After the fail with the overpriced, I thought I get started into the WP8 ecosystem with something unexpensive instead. So I bought a used Lumia 800 on Amazon for only EUR 156,- so I could not do anything wrong with that.
I really love Nokias fabula design language, like the N8, N9 and also the Lumia 800. But I was really surprised, how great the Lumia 800 looks in reality. It is an absolute gorgeous device which easily matches the design and quality of the latest iPhones. Personally, I absolutely prefer the Lumia 800's design over the iPhone 4/5 and any Android device I ever saw, but this is a matter of taste. Pictures can not tell how good the 800 looks in reality. The curved screen, the materials. This is my personal favorite, period. I am not a friend of linking advertising videos from vendors, but this video shows, that the great design of the Lumia 800 did not came accidentially:
It feels a little heavy in my hands, as I am used to the bigger but lighter Samsung Galaxy S2. But the S2's little weight comes for the price of a cheap plastic body, compared to the Lumias polycarbonate unibody. In fact, it has exactly the same weight as the iPhone 4, which comes with a slightly smaller display.
After switching it on, the next surprise is the quality of the display. In 2013, a 800*480 3,7'' display would excite no one. But it's brilliance really amazes me. I know AMOLED displays from my Galaxy S and S2 smartphones, but Nokias ClearBlack AMOLED is the best I saw.
Comparing the displays of the iPhone 4, the Galaxy S2 and the Lumia 800, the iPhone has the weakest offering, not bad but not exciting at all. Just a bread-and-butter display. When I had my first Samsung SuperAMOLED smartphone, it had this 'Wow' effect on me. And the S2's display is still a great one, but comparing it side-to-side to Nokia's ClearBlack AMOLED looks definitely better. They black is even darker then on the S2 and everything looks even crisper, probably due to the higher dpi on the 800. And there is another effect which is hard to describe and can not be shown on a photo. On the 800, it looks like the graphics are directly on the surface, whereas on the S2 it is more like the graphics are below a piece of glass. On the other hand, the S2's display is singnificantly larger, thogh it does not show more information as both devices share the same resolution. Anyways this is a comparison on a very high level, only the iPhone's screen falls short.
From the hardware point of view, I absolutely fell in love with the Lumia 800. So let's take a look at the software.
I started installing some of my favorite apps like Evernote, Audible, Kindle, Shazam and others and have been very satisfied having my standard environment also on Windows Phone. The Audible app on WP looks even better then the ones on Android and iOS (UPDATE: with the summer 2013 update, the Android version got a UI overhaul and is now on the same level as the WP8 version. Only the iOS variant still falls short). There is no Amazon.com mp3 store for WP8, but maybe I will get used to Nokia music instead?
Overall I really like Windows Phone's clear UI paradigm, and I love how slick it runs even on such a moderate powered device. I like, how the left/right-swipes are used to switch pages or tabs in apps. So everything looks good until now.
It was late in the evening when I finished the setup of the Lumia. So I wanted to setup an alarm for the morning and to to bed. And as I am used to on my Android phone, I wanted to wakeup with my favorite radio station via internet radio. But to my surprise, I needed to stay up a little longer than I have planned, because this took some time for resarch. In the end I found out, that there is not a single internet radio alarm clock for Windows Phone. There is radio.de, which at least gives a short blip at the alarm time but I wanted it to play my favorite station. There are several radio alarm clocks for Android like Radio Alarm, which I am using. But none for Windows Phone, this is the first time I met the App Gap. How hard could it be to write an internet radio app with an alarm clock.
The next morning when I drove to the office, I tested the new Here Drive beta. I know some Nokia fans, who just buy Nokia phones just for their great included navigation. To be honest, I have never been a fan of Nokias navigation software. It always felt short in comparison.
And then my negative list grew that fast, that I immediately quitted testing. Most apps I needed were non-existent or so much worse than their iOS or Android counterparts. So I sent the beautiful Lumia 800 back and ended the Windows phone experiment. Maybe I try again in a few years, but for now I stay with the Android.