Back to Windows Phone

So… a few weeks back I ditched my Samsung GS2 (it’s relegated to a “work only” phone) and went full on back into the Windows ecosystem. This in spite of knowing I would miss the openness of Android I had grown to love, and the quirks still lingering in WP8. The culprit? A beautiful Nokia Lumia 820.

Where are you, Yellow matte wireless charging cover? Black is just…

So I’m gonna take another hard look at Windows Phone. This time my eyes are fully opened – in addition to my iPad 2, I have played with ICS (which isn’t Jelly Bean, but is such a departure from Gingerbread I was shocked when I first played with it), so I think I can speak with reasonable objectivity.

Quick observations first! What I miss about Android:

  • Swiftkey Flow (Beta). Seriously this is the number one thing I miss – when your keyboard is what you use to input things 80% of the time it is a huge boon to have a good one. Swiftkey just happens to be excellent. I just wished it would combine with Swype… and then Swiftkey Flow came out. My life changed. Although I have to say the WP8 keyboard has made significant progress, and the predictions are pretty good, almost as good as the original Swiftkey 3. But then again, the comparison is with Swiftkey Flow.
  • Astrid. This is my go-to task manager because you can do so much with it (maybe too much), and it’s cross-platform with a proper iPad app. Thankfully, you can still email and use the syntax to add tasks (since the mobile web version is just too slow). I was ready to open Wunderlist… until I found out Wunderlist 2 was not gonna support WP8 – even the web version doesn’t work properly:

Image

  • Notifications “Center”. I’m not sure what exactly they call it on Android, and it is info-over-irritating-load at times, but they’re pretty reliable and you get them for almost anything. On WP8 the “toast” notifications and some third party Live Tile notifications (I’m looking at you, Whatsapp and Line) don’t update that well, or quickly. But most of the time, this is more of an irritation than a genuine help – I end up clicking “Clear All”…
  • App Dialer. I actually quite enjoy this app – most of my friends can’t seem to understand the draw, but it really helps me keep my start screen clutter-free. Key in letters via the old-school, T9 style, and voila, you’ve got your desired App in a fraction of the time taken to open the menu and scroll. Although the jump lists in WP serve almost the same purpose.

As you can probably guess by now, the lack of Instagram isn’t really a deal breaker for me. I’ll touch on what I like about WP8 in the next post, and hope to start a series for WP8 users, particularly Singaporeans with Apps I find useful, as well as little tricks I find along the way. Do leave a comment if you would like me to review a particular type of App, or if you love pink, or if you think dogs are better than cats. That sorta thing.

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