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.