Windows Phone 8 From An Android Fan’s Perspective: Part 1

For the past few years, I’ve been an avid Android user – from the basic Huawei Ideos on Froyo to the powerhouse that was the Motorola Atrix running Jellybean, with a Kindle Fire tablet somewhere in between. I loved the Android experience, and the many improvements that have been made with every iteration of the Android OS.

However, when the time came to get a new phone, I decided to try out something new…Windows Phone 8 piqued my interest and I finally settled for a Nokia Lumia 920.

If you have been using an Android phone for a while and you are thinking of getting a new phone, hopefully, this article will help sway your decision the Windows Phone way.

Choosing your Device

Since Android has been around for quite a while, there is a large array of devices; there’s probably an Android phone for every market segment. Windows Phone 8, on the other hand, is comparably young, and as yet, there are only a handful of phones available.

A selection of Windows Phone 8 phones

A selection of Windows Phone 8 phones

The lineup starts with the premium devices — Nokia Lumia 920, HTC 8X, Samsung Ativ S — meant to go head to head with the best of the best from Android and iOS, and they do a pretty good job at it. Then come their smaller siblings — Nokia Lumia 820HTC 8S, Nokia Lumia 810 followed by the more mainstream Samsung Ativ Odyssey,  Nokia Lumia 620Huawei Ascend W1 and Nokia Lumia 520. More and more phones are also being announced like the HTC Tiara and the Nokia Lumia 720. The future is looking good!

Unfortunately, if you are looking for something over-the-top, Windows Phone might not be for you. There is no Windows Phone with a 5.5 inch screen like the Samsung Galaxy Note II, or a water-resistant phone like the Sony Xperia V or the forthcoming full HD HTC Droid DNA.

Don’t be deceived though, what Windows Phone 8 lacks in the number of devices available, it more than makes up for in very high quality, well-built devices.

I think it’s safe to say there is something for everyone. Personally, I settled for Nokia’s  Lumia 920 because I loved the screen size, the weighty feel and the minimalistic design, not to mention all the Nokia Apps it comes with (these apps are now available to all Windows 8 Phones).

Performance and Stability

Microsoft set the minimum hardware requirements for Windows 8 phones, just to mention the most noteworthy:

  • A 1GHz Qualcomm dual core processor
  • 512MB RAM or 1GB RAM for phones with HD display
  • 4GB storage memory

The good thing about this is it guarantees that the user experience on all Windows 8 phones, low to high-end, will be butter-smooth and very fast.

With Android on the other hand, it takes a high-end phone such as a Samsung Galaxy Note II or an LG Nexus 4 to experience Android at its best. Pick any mainstream device and you are bound to get the occasional freeze or lag. The experience is even more appalling on budget phones like the Huawei Ideos.

In my personal experience, my Lumia 920 feels way snappier than the Motorola Atrix ever did. Apps open faster, without any lag and I am yet to experience a crash or a random reboot. Also, when buying a Windows Phone, I didn’t have to obsess too much over the technical stuff. With Android though, I had to be very picky about every little detail — the chipset, CPU, RAM! I am a geek, so I loved that, but for the mainstream user, it can be quite the daunting task!

On The Subject of Apps

Ask any smartphone user what they think of Windows Phone 8 and they will all tell you the same thing, it does not have nearly enough apps. Yes, Android has way more apps — 700,000 compared to 150,000 for the Windows Phone app store as at December, 2012 — but that does not tell the whole story.

Some Windows Phone 8 apps...

Some Windows Phone 8 apps…

The first thing I did before considering my switch was to surf the Windows Phone Store for replacements for apps I consistently used on Android. I was pleasantly surprised to find very good alternatives to almost all the apps, save for a few like Instagram and Google Chrome.

Windows Phone is a budding eco-system, give it time. To sum it all up, if you’re an avid Instagram user or you dabble a lot in the app store looking for niche apps, then stick to Android, otherwise, Windows Phone 8 has every app you need with really good looking interfaces too.

Until next time…

To sum this up, Windows Phone 8 gives smartphone users yet another eco-system to choose from. The phones are well-built, high quality devices…and there’s one for everyone. Windows Phone 8 itself is stable and performs smoothly when paired up with any of their phones. It’s not perfect, it does have its faults but it has the potential to grow into a great eco-system.

The number of apps is just good enough, their quality ever-improving. If you’re thinking of buying a new phone, Windows Phone 8 a shot, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Watch out for Part II of this article where I talk about what Windows Phone 8 has done right and later on Part III on what I miss from Android.

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  • dhugos

    After years of smartphone refusal, and a couple months of checking out phones, I bought the Lumia 920. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, on occasion it inexplicably uses power pretty fast. There seem to be a lot of options you can turn off to make it last a lot longer. But overall, it is awfully sweet. The phone looks great, and indeed the apps open fast, while the interface is pretty. It is a tad heavy, but after dropping it once about 7 feet, I really don’t think it needs a bulky case like other phones, not a scratch on the thing!

    • Brian Wangila

      Nice choice. I don’t have a case or screen protector on mine and it’s still scratch-free even after dropping it severally. It does feel snappy too.
      Enjoy your smartphone experience :-)

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  • Sami Bashir


    • Brian Wangila

      Project butter has really come a long way in improving the Android experience. For me Windows Phone 8 just feels a tad bit smoother

  • Pratik Mohapatra

    Sir please download my app. I am 14 years old and i have made this please do rate and comment. I did lot of hard work for this

    Thank you in advance

  • psydefects22

    i coulnd’t have said it better myself.. i am 35 y.o. and started programming when i was six (remember amstrad 6128/basic/loading from tapes with analog sound etc :D). Anyway, being more of a datacentric pda type myself got stuck with the htfc universal from 2004-2012 (flashing cooked images as you probably think now) until platform windows mobile 6.1 pro when my lcd (or tft? never got the difference anyway) just broke from tapping and scratching with the stylus for 8 years, i saw something like liquid , colored liquid moving around the most deeply sliced spots. So uni became headless (not useless however) and around xmas i saw a good offer: android 4.0.3 ics on a SoC with colibri T30s tegra 3/1gb LP-DDR2/eMMF 16gb/microSD I/O/10.1 inch/8 mpix back-i forgot the front atm/12x gpu cores/ULV features-stealth core and anything that might make you wanna buy it NOW at the very good price of 399 euro plus desktop speakers extra and a cradle, how could i resist? i had heard so much about android i was drooling.

    well, i got what i paid as opening the nice looking box i found a tablet in a plastic bag, a charger, a microUSB cable and the smallest manual (if one could call it a manual) made ever, about 5 cm wide, 5 cm tall 6-7 pages total, all images, not more than 80-100 words total. no cdrom, drivers, nada. it was OEM made and they get their stock from Pegatron, an Asus subsidiary in Asia, wholesaler and hybrid designer amongst others. To get functional driver, except from writing the .ini myself i needed the .dlls so i was lucky enough to find out about an Italian brand selling the same SoC (Ekoore/Duke, mine was Pegatron/Chagall). Many brands announced tablets based on this very SoC (eg. viewsonic n710) but they provided the whole shebang.

    I stressed the tablet with a lot of exceptions nicely thrown and after 2 weeks i realized i NEEDED to root it as most of the best apps required. Now, why Google Market allows in its official stream apps requiring root access when except for the nexus no other OEM loosens the restrictions? mine were on the paranoid level. I won’t touch the UNIX non-conforming as its a brilliant idea by itself, very inspired.. :S

    after noticing a huge lag and realized i had 800 apps installed i decided to hard reset since the ghost mode of superuser keeps the device rooted. After the 1st reset, the OEM logo image (boot image) was gone and i started seing the ANDROID shining logo for a few days. after a couple more hard resets, because of a wifi iptables bug and my latinIME disappearing , leaving me without internet and keyboard, practically useless obviously, i did the last reset and the droid logo kissed my goodbye, i never saw it again, nor my desktops, only the very first little robot and then endless loops confirmed by logcat.

    in a nutshell, junit waws gone, my keys went on vaccation, my version changed name, and every time i gave it to a techie to have a look because i was frustrated very much, both of them made something worse, the first destroyed my lwst root ability to login via console, the 2nd changed globals and others using a JTAG.

    Ny bad luck streak went on with my EEE pc getting the same screen issue as the universal, it reminds me of hydra actually as it ls the 4th i get without asking for or it.

    Oh and a couple of words about my droid experience? it just made my dislike for java greater, much greater. wasted potential at about 33-40% on a machine like that is shameful. Man thanks to Nvidia for its developers section, open by signing up, which shows how it is to know that when you have customers just don’t be there until the fat lady sings (or until the cash crop is ready) Now i have APX left ONLY and boot-recovery which were hidden quite well and without Nvidia manuals i would have never found them.

    Few days later i got a Nokia lumia 610 , the low-end one, which made some things clear to say the least. Having the S1 snapdragon @ 800MHz and 256Mb only which are considered LOW by MS and 1,6% of all market apps and games won;t install, the performance i get, espe4cially after installing 7.8 mango (1066.0000.8858.12470 from 1066.0000.8779.12210) and i installed it myself of course, the carrier made the intelligent play to leave it at Tango CRM3-Refresh 7.5 state which compared to mango consumes amost 2,5x-3x times more memory, it was like getting a different device after the fresh install. Now, snapdragon is old for today;s trends, but it still is an armv7-cortexA5 (more like having an A8 i would say), it has adreno 205 which they call it adreno200 enhanced, and i havent seen a single glitch in whatever media is streaming atm. Apart from the fact that android desktop and i mean the live stuff and gadgets, as well as the gestures for zooming in/out, and many similarities, i was curious to find out which one offered these features and it was MS.. The metro UI i simply love it, zune is one of my favorite thingies and i had no idea it would be included, so i punched myself in the face for beeing a sheep and going for android because 90% of the market does too.

    Too bad i have no possible way to install RT because the tablet has even the same outer cover with MS tablet. I hope MS will rethink the issue because i;m sure some (not a few) people will go for win if they have a chance to use them for a while. Win8 is launched with the NT kernel and it will be my next purchase after some time i always give to see what comes out of the magic box.

    anyway, thanks to those reading my rant. Plz ppl be careful what you get..

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  • Marcel

    Great article, cant say it better myself! WP8 suprised me very much, and in combination with my HTC 8X it’s very plesant to operate. Fast, smooth and logical

    And yes… I do miss Instagram, but that’s all! and I’m confident it will be around in WP8


    • Brian Wangila

      Glad you liked the article Marcel. I am loving WP8 more and more everyday.

      With time, as WP8 gains traction, Instagram will definitely come aroung

  • Shane Thomas

    I have to comment, I don’t usually but this article is good (looking for parts 2 and 3). I too just last week got a windows phone 8x from my Tmobile G2. I loved android (still do) but it was feeling slow, klunky and fragmented. And 700,000 apps on the android market, big deal …most of them are complete rubbish. How many apps did I use? (games aside) like 4. I was pleased all my apps were on windows phone:


    Even discovered new ones like Photosynth, Nokia Here (navigation) and a few others.

    As an avid xbox gamer too I love the Games app on it, and smart glass. Too cool.

    My current only gripe is:
    The notifications for some apps are hit or miss , kik for instance rarely shows me when I have a message without going into the app. Gchat is the same way, notifications hit or miss, facebook messenger. I actually miss Gchat in android.

    The only other thing is the lack of task/status bar that feels functional, It hides to often, and makes it hard to get back to the apps in an intuitive way or find certain things. I might just of dranken too much android kool-aid but its what i notice

    • Brian Wangila

      Thank you Shane. You should watch out for Part III, I’ll be sharing about what I miss from android, and a notification bar is top of my list. Part II coming right up

  • John_858

    I am using the Samsung ATIV – Odyssey and I have 4 main apps on my wish list: Dish Anywhere, Sirius XM, Pulse News and Amazon MP3 Cloud Player. I had to fill up much of my external storage card with music that I could access via the cloud with the Amazon MP3 Cloud Player app. I have Dish Network and Sirius XM subscriptions and cannot take advantage of either one with my WP8 device. Pulse News is a fantastic news aggregator and I am going through withdrawls. Also, the Weather Channel live tile doesn’t seem to follow my location, though I have location turned on in the app settings as well as phone settings.

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  • arindam

    I got myself a nokia 820 after having a pretty good spell with android on Samsung note. Deciding to move to wp was inspired by the beauty of the handset that nokia has come up with but majorly was for a change which wp seemed to promise. My bottom line after having used wp for over a month now is my,money seemed spent on better value when i had bought the note. For starters like most humans, i like to sleep on my side and don’t quite find it comfortable browsing that way any more. With a single ie screen serving me and backgroung jobs all undone, the phone still heats up within 15 minutes of surfing. Looking up new people in fb is no more possible. No concept of fm radio any more or file browser. I am forced to lookup and remove files which aren’t playable with the wmp here. Datasense is a mystery and cant find it here…. Etc etc. Do you people actually notice these or is just my version of wp8+handset build crappy?

    • Brian Wangila

      I get where you are coming from but for me your concerns are too minor to dismiss WP8 as a whole. I too find the lack of screen orientation lock annoying when in bed. As for the phone heating up, my Lumia 920 only does that after intense gaming, not normal tasks like browsing.

      FM radio is not there but the same is the case with many Android devices. Datasense is provider exclusive, I too don’t have it but come on!

      All in all you’re concerns seem like minor hitches that can easily be fixed with a few updates. Android too just became usable recently!

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  • wanjirukihusa

    This is a great read! very impressive

    • Brian Wangila

      Thanks Carol. Glad you enjoyed it

  • Avijit

    Hey..wht u thnk wp8 phone under rs. 25000 nokia or htc by the way i like to play games so hoping the best plz tell me the games name n the wp8 phone that will support my issues