- 07-30-2013, 11:52 AM #1
A few thoughts after having spent a week with WP8 and the Lumia 521:
+The WP8 layout/style is appealing
+Responsiveness is solid (especially compared to Android devices)
+Idle/low-use battery life is great
+Nokia Music offers a good selection of free streaming music and is ad-free (!)
+Nice physical construction
+Simple, expandable storage
+Live tiles bring the best elements of widgets into a sane format
=Screen is mediocre (IPS is good, but resolution and viewing angles are merely tolerable/sufficient with poor contrast/black levels)
-App support is extremely lacking (and free apps are generally ad-riddled)
-Internet Explorer/UC Browser can't handle large/multiple web pages, and Opera Mini isn't available
-Music/podcasting support (no gapless playback, regardless of app; built-in podcast support is weak; playlist support needs to improve)
-Lack of Google services/support, even for Internet Explorer
-Scrolling vertically through the homescreen to get to apps/live tiles is cumbersome
-Active/moderate usage drains battery fast
-There's a dedicated Bing button
Overall: At the moment I'm using the Lumia 521 primarily for media playback (while at the gym or on the go) and as a quick-reference second screen, and it's mostly fine for those purposes (with the caveats listed above). It's a huge step down from iOS in terms of apps, though -- not only are games right out, but banking apps, hobby/website apps, GMail, Pulse, Opera Mini and the like are also unavailable and the closest equivalents/workarounds are also a significant downgrade. I'm still happier with the 521 than I've been with any Android phone/tablet I've owned/tried, though, and may very well make it my main phone/portable device if supplemented with a tablet (next iPad Mini/future Windows 8 device).
Wishlist: I'd love for Microsoft to offer some better app organization (faster access to apps that aren't at the top of the start screen), a better core media app (gapless playback, simplified design, sane podcast management), and switch the search button back to fast, context-sensitive searches (with a long-press for full Bing) in WP8.1.
What I'd love even more on low-end devices is better memory usage (particularly by IE/Trident). It's shocking how bad this is on WP8. My wife's iPhone 4S (also with 512 MB of RAM) can handle pretty much any webpage I throw at it, whereas I ran some tests yesterday on the Lumia 521 that show just how bad Microsoft's memory management/web browser is:
1. iPhone 4S with background updates enabled, multiple apps "open", music streaming, seven heavy websites open in seven tabs in Safari -- loads and the Pulse webapp with no problems (except scrolling on the login screen doesn't scroll the popup properly); also no problems loading the Pulse standalone newsreader, browsing stories and multitasking back and forth.
2. Lumia 521 with background updates/live tiles disabled, all apps (including start screen) closed, Fuse newsreader launched (with half the feeds of Pulse on iOS) -- Fuse consistently crashes when attempting to display the Bad Machinery webcomic.
3. Lumia 521 on fresh boot, background updates/live tiles disabled, all apps closed, IE used to open Pulse webapp -- crashes when browsing multiple stories (or when loading aforementioned webcomic).
4. Lumia 521, background updates/live tiles disabled, locally stored music playing via Music + Videos app, UC browser used to open three mobile forum tabs (m.neogaf.com) -- music app automatically closed, only one tab actually loads content while other two display out of memory errors.
Honestly, as bad as Android is with regards to Chrome and memory, WP is not [that much/at all?] better -- I'd imagine that even the 3GS (with 256 MB of RAM) would run circles around the 520/521/620/625/720 and all the other 512 MB WP8 devices.
To be fair, though, if Opera Mini was available, that would probably shut me up on the IE/memory bit.
07-30-2013, 02:44 PM #4
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Sorry, this seems trollish. No way in hell, any Android or ios device with 512mb ram runs better than a wp8 equivalent.
Where your post shows its trollish tendencies is when you say:
-Screen is mediocre (compare something with similar resolution)
-App support isn't "extremely" lacking. For one, that's subjective, and 2, how in the world ate ppl going to buy WP when they read things like you posted. Which are incorrect.
-Internet Explorer has no problems loading any graphic intense webpage. Not from what others on this site has experienced. (post the WebPages that crashed)
-You're using UC browser where the last update crashes every freaking time. That I'll give too you. Error on devs part. From what I've experienced, UC browser caches WebPages where IE10 does not (multiple WebPages). So there's no way for you to say IE has problems with multiple pages.
-Lack of Google services is GOOGLES FAULT, how is that WP or MS for that matter.
Multiple home screens is cumbersome/subjective
Its funny how you said your wives 4S can handle "pretty much" any webpage. That says it has trouble with some. I have a 4/4s and theirs no way it performs better. IPhones stock browser has more html5 compatibility.
I'm being nit picky now. How on earth do you blame WP for Fuses bad coding or optimization.
There was way more I wanted to say but I'm guessing you see that your post is totally correct. Seriously, where do ppl like you come from, saying things like that!
- 07-30-2013, 03:33 PM #5
Wow, some people here are super-defensive.
As I noted in my post, I like WP8 and the 521 is mostly fine for my usage.Where your post shows its trollish tendencies is when you say:
-Screen is mediocre (compare something with similar resolution)-App support isn't "extremely" lacking. For one, that's subjective, and 2, how in the world ate ppl going to buy WP when they read things like you posted. Which are incorrect.
Third, there are huge swaths of apps that are simply not available on WP8. I honestly cannot take seriously anyone claiming that the WP8 app ecosystem is comparable to that of iOS, when even executives from Nokia and Microsoft are themselves constantly saying that WP8 is far behind (but catching up) on that front.-Internet Explorer has no problems loading any graphic intense webpage. Not from what others on this site has experienced. (post the WebPages that crashed)-You're using UC browser where the last update crashes every freaking time. That I'll give too you. Error on devs part. From what I've experienced, UC browser caches WebPages where IE10 does not (multiple WebPages). So there's no way for you to say IE has problems with multiple pages.-Lack of Google services is GOOGLES FAULT, how is that WP or MS for that matter.-Scrolling/cumbersome=Subjective
Multiple home screens is cumbersome/subjectiveIts funny how you said your wives 4S can handle "pretty much" any webpage. That says it has trouble with some.I have a 4/4s and theirs no way it performs better. IPhones stock browser has more html5 compatibility.I'm being nit picky now. How on earth do you blame WP for Fuses bad coding or optimization.There was way more I wanted to say but I'm guessing you see that your post is totally correct. Seriously, where do ppl like you come from, saying things like that!
07-30-2013, 04:21 PM #7
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Wow are you serious? emagius writes a detailed review with an equal number of pros and cons (and a pretty fair and balanced review based on my experience) and you label this person a troll?
Here's a second opinion for you. Maybe you'll call me a troll too.
On iOS, Safari behaves the same way as IE last time I checked (requires reloading when switching tabs), but there is Opera Mini, which loads many tabs very smoothly even with limited memory. No Opera Mini on WP8, so the overall browsing experience is worse than on an iOS device with 512 MB RAM. It's not really Microsoft's fault, but the experience *is* worse. Maybe UC browser's cloud browsing mode will catch up with Opera Mini over time.
Also the lack of Google services is indeed not Microsoft's fault, but it does still make for a worse experience. For a neutral consumer with no affinity for Microsoft who wants a phone that offers excellent compatibility with Google services, Windows Phone may not be the best choice. I've migrated from Google services to Microsoft ones, with the exception of Google Voice. I use MetroTalk for Google Voice on my Lumia 521, and I find the app and integration to be pretty good, with only a few minor annoyances here and there.
Overall I'm quite happy with my Lumia 521 at the $129 price point. I'm a little bit disappointed that the performance isn't as good as reviews I've read has made it seem. I was under the impression that the 512 MB RAM was not a limiting factor but it most definitely is. The app support, browser, and integration with other services are all still lacking--not really Microsoft's fault, but it still detracts from the overall experience. I agree that comparing to an iPhone 4 isn't really fair, but emagius brought it up because both devices have the same amount of RAM.
- 07-30-2013, 06:19 PM #8Overall I'm quite happy with my Lumia 521 at the $129 price point. I'm a little bit disappointed that the performance isn't as good as reviews I've read has made it seem. I was under the impression that the 512 MB RAM was not a limiting factor but it most definitely is. The app support, browser, and integration with other services are all still lacking--not really Microsoft's fault, but it still detracts from the overall experience.
(For what it's worth, I tried those tests out again and Internet Explorer's been pretty stable for me this afternoon -- UC Browser still kills audio and crashes, though, so I've resolved just not to use it anymore.)
- 07-30-2013, 09:11 PM #9
Spotify lacks the radio functions found in its iOS and Android counterparts. This was a huge setback for me as I like to find new music similar to my favorite bands. People say use Pandora but it fails me in this area. It will play similar music to what I like but its never new release music, its all old. Which takes using Pandora as a workaround out of it.
I bank at a small bank, they dont have an app for WP
Games like Fruit Ninja and Cut the Rope are missing new content that has been released on other platforms
Its unfair to the WP community that the apps built for this phone seem almost like an afterthought in a lot of cases. Apps Like Fotor, Flixster, and Netflix show that it is clearly possible to deliver an elegant looking app that runs beautifully.
I hope that Micorosoft does somethng to entice developers to not only bring apps over , but to deliver a quality experience that really showcases WP8 and these phones, and give the community an app experience comparable to other platforms.
- 07-31-2013, 12:36 PM #11
Still I no longer use a Symbian phone although its hand-optimized hardware-caressing code is superior, or despite its having three to five times the standby time of an iPhone. There is quite a bit more still to a smartphone. It is a whole of parts. And hence iPhone's Safari performance is not too relevant in the larger scheme of things if the platform fails on other scores.
Bear in mind, too, that WP is an integrated, user-oriented, first-party-heavy OS. iOs is a mere app launcher, relying utterly and solely on third party apps to accomplishing everything. This puts the user and their data at the mercy of individual small devs or Google-like advertisement companies. This also means poor or non-existent localisation and hence lackluster user experience for non-English-speaking customers of the platform.
My bank has a mobile app for WP and Android but not for iPhone.
- 07-31-2013, 01:53 PM #12
In a nutshell the OP says the 521 is better than his nexus 7 tablet, and his htc rezound, or any android device for that matter, but not as good as his iphone 3gs..... somewhat confusing.
- 07-31-2013, 03:23 PM #13
07-31-2013, 08:36 PM #15
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Most of the "cons" listed I don't see a point at all, not affecting me. I will comment on two.
I have no issues with Google stuff, gmail I can access just fine through the email app (granted I don't use all the features possible in it, I get mostly junk email), youtube works through Metrotube and I don't access Google+ enough where I miss it. I can see how a heavy Google user would dislike the experience though.
You complained about the "Bing" button, yet Google does the same in Android having a "google" search bar. Frankly I like Bing anyway, so not bothered there.
- 08-01-2013, 06:00 AM #16
I don't get people's complaints here. someone said it's wrong to compare the 521 and 4S because of price, but these are MOSTLY software issues, which are WP- and iOS-wide. The price and model of the phone doesn't matter much with the lack of apps. Scrolling and the physical WP buttons aren't exclusive to the 521. That said, I'll respond to some of those cons:
1. In using my 920 since November, the ONLY applications I've been unable to use that I actually want are Trillian (which I use IM+ to replace) and MLB.TV (which I didn't bother subscribing to anyway). I've actually found myself using probably 3-5 times as many app on my 920 as on my previous Android device (Droid Incredible), and probably 5-10 times as many games actually get played on my 920. The Xbox gaming and general openness of developers on this site are big parts in that.
2. Browsing: The browser never really has issues for me. I don't do tab surfing on my phone though, so I'm not sure how that goes. There ARE third-party browsers in the Windows Phone Store, so try them out and see if they're any better. Of course, you're also talking about a device with 2010 specs with the 521 (my Droid Incredible from 2010 had a 1 GHz CPU and 512 MB of RAM), but that's what purchasing a cheaper phone means.
3. Google: At the end of the day, the lack of Google's presence is 100% on Google. I told myself before getting my 920 that I wasn't going to allow the unwillingness to support the platform by other companies to hamper my enjoyment of this OS. After reading the childish behavior of Google over this stuff, I care so little about their presence that I can't properly explain it at 5 AM (woke up in the middle of the night and saw this thread). They're actively refusing requests to support the platform, and so if they won't help to make my experience enjoyable, then I'll unwaveringly cut ties with them. I barely used anything from them after leaving Android (which I didn't care for anyway), and now I ONLY use anything Google-related for the rare YouTube visit, and that's because they essentially own that market. Microsoft has plenty of services that do the job of Google's just as well or better (except Google+, which I've never even SEEN, and YouTube).
4. Vertical Scrolling: I'm not sure I understand this. l I personally found the page-based setup on Android and iOS to be cumbersome and boring. The WP setup doesn't require you to flick and search a grid, then flip to the next page if you don't find what you like. The Games hub is a big plus for those who like many games like I do, as it helps with an added level of cleanliness. I just feel like Windows Phone is much less-cluttered than iOS and Android (iOS in particular, as it doesn't have the alphabetical app drawer of Android).
5. Search: That's not a dedicated "Bing" button, it's a "Search" button. You can go into the search settings and change it to default to Google, if you'd like.
- 08-01-2013, 08:40 AM #17
Maybe the OP should have put this thread in the windows phone 8 section rather than the 521 section. Here, we are just thankful to be able to buy a very highly rated smart phone at a giveaway price, with no commitment. I have to give someone the Patrick Starfish blank stair when they rip this phone. Yes it's WP8. Yes it's a little light on hardware. But the majority of us find it difficult to complain about what we have. If it's so horrible bring it back.
- 08-01-2013, 08:56 AM #18
In terms of Google services... not sure what the issue is here. I use Gmail from 6 accounts which synchronize my calendars and contacts transparently. The server based email search even works which it never did on the iPhone.
Maps is the only place where a Google app might be good.
Oh yes, you said better app list organization - did you know you can hit a letter in the list and then jump straight to your app. Much faster than a myriad of icons when lots of apps are installed. I never knew which screen/group an app was hidden on the iPhone and I can get to say trapster in 2 clicks.
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