Windows Phone

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30-Day Windows Phone Challenge Wrap Up

30-Day Windows Phone Challenge Wrap Up via BrothaTech.com

My final wrap up video of my 30-Day Windows Phone Challenge.

In this video I recap weeks 1-3 and give my overall impressions:

Windows Phone Challenge Week One:

  • I prefer the Nokia Lumia 928 over the HTC 8X
  • I like the homescreen personalization fo the “Metro” interface
  • The UI interface integrates several features you need apps for with other devices
  • Full video

Windows Phone Challenge Week Two:

  • The Nokia Lumia 928 is a little thick in the thighs
  • Not feeling any effects of Lack of Apps Syndrome (LoAS)
  • Suggest use of Microsoft SkyDrive
  • Full Video

Windows Phone Challenge Week Three:

  • I am missing wearable tech (Pebble watch and Jawbone UP activity monitor)
  • Solid 3rd-Party apps to replace “top-tier” native apps (Vine and Instagram)
  • Full Video

In the Wrap up, I discuss my overall opinions of Windows Phone 8. I also identify the type of person I would suggest should use Windows Phone. And of course, I reveal if I would permanently switch to Windows Phone over iPhone or Android.

What do you think? Could you use Windows Phone for a week, a month, or permanently? Or you too tied to other platforms to even try such a challenge? Or do you think Windows Phone still needs some work before it can become a viable option for you? Let me know in the comments section.

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[Review] HTC 8X Powered by Windows Phone 8 – Sleek Design, Suprisingly User-Friendly

HTC 8X Back

I’m a fan of HTC – I’m really feeling the uniform design across its devices. So when Verizon sent me an HTC 8X to review, I was exited to find out how it compared to other HTC devices I’ve used, but cautious at the fact that it was a Windows Phone 8 device. I’m an apps guy and I’ll be honest, I’ve been spoiled at the sheer number of apps for iOS and Android, similar to how a man with just a little bit going for him is spoiled by the sheer number of smart, beautiful, and available women down in Atlanta…

(Just painting a picture)

Specs

Before I get into the “usability” for a guy well versed in the [app] Dark Arts, Let me get into the geeky details of the phone:

  • 4.3 inch Gorilla Glass HD 720p display
  • Qualcomm 1.5GHz Dual-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB Internal storage
  • NFC, Bluetooth 3.0, and WiFi IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Beats Audio sound
  • 8MP rear camera & 2.1MP front camera (F2.0 aperture, shoots video in 1080p)
  • MicroSIM card

Pretty comparable specs when you look at what’s on the market now. I’ll be honest – I don’t like the fact that I can’t add more storage via an expandable memory slot. That’s probably a personal dig, because I’m sure your average user with enough cloud storage would do just fine with 16gigs of physical storage.

Where extra storage works for me is music – I’m not a huge fan of streaming media. I’ve built up a large enough library and have tweaked my playlists JUST the way I like them, so I tend to download large amounts of music to my devices. So the extra storage is nice. This is a problem with my iPhone 5 too, but at least I have storage choices, which is why I opt for the 32gig iPhone version every time.

Design

HTC 8X color options

Melting Pot

Smartphone trends are pointing towards larger, 4.5 inch (and up) screens, but if you have small hands, or actually need a free hand to excessively talk with your hands handle other tasks, then the 4.3 inch screen is large enough for viewing content without being too large to find useful.

Like I said, I’m digging the design of the current crop of HTC phones, 8X included. I like the rubberized rear panel of the device. It gives the phone some grip and it doesn’t feel “plasticy” and cheap. The curved rear panel and the different color options (besides black & white) makes the device seem more unique as well. This is something the Nokia Lumia line does as well to give them a distinct look versus the majority of “black slab” devices on the market – No lawsuits with these devices.

Features

Camera & Video

Like I stated earlier, the specs are pretty comparable to others devices on the market. Same can be applied to the taking photos and shooting videos. I can appreciate how easy it is to pull the phone out of your pocket and start capturing content. Other than that, the 8X is on par with other devices, with the exception of the iPhone – Lord if Apple didn’t do anything else to make the iPhone 5 blow people away, at least they got the camera right. Images seemed more natural versus the 8X. On the flip-side, the ability to do more things with images, specifically sharing to the cloud or with other apps with the 8X is what keeps it competitive.

Audio

What more can I say – It has Beats Audio integrated. You can definitely tell the difference when toggling the feature on/of while listening to music. Now, I’m not sure if adding Beats is a legitimate upgrade, or HTC dumbed down the default audio to make Beats sound better. No matter the cause, the effect is a nicer listening experience.

Windows Phone 8

I actually like the Windows Phone 8 experience.

  • The customizable Live Tiles that give you glimpse at what’s going on just by looking at the home screen
  • The uniformity of the app design and layout
  • The ability to “try before you buy” apps
  • The People and Me Hubs that let you view and respond to all of you and your contact’s activity in one location
  • The Group Hub that lets you converse with select contacts
  • The Kid’s Corner where you can designate certain music, games and apps for your kids so they don’t mess up any of your phone’s settings
  • The search function that includes QR Code reading without downloading a seperate app
  • Data Sense that monitors your data usage and suggests ways you can save data

…All these features (and let’s not forget seamless MS Office integration) makes Windows Phone 8 a plesant experience for new smartphone users, as well as users looking for a change and not heavily vested in another platform’s ecosystem.

Apps

Windows Phone 8 Apps

I wrote a previous post as to why I would suggest Windows Phone 8 over another mobile platform. I also did a piece as to what apps are essential to me if I were to switch. I’ll be honest, the apps are keep me from jumping from iOS or Android. Sure, you can call me an App Snob – I’d prefer to make the case that since I get paid to review mobile apps, I can’t limit myself by making the switch…To make matters worse, I absolutely HATE carrying around multiple phones (I’m an “all in” kind of guy).

but…

I think Windows Phone 8 does a good job of integrating the basics into the OS (social, communication, messaging, productivity, ease of use). For your average user, once they connect their email, contacts & calendars, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, add some apps and games from Windows Phone Store and media from Xbox Live, they are good to go.

Outro

Overall, I think the HTC 8X is a pretty dope phone. I hope HTC is still around in the future to keep making attractive and solid smartphones. If so, I do think they need to add larger storage-capacity devices to the line-up. Other than that, I think we need devices like the 8X to stay in the market to give users a choice.

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3 Reasons To Rock With Windows Phone

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For the past week, I’ve been using the HTC 8X, powered by Verizon Wireless with Microsoft’s Windows Phone guts. I’ll be honest, I’m deeply invested in Apple’s and Google’s ecosystems, so switching to Windows Phone permanently would be tough…not impossible, but tough.

On the flip side, there are some people who are not as tied to one particular ecosystem or another. For those [lucky] people. I think All platforms (even the upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices) are fair game. Since I’ll be rocking the 8X for the time being, here are 3 reasons why you should consider Windows Phone.

1. Smooth Operator

Believe it or not, there are some people who don’t own smartphones…Crazy right? For those people looking to adopt the smartphone lifestyle, jumping into Windows Phone is easy. Why? Because there aren’t a ton of apps to overwhelm a new user. After users setup their email, contacts, and calendars…and connect their social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn) that’s pretty much all you need to be productive and stay connected.

The Windows Phone “Me” and “People” Hubs do a good job of keeping users updated on what’s going on in their lives in addition to the lives of family, friends, contacts and colleagues without immediately downloading one app after another. The Live tiles also make it simple to get a “glance” at updates without flipping through a bunch of app screens or widgets to get what you need.

Since I mentioned ecosystems, Windows Phone plays really well with Microsoft Office Suite. Since all the people on planet earth have either a Word, Excel or PowerPoint file somewhere in their possession, accessing those documents (via SkyDrive) doesn’t require any magic tricks, unlike other platforms. Sure, all you have to do is download an app for iOS or Android, but with Windows Phone, you can even skip that step.

2. One-Stop Shop

Windows Phone has taken a page from Apple’s playbook and is building Windows Phone Store to be the ONE PLACE to download apps, music, movies, and other content. Unlike Apple, Windows Phone isn’t a walled-garden if you want to sync content from other platforms (like iTunes) on your Windows Phone device. If have have a Windows laptop/desktop and/or Live account, syncing content is a no-brainer. Even you have a Mac (like moi), simply connect your phone to your computer and use the Windows Phone Connector desktop app and choose what content to want on your device (DRM free stuff of course).

With Android, you can get content from anywhere in addition to Google Play, which could cause confusion, and possible issues with crappy apps that were not downloaded directly from Google Play – And there have been issues with Android malware. As a new or inexperienced smartphone user, Windows Phone is a good choice if you want to just play it safe, but still have options.

3. New Hotness

Windows Phone devices are new and distinct. Whenever I whip out my…smartphone, curious folks always want to know what kind of phone it is and how I like it. Everyone knows what an Apple device looks like…because everybody has one. If your phone is as big as your head, folks assume you have an Android. With Windows Phone, you are guaranteed to stand out from the crowd. Don’t front, we all want to have that “you ain’t up on this” attitude when it comes to tech and gadgets. Rocking a Windows Phone device will definitely give you that new hotness swag (are people still saying swag?).

Sure Windows Phone isn’t as name-worthy as iPhone or Android, and you won’t have access to more apps than you’ll ever download, but there are some unique advantages to choosing Microsoft’s mobile platform.

I want to know, would you choose Windows Phone or are you rolling with what you got?

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