Mobile Talk: Living with the Nokia Lumia 920
Paul Briden explains what life is like with the Lumia 920 after three months of use
Ahead of Windows Phone 8’s launch I spoke fairly extensively about how optimistic I was about the platform.
When it arrived there was indeed plenty which had been improved from its disappointing predecessor and, enthusiastic as ever - just call me Elop 2.0 – I carried on writing about how great it all seemed.
I’ve now had the Lumia 920 for about three months as my main phone and although from a technical standpoint it’s still an incredibly impressive piece of hardware the sheen has entirely worn off – and I'm not talking about that of the chassis either.
While some have criticised the Lumia 920’s bulky frame and heavy weight this really isn’t something that has bothered me at all. As in our original review, my opinion of the display – it's awesome – remains the same, as does my view that the 920 is a very aesthetically pleasing piece of kit.
‘What about the PureView camera?’ you might ask. Well, yes it’s still as impressive as ever, but I don’t really take any photos with my phone outside of reviews so it’s of no real advantage to me.
There are some small things which are still great. The wireless charging or even just the convenient positioning of the microUSB port and control buttons are all very nice. I've honestly never had a phone which is so easy to stick on charge, however you do it, or one which holds a charge so well.
The real problem though is the software. While mutltitasking is improved over Windows Phone 7 it’s still nowhere near as usable as Android’s equivalent and I simply find myself never using it.
App load speeds are faster than Windows Phone 7 but they’re still slow compared to Android and iOS.
The app ecosystem is still anemic to the point of redundancy. It's depressing to admit but I just don’t bother looking for apps to install any more, meaning the now more customisable homescreen sits there largely devoid of Live Tiles.
The People Hub is good for the most part but there’s an irritatingly prominent disconnect between its feed and functionality and that of the ‘Me’ panel and individual social networking component apps such as Facebook or Twitter. It’s also not as customisable as it should be in terms of filtering what you see in your feeds. There's still nothing quite like it on rival platforms, but I can't shake the feeling it could be implemented better.
Internet Explorer 10 is fast, sure, but it’s clunky, fiddly and randomly shuts down from time to time. Most irritatingly you cannot set it to open new tabs in the background, so you’re constantly jumping back between tabs when opening links.
So, really Windows Phone 8 is to blame here for making a dull as dishwater experience at best and a frustrating one at worst, but the impact on the Lumia 920 as a device is that it’s all brawn and no brains.
It doesn’t need all this power when the underlying software is so weak. If it were an Android handset it would be astonishing, easily beating the best of what's available from Samsung and HTC, but on Microsoft’s platform it just seems all mouth and no trousers.
The long and the short of it is I just don’t do anything with my Lumia 920, because when there's anything I want it to do it can’t do it, while the things it can do well I don’t care about.