You Might Think It's A Smartphone, To Me It's A Paperweight


I have a smartphone secret. My iPhone 6 sits in a drawer in my office, unused and barely loved. In my home office my Xperia Z3 Compact sits on a pile of papers to stop them blowing away. That's some serious mobile computing power there, doing nothing but weathering the passing of time.

So what gives?

Both the iPhone and Xperia were the result of a rationalisation of the devices that I owned, out went my iPhone 5, Xperia Z1, Galaxy S5 and Lumia 1020. They were aging hardware and I wanted the more recent user experiences that up-to-date devices offer. I used and liked both, with the iPhone edging ahead for me when I went through a comparison exercise earlier in the year.

However events beyond my control were about to turn both these devices into ornaments.


My wife has used Windows Phone since the Lumia 710 and Windows Phone 7.5 and she has no interest in changing that. I have given her both Android and iPhones to use, but after a few days she's asking me to switch them back, even if it means going back to an older, lower spec device. Her smartphone needs are very specific and Windows Phone easily covers them all, so I'm not surprised that she prefers Windows Phones stylish yet straightforward interface over the iPhones clunky icon grids and Android's confusing widgets.

Then she managed to smash her Lumia 625. The concept seems ridiculous, but it happened, an indestructible Nokia phone was smashed. Actually it was still functional, however the broken glass made it nasty to look at. Her previous phone was an HTC 8S, which met the same fate. Perhaps there's some feminine guile at work here...

I sought out a replacement and the Lumia 735 seemed the most appropriate, being around the same size with some decent upgrades. Whilst transferring and setting up the device I spent some time reviewing it and found it to be excellent. In fact I found it preferable to the iPhone 6 in almost every way. Shame about the app gap.

Then I decided to get one for myself anyway. It was cheap enough and I figured that I could use it for testing Windows 10 Mobile builds. And as soon as I had it and started using it I realised that I had to find a way around the app gap, because WP8.1 is soooo much nicer to use than iOS or Android, has more features, looks better and operates so smoothly that there was no way I was going back.

So what was my app gap? Turns out it wasn't as big as I thought. 

Compared to my iPhone I was missing just three apps. My bank had no Windows Phone version of its application, but then I found that there was no circumstance where I had to use the app so desperately that it couldn't wait until I was at a computer. Strike one. Day One is a beautiful app that I use for journals, however after a little bit of digging I found that Path, with posts set to private, did an even better job. Strike two. Finally the You by Jamie Oliver micro-actions application had no Windows Phone version, and the team had no current plans for one. I decided I could just as easily live without it and my next micro-action was to delete it. Strike three and the iPhone is out of here.

Compared to Android the only problems were Google's own applications. In this post I explain how you can beat the Google app gap, so no problems with ditching Android either.

So now my daily phone is the Lumia 735, a device with excellent performance, great cameras and a beautiful OLED screen. It has wireless charging built in, as well as Miracast support and full NFC. In the hand it is a nicer device to hold, more solid and better built than either of my other two phones, it doesn't need a case and it's battery easily gets you through the day.

All this functionality means that it's more than a match for the iPhone 6 or the Xperia Z3 Compact. Yet it cost just one-third of the price of the Sony and one-fifth of the price of the iPhone. That's a new definition of value. The official iPhone leather case (an absolute necessity on that vulnerable phone) cost almost a third of the price of the Lumia 735 on its own, that is just madness.

So my daily driver is once more a Windows Phone. Only this time it isn't because of one stand out feature that overcame the phone's shortcoming, like the Lumia 1020, rather that the current version of WP8.1 needs apologies.

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