iPhone versus Windows Phone - Why Nokia / Microsoft lost my business

May 17, 2014

In a divergence from my usual software development ramblings, I thought I’d post my opinions on my latest phone (an iPhone 5c), along with how it stacks up against my previous Nokia Lumia 800

Why Windows Phone

If you have a look through my previous posts, you’ll see the reason for my choosing a Windows Phone last time. I spend a lot of time programming for mobile devices, and I have one Windows Phone 8 app published. Of course I can’t run that on the Lumia… and here’s where Microsoft first started to lose me.

Before getting the phone I looked around at some other phones. I’ve had Apple products before, and have generally been satisfied. I’m not a mad Apple fan, but I have a couple of iPods and an iPad. They work okay. And all the apps that are likely to be written have been written 15 times over.

Windows Phone was new, and it had a very small app base - there was the opportunity! Also, I’d had a Nokia phone before (5120 I think), and it was indestructible!

In general, the Nokia did mostly what I expected - it was very sturdy; I frequently dropped it, scuffed it, and generally treated it the same way that I treated my previous Nokia. The touch screen was excellent and reacted as expected. The Windows 7.1 phone interface was nice. The iPhone feels flimsy and breakable by comparison (as evidenced by the number of people that everyone knows using an iPhone with a smashed screen).

Another excellent feature was the tethering. Given that this was the first phone I’d had that I could tether to, I didn’t realise how good it was until I got the iPhone. Here’s my laptop network screen sat next to the iPhone with Personal Hotspot switched on:


To get the laptop to recognise the iPhone I have to turn the personal hotspot of and on again a few times. Windows Phone always worked first time; I’m very aware that I’m pointing out that Windows works with Windows, but if you tether a lot, this can be a factor.

Bad Stuff

There were a number of annoying factors, but the absolute worse was the heat. I couldn’t keep the phone in my pocket, because it literally burned me. I imagine a related factor was the battery life, which was abysmal (I basically needed to charge it 2 - 3 times a day just for basic use).

Zune was also a let-down. I couldn’t fit all my music on the device, so I tried to use playlists, as I’d previously done with the iPhone, but Zune insisted on clearing and re-filling the phone every time; meaning that syncing it took prohibitively long. The playback on the phone was also a poor experience: I’d be listening to a the latest edition of DotNetRocks, pause it, and then if I continued to use the phone, it would forget the position I’d listened to and start again. Of all the bad features, this was the absolute worse.

My last gripe about Windows Phone it what Microsoft did when they introduced Windows Phone 8. As I said earlier, I bought this to do development, and after having it for 6 months, it felt like a giant two finger solute from Microsoft, saying that Phone 8 was out and old phones would not upgrade. I know apple and Android both do this, but they can afford to; they have large and loyal user bases.

Happy with the iPhone?

Like I said, it’s flimsy, and overpriced; however: - It has an excellent GPS. - I can carry it in my pocket without having to be treated for second degree burns. - It has a mature and large app base. - iTunes is not perfect, but it does work. - The stuff I play on it remembers where it was stopped.

I did consider getting another Windows Phone when it was time to renew, but ultimately, I couldn’t justify it. The Nokia Phones that are available for 8 didn’t strike me as particularly good this time around (they don’t even look that sturdy now), and ultimately, I couldn’t risk MS releasing Windows Phone 9 and leaving me behind again.

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