Sunday, 10 August 2014

Nokia 1520 my ideal holiday device

I recently came back from a holiday walking in the mountains. The Nokia 1520 was brilliant. Typically, I'm also using Android and iOS devices on a daily basis. However, using the 1520 as my only device  for several days has made me appreciate it more than ever and left me wanting WP UI on my android and iOS devices.

  •  Map reading & navigation: the 1520 screen was fantastic for reading. It's the best screen I've come across for reading in bright sunlight (and luckily we had a fair bit of sun). I was using Nokia Here maps and google maps on it (and a screen shot of the main walk route (a photo of the map section) as my lock screen. The screen was big enough to make it practical for reading in the mountains as well.
  • Photos: I enjoy taking photos on the 1520. It takes better photos than I've been used to on a smart phone and the large screen, visible in bright sunlight, makes it ideal for showing photos to people. (And Nokia beamer is a great way to 'impose' photos on others:). I also had more of a look at 500px. There are some stunning photos in there and they look mouth watering on the 1520 (I have 500px on android as well but never got drawn into it. It was the WP live tile that initially drew my attention to 500px and then I was hooked).
  • Reading ebooks: for reading ebooks in the evening & on the plane the 1520 was perfect. The screen is gorgeous. And I like the way I can have tiles for specific books- it makes it easier for me to focus on the books I want to read
  • To-dos, notes etc: I used the excellent "2day" app to tidy up and structure my to-dos. And using OneNote and Evernote to do notes on various things (2day is my favourite to-do app, on any operating system. I've used a lot of different to-do apps and finally settled on 2day on WP.  It syncs over the cloud with lots of to-do apps on iOS and Android (I use 2do on those).
  • Weather: the Bing weather app was excellent and very accurate for where we were.
  • Battery life: excellent, got me through each day without breaking into a sweat
  • Games: for myself and family members. Games work incredibly well on the 1520 and all the titles we wanted are on WP (fifa 2014, civilisation, ragdoll, temple run, fruit ninja, pocket rally, P&Z, bejewelled, riddles games {which my daughter had great fun using with other children- the large screen and loud cheering sounds helping making it a social gaming device})
  • Audio: nice loud speaker for listening to audio books (I had a Sony Bluetooth speaker as well but rarely used it). Also happily listening to podcasts (I'd prefer to have pocket casts to sync listening over multiple OS's but there are decent alternatives on WP. Music is very good too ( I'd like to be able to edit playlists on WP rather than on a PC/Mac, but I can live with that). {update - with 8.1 I can now create and edit playlists on the 1520}
  • Email and office: I did a couple of emails with gmail and hotmail (I prefer the WP layout for email). I also had to edit a few documents- MS office on the 1520 works very well (I had some docs on gDrive which  I needed to get to, which worked fine on WP). Again the larger screen was ideal for document editing.  (MS could make it easier to attached files to emails, not just photos).
  • Social media: fine for various social media services (including google+ though I still haven’t found how to do a direct reply as easily as with android. But fine for postings, adding comments etc). {update: gPlus allows direct replies but asks for a code each time you open it if you;re using 2 factor authentication. I'm just using google+ through the browser now which is fine for me}
  • Additional thoughts:
    • Search: I hadn’t really used Bing much in the past , sticking with Google. However, whilst I have a google search app on the 1520, I've ended up using Bing more and more and I'm quite surprised at how good an alternative it is to google search.
    • Size: despite it's larger size, the 1520 fitted perfectly into my walking trousers
    • News: I avoided the news (rarely good news), but did have a peek at a few things and I like Microsoft's news app a lot (I prefer it over flipboard)
    • Translation: my German isn’t great but Bing translate was a pretty good alternative to wordlens for  translating menus - strudel, sachertorte…:)
    • And coming back to the UK I was pleasantly surprised to find that 8.1 has arrived (just downloaded, will play later). And also I just found there's a windows phone app on the Mac for syncing content with  WP device (normally I don’t bother linking phones and computers- I download directly, but I wanted to get some things from iTunes onto the 1520).
  • WP compared to iOS and Android:  Since coming back I've had a quick use of some of my android and iOS devices and they leave me feeling a bit underwhelmed after the live tiles interface on the stunning 1520 screen. Android appeals to the geek in me, and I do tinker with it (perhaps too much). iOS has more of the apps I need (still) and the UI doesn't get in the way of me getting to those apps. However, WP is fresh; it allows me to organise things in a way that is a more coherent UI for doing what I want to do (I prefer live tiles over widgets), and an unobtrusive approach for showing me new content. I was thinking about a g3 as my next phone. I don’t need another phone yet. However, I'm seriously looking at getting a cheap Nokia 1020.
{Update: since coming back from holiday I've also found the 1520 has an inbuilt pedometer which Bing health & fitness tracks. I could have seen how many steps I'd done, not that it matters- a few thousand steps going up or down the side of a mountain is a bit different to walking on the flat!}

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