When Microsoft tries to innovate, bad things usually happen. Anyone remember Microsoft Bob? Windows Me? The MSN Smart Watch? The list goes on and on. When they announced the new Windows 8 phone, my first thought was about Kin. Remember him? The 1 billion (yes billion) dollar investment to create the first great Windows phone.
I shouldn't be too harsh on Windows- I did like the Surface. After getting my hands on the Nokia 920, I have to say something quite odd, however: This is becoming the year of Microsoft. For the first time sinse…well ever…Microsoft has not only created a innovating operating system (yes there’s a learning curve), but also a phone that stands it’s own against Apple and Android.
Like Windows 8, whether or not Windows Phone 8 is really going to depend on one thing: how do you feel about Metro? Metro is the customize menu that you see whenever you turn your phone on—think of it like the Start button in hyper-drive. This is where all the programs that you use the most go; flick your finger from the right side, and you’ll see all of your other programs.
The phone is a little heavier than the iPhone 5. It's bigger, but so is the screen. I felt comfortable watching Netflix and browsing online, and the battery didn't have to charge for a few hours with heavy use. As for the performance of the actual phone, I don't have a SIM card so I couldn't make phone calls. Emails and app usage was quicker than the Android phones I've used.
For me, one of the features that really makes the phone is the Office suite. I love my Mac—but nobody does Word processing quite like Microsoft; it’s the one thing they’ve always got right. Obviously, it’s the mobile version of the productivity suite, but it still worked great. Unlike iWork for the iPhone, which tries to hard to be pretty and styling, Office felt a little clunky, but it worked.
The camera is “okay” but I still prefer the iPhone 5. It works, but indoor photos felt off and the saturation was off. The functionality was superior—unlike the other phones that make you push a shutter or a small area of the phone, Microsoft did it right by letting you touch anywhere on the screen.
The biggest area that this phone lacks is apps. It’s hard to complain about that when it’s still new. Most of the big ones are there—although some like Instagram were missing at this writing; but what has always made the iPhone and Android store great is the smaller apps from developers who create apps as a hobby but turn it into a full-time job.
Is it time to pack away the iPhone and Android phones and run to the Windows store? Not quite. But for the first time, Windows has a phone that you should consider when it’s time to renew your contract—especially once more apps start showing up on the app store.