Nokia Lumia-800 Thoughts
Nokia Lumia-800 Thoughts
If you want a consumate technical write up on the Lumia-800 , Nokia's current and first 'flagship' release of the Windows Phone OS read this, it's far better written and more technically knowlegeable than anything I could produce !! http://www.anandtech.com/show/5266/nokia-lumia-800-review-nokias-brave-new-foray-into-wp7
However, if you want some personal and slightly prejudiced opinions, read on . Chances are that because of my limited following, you are probably aware of most of this, however, just in case.I am a long time Nokia fanboi, follower, devotee or whatever you wish to call me ? However my fanboyism is based on the Symbian operating system that Nokia has used for the last few years on phones like the N95, N97, and E7 all of which I have used and enjoyed , yes even the N97 with it's shortcomings and problems !!! And the announcement of Symbians demise and the adoption of the Windows Phone OS in Feb 2011 came as something of a shock and a disappointment to me , and to 1,000's of others.Symbian was ultimately customisable, open, organised and mature, WP seemed very closed and tied, similar to iOS and really didn't appeal. Nokia were going through a tough time, losing market share, suffering derision from many tech 'professionals' and Symbian was being left behind by iOS and Andoid (although not that far behind in the case of Symbian^3, which in my opinion is great, extemely useable and competitive, however it was a year or two too late) and the then relatively new CEO, Stephen Elop had to make some tough decisions and take swift action to save the 'burning platform' , his decision s caused a backlash from many, including myself, and the forum I spend most of my time on, http://discussions.nokia.co.uk/t5/Nokia-Support-Discussions/ct-p/Nokia_Support_Discussions was full of criticism of both Mr Elop and Windows Phone. Nokia is more than a 'phone company' it has a very strong and loyal community, and emotions ride high, add to that people don't like change, and things were looking bad !! People were leaving Nokia as customers and the forum out of frustration and disappointment !
I didn't, I stuck in there, hoping for a change of tack and helping people with probelms on the forum and commenting and ranting on the web. As time went by more feedback was coming to forum members from Nokia and more info coming about WP and a few people from the forum, including myself, were invited to attend Nokia World in October where the announcement of the Lumia-800 was made, and quite frankly it blew many people, including me, away, it was gorgeous, it was smooth and it taught me that humble pie really doesn't taste very nice at all, and the reason that Stephen Elop is running Nokia and I'm a car salesman, is because he's a charismatic, insightful and successful business man, and I'm a guy who messes with phones ! People had been criticising Nokia for having an old OS, delaying product launches after announcement and being slow with software updates, with the announcement of the Lumia they had achieved the production of a brand new phone on a brand new OS in eight months and by doing all that so quickly, quashed some major issues with a single blow. If the rate of development and continued delivery of promises on time is maintained, which I truly believe it will be, I think a lot of people will be having 'Humble Pie' for pudding over the next year or so.
So, having been lucky enough to use a Lumia for a couple of days at the launch event, I wrote this http://carman58.hubpages.com/hub/Nokia-Windows-Phone-Lumia-The-Good-The-Bad-The-Ugly and was also privileged to be invited to join the 'Amazing Collective' in December and recieved a Lumia-800 from Nokia to use, so how, if at all, has my opinion changed ?
Thoughts and Opinions
Well, basically, quite a lot and mostly for the good !! I still really miss being able to transfer files either by Bluetooth or by drag and drop from my computer to my phone, and I get frustrated waiting for video to convert and load onto my Lumia using Zune, but other than that, it's great and those 'issues' quite frankly are very personal and I really don't believe it will be a major issue with the vast majority of new 'normob' users, it certainly doesn't appear to concern users of a certain handset that's supposed to keep the doctor away ? So on to what I think after a month of Windows Phone on the Nokia Lumia-800.
The design and build quality of the handset has been universally acclaimed and I won't argue with a universe, the handset is great as a piece of design (as is it's sibling , the N9 which it inherits it's unibody shell from) I like everything about it and cannot criticise it in any way, again , from a personal prefernce, and failing eyesight, I find the screen a little too small when reading text, having got used to a 4" screen on my E7, but it is certainly more than useable and is extremely sensitive and accurate, as is the virtual QWERTY keyboard. Having gotten used to the 'Tiles' on the MetroUI I actually quite like them now ( more humble pie) they are cutomisable, and it's just a new and different way to customise your phone, in fact I'm getting a double frustration, in a good way, between the Lumia and the N9, whereby many N9 users find themselves double tapping all handsets to unlock and swiping with no effect, I sometimes open my N9 now and get frustrated that I'm having to swipe and tap to look at Twitter and Facebook or mail when it's just sat there waiting for me on the Lumia, I even miss the fact that I can see my Calendar events before I've even opened the Lumia properly on the lock screen. People are all too willing, me included, to criticise things before they've tried them properly, and from a personal point of view, the Lumia and it's OS are offering me more things to like on a daily basis and time and familiarity improve the experience immensely.
Music and People
OS & Apps
The UI itself is very fluid and also a beautiful thing to look at, I particularly like the Music and Video menu which gives a background of photo's relating to the last artist you listened to and also gives you access to so many different sources of media, opening with Music and the new stuff you've put on the phone, swiping to the right you are offered all your media apps, in my case Metrotube, Nokia Music, and YouTube, then you move to Zune, music,videos,podcasts,radio and marketplace and finally you swipe to history where the last thing you watched or listened to is sat there ready to go again in a list of thumbnail images and it looks great . The picture app is equally as attractive and well intergrated, as good or better than anything I've used, you have the option to view all the pictures you have on your phone, plus photo's from people who are in your timeline on any social media accounts you have registered on your handset, in fact social integration throughout the handset is absolutely fantastic. I've read one or two people saying they don't want Facebook or Twitter contacts in there contact list, well, one, you don't have to and two, if you have more than a few 'real' contacts the easiest way to search is to tap the first letter of a contacts name and go to all the A's Z's etc, personally I find it extremely easy to use and manage and a simple and fresh way to get and use contacts on a phone as is the whole 'Tile' system, somebody has put a lot of thought into a fresh new approach, and it need s to be used and explored to be appreciated.
Messaging is also a joy to use on the Lumia with Winows Phone, I like how it combines all contact methods in a chat stream with any particular contact, the email experience for me, using Hotmail has been faultless (and I know many people who have had a similar experience with Gmail) and Mail For Exchange has kept all my contacts and calendar up to date without issue. I have used Android long term and find messaging on WP better than either that or Symbian.
The limited Nokiafication (Nokia specific applications) on the phone all work really well, maps is a strong point with Nokia and both the Map application and Nokia drive work really well and I've used Nokia Music more than I expected and am getting to like Mix Radio, I'm both listening to stuff I haven't heard for ages, and also hearing stuff I've never heard before, oh, and it's free, so that's like, free navigation and free music and I like free stuff :) And you can even download Mix Radio and listen to it off line on your phone. Oh and Nokia Pulse, get Nokia Pulse it's a great IM app and very personal, works on any browser , but really good with a native Nokia application and good for personal chatrooms http://betalabs.nokia.com/apps/nokia-pulse?req=true
Apps are something that seem to be the be all and end all from alot of peoples point of view, Mr Elops included (ecosystem is the future apparently), and the Marketplace at the moment is growing rapidly, 50k plus at latest count, but I really don't think it's all about numbers, all the basics for most people are already available, social media is well catered for out of the box and additional apps are available for most social sites, and the number of games and other apps are growing daily, my Lumia currently caters for almost all my needs, and I really don't need an option of an extra few fart apps, although I'm sure they wwill appear along with some really coolstuff as well .
One of the best improvements in comparison to previous Nokia phones I've owned and used, is the web browser, it's very fast, I don't remeber a freeze or any chequerboard effect in a months use, and unlike some I don't mind the search window being at the bottom of the screen, for my eyes, text reflow would be an aid, but it's still a great modern browser, hell I'm even getting used to and using Bing !!!!!!! Bloody Bing, would you believe it ????
My Lumia 800
So in conclusion, the Lumia is a great first effort, it's extremely useable, I like it and I like it a lot, it's not perfect, neither is any other OS or handset, but it is very very good, and more than promising, people who have tried it with a closed mind have been very unfair to it. It does all the basics and beyond very well indeed, improvements/changes needed? a few, and if I could have bluetooth file transfer,cutomizable alerts, a bit more volume, slightly bigger text and maybe expandable memory it could rise from 8.5 to 9.5 out of ten, as a first effort it has really exceded any expectations I had about Widows Phone and I'm enjoyoing it and with major software updates due this year I can see the whole experience improving. Could I use it as my main phone ? Yes, I am doing and think I may for a good time to come, I think that Nokia have made a good decision and and a great handset and the vast majority of people knocking them over recent years may need to aquire a taste for Humble Pie .
Thanks for reading.
Quick PS, a couple of people asked about screen shots on the Lumia, well any Windows Phone, you need an unlocked phone and the app I use is Screen Capturer can be downloaded here at XDA Developers forum http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1316199
lets hope Chevron7 get some more unlock keys for those of us who are not Developers !!