This is a follow-up post to my previous article in which I detailed my experiences with Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform on a Nokia Lumia 521 after two days.
It has been slightly more than two weeks since I received my Nokia Lumia 521. In that time, I’ve become more accustomed to the Windows Phone interface and platform, and I have discovered a few issues that I have with Nokia’s otherwise fantastic hardware.
Let’s start with Windows Phone itself.
Windows Phone is Dead Weight
The truth is, Windows Phone is behind both iOS and Android. Functionally, it has the skeleton of a fantastic operating system. However, there are strange omissions throughout. There are also issues in certain places: for instance, the multitasking interface is subject to random lag and hesitation. For an OS that is otherwise fast and fluid, that is a major issue.
The solution to these issues seems simple, though. Microsoft has a feature-complete operating system that would work just fine on smartphones: Windows RT. Windows RT should replace Windows Phone. That would alleviate most of the strange lag issues — at least on decent hardware — and would also allow Microsoft to catch up to Apple and Google in the feature department. While it would once again break application compatibility, something has to be done. Windows Phone does not appear to be a priority at Microsoft, but Windows RT (and 8) is.
Microsoft needs to play to their considerable strengths: ditch the dead weight, and move on.
Nokia’s Hardware is Great for the Price
My lovefest with Nokia’s Lumia 521 as a piece of hardware continues — mostly. I still think that it feels great in the hand. The screen is perfectly adequate at four inches. The plastic is indeed plastic, but it’s of very high quality. I have dropped the phone, and it suffered absolutely no damage whatsoever. That’s always nice.
There is a problem, though. The headphones jack is either slightly broken on my unit, or the design of the phone inhibits certain connectors from locking in place. This leads to some pretty crazy sounds: imagine Darth Vader’s breathing meeting the call of a whale, and then being thrown in with the sounds of Slash.
Besides that disturbing issue, one thing is clear: Nokia is making some fantastic hardware that is built to withstand some punishment in actual use. Not even Apple can currently say that as strongly.
Windows with Rough Edges
Ultimately, I can’t recommend a Lumia device to many people. Nokia’s hardware is fantastic, but the OS that it powers has it in a stranglehold. Windows Phone is so poor that Nokia is having to resort to adding crazy good features (the camera in the Lumia 1020) to make up for the software. In my opinion, a fantastic camera is great, but it can’t mask a poor operating system.
My advice is this: stick with either Android or iOS. Both have fantastic apps, and both are functionally on par for most users. Windows Phone is beautiful in design, but suffers from poor execution in many areas. For me, it is a glorified feature phone OS.
But maybe Microsoft’s next CEO will change that.