Why I switched to Windows Phone

I used to be a huge Apple fan. I bought my first iPhone 4 and iPad 2 about 5 years ago, upgraded to iPhone 5 and iPad 4 last year and enjoyed the phones and the tablets quite a lot.

Nevertheless, I had my eyes on Windows Phone 8 and Nokia Lumia ever since they were released. I tried them out every time I went to an electronics store or when I saw one at a friend.

I attended the Build conference in San Francisco in April this year where the attendees received a $500 gift card for the Microsoft Store and without even a second thought I got myself a Nokia Lumia Icon.

I still wasn’t fully convinced that I will switch completely to WP so I stashed away my iPhone in the drawer and planned to use the Nokia for a few days to see if I like it. Two months later my iPhone is still in the same drawer where I left it and I am using only my WP8 Lumia.

Update: I gave my iPhone 5 to my brother for his birthday and use his old iPhone 4 only during my workouts. I still use the iPad for surfing but also own a Surface Pro which I use instead of a notebook.

What I love

The Icon

The Nokia Lumia Icon is beautiful. I was skeptical about the size of the phone at first but it sits well in my small hands and I got used to it fast. Now I can’t even imagine going back to using a smaller phone.

The camera is great and my pictures look almost professional (almost, because of me and my amateur skills; not because of the phone). Also the big HD screen is a definite advantage.

I have colleagues at work coming to me to try the Icon and afterwards they want one too. My mom saw it (she has Android) and it was love at first sight, she can’t wait to get one too.

The user interface

I love the user interface, the live tiles and the consistent layout: it’s beautiful, user-friendy and intuitive. Sure, there are small bugs and errors and glitches but the overall look & feel convinced me to make the switch permanently.

The UI is fast and responsive. I use an iPhone 4 when exercising which with iOS 7 is not a good comparison but nevertheless it feels so slow and annoying. Even my mom is astonished and pointed out many times how fast the Lumia with WP8 is.

I love the lock screen combined with Bing, I am always looking forward to the next beautiful picture every day.

The apps

The apps have a consistent layout and this simplifies everyday use. I can’t remember how many times I had trouble with the apps on iOS and Android because the UI of each app is so different and I spent some minutes searching for a functionality.

The hall of fame: I am very happy, among others, with the Lufthansa app (much better than on iOS), Kindle (I read often on the big Lumia screen), Twitter and Instagram.

The core apps by Microsoft and Nokia are also awesome. Mail, Office, DataSense, Bing, OneDrive and Skype are lifesavers and I recently discovered Nokia MixRadio and love it.

Last but not least, I love the live tiles too. I can see directly on the start screen if there is anything new to check in the app.

Xbox support

I am an Xbox gamer and I live for the achievements! I love that some WP8 games have Xbox achievements as well. Also awesome is Xbox Music and Xbox Video.

What I dislike

No earphones

There were no earphones included with the Icon. I am still using the ones from my old iPhone 5 but the sound quality is bad and the volume buttons on the earphones don’t work with the Icon, as expected.

This is not so critical and I am on a hunt for new earphones that are compatible with the Icon. The Nokia Monster caught my eyes but the reviews are quite bad and lots of people complain about bad quality and the cable breaking after only a few months of usage.

The apps

This is a contradiction to what I said above but let’s be honest here, some apps from major companies are simply crappy and these companies don’t care.

Either core functionality is missing or the app is buggy but the app gets published anyway. These apps are almost useless in this state and not updated for months because these companies don’t offer regular maintenance and support.

The hall of shame:

  • The Facebook app doesn’t work and what’s even more ridiculous is that Microsoft owns 1.6% of Facebook so I would expect at least a working app from the companies that Microsoft is involved in.
  • I can’t add a workout manually in Endomondo, I reported the issue on Twitter weeks ago and I finally got a reply several days later that they are working on it but one month later it’s still not fixed.
  • I can’t log into the Flickr app because it just loads endlessly.
  • I can’t add my meals in MyFitnessPal because it just loads endlessly. I reported the issue on Twitter and got no reply. People reported the same issue over and over in the app’s ratings and there is no update for the app since 6 months already.
  • I can’t connect Instagram to Twitter because it’s displaying strange oauth error.
  • The Foursquare app is super slow.

Obviously these are strong arguments against buying a Windows Phone because the platform and the smartphone means nothing without good apps but the hardware and the OS are great and most of the core apps are already available and working on Windows Phone 8.

Plus I am hoping that the more people switch to Windows Phone, the more companies will build apps for this platform and the better it will become. Microsoft is fighting hard to get developers to build Windows Phone apps and I am slowly seeing big improvements in this direction.

Also the updates for Windows Phone are bringing so many cool features that I am really looking forward to, like Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1 for example (never liked Siri on iOS but Cortana is really awesome! This might have to do with me being a huge Halo fan too! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

If you are also considering to make the switch to Windows Phone, you won’t regret it!