Windows Phone 8

Disclaimer: While I have been trained on Windows 8 and other Microsoft services (NOT Windows Phone 8), and part of my job is to promote their services and products, the ideas and opinions expressed in this post are solely my own. I have received no compensation for this post. I just genuinely like my new phone! And I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences with my readers.

I got a new smartphone last month, and now that I’ve spent about a month with Nokia’s Windows Phone 8, the Lumia 822, I wanted to share some thoughts on it.

I came from an Android phone that was frustrating me more and more the longer I had it.  I could never get everything in exactly the right place, and if I took it off my home screen (usually accidentally) it seemed like huge ordeal to find it again and put it back.  It felt cluttered, and I never understood exactly where things were.  I also never felt like my phone reflected me.

So when I got the Windows Phone I was really happy with the number of personalization options I had, but also how easy they were.
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This is my lock screen.  It’s great to glance at it to see what time it is, I love that I can choose a photo that’s personal to me.  I just push my lock screen up, and sign in with my passcode (security!).  If I receive a new email, message, or phone call I get an alert at the bottom of this screen (apparently I wasn’t very popular when I wrote this, so no new notifications, boo).  I can say what apps I want to give notifications on my lock screen, so I don’t have to sign in to see if I have new stuff to check. Super convenient.WP_20130525WP_20130525 1WP_20130525 2
This series of screenshots shows you my phone’s start screen (you might think of this as a home screen) from top to bottom (farthest left is the top, and so on).  I can never decide what color I want, but I’ve been stuck on this teal color for awhile, but luckily it’s really easy to change.   Also, they give you the option of light or dark background.  The dark background is better for your battery, but I like the light because I find it easier to see with the more pronounced contrast.

On the start screen you can see I put the things and people that are most important to me.  Obviously right up top is the phone, as well as a battery notice so I know when I’m running low. I like to glance at the weather, and I need quick ways to get to my main email inbox, the internet, my messages, and my voicemails.  I also have a calendar, a blog reader, OneNote (where I store notes/lists/agendas for different projects), a link to all office file types (whether they are stored on the phone, in the cloud, or attached to an email), SkyDrive, social networking apps (Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and the People app), a GPS, my photos hub, my other email accounts, and a few other things including an app that helps me keep track of my data usage.  You’ll notice that there are different sizes of tiles, and it’s really easy to personalize those sizes and the arrangement of the tiles for your own needs.  Just tap and hold a tile if you want to change its size or move it or even unpin it.

I really like that the start screen is just one long scrollable page as opposed to flipping through different pages.  On most smartphones if you fill up a page you have to add additional apps to other pages, and then I usually forget which page they were on. 

As you can see, I have a lot on there, but I do have other apps, and it’s really easy to get to them, you just swipe to the right and you’ll see an alphabetical list of the apps. 
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Tap on one of the header letters, and it will give you all the letters so you can jump to your app more quickly (eg, tap s if you’re trying to quickly get to settings).  Or you can hit the magnifying glass at the top to search for what you need if you want. I find it really easy to browse through my list of apps- something about the size and style of the font.  I can pin any of those apps to the start screen.  It’s great because I might not need it on the start screen at first, but if I find that I’m using it a lot, it’s simple to put it there, just tap and hold and it gives you the option to pin to start.

If you’re using Windows 8 on your tablet or PC, you’ll notice that your experience on a Windows Phone 8 is not exactly the same as your computer, but a lot of things overlap: the scrolling start screen and the ability to personalize it down to the color, pinning and unpinning things to the start screen, the live tiles (that means that the tiles update… for example the calendar tile shows me today’s appointment, the email tile shows me if I have a new email, I’ve pinned The Guns’ info to the start screen, so if he posts something new on Facebook or emails or messages me or calls me his tile displays that info), plus so many of the apps will sync no problem with your PC (OneNote, SkyDrive, etc.) so you can get to what’s important no matter what device you happen to be using.

There’s a ton more I could write about the Windows Phone 8, and I probably will write another post later about more than just personalization, but I just wanted to cover one more thing: organization.  I love how they organize your content.  A great example is the People Hub (similar to windows 8 People App), which is like a contacts list but better. The key is the name: People.  Anything having to do with connecting with people, you can do it through the People Hub.  Want to call someone? People Hub.  Want to check out their Facebook photos? People Hub. Want to mention them on twitter?  People Hub. Plus they keep a history of your interaction with that person. So if I want to see what I told my friend about our dinner plans tonight when I invited them last week, I can just go check out our history.  It doesn’t matter if I emailed the info, or posted it on their Facebook wall or sent them a text, I can check it all from one place, in the People Hub.  I love that when I’m dealing with people, I have a one-stop shop, I don’t have to jump from app to app trying to find the right info.
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On the far left is my husband’s profile page on the People Hub.  If I scroll down I can see other ways to interact with him, like emailing him or mentioning him on Twitter. If I swipe over I’ll see the “what’s new” section that’s shown here in the middle.  Here I can see what has been posted on his Facebook wall lately, and also any posts or photos he makes on Facebook or Twitter. And if I swipe over again I can see our history (shown on the far right), any messages, emails, or phone calls we’ve made to each other. Awesome.

Like I said, there’s lots more I could write, but I’ll save it for future posts.

Anybody have a Windows Phone or thinking about getting one?  What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “Windows Phone 8

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