Notes on Switching from Android to Windows Phone

I had discussed my deliberations when upgrading my smartphone on whether to switch from Android to Windows Phone. I did, and here is the promised follow-up.

Nokia Lumia 920 Handset

With many excellent in-depth reviews online, there is no need for me to delve deeply here.

  • Excellent display, great camera, is fast and responsive. Everything you would expect from a flagship smartphone.
  • Not very happy with battery life. I had expected slightly longer life, when using with WiFi & 3G. But the Battery Saver feature is great and alleviates any serious concerns.
  • I will not recommend the 920 for anyone with small hands. It can get tough using with one hand and reaching all parts of the screen.

Sample Photos with Lumia 920

Windows Phone 8

I am in love with WP8. The approach to WP8 is fresh and innovative, a completely different experience than both iOS and Android which both feel more alike than different once you switch to WP8. The tile based home screen is thoroughly customizable. The iOS6 interface on my iPad now feels stale. There is no equivalent in iOS/Android of the sizing capability of live tiles. The home screen is prime real estate in any smartphone and the ability to size tiles according to your needs feels like WP8 really values your preferences.

I do not miss a centralized notification center some have discussed. Because I am an atypical smartphone user, I have not missed any apps in WP8. My basic social networking, navigation, kids gaming and other such needs are more than adequately fulfilled.

Outlook.com vs Gmail

I am very happy with Outlook.com. My Gmail has become virtually unusable because 70% of it is intended for other people, that gets delivered to me thanks to Gmail’s policies. I cannot even filter such emails because many of them are from service providers, banks, utilities, etc. that I myself also use. A unique, great feature of Outlook.com is the ability to create aliases. Now, I use a different alias when signing up for new social sites, a different alias for my finance related matters, a different one for online e-commerce and so on. This enhances my overall email management as my “true” email address is almost never shared with any site. If any of these aliases starts receiving spam, it will help me identify the rogue and also help take corrective action easily.

SkyDrive Integration

This is the star jewel of the Microsoft ecosystem. It just works smoothly, in the background. I have access to my photos, videos, documents on my phone, desktops & laptop, iPad, etc. anywhere, all the time. Just as an example, the ability to view and update an Excel sheet of some financial estimates while on the road has been a life-saver.

Thanks to being an early adopter, I have 25GB of free SkyDrive space, and have never needed to use DropBox.

Search

I miss Google search on the phone. I am not impressed with Bing search so far. I am not sure if this is because Google knows me for a long time and delivers personalized results that it knows are more relevant to me, something that Bing may eventually do after some time.

Maps

I was blown away by Nokia’s maps and turn-by-turn voice navigation in my 2nd-tier city of Pune, India. They’ve worked exceedingly well, every single time, and I think they are actually better than Google Maps.

PC Integration

Moving photos, videos, documents between PCs and my phone has never been easier. SkyDrive fulfills most needs, and even without it, the process of importing or transferring media and documents between PCs and the phone has never been easier.

Summary

Apart from Google Search, I am happy with my switch to Windows Phone. So much, that my better half now has a Lumia 620 of her own! :) But, as I always say, looking for the ‘perfect’ smartphone is like searching for the ‘perfect’ better half. Everyone’s needs are different so what satisfies me may not necessarily be right for you. I hope this post gives an idea of some of strengths and weaknesses of Windows Phone.

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  • http://exde601e.blogspot.com/ George M.

    I’m glad you like it! :)
    I’m also pretty happy with Microsoft services (on the desktop), I use a Hotmail/Outlook address as back-up and SkyDrive comes in handy.
    The problem with bing, I think, is that they focus very tightly on the US market and have comparable search results with Google there, but elsewhere in the world, Bing is behind…

  • http://www.skepticgeek.com Mahendra

    Thanks, George!

    If what you say about Bing is true, MS should rethink. Windows Phone is getting better traction outside the US, and mobile search experience is crucial to overall success…

  • http://twitter.com/probabilism Fountain Pen

    Here are some interesting apps if you haven’t yet tried: Zomato, 4th & Mayor, Wikipedia (unofficial app), Evernote, Rowi, Amazing Weather HD (worth purchasing it). Allrecipes, Apict, Authenticator (for outlook.com), Bookmyshow (not much impressed), Cinemagraph (must try this!), Lomogram, Metrotube, Photobeamer (you’ll love this), SkyMap, Nokia Music (Offline mode is my favourite companion during drives), Wordament.

    You’ll love the seamless integration even more if you use Win8 and Xbox.

    And I am very happy to read that the transformation has worked out exceedingly well for you.

  • TheRomit

    Wow, about the better half getting the 620. I am not surprised at all. Exactly the same happened with me, only two years ago :-)
    As for Bing, yes. I completely agree — even though on the desktop Bing (for most uses/users) it about the same and even better than Google in some cases, it is not the same on mobile and especially so with locales outside the US. I am fine with topical searches like movies, people and places but for general searches, it is quite a hit-or-miss. Sadly so :-(

  • http://www.skepticgeek.com Mahendra

    Thanks a lot! I’ve used some of the apps you mentioned, but not others, will indeed check them out.

    Already using Win8, XBox on the agenda bit later. Thank you, again!

  • http://www.skepticgeek.com Mahendra

    Your evangelism and support has helped a lot in this transition :)

    As I mentioned to George, MS needs to rethink it’s priority for mobile search. Since WP8 is getting more traction outside the US, mobile search is a key area that it can’t afford to neglect.

  • http://exde601e.blogspot.com/ George M.

    Well, MS/bing should have gone international from day one. It’s never too late, search is here to stay for a long while. Of course, this is only matter of opinion, but the results I get here in Romania are clearly poorer than Google’s and if you look at the market share in Europe (where Google has 95+%) vs. US I think this is true in many countries.

  • TheRomit

    Could not agree more re: Bing.
    Btw, I am sure you saw the update about SkyDrive auto upload being rolled out worldwide. I know you faced that right away after purchase.

  • http://www.skepticgeek.com Mahendra

    Hi-res option for auto-upload? It was on Techmeme, wasn’t it? ;)

    Yeah, still waiting for it to roll-out to less important 3rd world countries.

  • TheRomit

    LOL, my bad :-)

  • http://sanatgersappa.tumblr.com/ Sanat Gersappa

    After all the negativity online, it is refreshing to know that a WP8 buyer actually enjoys his phone. Agree about the Bing part and its over-emphasis on the US marker – they need to get out more. I continue to be impressed with Nokia’s design and how their phones are more vibrant and non-boring as compared with the competition.
    Hopefully, WP8 will steadily increase its market share and thereby ensure its long term survival – it is always good to have a strong 3rd player that is sufficiently different from the other 2.

  • http://www.skepticgeek.com Mahendra

    +1 to everything you said :) Refreshing is the key word in my experience.

  • http://www.skepticgeek.com Mahendra

    It did today, and now, I’m at peace :)

  • TheRomit

    Wow, so you didn’t change your region? So brave … I left mine as US, just for that feature :-)

  • http://www.openxcell.com/ecommerce-development.html ChrishTucker

    Hey, Windows phone provide great experience compare to Android and iOS. Thanks for giving good advice.