A new phone at last


Yesterday I bought a new phone, after suffering my Blackberry and its vile construction quality for the last 15 months. As I’ve earlier written about my desire to disappoint and enrage myself, I didn’t go the easy route of buying an iPhone like everyone else, but instead got a Lumia 920.

I did this for a few different reasons. I think the Windows Phone interface looks nicer than Android or iOS (although since I haven’t got either smartphone, it’s not like familiarity has bred contempt). I wanted something well-engineered, which Nokia has a good reputation for, and I wanted a phone that wasn’t the latest and greatest, because I don’t like paying the early-adopter tax more often than I absolutely have to.

And so, the Lumia 920, in the week that its successor was announced. I’m glad I waited until the 925 was announced, rather than buying something and finding out a week later that there was something new and better. Strangely, I have become instantly hypnotized, like every other touchscreen zombie out there, suddenly over-fascinated by a few square inches of glass. I suppose waiting all this time didn’t inoculate me to its charms.

Some things about it are really great. The inductive charging is a little gimmicky, but signals an end to fumbling in the dark with usb cables. The 920 did get rather warm as I charged it last night; I don’t know if that’s normal or not. It’s a lovely shade of blue and feels very solid, though I do worry about whether it’s a bit big for me.

Setting the volume and ringtones are more difficult than they should be, and I slept through my alarm this morning. Voice control is not as cool as on either iPhones or Androids, but then shouting at your phone will never be that cool. "Surreptitiously download porn while my wife isn’t looking" is not something that should be bellowed at your personal digital assistant.

App choice does feel a bit limited, even after all these months. The Nokia software is great, but other stuff less so. For example, Tripadvisor’s app hasn’t been upgraded since 2012. The Kindle app is quite limited, versus either the version on my Kindle or the Android equivalent. There’s no text resize, you can’t download periodicals (a real problem for a London Review of Books addict like myself) and it feels a little sluggish to scroll through a book. But perhaps I’m just getting used to it.

There aren’t so very many games for it. Whether that is a blessing or a curse is up for debate. Without Candy Crush it holds little appeal for my wife, which also means she won’t be borrowing it too often, and a lack of games reduces the opportunities I have for time-wasting, but as a relative ingénue to this world of technology, I wonder if there is all sorts of other good stuff I’m missing out on.

One thing that pleasantly surprised me was the quality of the keyboard; I’ve typed this whole entry on the 920 without getting in too much of a rage, yet this was one of the things chaining me to my Blackberry. Knowing I can write on this makes me very happy, especially when we have to contend with a laptop with a broken s key. I’d like a choice lf keyboard, or at least one that made better use of the extra space in landscape mode, but some of this is just getting used to a new toy. I never thought auto-correct would make me so happy. (Type in "Bla" and it will suggest "Black", and if you pick that it will immediately propose "Sabbath" as the next word – METAL!!!!!)

So, after a day I’m not filled with hate and regret, like I was with my Blackberry, so that’s definitely a good start. Perhaps the forthcoming update will make me completely satisfied.


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