Two Days with Windows Phone 8

Yesterday afternoon I picked up a brand new Nokia 1020.

Well, I say I picked it up but truth be told I went to the store looking for the 920 seeing as it’s a cheaper model and I *am* on a budget, but they were out of stock and the sales person offered me quite a deal on the 1020 – price matched to the 920 – so, I bought it.

I’m rather glad I did, too.

As would be expected on a beast like this, the camera is rather nice. I’ve yet to take many pictures with it, but the few I have done turned out fairly well. Pretty much all of them have been of our cats, so I shan’t trouble you with them; the internet has enough cat photos as it is.

Of the things that I like, I would say how comfortable the UI is ranks pretty high on the list. It sits somewhere between the utilitarianism of iOS and the customizability of Android. It’s still rows upon rows of icons, but you can resize the icons and place them in a more intricate grid than iOS, without mucking about with the widgets and whatnot of Android.

The home screen on my WP8 phone

The home screen on my WP8 phone

I do like getting info at a glance with the LiveTiles. It’s a feature I’ve liked quite a bit on my Surface, so having it on my phone feels natural at this point.

I also really do like being able to pin contacts to the home screen and seeing practically all interactions with them in one spot.

The Office app is pretty spiffy, although I’m currently unsure just how much I’ll be using it. That said, the One Note app is indispensable for me. I know most folks use Evernote for the same deal, but I’ve gotten quite used to using One Note on my Surface so having everything available on my Phone is a major plus. It’s pretty great to print to One Note on a computer, then have it sync via SkyDrive to my handset.

There are, however, things I don’t quite care for.

I’m not a fan of the notifications – there’s no way to add custom notification tones, no way to set different tones for different apps or contacts, and no way – other than live tiles – to see what notifications you may have missed. Both Android and iOS have the pulldown notification center deal, I’d like to see WP8 adopt something akin to this in a future update.

I’m not a huge fan of the media volume and the ringer volume are the same, but I can see the logic behind it. I’d prefer to the option to set them as I see fit.

I was able to fairly painlessly import my contacts from my old iPhone, and I’ve managed to get the majority of my calendar and such moved over too – things I must have working since my phone has become a primary computing device.

It would be nice if the Surface and the phone synced more things more regularly – such as bookmarks and photos. I’m really hoping they sort it out with 8.1 on both systems. Fingers crossed.

Obviously I’m planning on revisiting this in a months time, to see what has gotten better and what new things are driving me batty. But, all told, this was $50 well spent.