Finally, I’m switching from my old and pretty worn HTC Mozart 7 (running on WP 7.8 atm) to Nokia Lumia 920 (WP 8). Can’t imagine a better moment for a brief review of WP 7.x - it’s usability, stability, annoying stuff & the overall fun factor, but … BUT! There has already been so many reviews that I’ll try to focus on the stuff that weren’t mentioned already (hard to do, I know, but I’ll try anyway).
- Contrary to what I experience with all my Android phones (yes, I do use 2 phones in parallel, always), it’s still lighting fast. All the time, after all those updates (keeping in mind that it went through 7->7.5 & 7.5->7.8 upgrades) it’s exactly as smooth and pleasant to use as it was initially. UI is perfectly responsive and there are no hiccups in UI. None. Zero. Null.
- It’s rock-stable. Throughout those 2 years there was a short period when it was restarting in random moments without any apparent reason (3-4 times), but after 2-3 days it vanished and didn’t happen anymore. Nothing crashes, no error messages - you don’t care about technicals, you just use the phone.
- Metro UI doesn’t grow old. It’s minimalistic, efficient, esthetic (some may not like it though), but it’s that crude & simple that it doesn’t get boring fast (as opposed to iOS’es gradients). Maybe I’m biased, but it feels much better that what competitors offer.
- It’s a phone with e-mail, few corporate functions and a browser. Nothing more. The app ecosystem doesn’t exist and nothing has changed for these few past years - app store is still as empty as it was. Well, not literally empty - there’s plenty of crap there, but 99% is not usable at all. Literally: the only apps I got are: Evernote (can’t live w/o that), Endomondo, Kindle & Twitter client. I’ve already written an article or two about that so I’m not going to repeat myself anymore on that.
- Upgrades didn’t change much. Correction - they barely changed anything. It still looks like bare WP 7.0 - the only difference is more available sizes of tiles on the main screen (introduced in 7.8). Two & a half year is a lot of time and what was fresh then isn’t fresh anymore - at least some fresh air would be nice.
- Richness of the content offered in Microsoft’s equivalents of competitor’s services - take maps: at the first glance they seem nice and fast, but the way they are enriched with additional content is significantly worse then in case of Google Maps - it’s far harder to find something around (like a restaurant in the neighborhood), the level of detail is far worse. Same applies to the Search (powered by Bing), etc.
- Tiny quirks - omnipresent and always annoying. Never fixed - it’s like Microsoft just doesn’t listen to users feedback. Take the browser - opening new tab switches you there immediately -> can’t find many things as annoying as that. Time & date auto-setting didn’t work properly for a very long time as well. Mail check doesn’t always report it’s failure (for instance, when the password expires), etc., etc., etc.
Nothing to see here, I love the looks - it’s still gorgeous! :)
The overall verdict
Good bye WP 7.x. It was fun and you did well. Honestly, you rock as a corporate phone (if someone bears 2 devices), but sometimes I missed all the app goodness to be found @ Google’s & Apple’s marketplaces. Will I miss you? Not really, but mainly because after 2 days of using WP 8 I’m afraid I can’t find any difference between 7.8 & 8 (?!).