My first 48 hours with the Nokia Lumia — mostly good

Ok so I am 48 hours into my Windows Phone trial with the Nokia Lumia 900 and so far the experience is pretty good. I think most people would be pretty happy with the phone and experience.

There are some things done very well:

* Placing snippets of content on the home screen, not just apps. A specific note out of evernote, a mail folder, a contact — this is so right. I can get my kids, my spouse right on my home screen and have quick access to calling them, texting them, seeing fb updates, etc. I can get the Evernote for a current project right on the one screen. The phone experience becomes much more personal, this is way better than an unending grid of app icons.
* Cyclic panes within an app. I can just keep swiping to the right or left and see all options, they are not lists with fixed beginnings and ends. This is highly useful.
* Most of the apps I need are there. Evernote, Spotify, WordPress, ESPN, I’m really not feeling bad about the depth of the app catalog. Plenty of nice games. I do need a Markdown/Dropbox editor.
* The AMOLED display is beautiful.

Some things I am undecided on:

* I am always fumbling around trying to figure out which end is up. No obvious physical guide like the iPhone home button. Maybe I will get used to using the camera lens as a guide.
* Tango video calling but no Skype? And you can’t even find Skype in the marketplace but have to know the URL? I don’t mind having Tango preinstalled but c’mon, I need reasonable access to Skype.
* The UI for apps has less decoration (icons, menus, bars, buttons) but way more whitespace and big fonts than iOS. Looks a little nicer than iOS but no denser, I’m not sure it is any more productive.

And some things are Wrong:

* I am one of the 7 people that have Zune subscriptions, no OTA sync of my music subscriptions, I have to plug into my PC? Lame. Of course no one else on the planet will see this because they will all be using Spotify which seems to work fine.
* Linking inboxes or contacts. I had to got thru and link my inboxes so that I could see all my mail in one place (thanks Henry) and I had to link my contacts with facebook contacts so that I could see facebook and contact details in one place. This was a PITA and should be automagic. (iOS links mail automagically but not contacts and doesn’t even have the Facebook integration)
* Browser. When resizing and dragging content, lots of repaint issues. Lots. There needs to be some substantial work done on this.
* Search buttons. Permanent button always goes to bing. App specific button with the same graphic goes to app search. Does anything search my whole phone — ie search across email and contacts and music and apps?
* The app marketplace needs some serious merchandising work. First I have an App Highlights app which seems to showcase good apps but has no search function. So not very helpful. Then I have the Marketplace which gives up premier placement to Nokia and AT&T which they both squander. And first page placement given to podcasts, seriously??? There is no clear editorial guidance on great apps. This thing is kind of a mess.
* And the biggest problem — my existing Shure mic/headset doesn’t work, apparently you have to buy headsets specific to this phone? Seriously Nokia? This is so f$&ked up. You are light years behind in the market and so you decide not to work with all the existing 3rd party headphones? Thanks guys. Really making switching from iOS easy.

Ok I don’t want to finish on a downer. Again most people will find this to be a pretty good experience — the hardware feels solid, the software is easy on the eye, there are plenty of apps covering most needs.

3 thoughts to “My first 48 hours with the Nokia Lumia — mostly good”

  1. On the 800, I use the fact that all the buttons are on one side to orient it in my hand without looking πŸ˜‰

    You can set up wireless sync of music on your home wifi in the Zune software; phone has to be on wifi when you do it

    no universal search until Apollo and contracts, but some related apps will show up in some bing searches

    check out AppFlow for a lovely way to browse the marketplace and explore what’s worth checking out; it’s a third-party viewer for the marketplace that has some excellent lists. much better than Nokia’s very simplistic App Highlights.

    all the headsets I have work with the Lumia 800, but specific iOS headset controls won’t work because Apple doesn’t share with the other children πŸ˜‰

  2. Really useful to see your first impressions — I’ll be interested in your longer term view, also.

    Have you played with the camera yet? Traditionally Nokia camera hardware has been good (I’m still on using my antiquated N82). Camera’s the most important “convergence” attribute of a phone since I want a camera with me at all times without having to carry a dedicated device.

  3. re the camera, i am a dedicated dslr or micro 4/3rds carrier, doubt i will use the phone cam much. but i’ll let you know…

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