Last August, Nokia released an infographic titled Why People Switch to Lumia. Among the reasons cited in the infographic are “unique design”, “exclusive apps”, “bored of other smartphones”, “software”, “Nokia Care”, and “love for Nokia”. The Next Web points out that only two of these reasons—design and special apps—are actually complimentary of the Lumia phones themselves; the rest can be owed to the competition or to the Windows Phone wild card. The combined statistics of those who actually bought a Lumia—because it was a Lumia—only come up to 28.4 percent.
The new Lumia phones, however, are smartphone choices worth seriously considering. In the Apple- and Samsung-dominated smartphone world, the Lumia is refreshingly different. It is the alternative you’d either love or hate, and this is actually good for Nokia. Here are my top 5 reasons for why you should switch to a Nokia Lumia smartphone.
Nokia Lumia phones are designed not to look like any other phone (the new iPod Nano looks eerily like a Lumia though, but that’s not Nokia’s fault). The vibrant yellow color of a Nokia Lumia 920 may not appeal to some, but it offers an alternative to those who are getting tired of white, aluminum, and black. Besides, you still have black, white, gray, cyan, and even red if you feel that yellow is too loud to use as a business phone (I personally think that the yellow looks cool for whatever purpose). The satin finish feels sleek and the plastic body is light yet solid, unlike other phones that feel like cheap plastic. Meanwhile, the Lumia 820 has the same unibody feel and look, but it lets you swap colors with its exchangeable shell design. Overall, the new Lumias capture the mobile and modern vibe perfectly.
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Windows Phone 8
To be fair to Nokia, you really can’t extricate the Windows Phone aspect from the Lumia itself. Some people would want to buy a Windows Phone, and right now, one of the best phone contenders out there based on the specifications (and for some, the design) is the Lumia 920. The Windows Phone aspect of the Lumia can be boon or bane, depending on who’s looking. This doesn’t take the credit away from the Lumia. Nokia could easily have chosen to release Android phones or stick to Symbian. The fact that they didn’t makes sense. By going with Windows 8 and not Android, Nokia differentiates itself from a market full of Android sheep and iOS fanboys. While going for Android is the popular route, it doesn’t mean that it should also be Nokia’s way. It’s a risk they have to take to stand out and get noticed.
Let’s say for instance that everyone loves chocolate ice cream, so everyone starts selling chocolate ice cream. You decide to sell ice cream yourself, since you recognize that it’s a huge hit. Now what flavor would you pick? Definitely not chocolate, since that market’s already too saturated. It has to be different enough to tantalize bored chocolate ice cream tastebuds, but it still has to appeal to the general public. You can choose strawberry and give it a twist in toppings—the flavor is familiar yet different at the same time, without being too quirky. Symbian doesn’t have the innovative card that makes people curious about trying out a Lumia; not to mention, it also failed to buoy up Nokia’s sinking ship. It was a risk well-worth taking when Nokia went exclusive with Microsoft—it’s the best of both worlds! You have a totally rehashed UI in Windows 8 that gives huge doses of excitement to a brand that people have come to hate or love. Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken comes to mind:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
What is pretty impressive here is that you can run all your devices on the same core OS, which runs quite fast. While there may be some kinks as Microsoft starts out, there’s also huge potential that shouldn’t be passed up. If you’ve experienced this modern UI on your smartphone, there would be little or no learning curve at all when you use it on your Xbox and desktop. According to Engadget, the “Shared Windows Core” extends to the file system, security infrastructure, etc.”, allowing you to “streamline the creation of a coherent ecosystem.” This is good news for developers as they can create Windows 8 drivers and apps that can work across all types of devices by making only a few tweaks on the code. IT will also find itself to be more efficient with a single platform and uniform support for all Office apps.
Now, on to the UI. As Co.design puts it, “The Microsoft Metro User-Interface is a perfect complement to Nokia’s design philosophy.” Presently, Microsoft has ditched the Metro moniker for the Windows 8-style UI, but it’s still the same distinctive smooth tiles-based look. While others have criticized the new UI, I think the change is fitting given the present shift to mobile and touchscreen technology. While the transition may be awkward as of now, especially since it takes a bit of getting used to, I’m sure that this is just the start of the next incarnations of Windows OS for the mobile world. Those used to the variety of different app icons may not like the simplicity of the Windows tiles (criticized as “boring”); however, others will find themselves taken to the new UI’s elegant, clean, and simple look.
Aside from these, Windows Phone 8 also features Skype integration for VoIP calls and People Hub, which conveniently lets you see all your contacts and their social media messages in one location.
Integration with Cloud Services
Whether you’re a student or a professional, you’ll love the Nokia Lumia’s integration with Microsoft Office and Windows Skydrive. Lumia users themselves have testified to the smooth integration with the Windows services, allowing them to automatically sync their files and pictures to the cloud. If you’re a music lover, you’ll also appreciate Zune integration, which purportedly runs quicker and uses up less system resources than iTunes.
Others have also criticized Nokia’s lack of apps. But really, how many buggy apps do you really need? It’s great that you can customize your phone with the best apps, but it’s better if your phone already works great even if you don’t have too many of them. That said, Nokia still releases great free apps like:
Nokia Drive – has offline functionality, so you can get to wherever you want to go even without a data connection. Engadget has described it as “the best purely offline navigational tool on the market, on any mobile platform.”
Nokia City Lens – uses Augmented Reality to give you a real-time updates on your surroundings.
Camera Extras – gives your camera extra functions: “Smart group shot,” “Action shot,” “Panorama,” and “Self timer.”
Nokia Maps – lets you explore world cities in 3D and country maps in satellite view. Also gives full driving directions and lets you save your favorite places. It also got a favorable review from Forbes, which gives the app the win over Google or Apple Maps.
… and More!
Nokia Lumia 920 has an 8 MP PureView camera with takes great pictures in low light and offers optical image stabilization. Its 4.5-inch PureMotion HD+ WXGA (1280×768) IPS LCD ClearBlack display provides “better than HD resolution,” according to Jo Harlow, executive VP of smart devices at Nokia. The Nokia Lumia 920 also charges wirelessly using Qi technology and comes with 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Processor, 4G LTE technology, NFC chip, 2000mAh battery, 1GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage plus 7GB Windows Skydrive.
Nokia Lumia 820 is the 920’s mid-range version. It features a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon Qualcomm processor, 4.3 inch OLED WVGA ClearBlack display with Sunlight Readability Enhancement, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage and microSD card slot, Dual-LED flash auto-focus camera with Carl Zeiss optics, and 1650mAh battery with support for Qi wireless charging.
Both phones have a super sensitive touchscreen for nail and glove use.
Love it or hate it, this doesn’t change the fact that Nokia has put a lot of thought and effort into these new Lumia phones. Sound off if you agree or disagree that these are solid reasons to make the switch.