretty good.
As for using the thing, it’s all pretty simple. Import your contacts over bluetooth from your previous phone (super easy to get em from my old Nokia N97) and they’re uplourded to Windows Live, which is apparently what MSN is now. I found that it was a lot easier to sort them out from there on the win Live website as I had the capability to merge contacts together. Given my contacts list traces its way back to single entries per phone number stored on the (old, I had to get a micro-SIM for this) SIM card, I had a bit of merging to do. Also it was a good time to clean up my MSN contacts list. It would be nice to be able to merge similar contacts on the device rather than just link them, especially given one of the drawbacks of the live site – 25 contacts displayed per page and no way to select contacts from two pages to merge. Bleh. Once that was sorted though it was plain sailing to link my twitter and facebook accounts, then link all those contacts together. The nice thing about that is that the phone will grab pictures for each contact from either site, and if I pinned someone to my start page it would keep me abreast of their latest internet based witterings. As it is I have a news feed that can be set to any or all sources and a notifications page that doesn’t seem to be able to give me direct messages from Twitter. The official app can take care of that, but it seems to be an oversight that could be easily fixed. Speaking of the Twitter app, it’s been given a great Metro design – I think I prefer it to the iOS one.
As for other nice apps, I’ve found that AU Weather Pro is great for weather related things, Fuse is a great looking RSS feed dealie (and works with Google Reader accounts) IRC7 seems to be a nice IRC app and there’s a WordPress app for updating this thing on the fly. Fuse I will choose to gush over, as one of the themes available straight up is called Ipsum and I really like it – the names of the feeds are used to indicate unread messages and such. Check it before I wreck it:
I really like it, though I’ve not used it a whole lot yet. It just looks cool, so I’m going to next time I’m wanting to read my feed while away from a computer.
Lastly, here’s a sample picture. It’s not bad, given it was overcast and evening times. I imagine I’ll photog a bunch more things, so keep an eye on my tweets if you want to see more.
Now, to finish on a downer, here are some
gripes constructive criticisms:
- The search button could be more useful
- It has Nokia Maps as well as Maps, Nokia Music as well as [Zune] Music + Videos, and a Nokia Blue as well as a just plain Blue colour scheme. If Nokia are going to integrate it should probably be one or the other – seems that Nokia wins for Maps and Blue, but not sure about music as I’ve not put any on there.
- The apps list (think ‘all programs’) could be unwieldy with a bunch more apps on there, even with the start menu to collate my selection of them. Might be nice to be able to nest similar things in sub menus.
- I’m not sure if there’s a way to cancel an autocorrect before it happens. There should be. Otherwise the keyboard and suggestive text is great.
- No wireless hotspot. This isn’t a phone limitation actually, it’s Optus that need to enable it. When I bugged them on twitter their guy said it ‘should be released with future updates’, so hopefully that comes to fruition.
In closing, I think I made a great decision to try something new, especially when (I choose to be hopeful) the wireless hotspot is opened up and I can link my ipod touch to it. I’m reckoning that the Metro UI has some great advantages over iOS and I’m looking forward to see where it goes. Hopefully the team there can stay on track with it and keep it going from strength to strength, especially given its newly found integration into Windows 8. More on that one later…