I have always said Windows Phone has plenty of potential and shows more promise than any of the other mobile platforms (possibly with the exception of BlackBerry 10) that are shooting to be the third ecosystem alongside Apple and Google. As any up-and-coming platform does, though, Windows Phone 8 has its fair share of faults. Yet it's still a breath of fresh air in a world filled with similar icons and app drawers.
Performance has always remained priority to Microsoft in creating Windows Phone. And the interface took some time to grow on me. It could certainly be improved, too. But the Metro UI and typography throughout the system is gorgeous.
I have also said numerous times that what has been holding the platform back more so than the lack of a well-rounded ecosystem, application library or functionality is the hardware; not that performance is suffering, but the hardware itself has been meager and forgettable since the very first Windows Phone device. Only recently have Windows Phone devices been brought up to speed on comparable specifications and hardware features to its most popular counterparts. For example, before Windows Phone 8, there was no official support for microSD cards, NFC, 720p display resolution or multi-core processor architecture. Every new device reeked of last-generation hardware and specs.
Microsoft and its Windows Phone partners needed something new, ground-breaking and eye-catching.
With the bevy of improvements brought in Windows Phone 8, I have been looking towards the manufacturers, such as HTC and Nokia, to deliver. Originally, when I first got some eyes-on with the Lumia 920 at the press event in September, I thought Nokia had really pulled the pieces together to create a smartphone in a class of its own.
The Nokia Lumia 920 features high-end specifications, the same (albeit glossy) polycarbonate unibody design we all have come to love and an 8-megapixel PureView camera with optical image stabilization (OIS) and superior low-light performance to any other smartphone camera on the market.
From that point until last week when I actually got my hands on a Lumia 920 (outside the presence of Microsoft and HTC workers), I was determined the Lumia 920 would be one of my next smartphones. I want something with a fantastic camera, great battery life, a gorgeous display and at least decent build quality and design.
It only took a few minutes with the Lumia 920 to determine it wasn't for me. In anything but low-light conditions, the camera is nothing terribly special. It suffers from some of the same issues the Lumia 900 camera suffered from. And according to several of my colleagues, the battery life has been pretty miserable. The display, however, is still gorgeous, and the build quality and design are great, though the device is thick and heavy.
Then came the HTC Windows Phone 8X. It's a pretty phone. Both it and the Lumia 920 come in some seriously vibrant and eye-popping colors. But, on paper, the 8X seemed inferior to the Lumia 920 in almost every way. It has a smaller battery (1,800mAh versus 2,000mAh), smaller display (4.3-inches versus 4.5-inches, both at 720p), less built-in storage space and a less stellar camera low-light performance. And the 8X suffers from the very same problems that plague the DROID DNA, what keeps it from being a grand slam instead of a ground rule double. Very limited storage and a small battery.
I really wanted to try Windows Phone 8. Chances are, I still will. I'm no longer excited over the hardware. The Lumia 920 is suffering a few problems of its own, such as overheating and camera white balance problems. And both Lumia 920 and 8X users are reporting issues with random reboots and freezing. And there's a battery issue, where Lumia 920 users are claiming to have very poor battery life – in the ballpark of three to four hours in severe cases.
In short, I'm no longer excited for Windows Phone 8 hardware. What was spectacular about the two devices I was eyeing turned out to be less-than-stellar, and issues are abounding. I may pick up an 8X from Verizon at some point. But I'm no longer clamoring to try it out, as sad as that makes me.
What say you, ladies and gents? Are you still excited over Windows Phone 8? Have you tried it or the aforementioned devices already? What are your thoughts? Impressed? Disappointed? Share your thoughts below!