Windows Phone 8 In-Depth Review (Part 2)

5/22/2013 9:30:08 AM

User interface’s improvements

The chain of startup guides you through the initial welcome screen and normal settings. You will be prompted to create or log into your Microsoft Account, choose your preferred language settings and choose whether you want to back up your photos, text and phone settings. From there you will find yourself on the Start screen, roaming freely through the Live Tile and the list of applications that you want. If you've previously used Windows Phone 7, you will immediately notice the differences - very different. When you're on the Start screen, you will be presented a group like Live Tile checkerboard as familiar as you've ever seen on a typical Modern UI, but this time it extends to the right edge of the screen (in WP7, the tile covers only two thirds of it, while the rest of the space is not in use). This adds more space for each tile. Microsoft has also included support for three Live Tile sizes (compared to just two in WP7) and for developers to access all of them. Whatever used to be smaller in WP7 is now considered average, which means there is one option available for even smaller size for those you want to access but do not it to occupy much space. It works well - we want to be a setting tile associated with the Start, but there is no reason for it to account for a large portion of the screen. It is similar to other utilities. You also have the opportunity to change the tile size, a privilege that is not extended to WP7 users. It is necessary for third-party developers to support small and medium-sized, but it is their will if they want to offer the largest sizes. To switch between 3 sizes, just press and hold the tile and 1 new arrow appears at the right bottom corner. Click it and so your tile will shrink or expand, depending on where the direction of the arrow is facing. The people in Redmond claimed that this new setting would make your phone more personal than before, and we just like to add that we can be able to see much more content on the Start screen, and do so in an efficient and well-organized way.

User Interface

User Interface

While the Start screen is the biggest innovation in WP8, there are some important changes to the lock screen that will ultimately make it more useful. In WP7, you are allowed to get some details about the next appointment in your calendar. At this point, you can exchange it for unread emails, text messages or missed calls. The message at the bottom of the screen is now more easily customizable, so you can choose what kind of notifications you receive and the order you want them, from left to right. There is room for 5 symbols. It is improved compared to WP7, but unfortunately it still does not beat Android's notification system. The platform’s lock screen can be dynamically updated to display information of third-party applications - for example, HTC has done excellent work in the weather app, allowing you to view the current temperature and the weather during the day (along with beautiful images of local weather conditions), and applications such as CNN will provide new information to receive updates in the same way. You can also make the lock screen show images presented by Bing if you are looking for something eye-catching. In addition to these two changes, WP8 does not include major changes to the user interface. As you will see in this review, that does not mean that Microsoft did not add extra things - it just means that those who are familiar with the Modern UI will now need to learn how to use this new phone again.

Synchronizing your phone

Syncing your phone

Syncing your phone

Windows Phone 8 provides several ways to sync your phone and computer, so you do not need to go through to access Zune for music, video, and photography. The device on this platform uses MTP, meaning you can access the phone as an external hard drive. Drag and drop the files you want on the phone and that's all you have to do. Even you can go to Windows Media Player and sync songs and playlists in the same way that we can do with Android phones. You can also sync the device with iTunes, but you will need to use the desktop application that comes from Microsoft to do this (available for Windows 7 and Mac, Win 8 has this feature built-in). In fact, this particular program is the only option that Mac users will have if they want to connect the phone to the computer. When you are in the program, the program first asks you to sync iTunes or Windows libraries. If you choose the former, it appears in the iTunes window and begins to load all your music, photos, video, podcasts and your ringtone. From there, just select what you want to put into the phone. It reduces one of the biggest worries that iOS users have to scroll through the Windows Phone, and it works smoothly.

Fortunately, you also will be able to upgrade OTA, a feature that is already available on Android and iOS devices for a long time. You can be notified when the next update is available, downloading updates automatically or manually checking to find a new software version.

Some screenshots

Some screenshots

Finally, WP8, plus the ability to backup text messages, the list of applications, bookmarks of IE10, device settings and image / video on the cloud, with all this data associated with your Microsoft account. This makes it easy to restore your phone if it is deleted or if you need to replace it for any reason.

Compatibility with Windows 8

If you've seen Windows 8, you will see quite clearly that Windows Phone 8 has a relationship with each copy of the desktop than the previous versions. Microsoft is betting big on Modern UI, and has tried to combine experiences on desktop, tablet and mobile platforms into one. Now they do not just use the same style of the user interface, but also share the same code, that is the Windows 8 developers will be able to use the same code for the WP8 apps, and vice versa. WP8 also supports C++ and C, as well as DirectX. Microsoft hopes that this similarity will promote third parties to both combine and improve the new and untested ecosystem.

Regardless of whether this strategy is effective or not, we believe it will make the platform more powerful in the future, but it will take quite some time to develop enough applications to convince those Android and iOS users typically who have invested heavily in the ecosystem of their choice. This problem will not happen after a night, but it can be a message that many PC users upgrade their desktops to a new OS. Whether the company is placing heavy emphasis on Win 8/WP8 experience, it does not mean it's completely thrown away Windows Phone 7 or 7.5; all inherited applications run easily, and we look forward to seeing large-scale improvements in the applications when they add compatibility in the near future.

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