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  • sonicmerlin - Monday, April 14, 2014 - link

    Why doesn't anyone add test reflow to their browsers? Only android browsers have it, and it makes reading on the web so much easier. Instead with IE 11 MS actually made the font smaller. The added "reader" mode doesn't work on forums or comment sections, and I actually like the layout amd colors of web pages.

    I would totally buy a windows phone if the browser had text reflow.
  • at80eighty - Monday, April 14, 2014 - link

    ios has had it a while now Reply
  • Myrandex - Sunday, April 20, 2014 - link

    The iPhone 4s that I had running iOS 5 didn't contain this feature. Reply
  • comomolo - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Actually both Chrome and Firefox for Android DO NOT reflow text. I think Opera for Android is still the best in that regards. Firefox DID it at some point, so there's hope it'll be re-enabled in the future. Reply
  • emn13 - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Reflow is a standard part of every webbrowser. What specific UI or use-case are you talking about? Reply
  • UpSpin - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    No, I just tested it on the latest Opera Mobile and Chrome for Android.
    Just open this website here. Of course, Chrome does arrange the website content to make the best of it on a mobile display, but if you want to further zoom in, the text doesn't get rearranged, only increased and you have to scroll to the sides to continue reading. That's different with Opera. As soon as you zoom in, the text gets rearranged so you don't have to scroll to the left or right.
  • looncraz - Thursday, April 17, 2014 - link

    Go to settings and turn it on. Reply
  • Omega215D - Monday, April 21, 2014 - link

    The standard Android web browser does this. I'm using it right now on the stock broswer in my HTC One. As for Chrome I think you have to enable it, though some sites may not play well with text reflow. Reply
  • girishp - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    The standard web browser for Android is Chrome, HTC doesn't use Chrome by default. HTC ships a tweaked version of the browser and enables Tex-Reflow on.

    The problem with Text-Reflow is that it re-arranges the visual elements, typically with poor results. Text is readable, but the content looks bad. I used to disable this on HTC phones.
  • KarenKLawler - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Compared to images, text is *obviously* language dependent. I often think the white text on black background motif is overdone since it makes apps look rather monotonous. Screens have color for a reason, color communicates a LOT more densely that text ever will. Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, April 18, 2014 - link

    Get the dolphin browser. The other must have app for me, touchpal keyboard. Reply
  • vanster - Monday, April 21, 2014 - link

    maybe just for some site not all site, yeah iphone and IE not doing what you mean, but i never try it on android Reply
  • StormyParis - Monday, April 14, 2014 - link

    I'm not sure text can be overused as a UI element. I'm a geek, and I'm sometimes baffled by icons or even worse gestures (which have 0 discoverability). Text is immediately obvious, visible... My non-geek relatives feel even more strongly about this:: it doesn't look good, but it is extremmely user-friendly, especially casual-user friendly.
    An example: if I want to send a text, do I click on this envelope, or that one ? "Text" vs "email" is way clearer.
  • StormyParis - Monday, April 14, 2014 - link

    I didn't know only Android had that. Indeed, I use it all the time, whether with the basic browser or Opera. Reply
  • jeffkibuule - Monday, April 14, 2014 - link

    Most people read words in their head before recognizing them, which makes them slower to process in the brain. Plus, compared to images, text is *obviously* language dependent. I often think the white text on black background motif is overdone since it makes apps look rather monotonous. Screens have color for a reason, color communicates a LOT more densely that text ever will. Reply
  • dorekk - Saturday, June 21, 2014 - link

    "Most people read words in their head before recognizing them"

    That's not true. The way most people read is by recognizing whole-word shapes subconsciously.
  • nafhan - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    That sounds like it would be more of an issue for people changing devices all the time. I just tap the mail icon that's always the same and always in the same spot on my primary home screen. Reply
  • Kenazo - Monday, April 14, 2014 - link

    Next thing we'll be seeing a review of BlackBerry 10.2.1 on the Z30 (actually I wouldn't mind reading that....) Reply
  • creed3020 - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Would be nice to see some more coverage in that area but I'm doubtful that AT is going to even consider BB devices.

    For example the BB browser is excellent, it's get a score of 491 out of 555. I'd love to see how a Z30 compares in some of these benchmarks as conducted by a trusted source like AT.
  • cashkennedy - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    The scores on the HTML5 benchmark are fairly useless because half of the score is for form elements and other silly coding that no one uses. Yes IE11 doesn't support a color input type that will come so handy. Reply
  • D1RTYD1Z619 - Monday, April 14, 2014 - link

    Owning a Windows Phone, Windows Phone 8 to be exact, has been the worst purchase of my life. The OS is such a huge piece of crap with many features missing that are included in Android. I will never buy or recommend a Windows Phone ever again. Reply
  • Myrandex - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Sorry about your experience. My wife and I both own WP 8 devices and are quite satisfied with them. I have an Android tablet too and I don't really feel like I am missing out of too many features compared to it. I don't have a file explorer on my phone, but I haven't been itching for one frequently either (in either platform). I had an iPhone prior (it was my work phone) and I enjoy this much better. Plus the camera continues to amaze me. Reply
  • cditty - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    I have a Lumia Icon which was a replacement for the M8 version of HTC's One. The camera on a phone is a big deal to me (I take tons of pictures of my daughter). The M8 was a sleek phone, but that camera just doesn't cut it.

    I took the plunge on the 8.1 developer update (since it's free and it's the RTM bits). I am extremely happy with this phone now. I would say at this stage, I prefer it to Android. The Nokia camera app is fantastic and I got to keep it with the developer update.

    Microsoft is onto something with the cross device apps.
  • mebby - Friday, April 18, 2014 - link

    I replaced my iPhone 4S with a Lumia 1520. I was hesitant about getting a WP phone but once WP8 came out and there were phones with faster processors, I took the plunge. Have to say I really enjoy the 1520 and find it very useful. The area that WP8 (now WP8.1) is deficient is the internet-of-things apps. Using apps with devices like Roku, Sonos, etc. is problematic. Seems like you have to wait or deal with 3rd party apps from hobby programmers. The rest of the apps are not really an issue for me.

    I like the interface on WP8 and the 8.1 update (once I installed the dev preview) is like having a new phone. And I love the large screen on the 1520 though during the hotter months it is a little troublesome carrying in my jeans/pants.

    It is interesting - the 1st Android phones I looked at were a piece of crap. I vowed to never buy (or look at) again. Of course Android as an OS, and the hardware, have improved dramatically over the last 4 or so years. I would consider an Android (or iOS or WP) phone when I am looking for my next phone.
  • LarsBars - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    I would sign up for the developer preview and give 8.1 a shot. Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    I have a Lumia 920 with Windows Phone 8 black and I absolutely love it.

    Majority of features that *I* need are available and work great.

    Windows Phone is more aligned to iOS in that it's simple and easy to use, whilst power users who love to tinker should really stick to Android where you can alter the OS far more.
  • Romberry - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Your comment tells me nothing. Really. "A huge piece of crap" is both utterly non-descriptive and a complete overstatement. WP8 (and now 8.1) may not be your cup O' tea, but it's far from "a huge pile of crap." I moved to WP8 after a short stint with a Lumia 520 that I picked up for 60 bucks, no contract. As soon as I had Lumia Black firmware on the thing, I made the decision to move up to a slightly higher spec'd model based on the very good experience from the 520, and now that I'm in and familar with WP8/8.1, no way would I go back to competing platforms. In the low and midrange especially, there's nothing that comes close. On the high end? Can't say because I don't have a high end phone. But WP8/8.1 works very well even on that Lumia 520. Contrast and compare that to the experience of iOS users with previous gen hardware, and Android users on more platforms than I can count that never will get an update.

    Sorry that WP8 wasn't for you, but crap it is not.
  • darkich - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    It was an absolute crap for me too.
    Used Lumia 800 as a backup for my Galaxy S3, for 3 months.
    And even those short sessions with it, (while my S3 was charging over a half broken charger that i couldn't replace at a time) triggered an anxiety like sensation in me..a lifeless, horribly restricted UI, terrible browser and multitasking..not to mention the apps and..well, in my experience almost EVERYTHING about it was unbelievably inferior compared to the GS3..even the speed and stability of WP was revealed as nothing more than a myth.
    Yeah it worked decently but not at all better than Android!
  • tiupapa - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Dude, the Windows phone 7 era was an absolute crap! Believe me, but as I got a lumia 520, at first I thought it was gonna be lumia 800 over again. . But I was wrong, the lumia 520, works 5x better than the former flagship, it was a huge gain for me that i just used my s2, just for playing games. But as a phone, and as a browser, i feel more at home with a windows phone Reply
  • Sivar - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    It's funny, I had the opposite experience. The only electronics device I've ever despised more than the Galaxy S 3 is the Galaxy S. Samsung's hardware quality, QA, and attention to detail never fails to amaze me. The GS didn't even have a working GPS!
    Awkwardly placed options, random and extreme battery drain (sometimes 10+%/hr), and flakiness after a few days of power-on time that reminds me of Windows in the 90's (and this is Linux!).
    Unusually delicate glass, random unexplained app deaths without error message, complete inability to disable the "low battery" warning even if it's 3AM, odd difficulty in using Gmail contacts as phone contacts. The entire thing feels like a beta.

    My wife's Windows Phone, which cost quite a bit less, works absolutely flawlessly every time. Smooth animation, apps don't randomely die, battery life is excellent (though one can't reasonably compare dissimilar devices), and every app I looked for was in the store, even unusual ones like Chess By Post.
    I am curious as to what, specifically, made you feel so constrained in Windows Phone.
  • Max(IT) - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - link

    Lumia 800 is NOT windows phone 8 device dude .... Reply
  • Myrandex - Sunday, April 20, 2014 - link

    Yea...comparing a WP7 device to the GS3...what would you expect. Although I used a Lumia 900 for a bit which was really similar to the 800 you mentioned and it was rather fast and stable. My son likes it now too. Reply
  • LemmingOverlord - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Let's make something very clear in the whole Windows Phone v. Android v. iOS debate - no-one in their right mind will say a good thing about Windows Phone 7.x or anything that predates 8.0. The problem for Microsoft is that it earned itself so many black marks trying to get it right, that they lost credibility. I have used iOS, Android (still do, in fact) and I am probably one of the biggest fans of Windows Phone 8, ever.


    Because I was a true skeptic and when I finally got my hands on it, it did not fail me where iOS and Android failed. You actually feel you are getting your money's worth from these devices (in particular Nokia Lumia).

    Here are a few of the highlights together with the most common misconceptions about WP 8+ and my view on them:

    Low hardware specs?
    Here I disagree with Anand. Sure, trailing its rivals Apple and the Google ecosystem isn't doing Microsoft/Nokia marketing any favours, but anyone who's used WP 8 sees (and feels) that it runs smooth and doesn't choke on its own swill (no matter if it's a lowly Ascend W1 or a Lumia Icon/925), not even after months of installing / removing Apps, like Android does. I have to regularly factory-reset my Transformer TF300T pad to get it to work properly. My various junk android phones? The same. iPhone not so much, but then again, I hardly install stuff on it, nowadays.

    Choking on RAM.
    Android, in particular, seems to choke a lot on limited RAM and swapping data around. I don't fault Android completely for it, but probably the handset and tablet makers simply went full-retard when releasing hundreds of different SKUs with limited margins. Choices were made. BOMs were cut to the bone, etc etc. WP 8 does a brilliant job at multitasking and switching active apps. You don't feel it's loading up an app, you just smoothly slide into one.

    The "limited" App store?
    Well, I don't care about 5 million Apps, I care about the handful that really are worth having - and so far I have them all on WP 8. I'd say WP users have the luck of getting the apps worth having, after they've matured on Android or iOS. Laugh all you want, but push comes to shove, I've had no "software maturity" issues on WP 8 (well, all but one!). On the other hand, again, this won't do MS/Nokia any favours, but to be brutally honest, I'm glad I don't have to wade through a cesspool of crappy "official-but-not-really" apps. The exception I make is to an inexistant native Youtube player. For reasons no-one really understands Google and Microsoft have been banging heads over this, and (considering I haven't updated to 8.1 yet) I'm not sure this is sorted in the new update (as the Youtube player is listed under the "browser" features!). Yes, crappy youtube is a definite downside. But that's not even the sticking point for 99,9% of naysayers.

    The "blocky" design.
    Well, it's the smoothest scrolling, quickest and baddest interface I've used to date. Yeah, the tiles look weird at first, but you have to use it to believe it. It's smooth flowing, fast and just a joy to use. You might not like tiles, but they just work better for me. Try it out, suspend disbelief for a couple of minutes.

    Native Office support
    Yes. This is a cliché, but I have no issues reading, rendering or editing documents from desktop versions in the WP 8 Office. It's brilliant, and only someone who is held to a very low standard or completely disregards the basic need for a word processor, a spreadsheet or a powerpoint, will snub this. My experience on iOS and Android (pre-Office for iPad, mind you) is, in one word, atrocious.

    There are a few other things you get for "free" with Windows Phone 8, in particular the Nokias. The camera software is fool-proof not to mention the quality on Nokia handsets is sooooo more "reliable" than the competitors. Yes, you have tons of "filter" apps for iOS, and the hipsters love it. :)

    It boils down to this: WP 8 is all about suspension of disbelief. Microsoft did come through with something that is actually very polished. 8.1 seems to build on that without compromising "old" hardware. You can upgrade a low-specced Lumia 520 as well as your Nokia Icon. This kind of full-range compatibility is mind-blowing, these days. Android, the "open-source" mobile OS is on so many types of hardware that it's really hard to get KitKat on any device (and to be honest, when I moved to jelly bean, my 1GB of RAM on the TF300T seemed woefully inadequate for the OS... ie: at boot, a factory-reset Jelly Bean is eating up 33% more RAM than Ice Cream Sandwich.
  • dorekk - Saturday, June 21, 2014 - link

    Actually, I like 7.5. I'm still on 7.5 because I haven't bought a new phone yet, and I would DAMN sure rather be using this phone than any other phone this old. Reply
  • MarkWebb - Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - link

    I agree with your comments. Amazing how well the 520 works and how many times it is getting major updates. For a budget phone it can't be beat. What I can't understand, however, is why the new 630 will ship with the present low-rez screen. Well at least I might be able to dial a phone number on it without reading glasses. (2014 with resizeable screens, and designers still favor small fonts, small design elements.) Reply
  • usama_ah - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Try out the update? I've recommended to a few who love WP8 though I myself use Android. The simplicity of WP8 is what they enjoy. Still if you download the developer preview maybe you'll be satisfied with some of the updates? Reply
  • Jumangi - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Looks like the troll wasn't fed today... Reply
  • SoCalBoomer - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    That's a shame, D1RTY - nearly all of the WP users I know (and, admittedly, there aren't too many of us) really enjoy our phones. My wife was really dubious but now she has her games and really enjoys her phone. To each his/her own. . . Reply
  • miahshodan - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    I just switched from a Lumia 920 to a Moto X. It was worth it to save the $ on republic wireless vs. ATT, but otherwise I really miss my windows phone. It was smoother, had a better camera, and worked with Microsoft services (what I mostly use) better. Reply
  • Max(IT) - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - link

    I could say quite the contrary: long time android and iOS user, I'm very happy about my Lumia wp experience Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    In the second set of image tests the no and standard image compression images appear identical. Did MS really manage to squeeze 10% out with no visible impact at all; or did you load the same image twice? Reply
  • EnzoFX - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    So they should be at the bleeding edge in hardware, while focusing on the entry-level? That sounds a bit counter productive to me, but what do I know.

    I do agree it's great as entry-level, I have a 521, and love it for the basics and little I use it for. I don't want to do anything too complex, if I did I would use a tablet, in which case free tethering on Tmo is a god send.
  • Penti - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Their tie in with Qualcomm worked for Microsoft, it's one of the reasons Nokia's mobile business collapsed when they switched as they had been paying and cooperating with other semi-suppliers and much of what they did and their supply network went up in smoke thanks to it. They have already fired 30 000 employees and closed their manufacturing in Europe except for a few holding out in Hungary were most have been sacked. Uprooted how they design and manufacture and most of their supply network. What has survived is manufacturing in India and China, were they mostly has done Series 30/40 type of devices, the sub €50 market.

    However it didn't look like this for Microsoft's market position for a long time, other SoC-suppliers were pretty prevalent and they did lag even on getting the latest Qualcomm-chips. As Qualcomm-chips come in both new high-end variants and low-end it does make sense to be supported early, regardless of when the mass release is done on the new chip. It also hindered stuff like other screen resolutions. Basically features Nokia's Symbian had in 2010 is what Nokia's WP-phones get now, and some of the limitations Symbian had like semi-fixed resolution got carried on and still applies in 2014. Great for Microsoft which get the only Windows Phone brand for nothing, but for the market as a whole? For NA? Well it's low end devices in Europe and Asia that sells and in the States they don't sell millions of units per year as they – the low-end – haven't caught on over there. High-end is mostly a marketing vehicle for Microsoft I would say. Most of the people that has been proponents early on knew nothing about it's limitations and so those people weren't good ambassadors. Most moved on as it's been about 4 years since Mix 2010. Others like Blackberry moved out of the spotlight but has been able to create whole new platforms within the same time that had most of the necessary features from the first few releases which were out some time ago. Until now, with 8.1 which hasn't made a final release yet, Windows Phone hasn't really been a choice in an enterprise as it's (mobile) management features were worse then BB10, Android and iOS, which all three also supported Exchange much better, had better third-party support for things like sharepoint and lync and so on. S/MIME mail weren't doable until 8.1 for example. They haven't drawn on their strength's that is the rest of the Microsoft family. While they have a mobile Office suit, it's features really isn't any better than third party packages for Android, BB10 or iOS by now and enterprise features or favorites like VBA Macros or really big spreadsheets are a now go. Thus it really doesn't offer any advantages. But now it is at least workable to a much larger extent.
  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Thanks for the review of 8.1 and the Icon. I've been wanting an Anandtech treatment because I believe this site is the best at detailing mobile phone hardware and software. You and Brian are also very good at moving prejudices or preferences to the side, expressing opinions as opinions and differentiating them from the facts. Well done. Reply
  • Penti - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Sadly Universal Apps are overblown, WinRT-framework still has it's limitations and while WinRT has been updated to the same as desktops it still is a two-projects in one solution, and if you don't do an mobile UI, or don't do a Store-UI (desktop metro) then it won't run there. Only part of the code is shared, the .NET version still requires portable class libraries and it's still built as one mobile app and one startscreen app from that project. WinRT (runtime) is sadly a limited abstraction of Win32 rather than anything else and it's still much weaker than iOS SDK or Android NDK/SDK, or Blackberry 10 Native SDK, or Jolla's Sailfish SDK. The phone still runs Win32 programs and the others don't need an API for internal apps such as browsers and a totally different one for developers of third party apps. On Android there pretty much only is Bionic-driven Native apps and apps on the Android framework through Dalvik/ART. WP still has two native frameworks and runtimes underneath it's system. The only thing it does anything better then at a technical level is probably the Bada-LiMo hybrid that is Tizen which is a mix of Bada C++ API's and EFL, which no one can relate to. It kinda is like if Nokia would bring back Symbian C++ API's, which they did replace with Qt the last few years it were around. Microsoft have to settle for the low-end market here, even if they actually can do corporate email now. Reply
  • Duraz0rz - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    "it still is a two-projects in one solution, and if you don't do an mobile UI, or don't do a Store-UI (desktop metro) then it won't run there."

    Is that a bad thing? There are many instance of iOS or Android apps being developed for the phone and not scaling well to the tablet. You have to make design decisions between the two, especially since the phone is designed to be used (for the most part) in portrait mode, while tablets are designed to be used in landscape.

    "it's still much weaker than iOS SDK or Android NDK/SDK, or Blackberry 10 Native SDK, or Jolla's Sailfish SDK."

    Why are the iOS or Android SDKs better than the WinRT SDK?
  • LarsBars - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Windows Phone lagged behind Android in getting LTE support, but the Lumia 900 launched 5 months before the iPhone 5, which was the first Apple phone to have LTE. Reply
  • UsernameAlreadyExists - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    They even had a review of it. Of course, maybe Anand didn't read it :) Reply
  • wrkingclass_hero - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    "It’s no coincidence that the two players that do have that feature also derive revenue from selling advertising against user data."
    Didn't Apple buy Admob? Admob doesn't collect user data?
  • MikhailT - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Google owns Admob, so no, Apple didn't buy Admob. Were you thinking of a different company?
  • agag - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Apple bought Quattro Wireless, an Admob competitor, which is now iAd:
  • ab_aditya - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    With reference to the last statement, the Nokia Lumia 720 has one of the best cameras at the mainstream price point. It includes a Carl Zeiss lens, and has pretty much phased out the costlier Lumia 820 since its introduction. I have been using the 720 for the last 10 months & have been a lot more pleased with its image quality than my Galaxy S3. Reply
  • Gadgety - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    "... I suspect the real chance to win is if Nokia can point its camera excellence at a more mainstream price point."

    Yes, I agree. A Nokia/Microsoft phone with the 41mp camera brings lossless zooming, and with off line maps, plus transit info for both public transport and traffic in general, a mid range WP would almost be worth their price just for travelling world wide. I know a journalist that bought the 1020 as a camera first, and spent a lot of time mastering it before even starting to use it as a phone. Merging WP and RT is probably a step in the right direction, too.
  • B3an - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Finally some WP stuff on Anandtech. I would have liked this to go in to more detail though. It also doesn't really show just how big of an update this is, bigger than most updates Android or iOS has ever had, and certainly the biggest WP has had. Reply
  • PsychoPif - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    I agree. I'm the first to whine when they don't review WP new phones or when they act like they are not competitive in other OS reviews, but this time, they are both on time and give good treatment to the update.

    I must say that I disagree with their conclusion though. Being an owner of a sufrace pro, I see the synergies between Windows and WP and that for me is worth more than being the first to receive overblown hardware feature or the next Flappy Bird.
  • MikhailT - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    @PsychoPif, the problem is, we're not seeing any synergies yet for those who don't own either one. I see what Microsoft wants to do but Microsoft had a lot of awesome ideas over the last decade that never went anywhere.

    Windows 9 or Threshold is probably the moment that Microsoft can really reveal the purpose of their hard work over the past few years. I wish them all the luck.
  • Zepid - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Just so we are clear reviewer, Apple didn't do the "swipe up to quit" or "swipe away to quit" first. It was Palm. Reply
  • Taurothar - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Glad to see someone else make this comment. I loved the card system on my Pre, and I'm happy it has come to the other OS since the webOS died out. Reply
  • apinkel - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    So much to learn. Reply
  • beck2050 - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    I'm on a Note 3, having looked hard at Apple and Nokia Windows and both those fell far short for my purposes, IMHO. If Microsoft wants to break Android's and to a lesser extent IOS stranglehold on mobile space they need something spectacular, not bringing up the rear. Reply
  • rudder - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    I have the $59 Nokia 520. great phone with GPS, camera, SD slot. I have been using a windows phone for almost 2 years now. My wife has an android phone and the kids have iphones. I like the windows UI the best out of all of those.

    The problem continues to be the app store. It takes forever for popular apps to show up. Or they never show up. I shop and Kroger and they have a nice app for android and iOS. Still no windows version. Just one example but this is the most frustrating aspect of having a windows phone.
  • EddyKilowatt - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Finally, the elephant in the room: Apps. No, Microsoft, NOT the latest Flappy Bird or whatever the flavor of the month is, that you will dutifully get ported for you. It's the thousands upon thousands of small specialized apps, like the above-mentioned retail store app, or the one for controlling my new smart TV, or the one that remote-starts my new Nissan. ALWAYS these apps are "now available for iOS and Android". SELDOM and I mean like <1% of the time (and shrinking) are they available for Win Phone. When was the last time you saw Windows mentioned in an app ad?

    I know because I've had the original Lumia 900 for two years and am just in the process of deciding what to replace it with. I would love to another Nokia with a nice camera, but I'll just feel like "fooled me twice, shame on me" if I go Windows Phone again.
  • hangfirew8 - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    One such small "killer app" is a Data Sense replacement, since AT&T deletes this absolutely essential App from WP8. Reply
  • Jonahkirk - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Data Sense is built into 8.1 if you get the developer preview (even on my ATT Lumia 920) Reply
  • Romberry - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Yes, it's in the developer preview. I hope that when AT&T releases their OTA update that they don't take it out...but I'd almost bet that they do. Reply
  • Klimax - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Some things to note:
    1)What for is powerful hardware, when you kill it by software stack? (Android) Chase after hardware is mostly misguided thing if it doesn't have real effect. (And that is mostly true for WP, too optimized) Or rather forced to compensate for bad software.

    2)Reminder html5 test is testing unfinished specs and thus its score is useless. (What is support now may turn up as obsolete unsupport) Or did everybody forgot lesson of IE6?

    3)" It’s no coincidence that the two players that do have that feature also derive revenue from selling advertising against user data."
    That's Google, not Microsoft so it is mostly wrong.
  • akdj - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    3)" It’s no coincidence that the two players that do have that feature also derive revenue from selling advertising against user data."
    That's Google, not Microsoft so it is mostly wrong."

    Google AND Apple. IOW; in your quote 'the 2 players.' ;)

    HTML 5...useless? LoL. Tell that to the 90% of real 'players' (YouTube? Facebook?) on the web while Flash goes the way of the DoDo, even Android has abandoned Flash support..Adobe isn't refining Flash for mobile any longer. HTML 5, while still being 'refined' is certainly FAR from 'unfinished specs' rendering Anand's measurements/'scores useless'. IE6? It's 2014. The ONLY one that needs to 'remember that lesson' is MS. Not you, not me, not 'us'. Just. Microsoft.
    I'll agree whole heartedly with your first point although I'm not sure it gold water for Window's phones. They're still babies as is Win 8.1. As this is really the biggest and most significant update to the handset yet. Opening their A/SPK and providing an optimized platform for developers, IE XCode, they'll make in roads with developers. I've not spent real time with any Win phone but a colleague of mine at the radio station refuses to use anything but his year and a half old Nokia. He LOVES it and isn't interested in a different platform. As Anand mentions in the article, those in the camp seem content for the most part. Point being this is the FIRST round of Window's handsets using recent silicon. They've NOT chased fluency of the GUI with 'specs' and faster, more powerful silicon ala Samsung. TouchWiz is a HOG...And that added layer of peanut butter...I mean java script to eat through as well as the default apps installed by the carriers mandates hearty silicon JUST to achieve parity with iOS fluency. That said ...Apple isn't resting on their laurels when it comes to graphic and computational power. Look at the 5s/Air/rMini reviews. The A7 is a MONSTER. And 7.1, much like 8.1 on Windows slapped a lot of Mosquitos out of the way born from the virgin rewrite of iOS 7's rewrite for the ground up. Again, these are infants. The OS'es. We've been computing on our desks for 30 years give or take a decade pending your wealth in the 70s/80s. Mobile computing is really REALLY young. While we've had cell phones for decades, the 'smart' phone reimagined by blackberry....evolved/revolutionize by iOS in 2007 & Android '08---we're not even a decade into this serious computational paradigm. Many (excluding those of us geeks hanging and commenting on boards such as this) are finding iPad or Surface or the latest incarnation of Note/Nexus tablet computing to be ALL they need! Facebook, surfing and reading, music and media, email and gaming, social media and communication via FaceTime and iMessage...the list gets HUGE when you add the 2,000,000+ apps/software available in the Play and App Store. More software is available (and for significantly Less $) than any time in HISTORY! That's awesome. And faster, more powered I, and more efficient 'guts' IMHO is a welcome addition. Not for the sake of powering the basic, default UI but the option to access more data faster, play bleeding edge games, lower latency creative (audio, drawing, video manipulation, etc)... Faster radios and LTE infrastructure ...we're JUST getting a peak of the future. And Moore's Law seems to have jumped ship (desk and laptops) to the skiff...and the mobile platform. Intel is jumping HEAD FIRST...That should tell ya what the real 'players' are thinking. Did you see any of the reactions from Intel, Qualcomm, et al when the 64bit A7 dropped? If not, did ALL of their jaws. Snapdragon is aiming for their 64bit chips late this year, early next. Qualcomm ...maybe first or second quarter of '15. Intel is building out 64bit ULV chips as we speak and Haswell was a serious update efficiency-wise in comparison to ivy and sandy bridge...not to mention the phenomenal increase in iGPU performance. While you absolutely MIGHT be right on all accounts it would be sad if the barriers aren't continuously being pushed and more companies 'play'. Competition helps ALL OF US, as well as the companies doing the innovation from the polyurethane companies to the radio producers, SoC and silicon providers to the display and optic development for Gosh Sake...DON'T slow down! Keep it going!!!
  • akdj - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    My apologies for the length and typos! it mobile only or just the response 'system' that doesn't allow for editing? Seems like I remembered a small edit button post, posting;)...if that makes any sense. Anyway...hopefully you understand my points. All in fun and enjoyment of technology...I wasn't trying to come across as a 'dick'. If my initial response did, my apologies
  • RollingCamel - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    No T9? Reply
  • Da W - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Just bought an HTC 8x on ebay, going back to WP8 baby!
    Got an HTC ONE for SALE! Good bye android, you never did what i needed the way i needed it!
  • BSMonitor - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Microsoft needs to throw serious $$ at marketing to developers. Looked at my brother's phone for a few simple apps, Comedy Central, Cosmos, Clash of Clans, etc... No go. It's not the small crappy game developers we are talking either. It is the big corporations. Corporations who are "competing" (aka throwing cash) by having their App presence out there.They aren't even creating Apps for Windows. I.e. Chase, Discover, Direct TV, etc etc

    Apple has done to Microsoft what Microsoft did to them in the 80s/90s.. "See, all this software, it will run on ours, but not on yours".

    For me to switch. I would need x86 Windows Phones.
  • Duraz0rz - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Chase actually has a mobile app since the WP7 days. I think they even keep it up to date.

    "For me to switch. I would need x86 Windows Phones."

    For what?
  • MikhailT - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    He's probably trying to emphasize the important of the ecosystem behind the OS, not the actual x86 hardware. Think of Surface Pro, it's a great tablet with a big ecosystem because you can switch to the desktop to download x86 apps for any apps missing from the Windows App Store.

    For him to consider switching to WP, it'd need to have a large amount of software comparable to having a Surface Pro shrunken to the phone model. Right now, it's just not there, it's missing too many apps.
  • Duraz0rz - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    That would make sense. More often than not, the sites he mentioned have a good mobile website (Discover and American Express have a good one, IIRC), but we are missing "cool" apps like Lyft and Uber. Reply
  • Arbie - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    I have a Nokia 520 Win8 phone and like it very much, especially at the $150 total price for an unlocked international version.

    My main gripe is lack of a WHITELIST feature. Why can't a smartphone check incoming calls against a list and only put my friends through? I get dozens of idiot spam texts and voicemails.

    --> Whitelist should be a no-brainer fundamental built-in capability of every modern phone and certainly of every smartphone.

    Oh, and never mind trying to suggest such an amazing idea to MS - their feedback website has evidently been hacked (for a year or so) and is submerged in tens of thousands of bogus requests. Eventually they may figure this out... they are a fairly large company after all, with some tech knowledge.
  • Duraz0rz - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Not sure where you live where you get dozens of spam texts and voicemails. I don't get that here in the US, but I'm sure the telco blocks a lot of that here.

    If you were in the US (or wanted to set up your phone so you can use Cortana), you can use Cortana as a whitelist of sorts. Have Quiet Hours on all the time, set up your Inner Circle with the people you want to get through, and have their calls and texts always break through quiet hours.
  • Tewt - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Get Magikmail for your whitelist feature. I first used it when I had a Samsung Focus and continued to use it on my Galaxy S3 and will get it again when I purchase a WP8 phone. I may have missed it but I did not see that Android had this feature built in either. Reply
  • dazaein - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    A whitelist feature is included in 8.1. "Quiet Hours + Inner Circle." But it sounds like you just need a clean sim number.. Reply
  • erple2 - Sunday, April 27, 2014 - link

    When my wife finally entered the smartphone era (2012), I gave her my old phone sgs2 on at). I had to get her a new number, as she didn't want her other number from a couple of states away. The first two numbers she got received spam texts from hourly (first number) to every 4-6 hours. The third number I got for her worked
    Like a charm. Either way my experience with the provider (att) taught me two things: they don't block ANY text messages at all (for me, it was 20 cents per text message so they have a vested interest in NOT blocking junkspam, and their blocking services, which are a blacklist only, costs money per month), and its easy to get a recycled phone number that used to subscribe to text ads.

    In other countries, text spamming is illegal.
  • SpartanJet - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Really looking forward to purchasing a Windows 8;1 phone. It has everything I want in a phone OS and I can finally completely remove myself from any gogle service once I get rid of my ADroid phone. I just hope Tmobile gets a high end Windows phone similar to the 1520 or else I'm going to have to switch carriers. Reply
  • Imaginer - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    It is gravy that the start tiles can have a user defined background that shows instead of a flat color, and thus when stepping back and looking at the Start screen, it indeed looks like looking through a window.

    (I see what you did there Microsoft).

    But... having a background instead of a flat color, makes things very busy for me when I need to quickly spot my touch areas for pressing (because I am for sure do not have that tactile feeling to zero my fingers in on). I rather stick with the single color and white text and logo contrasts.
  • Snipeye - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    Would like more details about the changes with the Music+Video. A major pain I'm dealing with is my old Zune120 died so I picked up a prepaid 520 as a replacement (with a 64GB microSD). To sync DRM songs from the Zune software, I have to install the Window Phone App on my computer (Win7) and enable Wi-Fi. The DRM doesn't transfer over when you sync music. Instead, the DRM is re-downloaded via WiFi by the phone when you have Wi-Fi or data service enabled. A very convoluted and hassling process; not clean compared to how my Zune120 synced to the Zune software. Reply
  • stimudent - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Only one person at work has a Windows phone. He's the only person I know with a Windows phone. It seems nice enough, but it doesn't seem that anyone is interested in it. Everyone else is way more interested in the other choices out there. It doesn't look like Microsoft Windows is being taken seriously in the smartphone market. Reply
  • BMNify - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Decent review for a person who was using windows phone after 3 years for just 2 weeks but you missed many things Anand, please refer Daniel Rubino's review for a more detailed review:

    Hopefully we will get much more detailed reviews in future for windows phones like Lumia Icon/930/1520.
  • BMNify - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Microsoft has already started accepting universal apps and they have even launched universal apps in windows phone store with apps like shazam and xbox games like:

    MS Solitaire Collection
    MS Mahjong
    MS Minesweeper
    Halo: Spartan Assult
    Skulls of the Shogun

    So, just need to purchase once and then can play the game on Desktop, Laptop, Tablet and Phone :)
  • SirPerro - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    So, summing up, Windows 8.1 is finally close (but not equal) to what Android and iOS offered last year, and both are going to be updated within a month or two? Well done Microsoft. Playing catch-up forever.

    Combine that with the fact that most apps (Apart from the ubiquitous whatsapp, instagram etc...) are not in windows phone, and most devs don't even care about it and you have a nice OS I'll never use in the short term.

    Not to say that loads of chinese android phones are rushing to flood the market with entry level devices with kitkat in the following months, and that should be a much better option than an entry level lumia, so how about that for the main advantage of WP being entry level devices?

    And I don't even want to comment about Nokia releasing entry level android devices now. That shows the power of WP as entry level OS at its best.

    Lets be frank. WP is alive because microsoft is spending zillions on it, and most of the buyers are just unaware of the real options they have (I don't know a single person owning a WP which knew what he/she was buying)
  • hangfirew8 - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Yes, Microsoft is buying marketshare and playing catch-up, but that doesn't mean they are doomed to failure. The market has seen superior technology fail time and again against the mediocre. Existence of just one killer feature- like the amazing Lumia cameras- along with general competence in everything else, combined with good pricing (even if it is MS-subsidized), could see major market share falling to MS. The current Android/Apple duopoly is especially vulnerable in the low-end where currently free or near-free feature phones still rule. Once data plans come down more in price we may see feature phones basically disappear in favor of low-end smart phones, and this is their chance to grab up a big chunk of that market. As many of those buyers mature or grow wealthier, consumers may continue buying the same type of phone in the up-market. Reply
  • Max(IT) - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - link

    Are you really comparing crappy cheap droids with any Lumia ? You clearly don't have a clue about what are you speaking about .... Reply
  • hangfirew8 - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    No, I am not. My post was about price points and buying marketshare. Perhaps you meant to reply to someone else's post? Reply
  • HardwareDufus - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    you missed two of the bigger features 8.1 offers.
    VPN support and DUAL SIM. For those of us that use our phones for work, these are welcome additions (of course, Nokia needs to reléase a high end device (not 635) that supports DSDA).
    Downloading the 8.1 DevPrev now... and will test VPN support immediately.
  • HardwareDufus - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Running Win Phone 8.1 now on my Nokia 920. Decent improvements. Overall I'm satisifed.
    Echo everyone's sentiments on the Music App... can't believe I preferred the Built-In Music App on my BlackBerry Torch 9800. Anyway, the music App is not a deal breaker for me, but I am surprised that it feels so unpolished. How do you close a song? Once I play a song. If I stop it... well it's still there... so, I work the Volume controls several hours later... and up pops the song in a Little slider window (not really a pop-up.. but you know what I mean). I've even done the hold the back button... hit the X or SLide down the window gesture.... Yup... 'In My Place' by ColdPlay is still waiting to resume play (hey.... I'm old... I still like Coldplay).
  • BMNify - Thursday, April 17, 2014 - link

    the Xbox music app is now delinked from phone and will received direct updates from store, the next update should come out by next week which should take care of some of the complaints and after than they have promised biweekly updates, so should solve most of the user complaints within few weeks. Reply
  • nicktina - Friday, April 18, 2014 - link

    I was going crazy trying to figure out how to get the paused music app off my volume keys. The 1st thing I figured out was if I opened Pandora I could stop the playback from Pandora and that would take care of it. But today I found an app that's free this weekend called "stop the music". I pinned it to my start screen. I opened Nokia mix radio, backed out to start screen, tapped the stop the music app and it was gone. Silly it takes a 3rd party app to remove music but whatever, it works. Reply
  • Arbie - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Thanks for the tips re Cortana and MagikMail. But these are approximately infinitely more complicated than I want to get into, even to obtain a whitelist surrogate. I don't use my phone on-line, for mail, data, or anything like that. It's primarily a small media player with phone capability when I need it. And it's great for that, at the price.

    I just... want... whitelist.....
  • Arbie - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Thanks for the info. I am looking forward to using that feature. BTW I did try cleaning my SIM card but that didn't help. Reply
  • ctodd - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    I really want to like WP! Its very tempting, but after being abandoned on an 8 month old 7.1 device, I'm leery to take the plunge again. It is exciting to see them finally catch up on the features but I'm still a little put off with the overly flat look. I like the idea of tiles, but everything else is just too flat and boring. I was hoping they would optimize the look by adding a little more depth and color but I guess they just want to be different. Reply
  • BMNify - Thursday, April 17, 2014 - link

    Dude, the latest WP 8.1 update has great depth and colour to tiles along with some paralax like effect, you should just check out some 8.1 phone for that, i am enjoying changing background of the tiles now after 8.1 update, just check out some examples and how to do it here: Reply
  • gamoniac - Thursday, April 17, 2014 - link

    My 1.5 years old, 2-core Lumia 920 (WP 8.1) scores 968 on So it looks like perhaps WP8.1 limits the max core an app can use to conserve resources or to guarantee responsiveness. Or perhaps IE 11 is not optimized for 4 cores, IDK. Regardless, I love the upgrade and my old phone is as snappy as it was the first day I got it. Kudos to Microsoft. Reply
  • gamoniac - Thursday, April 17, 2014 - link

    @Anand, I have had bad experiences with Android updates in both the phone and tablet spaces. Besides Google's own Nexus line of phones, do major phone manufacturers give their consumers fair and prompt Android patches? Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, April 18, 2014 - link

    "All devices capable of running Windows Phone 8 will be getting the 8.1 update for free over the next couple of months" - This is probably Android's biggest shortcoming. I can buy a brand new phone, with a 6 month old OS that will NEVER get an update. It's pretty infuriating. Now yes, I am techie enough root the phone, but that's not an elegant solution, to say the least.

    I don't know if it would require locking in a certain number of SOC configurations or what, but I really think Google needs to guarantee OS updates for at LEAST 2 years from the phones release.

    IF things go on the way they are, I can see myself switching away from Android and over to Windows Phone. Probably be up OS9 by then, so hopefully this stupid "tile" bullshit is gone and we can have actual windows and icons again. Seriously $soft, the functionality of these "tiles" is infuriating.
  • rgba32bit - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - link

    Really like my 8X can't wait for my contract to be up to get the Icon or similar. All the reviews pose the question can windows phone beat android, ios... what os is better or inferior. Like it needs to be black and white. I think it can now be said WP isn't going away and is firmly number 3. Personally android annoys me and just seems counter intuitive and the form factor of the iPhone was a nonstarter for me. I think it can be said at this point all three are good platforms and it will be better for everyone if it's a three horse race. When I got my 8x I almost never saw another wp but now I see many on the train. The only thing that really annoys me are when people make crazy blanket assertions like wp has no apps because it doesn't have this or that and that it doesn't go the other way at all. Some of my favorite apps aren't on android or ios and work much better for ME then their counterparts. In a world of coke and pepsi I think there's room sprite as well. Reply
  • mean_streets - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - link

    I installed the 8.1 dev preview on my Lumia 810, and one of the first things that I noticed when looking at the action center was a "project" to external screen quick action. This seems like a great feature, but I haven't been able to find a word about it in any of the preview articles. I tried plugging in to the USB media connection on two Samsung TV's that we have, but got nothing. Reply
  • BMNify - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - link

    Here are the detailed instructions for using "project to screen" feature on WP 8.1:
  • lmcd - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - link

    I *liked* having games tucked away into the Game Hub -- any way to bring that back with a setting? Reply
  • YoshoMasaki - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    Not currently. But WP8.1 is far from final and especially the decoupled hub apps are expected to see quick updates over the next few weeks until the RTM. Reply
  • rburnham - Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - link

    I have 8.1 on my Lumia 920, and it's a mostly good update.

    I have some complaints though. The ability to use an image as wallpaper is neat, but the fact that some apps do not have transparent tiles interrupts the uniformity of the OS. Oddly enough, it is mostly Microsoft apps (One Note, Podcasts, Music) that lack transparent tiles.

    I like that Microsoft replaced Music+Videos with apps for each type of media. The new Podcast app is a big step up from the limited functionality of Music+Video. I like not having to rely on the Store to get podcasts, and that you can add custom feed URLs. I love that you have the option to stream or download shows. It also seems that the download file size limit has increased, because I am seeing shows being downloaded over cellular that previously required WIFi.

    However, the Podcast app is buggy. It crashes regularly, audio cuts out, it forgets that podcasts have already been played and downloads them again, and it doesn't automatically delete files. Once these bugs are ironed out, it will be an excellent podcast app. I have to admit that I was initially sour about the way WP8 handles podcasts when compared WP7, but I have completely changed my opinion with this new app.

    Lastly, audio options seem to have changed. Before the update, my phone remembered different volume settings for different Bluetooth devices. In my case, it kept the audio level for my car stereo Bluetooth connection at maximum volume (30), and my Bluetooth headset at half volume (15). Now both devices share the same volume level. I would like to see them go back to how it was before.

    Also Bluetooth will occasionally cut out completely when I pause a podcast, requiring me to use the Bluetooth settings to manually reconnect, or I have to reset the phone. To be fair, this was a problem before 8.1, so it just means they have not address the issue yet.

    If they can iron out these bugs, that would be great. As is, it's still a really good mobile OS that I have enjoyed since WP7.
  • Fgne - Saturday, April 26, 2014 - link

    I think that the force of WP8 is that it runs still extremely well and fast on a hundred dollars device, something that on android devices is simply fantasy, no comment for ios. Reply
  • whatsa - Sunday, April 27, 2014 - link

    Nice to see a fair review from this site...
    The brightness issue? I have found the auto to be excellent on the 1520
    I was outside the other day comparing some offline mapping with some people who were camping
    and all three of us could see my screen and map clearly but the Iphone was impossible to read and only if it was 4" from you nose and sheilded from the sun. So we all just discussed it looking at my phone from different angles in the sun.
    Is it perfect but there are a lot of basic things it just does better.

    But thanks again its good to see anandtech willing to look at WP stuff in a more serious way.
  • bloonsfreak2 - Monday, May 12, 2014 - link

    Being a Windows Phone user since the beginning (Lumia 800, 900, 920), I have to admit that one of my favorite features was the integration with Facebook and Skype in the messaging hubs. However, for some odd reason, MSFT decided to remove that feature in Windows Phone 8.1 and now messaging is only for texting, even thought the social integration was probably the best part about it and set it apart from its iOS and Android counterparts. Does anyone know why they did this? Is there any particular reason that make me feel better? All of the other features are amazing, but the messaging hub just isn't really a hub anymore. Reply
  • hangfirew8 - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    The Lumia 800 was hardly the beginning of Windows Phone, the 800 debuted at 7.5. There was a lot of wasteland before that. We had a Dash (5/6) years ago, and even that wasn't the beginning. Reply
  • dorekk - Saturday, June 21, 2014 - link

    That's annoying. They've dropped so many useful features from 7.5 in 8.1 that I basically just never want to get a new phone. I hate Android and iOS and I really like and rely on a lot of things in 7.5 that aren't in 8.1. Reply

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