The first and most obvious difference is Metro UI vs icons/apps as home screen. On the Lumia 900, there are 2 screens you can scroll between, the main screen and the app/menu screen. The main screen, or the tile screen on Windows phone 7 is modern and refreshing. After having used the iPhone for some time, it’s a nice change. Applications can be pinned to the main screen. These applications become little square tiles, that move and spin, and information gets updated right on them. So unlike Apple’s notification center, information can be accessed right on the home screen. It’s simple and easy to use.
Now swipe left and you arrive at the app screen, which lists all your applications vertically. There is no folder support, and so one has to scroll up and down to see all the applications available. This is one area where I think iOS does a better job. Having folders and grouping your apps makes finding them a lot easier, especially when I have around 50-60 apps on my iPhone. Some will argue that on Windows Phone, once you have 25 apps downloaded, the apps are than organized in alphabetical order and can be reached easily by directly going to letter “S” for example to look for the Starbucks app. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but I cannot remember the names of all 60 apps and so folder support really makes a huge difference for me. Again it’s a personal preference, but it’s nice option to have.
In terms of the telephone, both phones have similar features when it comes to making calls. The only exception is that there is no speed dial or what apple calls favorites on Windows Phone. This is a disappointment as I like to have fast access to the people I call most often. Yes you can create groups to get quick access to your favorite contacts and/or download 3rd party applications to alleviate this issue, but my feeling is that it should have been implemented directly. Third party apps are good, but sometimes fail to integrate into the phone properly. For example, when I use RapDialer, there are shortcuts for speed dialing and messaging. That’s great. However, when I miss a call and have to look at call history, it does not show up on RapDialer and I have to revert back to the main phone app to see who called. This means I have to pin both tiles to the home screen in order to a) make quick calls and b) check call history. That’s cumbersome and so I do hope Microsoft will update this small but important feature in the next update.
So all in all I really liked using the Lumia 900. I love the design, the size of screen, Metro UI in general, and the beauty of the apps. It’s easy to set up and Microsoft has achieved it’s goal of making their new smartphone platform very simplistic in nature. The only caveat are the lack of what I consider pertinent apps. Other than that, I think Nokia came out with a very convincing device for $49 on contract with AT&T. I cannot wait to see what Nokia has in store in the coming months for Windows Phone. Once again I would like to thank ATT for lending us the Trial device.
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