One day with a Nokia 520

JJ saw me using my phone and said, “Do you have the same phone as Charlie?”

YES. YES I DO NOW. Because I mentioned it to my mom, and told her how my iPhone 4S is broken (and the people said they can’t fix the wifi), and that this Lumia 520 is only P7k.

So she lent me money and I got one at Greenhills. Cheapest I found was P6.8k, but they only had the black one. Charlie got his for P7k, but he didn’t come with me so we didn’t know where exactly he bought his. This one was P7.4k, the cheapest I was able to find (only a few hundred bucks less than the standard retail price).

I’ve been using it since Sunday evening so a little over one day. I downloaded a bunch of apps already, some of which I already collected into a list days ago. I also figured out how to install apps from an SD card (not that I’ve made the most out of it because I only have an old SD card which is 2GB large, hahaha. That sounds pretty sad).

Some initial thoughts:

  1. I really like the Metro UI for the phone.
  2. For some reason, I’m not as constantly connected to 3G or wi-fi as I was on the iPhone. I’m not sure if this is a common problem, or just that this is actually a cheaper phone. I have an unlimited-data plan which means my free SMS and calls are limited so I wanted to make the most out of free messaging apps, but there were a bunch of problems with those. I will expound on it later.
  3. The camera is really not so bad, for this price range.
  4. The battery seems to heat up a little too quickly, but I don’t think it’s bothersome. I just don’t know if it’s natural/expected.
  5. The Facebook integration is sometimes freaky. Like, it would be awesome if I could choose which groups I could connect with my phone because I don’t really need everyone’s names in there. It’s just really convenient so that I get photos on my contact list, haha.
  6. There is a fairly good range of apps. Some of them don’t work as smoothly as iOS or Android apps, perhaps, but I think that maybe development on a WP for companies who cater to all platforms might not be that high on the priority list given the market share.

That said, the 520 is a really good phone for that kind of value.

I actually enjoyed looking for some good apps to use and here’s a list of the ones I ended up keeping:

Viber, LINE, and Talk.to

Viber and LINE were pretty much staples: Viber is the only way I can message my mom and brother for free, since they’re both on iPhones. It’s also pretty popular with most people. I kept LINE for a Japanese friend I occasionally messaged there, and because Charlie and I used to chat there before he got an iPad mini.

My experience with these apps on a Windows Phone 8 was pretty bad though. LINE doesn’t have calls (yet) and both of them have a horrible delay time when it comes to sending a message when the apps aren’t active or in use. When Charlie and I exchange messages consistently, it works as advertised. But when the phones are on stand-by, for some reason either the phone becomes disconnected to the Wi-fi or 3G, or the app stops working on the background. What happens is: notifications come in VERY late (usually during the time I use the phone again) so they’re pretty much useless if say, someone sends me a message out of the blue using these apps. I probably won’t see the message at the same time it’s sent.

Talk.to is new: I’m not aware of an iOS version. But since the default Facebook app doesn’t notify me when I get FB messages, I use this for FB messaging (and Google Talk if I had friends who used that). So far it’s pretty good and more responsive than LINE and Viber. Charlie and I will try switching to this for now, until the other apps become smoother.

I haven’t really tried the other free messaging apps like KiK messenger,  but I might try it within the week.

Battery

Because I don’t get to see the percentage of battery left by default on the hidden header, I needed this to see it as a tile. It came with other short-cuts such as Wi-fi and 3G connections, and it looked nicer than the other similar apps.

Chinese Dictionary

Simple and had better features than the others.

Dictionary

Kindle

I haven’t found another ebook reader for my non-Amazon ebooks, but the WP Kindle app seems to be okay.

Weave

As a reader, I really like it. Plus, you get to find RSS feeds from within the app (like Pulse). And there’s a free version.

Pouch

The only app I bought so far, because there is no official Pocket app. There are other options, but from the screenshots this seemed nice. A little buggy, but not a deal breaker.

Fotor

For photo filters. The design is simple and the app is pretty easy to use. The filters are pretty okay, and not as bad as the other photo apps.

LiveJournal

On the iPhone, Path is my go-to app where I write some private thoughts that I share with limited friends. Since there’s no Path for WP8, I ended up going back to LJ for my deepest, darkest secrets (lol). This is the official app which is in Russian by default (good thing someone posted instructions on the comments to switch to English), but the UI to post a new entry is shit. I don’t have a choice though, apart from using the mobile-web version of the site.

Mixtapes

A music streaming app. I really, really like this though I haven’t used the app that long yet.

Evernote

I couldn’t log in to my Simplenote-app account the other day so I couldn’t use Feather Notes. But then again, I have some notes I store in Evernote so this is still useful to have.

Unit Converter, World Clock, Translator, Google Search, Counters

Useful apps that don’t come by default.

A List of Windows Phone Apps I Could Use

Ever since Charlie bought his Lumia 520, I’ve been justifying to myself why I wouldn’t mind switching to a W8 Phone. It’s like selling an idea to yourself, hahahaha. So I helped him (or myself) find a list of pretty Windows 8 apps that could be useful and/or fun to have: 

First the official apps I didn’t realise were in the store: 

And then some: 

Simply Weather

I think I have something like this on my iPhone (if not the iOS version of the same app). I couldn’t figure out how to change location/unit though.

Pic Stitch

I linked this to Charlie because he uses a pic-stitching app on his iPad. I have Instaframes on my iPhone but I’ve never used it. This isn’t free though. 

Photoplay

I thought this one was really pretty and simple, though the first time I tried it on Charlie’s Lumia520, it seemed a bit buggy. Lovely colors though and even if there are only a few filters, they’re enough and pretty similar to Instagram.

Weave

RSS reader! :D Since there’s no official Pulse app, this is a good alternative.

Pouch

Pocket client.

7 Minute Workout

This is just something Charlie got but hey, it looks quite pretty. :) 

Waze

Not yet available in the PH store :( But I’ll maybe wait for it. 

Lumia 520

I want to get a Windows 8 Phone. I really do. Charlie just bought the cheap Lumia 520 (it cost 7k in Greenhills) and it’s really cute (the plastic looks better than Samsung’s stupid silver borders on the S4).

I used the phone for a bit and decided that like the Windows UI more than Android’s (Windows has been creative this way. I don’t really like the Windows 8 Desktop because they only “skinned” it, but their UI works on the mobile phones). It’s not a bad phone, I thought. It’s a phone that I would have loved to use, I thought. (If it were my pre-iPhone phone, I thought.)

The Lumia 520 is cheap but pretty, and it looks like I’d get my money’s worth (compared to the more expensive Lumia phones, which doesn’t make sense because I could spend just as much money for a Nexus 4, which probably has better specs). Plus that yellow and other bright colors. Really lovely.

I have some money to spare. My iPhone 4S has a broken wifi and bluetooth, after all, so I can’t even use it for a hotspot. I’m not looking for a phone with good camera capabilities because I just got a Lumix LX7, which was ideally the compact camera I bring with me all the time. I looked at my screen wondering if I really need my iOS apps. Since my phone’s wifi broke, I stopped using my phone for anything other than browser testing, texting, calling, and social networking.

There were already some apps that I could migrate to, should I get a Lumia temporarily until the next iPhone (and big paycheck, haha):

  • Feather Notes – for Simplenote, since I use Notational Velocity on my mac
  • DotDot – for App.net (not that I’m active there, but still)
  • Blueprints – for Tumblr
  • the default Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare apps that come with the Windows 8 phones.
  • Fiction Book Reader – for ebooks

There was one app that was missing, and I really wanted though: Path. There was no alternative on the Windows App market that I could find. I’m always on Path and without an alternative to it, I don’t see myself switching. Do I need Path? No. But I want it. I really, really want it.

My iPhone isn’t really that broken yet. So I don’t really need a new phone right now. I kind-of want to get the Lumia 520, but eh, no Path, so I’m not sure yet. I think Path is that one app Windows should maybe be paying their $100,000 to. :)