| | 12-12-2012, 01:58 AM #1
Hi all - first post. I guess this is maybe part rant, part cry for help, and part review. Let me dive right in....
I'm about a week into my Windows Phone 8 experi(-ment/-ence) with my Nokia Lumia 820. I am in the process of considering migrating from an N9, which is a beautiful little phone but suffers from a lack of apps and underpowered hardware that made it somewhat obsolete the moment it arrived. My love of the camera on the N9 and Nokia's excellent hardware design led me to try out the 820. My goal was to get an LTE phone. keep the same amount of storage (64 GB), similar camera capabilities and get a non-AppleDroid phone OS that had a better app ecosystem future.
While I like Windows 8 quite a bit, especially the Nokia apps, which are all pretty awesome, I've sadly had a lot of ups and downs with this phone so far. Now I have not seen the infamous "random reboot" but I have seen day-to-day real user problems. My issues:
- Bluetooth integration with my car (2012 VW Golf R). This was also a problem with my N9 too as the bluetooth stack was buggy on that phone. On the N9 I would get drops and sound quality issues with streaming music (due to a problem with Wifi enabled) and the phone book simply would not load so I couldn't use voice dialing. At least by turning Wifi off I could stream musc without issue. Now with the Lumia 820 I have better results on the phonebook side, but the streaming music is frustratingly buggy. Sometimes it works flawlessly. Sometimes it fires up with a clearly degraded connection quality. I seem to hear a subtle high-pitched whine with this phone that I did not with the N9. Worst of all, several times the Music app has frozen completely and will not respond even after I disconnect from the phone - this morning I had to literally pop the battery out to reboot the phone.
- Connectivity/Storage - I was already worried about SDCard support under Windows 8 the moment I unboxed the phone and I saw a note pointing me to a special page on the Nokia website warning me about the types of cards to use and not to use the sdcard for pictures and videos. Suffice to say my subsequent experiments lead me to believe this is another half-baked Windows 8 "feature."
I bought a SanDisk Class 10 64 gig microSD to use with my Lumia. For starters, I was completely unable to transfer my music collection to the phone - regularly the USB connection would simply error out and disconnect itself when it encountered some garbage Mac desktop files ("._<filename>") but it would randomly disconnect itself on my bulk transfers even when I cleaned these files up. I had to pop the microSD out and transfer my files using a SDCard adaptor outside of the phone, then remount the microSD when it was finished. Not exactly the dream integration I was hoping for.
Another issue is USB connectivity - while the phone plugged right in and worked great with my Corporate Windows 7 laptop, my personal Asus Laptop, which I am writing this note on, is another story - as i'm writing the phone seems to be completely invisible to the system, even with the supplied cable. Reboots and reconnects have not helped. I expect issues from a Mac or Linux, I do *not* expect such issues with a modern Windows 7 machine !
- Camera - I had not read a whole lot about the camera but I was led to believe there was a slightly larger aperture on the N9, with the same Carl Zeiss branded optics and similar resolution (8mp). I expected similar performance and maybe a bit better low-light performance due to the slightly larger sensor. While the verdict is out on photos, I have to say the basic video capabilities do not seem to be up to par with the N9. First, the autofocus is just way too aggressive and distracting. A stationary phone autofocused continually in a reasonably well-lit room. Second, I had substantial freezes and dropped frames filming 1080p - though I have a feeling this is again related to the microSD write issues I observed above. Options are slim, and though i've found a few decent post processing photo apps (Fhotoroom is pretty sweet for a free app) nothing is out there for video quite yet.
- Hardware, look and feel - One thing you do not get in any AT&T store is a sense of how the phone actually feels in your hands, because they are always attach to those gigantor anti-theft tethers. I was a bit let down when I finally got the thing out of the box and carried it around with me for a while. The screen sure looks good, and the phone is definitely zippy no doubt thanks to that dual-core Snapdragon, But damn this phone feels heavy and slightly unwieldy for its size - I handle this phone quite a bit more gingerly than the N9 because it just doesn't feel right to me, like it will launch out of my hands at any minute. Part of it is that case grip finish doesnt feel as sure in my hands, but there may be third-party options to help solve that issue. In a more general sense though, outside of a few nice engineering touches (the snap case is great) this is sure a plain-jane, no frills phone, its not nearly as inspiring as when I first got the N9.
So i've hung on to my receipt. Its possible the upcoming OTA update might help fix a few of these issues, but I don't expect anything substantial until next year. My problem is, i'm not sure I want to hang on to my Lumia that long. The reality is for all its goodness, Windows 8 has some serious problems to fix and I suspect a really inspiring hardware platform for this looker of a phone OS might still be hiding somewhere around the corner.
I hope this helps, or maybe one of you recognizes some of the gripes i've had.