I bought this phone primarily to have a badass camera at all times. In that regard, this phone delivers. The camera is great, especially for nighttime shots and indoor shots. Daytime and outdoors are also high quality– but the quality doesn’t stand out versus competition like the previously mentioned categories.
I also love the home screen. It makes the best use of space of any camera I’ve seen, and allows you to allocate the proper amount of real estate to your various apps. Live tiles are an awesome feature which allow your apps to be widgets too. All very nice.
Badass camera notwithstanding, this phone is a horribly frustrating experience. Things that should be simple– like syncing music– are needlessly difficult. The software is buggy and often did not work for me at all. I don’t know if that’s because I’m using Windows 8 (sigh…) or if Windows Phone 8 simply hasn’t worked out the kinks. Regardless, syncing was hit and miss for a long time, with inexplicable duplication and inexplicable un-syncable items, and album art weirdness, and seemingly random album names… Ugh. I could go on. Syncing, the most basic function of all, is needlessly difficult. This is the most egregious sin because it is the most basic functionality needed for every smartphone. (This counts against the ecosystem score.)
The next basic function that is lacking is in the navigation department. Luckily the phone seems to be getting better in this department, with the release of Nokia’s HERE software. However, for inexplicable reasons, I am at random times unable to reach GPS… which is kind of a big deal. The reason why I bought my first smartphone years ago was precisely for navigation. Besides not being able to connect to GPS at random times, sometimes I would connect to GPS, and the phone would believe I was approximately 10 blocks forward and to the right. That makes navigation a bit harder. Usually a reboot would fix these issues, but that’s awfully hard to do whilst driving in a car, especially if you don’t know that your GPS is leading you astray. In addition, even when the GPS is connected, and knows your real location, the phone will give ridiculous routes; routes that are in no way optimal, and sometimes not even possible. Oh, and it doesn’t know how to show what to do in a roundabout. Yeah, navigation is a fail. (This counts against the software score.)
Next fail is easily LTE reception. At random times I’ve been unable to connect. Don’t know if that’s AT&T Seattle’s fault or the phone’s, but I fault the phone because iPhones don’t have this problem with AT&T around here.
The next largest problem is the lack of apps, although this is less of a problem than people make it out to be. Most of the important apps are available– though many are obviously in a state of disrepair, or stripped of features. There’s only been a few times when I’ve really wished I had access to the Android or Apple app stores. It’s a problem, but again, not as big as everyone makes out. (This counts against both software and ecosystem.)
Lastly, there are just a WHOLE BUNCH of things which could’ve been done better:
- Why is the Bing search app such a piece of crap compared to the mobile Bing site? Searching Bing from an iPhone yields a better experience.
- In the email app, there is a small but very annoying feature: Left and Right arrows to navigate to the next and previous messages. But the LEFT arrow means NEXT in this case. Despite 15 years of precedent for the left arrow ALWAYS MEANING BACK. Hell, the left facing “Back” arrow is built into the hardware. How dumb do you have to be to have a left arrow mean forward?
- The software depends too much on the hardware back button.
- The hardware back button functions differently depending on context. However, it’s fairly unpredictable.
- The hardware buttons are too sensitive. They are not actual buttons in the sense that they get depressed. They are just electronic buttons (same as Android phones). This leads to stray fingers taking you away from what you want to be doing quite often. iPhone is the only phone that gets this right.