Yesterday, I described the setting up procedure, so today I will describe what you get with the phone in terms of software and features. Also I will cover off some of this positives and negatives. Remember this phone only cost £130 vs an iPhone at £500.
For £130 you get a 3.8 inch wvga screen that looks gorgeous. A 5 MP camera with flash and lots of features and the options of downloading additional lenses (camera options) from Nokia’s Recommended Apps. It has changeable colour backs. The lockscreen has changeable options for notifications and changing backgrounds. My 620 had an app called Angry Birds Roost which provided fun pictures of angry birds space on the lock screen. In fact the lockscreen is very clear in providing the time and date.
Other software included or that is available free from Nokia is Alarms, Calculator, Camera, ebay, Hotmail, Mail app, Hello (unbelievably), Help and Tips, Nokia Maps and Turn by Turn Navigation, Internet Explorer, Messaging, Nokia Care, Nokia City Lens, Nokia Music, MS Office and One Note, People Hub, Photos, Settings, Skydrive, Skype (free video calls), Windows Store, Transfer my Data. Some apps I did not expect to see pre installed were ebay, groupon and Hello. If you have a mac, microsoft have an app that allows you to transfer music, videos photos and more out of itunes. It is a very good app actually. One last feature is voice commands and Bing Search.
I have added a few games, some additional photo editing apps, camera lens apps for to bolster the camera features like panorama, wordpress, the weather channel, youtube, zite, twitter, tv guide, tv catchup, tune in radio timer, remote control for sony, natwest, met office, linkedin, gMaps, flickr, dropbox viewer, amazon kindle and shopping. However, there are no google apps although gMaps is an excellent third party Google Maps plus Navigation substitute. You can probably find ways around the apps, but games are a different story.
So the birds eye view of all of the above is a smartphone that has a decent web browser, integration with microsoft skydrive cloud (7gb free storage too) and MS Office and One Note, decent camera, free music streaming via Nokia Music (very good), very powerful headphone output, maps, free navigation, live tiles on your home screen and an operating system that flows really well once you get used to it. The People Hub integrates all your social networking together and has a live tile which updates accordingly. In fact, installing apps with live tiles is great, since you can arrange your home screen to have the live tile (active resizeable icons) which give constant functionality. And free calls and video calls using Skype.
There is a lack of apps, but it is very weak in the gaming department selection, although there is angry birds, fruit ninja, shark dash, the dark knight rises, plants vs zombies and many more. So I am sure many could survive with ease. There is no notification centre as such, mainly because the home screen replaces it using the live tiles.
I love Windows Phone 8. Some of the apps like Amazon Mobile, Natwest, and eBay actually look better in my opinion than there equivalents on android and ios. Using the phone just flows and adapts the more you expand it. For example, install photo apps, and they appear in the main photos app. So if you open the photos app your first screen gives you options of camera roll, albums, date and people. If you scroll screens you will be shown a list of any photos apps you have installed. My list had cinemagraph, fhotoroom, flickr and lomogram. The other screen shows “whats new” from photos from your social accounts. And the last screen shows photos from any of your favourites. I found the integration into the Photos app of all the above was both logical and easy to use. Games work in a similar way. They appear in the Games hub app. This app integrates xbox, the store, xbox smart glass and even gives you the option on some apps to try them properly before buying them. Again I really like this. Plus my xbox gaming profile, is a moving person in the app. A funny fun touch.
So you flip up the lock screen and are faced with the live tiles home screen. In one glance you can see whats happening in your life. Its customisable too. From the home screen you flick left to get to the apps. This is one long list that scrolls. Now as you add more apps the list gets longer. After a point of adding apps, an alphabetical index is added to make seeing whats in what letter easier. It also allows for another trick. Tap any index letter and it brings up a page of 26 letters. So if you wanted Photos, just tap the P and you are taken to all the apps starting with P. I found this a rather quick way to whizz around. Also, bear in mind that games do not clog this list of apps. Also, the additional photo lenses installed will appear now in the camera options.
Other positives include the free streaming music, fantastic audio quality, integration out of the box with Microsoft Office and Skype. Plus twitter and linkedin and other social services contacts are integrated in to your people hub.
All in all, a very good phone. More tomorrow covering the finer points.