Update on Windows phones

So the University acquired new Lumia 920 phones for the staff. Having just invested in the 710, the move to 920 was smooth and uneventful, and I can say I enjoy the 920 even more than I did its little brother. However, there are some pluses and minuses to discuss.

First, the gargantuan display. It is crafted out some alien-invented material that doesn’t get fingerprints. In the 710, the display gets mucky as soon as you touch it, no matter how clean your hands are. The minus side is that the capacitative display sometimes connects with your finger from far away and you press the wrong button. This can be alleviated a little from the settings.

The design of the phone is very nice, but the smooth cover is slippery, especially if your hands are dry. For the 710 I bought a silicone rim and it worked well. Maybe I will get one for this too. The way the display blends into the cover is really well done.

Apart from the side buttons (volume, on/off, and camera) the buttons are virtual. Of the three on the front of the phone, by far the most irritating is the search button. When you inadvertently hit it, about a hundred times a day, Bing! you have the search box on the screen. Of course Microsoft is trying to compete with Google, but from the user perspective he should be able to either select the search engine himself, or even better, be able to disconnect the button altogether. I mean, if I need to search, I usually have the time to start the search from the main screen.

There is not much point in discussing battery life, it is not very good, but no smartphone has a plutonium battery life. Instead, it is worth noting that if your battery seems especially short of breath, check the Applications in the Settings. Chances are that you’ve installed some news reader that is running in the background and eating your battery. You can disable background processes there and save battery life (navigation is another app that likes to lurk in the background by the way).

All in all, I like the Windows 8 as a platform, and will report more on it as I gain experience using it.





About heikkihietala

Heikki Hietala has worked at the crossroads of IT and language since 1986. He studied at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. With an M.A. in English Philology and minor degrees in Communication and Information Technology, he has seen action at Microsoft, McKinsey & Company, Lionbridge, Bates Advertising and since September 2003, HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences. His interests of late have been user interface design and usability, 3D Design using Blender, and information technology for the small and medium enterprises. In his spare time he writes fiction in English. His novel, "Tulagi Hotel", was published in 2010 and a short story collection, "Filtered Light and Other Stories", in 2012. Tulagi Hotel is now available in Kindle and in paperback (also at Akateeminen Kirjakauppa), published by Fingerpress UK. "Hotelli Tulagi" on saatavana myös suomeksi kirjakaupoista kautta maan.
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