Making the Switch From iOS to Windows Phone

Back when Windows Phone first launched, I spent time reviewing handsets like the Nokia Lumia 900. But until the past few weeks, I hadn’t had the opportunity to spend some serious hands on time with Windows Phone 8. I decided to take a one month challenge, trading in my iPhone and iOS for the HTC 8X, which is Microsoft’s Flagship Windows Phone device. We’ve talked about what’s new in Windows Phone 8 before, but if you’re an iOS user who has been considering making the jump, check out what my experience has been like with Windows Phone.

User Interface

I might get slammed for saying this, but in my humble opinion, Windows Phone has the nicest user interface of any smartphone out there. To that effect, it’s a lot cleaner and more modern than Apple’s aging iOS. And while it does take a bit of getting use too, after all it’s not icon driven the way every other Smartphone O.S. is, fortunately, the U.I. is super intuitive unlike the variating flavors of Android floating around out there.

Keyboard

I’ve been using the iOS keyboard for such a long time now, that jumping ship to another onscreen keyboard can be intimidating and take some adjusting too. As a matter of fact, each time I try out a new Android phone, I get frustrated by the different onscreen keyboards they tout. Fortunately, the Windows Phone onscreen keyboard is nothing short of superb and responsive. The keys are big and well spaced. Even as an iOS user, my fingers are able to quickly adopt to the Windows Phone keyboard. The Word Flow Keyboard also does a great job of learning to predict the next word in your sentence. You’ll find yourself flying through emails and texts in no time at all.

Live Tiles & Customization

I was smitten with Live Tiles from day one, but Live Tiles have gotten even better on Windows Phone 8. Live Tiles lets you Pin people and apps to your start screen, so that you have easy access to your most important parts of your phone. Live Tiles are also able to stay updated by feeding you live information. That includes everything from your inbox count, to you next calendar appointment, to the weather, news headlines, flight information, and more. New in Windows Phone 8 is the ability to resize your Live Tiles in a choice of 3 different sizes. The result is a more personalized and efficient start screen experience, which is tailored to your needs. iOS has nothing to offer that comes close to Live Tiles. Instead, on iOS, customization means changing the wallpaper on your home screen and lock screen.

Kids Corner

Do you get nervous each time a kid asks to play with your Phone? Well, I sure do. But with Windows Phone, I can hand over my HTC 8X to my little cousins without any qualms. That is because the Kid’s Corner feature lets you specify which apps, games, music, and videos they can use. This protects everything else on your phone from them with a password. Granted, iOS does offer a similar feature with their Restrictions settings, it’s good to know that you don’t lose that kind of control if you move over to Windows Phone.

Apps

While there still aren’t nearly as many Windows Phone apps as there are iOS apps, the app selection for Windows Phone is continuously getting better. Most importantly, the majority of my most essential apps are all there now – that includes Whasapp, Spotify, Dropbox, Skype, TripIt, Pandora, eBay, OpenTable, and Foursquare. But unfortunately an official Instagram app is still not available, and the unofficial Instagram apps available on Windows Phone are weak. That said, Nokia did announce that a new Hipstamatic Oggl app will be headed to their Windows Phones, and it will allow sharing to Instagram.

Hardware

The selection of Windows Phone handsets is getting better and better. And they are getting more affordable too. Nokia and Windows Phone just launched the prepaid Nokia 521 for T-Mobile offers unbelievable value for a $129 price point. And there are plenty of choices at the high end too, for example, Nokia just launched the Lumia 925 which packs in a PureView camera with a Carl Zeiss lens. I have been carrying around the HTC 8X, which comes in a selection of bold and fun colors. I love the device’s compact form-factor, and really, has a phone ever looked this good in yellow!

Office Hub

If you want to create or edit a Word or Excel file on iOS, you’ll need a third party app. This is something that I have always found frustrating on iOS. On the other hand, Windows Phone has support for Office documents right out of the box, all through its Office Hub. Office Hub will even sync your office docs straight to SkyDrive in the cloud. Overall, when it comes to Microsoft Office integration, no one does it as well as Windows Phone.

Find My Phone




find 620x425 Making the Switch From iOS to Windows Phone



A feature that I could not live without on iOS is Find My iPhone, which lets you locate your iOS devices, should you leave them behind somewhere. And heck, we’ve all been there. Fortunately, the Find My Phone feature on Windows Phone lets you locate, ring, lock and erase your phone remotely.

Verdict

iOS users have high standards for usability and function. Fortunately, so does Windows Phone, which is why making the switch has been pretty painless for me. Besides, Live Tiles are the best thing since sliced bread. And at the end of the day, no one does customization as well as Windows Phone – nor does any one do eye-popping colored handsets better than Windows Phone. That said, my biggest challenge over the past month while using Windows Phone 8 has been not having access to an official Starbucks or Instagram app. But I’m hoping that these apps will arrive sooner than later. All in all, we think an iOS user should give Windows Phone a chance. It certainly has the potential be the next great mobile OS that everyone wants to own.

Leave a Reply

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507112080 Nicole Scott

    I’m going to be monitoring your feed to make sure you’re actually dropping your iPhone…you’ll see what I mean, it’s almost there :P

  • http://twitter.com/JonRohrich Jon Rohrich

    The unofficial Starbucks app; SBUX Card is absolutely fantastic, I didn’t even realize it was unofficial until recently. Hopefully Instagram is on it’s way sooner than later

  • Bryan Marsden

    I have been using Windows Phone for a while, and agree with almost everything you said. The drag on Microsoft at this point is people aren’t willing to switch ecosystems.

  • 3trinity3

    I just picked my Nokia Lumia 928 up today. I had been using iOS since the iPhone 3. There are only a few apps that I usually use on my iPhone missing but I can work well enough without them, so far the pluses far out weight the minuses. Live tiles, UI, clean, fast… Office… very impressed so far!

  • Eric

    Itsdagram is a good instagram app just released. Instagraph is another.

  • Liberal Republic

    Itsdagram and instagraph are there. The developers are working very hard to improve the quality of their apps. They are really good now. I use Bing rewards to buy apps. Its like getting apps for free.

  • Liberal Republic

    I don’t know why people are dying for instagram. I posted one picture and that was it. I use Nokia music, Pandora, raaga, office apps more than any other apps. I share internet connection to my other devices when I’m on the road. I have a 920 and I love it.

  • Liberal Republic

    Does it have double tap to wake up phone feature? If not don’t worry. I heard Nokia will be soon pushing an update to enable this feature on most Lumia windows phone 8 devices. They are also enabling the FM radio on the phone. I read about them on internet. Fingers crossed +

  • http://www.facebook.com/ReDnUtH Tommy Kamber

    I switched from iphone back to nokia becus i hated 50mb data limit and after some time found out this one has same limit. What is best it suports LTE and they put something so stupid. I hope they will remove it or change so we could change it on our own or ill be switching to lagdroid.

  • http://www.chipchick.com Chip Chick

    Thanks for the suggestion, I will try it out!

  • http://www.chipchick.com Chip Chick

    Thanks for the suggestions, I will try these out too!

  • http://www.chipchick.com Chip Chick

    Some people try Instagram and are over it quickly, but personally, it’s one of my favorite social services

  • http://www.chipchick.com Chip Chick

    A very good point. But hopefully as Windows 8 becomes more widely used, people will be more willing to make the Windows Phone switch

  • http://www.chipchick.com Chip Chick

    Congrats on the 928! How is the camera?

  • http://www.chipchick.com Chip Chick

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  • http://www.chipchick.com Chip Chick

    lagdroid lol

  • http://www.chipchick.com Chip Chick

    Oh Nicole! What are you carrying around these days anyway :-)

  • Ron

    I have to assume that your 50mb data limit is imposed by your carrier. I have no such limits on Verizon. (I’m on an 8GB data plan).

  • Ayala

    Can you receive and reply to group text messages on Lumia 928?

  • per

    great instagram app now availible for windows phone 8 now, its called itsdagram, it lets you upload and watch pictures, just like the original

  • http://www.facebook.com/Herman.van.der.Blom Herman Van Der Blom

    I think it is a 500Mb limit and after that limit it goes back to slow speed, good enough for reading email and WhatsApp. I think thats not bad.

  • Jeremy Nuss

    There should be an additional section titled, “Music”. If you plan to switch from an iPhone make sure that any music you have has been converted from ALAC to AAC. Windows Phone will not play lossless music files. This was a major issue for me when I switched, and still is to some extent. iTunes makes it easy to convert to AAC, but I end up with two copies of the song in my library. Windows Phone will scan your iTunes library file, and allow you to sync playlists at least.

  • shanti geary

    after my iphone 5 shattered and needed a replacement, i got the nokia 920. took a day or two to get use too but with my samsung windows 8 laptop and now a windows 8 phone, holy crap makes music and movies easy to transfer. seems like windows 8 has more video formats than apple. also live tiles are pretty cool. so much space on this phone… just loaded 1500 songs and a couple movies and still have tons of room. texting one handed is hard but the good point of that makes texing and driving impossible, so thats a big plus. The only down side is not enough apps, but going to the websites are easy. wish they had a mobile flash player. over all the apps will come and i think ill stick with windows for now. also when you connect this phone to your pc, transferring my music from iTunes to windows was just a simple click… ringtones ect that you have paid for will move to windows. :) thank you Microsoft

  • shanti geary

    whats a UI?

  • http://www.feirox.com/ ankHD

    Change is everywhere so this change might not be as bad,…

  • akamanonthemoon

    I had reviewed the Nokia Lumia 920 back earlier in the year and went back to it about three weeks ago. Wow that new update on Windows Phone sure improved notifications from apps, Live Tiles are Livelyer, important apps and or very good third party apps have been hitting the platform like Itsdagram! Coming from a predominantly iPhone background with some sprinkling of Android and BlackBerry 10 I would say Microsoft keep the pedal to the metal!!!

  • http://www.chipchick.com Chip Chick

    UI is short for user interface

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  • Theresa Pagano

    I bought my Nokia Lumia 1020 about a week ago. So far, I LOVE it. I am not missing my iPhone at all. The camera Blows my iphone’s pictures away!

    Chip, you haven’t gone back, have you?

  • http://www.chipchick.com Chip Chick

    I’m using the 1020 too, it’s an awesome phone! And now that Instagram has an official Windows Phone app, it’s even more awesome

  • http://www.chipchick.com Chip Chick

    Instagram for Windows Phone has finally arrived! – http://www.chipchick.com/2013/11/instagram-windows-phone.html