Tales from an Android fan: This Lumia 928 is nice!

I have never had a single thing against Windows Phone, nor iOS for that matter, but I embraced the Android ecosystem early on, with much invested in apps. Alright, "much" may be a stretch -- I can not imagine it is more than $50 total, but paid software still means money spent, and I am not known as Mr. Big-Spender.

For the past month I have been taking the Windows Phone challenge -- my Nexus is put aside, SIM card removed and currently residing within the confines of a Nokia Lumia 928.

Throughout this time I have attempted to use the device as an average user, meaning no customization -- aside from the default tile color and the like -- and almost no questions asked of a resident expert here at BetaNews. I wished to discover on my own, much the way my 75-year-old dad would do if he were to get one. Well...okay...he would likely call me, but you get the point. In other words, I am not looking at specs -- you can already find those here.

First Impressions Count

Despite the old phrase "you can not judge a book by its cover", I am afraid first impressions actually do mean a lot. If something is not appealing at first glance then we are unlikely to look twice -- a sad, but true, and human, fact.

The Nokia Lumia 928 did not suffer this ill -- the handset came out of the box looking sleek and beautiful. Despite its rather square shape, the appearance works.

If You Start Me Up

Upon first boot up there is little setup to be done -- enter your Microsoft account then setup your email accounts (yes, Gmail works too). Once logged in, the live tiles begin propagating themselves with people, weather and more. I was also immediately prompted to identify my WiFi network and enter the password.

Screens are much simpler than Android, as there are only two -- the home, which contains the tiles and, one swipe away, a listing of apps. Part of the Nokia app suite is installed by default, as is the excellent Panorama camera app. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter will need to be added by the user.

Updates appear as a number on the Store tile and are easily installed with a couple of clicks. Unlike the Play store, the menu is much simpler -- perhaps not as pretty, but better for most average users in the long run.

Screen resolution is also premium here. The display is crystal clear, and the response time would be measured in nanoseconds. The Galaxy Nexus is fast, this is even faster.

Usage

As I previously stated, I tried to use this as my parents would have, meaning no real customizing (other than tile color -- the Nokia red was a bit bright).

I was shocked that my first call made from the Lumia 928 resulted in my mom telling me I sounded "really clear". That is a compliment I never received on my Galaxy Nexus.

There is little more to say in this regard, as the "clear" statement covers it. No calls were dropped and no SMS failed to be delivered. Apps work as advertised and many more can be easily added.

Say Cheese

The camera is amazing -- the 8.7 MP PureView shooter with Carl Zeiss lens takes incredible images, as my colleague Brian Fagioli already pointed out while testing the handset during his vacation. The difference over my sad little Galaxy Nexus camera was astounding. No need to say more as you can see the results in the aforementioned post.

What Is Missing?

In a word, apps. That is the biggest deterrent to making this switch, as many things I take for granted are simply not there. Even Rovio, which has added its Angry Birds lineup to the mobile platform, charges for each game, while making them free on Android. YouTube does not exist, though Microsoft took a stab at bypassing this limitation (and, failed, at least for now).

The Bottom Line

Aside from these simple, yet crippling, setbacks, the platform proves robust and simply beautiful to behold. The hardware too is gorgeous.

So what is my bottom line? Will I make the big switch? I love my Android smartphone, and I have much invested in the apps -- okay, again, much may be pushing things, as most were $0.99, but still. I honestly believe that when Big Red deems it time for me to choose my next source of revenue to them I may indeed take this plunge. It truly is that good.

After spending a month as the platform newbie, and intentionally so, I plan now to dive into a more in-depth look at this device before I have to ship the little beauty back.

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