Windows smartphone any good?

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Windows smartphone any good?

Postby sherpa » Fri 14 Aug, 2015 6:59 pm

Hi All,
Long time no post.
I'm looking at upgrading my mobile phone to one of these new smartphone things. My olden day phone is not working as well as it used to,
it now longer makes or receives calls, but on the positive the sms function still sends. Although not to the person intended.
A relative who knows about phones and is able to get them at cost/ reduced price has recommended a Samsung ativ S Windows 8. From
what little I have been able to gleam over the last hour on the World Wide Web is that Windows may not support many of the bushwalking/
gps apps as would android or iphone. Any thoughts, comments would be appreciated. Oh! And feel free to assume I know nothing about technology.

Phone requirements would be - able to make and receive calls, bushwalking related apps, good speakers.
I like the look of HTC one m8. It has good speakers. But I here the battery does not last long and is not user interchangeable.
Again, any thoughts or comments would be very welcome.
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby GPSGuided » Fri 14 Aug, 2015 11:05 pm

Given Windows Phone's market size, it'll always be a struggle to match fellow walker's range of apps. Unless you have very specific applications and that you know the reason why you want a Windows Phone, it's far wiser to just go with Android (Samsung, HTC etc) or iOS (iPhone). iOS is still ahead in the ease of use department as well as security.
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby wayno » Sat 15 Aug, 2015 4:44 am

yeh android has far more apps than windows phones, a more stable operating system. windows phones come with a lot of extra software that you may not even bother with.
get a recent model. use less power, more reliable, faster.
turn off wifi, bluetooth and gps when you dont need it to save battery.
iphones are good but pricey for what they are and over hyped.
samsung and HTC are good brands
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby Gadgetgeek » Sat 15 Aug, 2015 7:55 am

right now the new Moto G (3rd gen) and the one before it are reviewed as some of the best phones for the price, and if you can get one at a good price 200$ or near, that would be a good way to dip your toe into the smartphone world. the Samsung activ is probably available for cheap because no one liked them, waterproof, sort of, but other than that, not very well done. You could go with a "flagship" top of the line phone if that is within your budget, most of them are quite good. If all you want is to try one out, then I'd go for the moto G, if you do want to jump right in, then give a look at the Moto X Play.

As far as features go, right now a big USB battery pack is a better solution than focusing on trying to get a phone with a swapable battery, It seems like a good idea, but its really limiting.

I'd stay away from windows phone for now, at least until the new operating system gets into play, especially if you are not tech savvy.
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby Hiking Noob » Sat 15 Aug, 2015 5:14 pm

I went from Android to Windows and I really like it, after going on my initial Play Store app buying binge I realised I didn't need 100000 apps and the update notifications drove me nuts.

Initially I bought 530 because I had zero faith in MS and for the $40 I paid it was good but GPS demolished the battery in no time. I then moved to a 640 which I lost and now I'm on a 640XL which I am trialling the new Phone 10 firmware which looks promising but isn't fully polished as yet.

In Windows 8.1 with the 640 and XL I would get up to 4 days with a few calls some GPS and internet usage over Wi-Fi they both take forever to charge as the boffins at MS bundle a .75A charger which means something like a 5hr charge for the 3.5AH battery in the 640XL.
, rt
Apps do suck and the store can take a bit of searching to find what you want but I have found the Microsoft apps to be pretty much all I need, the maps live sight function is amazing. It uses augmented reality to show you all sorts of useful stuff- you can point it at a bus stop and it will come up with buses that stop at that particular stop and their routes. It also has all the normal stuff like shops and restaurants and if you download the maps most of the info is stored on your phone so the data used is tiny.

Speakers on all three are okay but not amazing, the 530 had annoying interference in the earpiece in all calls and with decent headphones(I have Xears somethings) the sound quality is good enough but the music player app is pretty rubbish in 8.1, I'd kill to be able to use Player Pro I love that app.

Not really sure what else to say, it works well and battery life is awesome and you can also take permissions off apps which is really handy. Apps will probably come with 10.1 as it is much easier for developers to make apps for 10.1, I don't really understand why I'm not really into the techie rubbish but the internet says it will be easier and the internet is always right.
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby Gadgetgeek » Sat 15 Aug, 2015 9:01 pm

Hiking Noob, are you talking about the Nokia line of phones? there were a few that were rated quite good, including some of the higher end ones that had decent cameras.

Microsoft has supposedly built a system to basically "translate" apps to work on windows 10, since the main problem was the shear amount of work required to re-code an app made windows the last choice for developers, this should solve that problem.

In a year they might be worth looking at. Its all down to usage really. If it gets all the bells and whistles they are claiming, Windows could pull some serious market share away from Apple. Who knows?
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby GPSGuided » Sat 15 Aug, 2015 9:24 pm

Gadgetgeek wrote:... Windows could pull some serious market share away from Apple. Who knows?

That's a big claim!
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby Strider » Sat 15 Aug, 2015 10:00 pm

Android are at least a couple of years ahead of Apple on features, and (for some unknown reason) people still seem to buy iphones!

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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby Hiking Noob » Sat 15 Aug, 2015 10:04 pm

Gadgetgeek wrote:Hiking Noob, are you talking about the Nokia line of phones? there were a few that were rated quite good, including some of the higher end ones that had decent cameras.

Microsoft has supposedly built a system to basically "translate" apps to work on windows 10, since the main problem was the shear amount of work required to re-code an app made windows the last choice for developers, this should solve that problem.

In a year they might be worth looking at. Its all down to usage really. If it gets all the bells and whistles they are claiming, Windows could pull some serious market share away from Apple. Who knows?



The 530 was a Nokia but the next two are both Microsoft branded devices as Nokia had to be bought out by MS as Windows pretty much sent them broke, the Nokia Belle firmware was in may ways better than Windows 8.1 but the phones were so so slow in regards to loading and installing apps.

The camera on my 640XL is a 13MP with Zeiss branded lens and like any small sensor does decent shots in good light and the warm white flash works well up close

I don't think Windows 10 will help pull many people away from Apple but may sway a few Android users. I find the best part is the extended drop down menu on the home page, you can use the traditional one or extended and almost every icon can be long pressed to take you to the settings for that function. Oh it also seems to work really well with the dual SIM model I have(bought it in Spain, the AU models are single SIM).

I haven't had an Android phone since Ice Cream Sandwich so I imagine it is quite a lot more feature rich than it was when I had a phone but I wasn't a fan and found my phone would be up to something sneaky when I wasn't watching plus I trust Google about as much as I trust an Ice addict(they do however pay some of my wage so I should be nice haha).
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby photohiker » Sat 15 Aug, 2015 11:09 pm

Strider wrote:Android are at least a couple of years ahead of Apple on features, and (for some unknown reason) people still seem to buy iphones


Yep. 2 reasons:

1. IPhones do not have carrier controlled firmware. Buy an Android from Telstra or whoever, and you cop their version of the firmware and are locked into their update cycle, separate from Android. A lot of phones don't get the upgrade to the latest version because the carrier deserts the phone when it goes off market. iPhones are upgraded to current software direct from Apple, vendors have zero control over the software on the phone.

2. Apple supports software and hardware. One stop shop. I took a nearly 3 year old phone into the Apple Store the other day, and it was replaced at no charge. The problem was a battery issue that appeared in the last month. Do you know any Android vendors that would replace a phone at no charge 2 years out of official warranty?

Not sure factory Android is 'two years' ahead of Apple. Vendors like OnePlus are pushing the boundaries but with modified Android.
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Windows smartphone any good?

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 16 Aug, 2015 6:47 am

Agree. Apple iPhone's features are solid eg. Camera. Well designed and refined. Few or if any half baked features like on many Android phones. Yes, support for the life of the phone is great, easily staying current after 3-4 years.
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby Hiking Noob » Sun 16 Aug, 2015 7:34 am

Still, I could two of my phones, a spare battery for each and still have change over an iPhone six plus I have a radio and a card slot but drag and drop may be too difficult for Apple users to understand . Sure the screen isn't as good, neither is the camera or sound but I can go on the internet and talk and text people, if you buy a phone because it has more Pixels Per Inch or purely for status you really need to get outside more.

I really like Apple phones but couldn't live without a FM tuner and well, I usually only get six months out of a phone so spending $1000 each time would be silly and I don't believe in insurance, it's my fault if I lost it or broke it so I should have to pay for it.
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Windows smartphone any good?

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 16 Aug, 2015 8:19 am

Yes, each to their own and needs to make decisions based on the specific desires and circumstance. My iPhones have all remained in excellent condition after 1-2 years and readily have 2nd hand buyers at a good price. The change over prices make the overall cost of ownership little different to buying non-Apple. Quality screen makes a significant difference to the experience for something I look at frequently across the day. FM radio? I stream stations all around the world when needed. But rarely.

Going back to topic. I think it really depends on the OP's needs. All commercial products can be good to brilliant if it matches the owners needs. Again, for bushwalking apps, just stay within the Android and iOS ecosystems. Windows phones just can't match them for the variety of app products and general compatibility.
Last edited by GPSGuided on Sun 16 Aug, 2015 8:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby Gadgetgeek » Sun 16 Aug, 2015 8:23 am

At some point it becomes an apples (no pun intended) to oranges comparison. It all depends on where you are finding the value. For a lot of people, the Apple ecosystem provides them with what they want, and they are willing to pay that price. Android has a much wider set of phones and manufacturers, so the upper and lower ranges are vastly different. that does cause its own problems, and makes it much more difficult to determine if a problem is with the manufacturer (and their custom software), the Provider (generally not helpful either) or with android itself. Stock android may be way ahead of IOS but the implementation is almost universally terrible. I've got a Galaxy Nexus, I bought it near when they came out. It didn't get its proper OS for more than a year while both samsung and telstra sat on it. Many of the features never came to be, and while it ticks on just fine, its vulnerable to a most of the recent security holes that were announced, so I run an anti-virus on it, since it will no longer be updated. I figure if a flagship Nexus phone gets that bad of a treatment, I'll be more wary in future. When it needs replacing, I'll probably go to a MotoG since Motorola seems pretty good about pushing updates directly. If I wasn't fully embedded with google docs I'd be looking really close at windows phones and see how the onedrive system ends up. Could be a very useful feature. But I access google docs from my phone pretty often, and so thats a thing I find very helpful. Most people probably don't.

If windows can get a really good pc to phone sync or even streaming system set up, that will be very compelling for some users who are "stuck" with apple and want out of that ecosystem. Yes there are always alternatives, but depending on your uses, some alternatives take more work that they are worth.

But that is a long way from the original post. I think one has to look at the merits of the phone itself and ignore the software to a certain degree. Especially when you are not at the flagship end of the spectrum. There are plenty of midrange phones out there that are complete garbage, and there are old phones that would get most people by for quite some time. Even a re-furbished iphone 4S would be enough smartphone for a lot of people.
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby McGinnis » Sun 16 Aug, 2015 2:19 pm

I currently own a Galaxy S6 Edge. My last phone was a HTC One (m7). My work phone is a Nokia Lumia (Windows Phone). Before the One I had an iPhone 4, and before that an iPhone 3G.

There's just no simple answer to the question of which is better. What my experiences do tell me, however, is the following:

1. The iPhone 3G and iPhone 4, despite their age (the 3G was made in 2008) are still fully functional. Practically speaking they're not great to use due to software updates and added features slowing them down - but they work.
2. The One m7 doesn't even turn on any more. It became basically unusable several months before my contract was up.
3. The Galaxy S6 Edge has been replaced once already; the screen cracked while sitting on my desk charging. I literally saw it happen.
4. The Apple ecosystem is very poor when it comes to transferring of files, and having the freedom to use a filebrowser/download content that's not a simple picture or movie.
5. The Android ecosystem is very irritating when it comes to transparency of privacy settings and apps asking for more than they need. You also have to allow or deny apps when they're being installed. With iOS, you can deny access on a per-request basis, which is far superior.
6. The Android backup and restore procedure is extremely poor. Without rooting your phone, only applications and files get backed up; settings do not.

My next phone will more than likely be an iPhone, though I do love the hardware design of the S6 Edge.

If iOS allowed filebrowsing and standard USB mass storage support, I'd pick it in a heartbeat.

As for the Windows Phone, it works well for work, though I would never buy one. The variety of applications simply isn't there.

YMMV.
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby Hiking Noob » Sun 16 Aug, 2015 2:56 pm

I am not a hiker by any means, which apps would you guys and girls use on an Android or Apple device and what functions does it need to have?
On the Windows Phone apps are limited as everyone knows so this is about as good as I can get for free offline maps-

Image
It's fine for me and maps are transferred wirelessley from the PC which is nice.

New drop down thingy for Windows 10-

Image

Home screen is plain and you have a choice of three sizes for each tile but annoyingly some are solid colours and there seems to be no option to change that and you have to have an image on your pics tile which I find annoying.

Image

Not the easiest of shots for a cameraphone but for an entry level hipster phone it's not too bad-

Image
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby Zone-5 » Sun 16 Aug, 2015 3:11 pm

Here is the only accessory you will need for a Windows phone!

Image

:lol:
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby Hiking Noob » Sun 16 Aug, 2015 3:26 pm

Hahaha, I like that, they are my favourite keys on the PC.

Hmmm, I have a Bluetooth keyboard somewhere, wonder if that will work or support for that was deemed unnecessary like thumb drive support and HDMI.

I have to use a Miracast adaptor just to be able to view anything on the TV, Jerks!
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby madmacca » Sun 16 Aug, 2015 3:30 pm

GPSGuided wrote:FM radio? I stream stations all around the world when needed. But rarely.


Actually, for bushwalking purposes, an FM radio is actually a good idea. There are plenty of places where you can get FM radio reception, but no mobile network signal to stream radio online. To me, using the FM radio to get an up-to-date weather forecast each day is essential on any 5+ day walk. Plus no data charges.
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 16 Aug, 2015 5:11 pm

madmacca wrote:Actually, for bushwalking purposes, an FM radio is actually a good idea. There are plenty of places where you can get FM radio reception, but no mobile network signal to stream radio online. To me, using the FM radio to get an up-to-date weather forecast each day is essential on any 5+ day walk. Plus no data charges.

When I want music and weather reports, I carry an tiny iPod or an AM radio. FM is useless once away from civilisation. The battery juice in my iPhone is preserved for emergencies and navigation, not for radio listening.
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby photohiker » Sun 16 Aug, 2015 5:16 pm

FM has better sound quality, but for bushwalking, AM is better. FM doesn't have the range of AM.

Does anyone get any useful FM reception way out in the bush?
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby sherpa » Sun 16 Aug, 2015 8:34 pm

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this thread with their opinions, observations and short stories. I can honestly say I now know more about smartphones than I ever wished to. Although most of the data contained in your responses has gone over my head, this will be one occasion I'll be happy to be swayed by popular opinion and avoid windows, at least for now.
Thanks also for the reference to 'ecosystems' as pertaining to the world of smartphones. Although I consider myself to have a fair understanding of ecosystems as pertaining to the natural world, I have never thought about the interaction of technology in such a way.
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby Hiking Noob » Thu 14 Jun, 2018 6:36 pm

I finally had to make the jump back to Android and it's still not for me, I was pretty certain I'd hate it so I picked a phone that will run the soon to be released Sailfish 3 OS.
If it's good enough for the Russian government it's good enough for me, hahahaha!
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby juz » Sat 16 Jun, 2018 3:58 pm

You wont regret that choice. Have been enjoying Sailfish for years, currently on the Xperia X. Native offline mapping (WhoGo maps) is pretty good, and you can run an android app if you are desperate.
Hope you survive until the release in Q3, without Android sucking you in.
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Re: Windows smartphone any good?

Postby Hiking Noob » Sat 23 Jun, 2018 10:59 pm

juz wrote:You wont regret that choice. Have been enjoying Sailfish for years, currently on the Xperia X. Native offline mapping (WhoGo maps) is pretty good, and you can run an android app if you are desperate.
Hope you survive until the release in Q3, without Android sucking you in.


I bought the Sony XA2 and I hate it, it is a rubbish piece of hardware and it is pretty buggy for a normal brand name phone.
The camera's minimum focal distance is oddly long making it very average for day to day photos I do for mechanical work, flash is weak, metering seems to be spot/centre based making anything varying brightness either almost black or blown out. Proximity sensor doesn't work properly and my ear does all sorts of things whilst in call, wrong images are displayed if you click an image's thumbnail in received MMSs, camera app is slow and often only shows half a screen for a couple of seconds. Loads of apps can't be uninstalled, the Sony Assistant app is annoying and gives you stupid alerts even if you tell it not to do so. THE ADS and the app permissions are insane, I also started getting spam messages a week after I moved to Android which is odd. The ear speaker is now faulty and has started crackling so I am going to send it off for warranty and replace it with another Windows phone, a 3YO 640XL is less laggy and takes better photos, I bought a 950 but they were designed by Microsoft and because of that they were both poorly designed and made, the older cheaper 640 was still a Nokia design and is bulletproof.
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