I've been a Windows fan from the beginning. I had several windows phones and even the zune (yes, zunehd is still the most beautiful player in history). I understood the MetroUI, featuring content, fonts, interface elements hidden from view. I lamented the introduction of the hamburger menu, but got the sake of consistency and to please dumb users that don't like to adapt, i accepted it. I accepted that some apps were not available. Many could be accessed via web, do no big deal. I kept my phone on insider updates and followed every new feature.
But my 950 was aging and Microsoft was more selling Samsung S8 at stores. Moreover, it was clear that MS was skipping the smartphonef industry, so i made the jump and got a Samsung S8+. First off, beautiful hardware. No longer the plastic look, these phones look luxurious. And the screen.... Nobody beats Samsung at screens in any size. The phone itself comes with many features, iris recognition, fingerprint, face, edge screen, etc. Samsung apps and launcher are more polished, with the exception of that Bixby assistant which is slow and pretty much useless. And this brings me to my main complain....
A Samsung Android phone is a battleground for supremacy between fierce competitors. Coming from the tranquil fields of Windows, where everything is consistent in terms of UI, it was pretty annoying. Samsung wants you to use their email and calendar apps, Google wants you to use theirs, Microsoft has Outlook as well. None are as perfect as mail and calendar for Windows mobile. None. Same battle occurs for the default SMS handler: Facebook wants to be default, Samsung has its own, Google had its own and soon Skype will be an option too. Whichever you choose.. compromises. Either you lose UI consistency, or some functionality Very frustrating.
In Windows mobile, all my contacts synchronized from Hotmail and work accounts. In Android, there are duplicates and bits of info for every contact from Samsung accounts, Google and exchange, and STILL i can't get automatic synch of contact pictures from Facebook, longer in Windows phone, without having to use a third party app. It took me hours to clean my contacts.
It is just like the Themes.... Thousands of options and none are fully satisfying and consistent. Some things are better than Windows, besides app availability: Google maps had better info and keeps your timeline. If you book flights and hotel and receive email confirmation, those locations appear in "upcoming places". It integrates Uber and Lyft as options for navigation. But i miss that Windows maps had all integrated the 3d 2d interfaces... Google maps satellite view is 2d and you have to go and download Google Earth for full 3d. Bizarre.
And then the notifications. It is not possible to assign a custom notification sound to a specific app. In Windows i had Skype for business sound different from SMS, from Facebook, from WhatsApp. You can only customize the SMS sounds, all others share same sound. Ludicrous. And there are so many useless notifications, is like spam, i keep turning them off. Windows was clearer.
I miss the Live Tiles, of course. But overall, is a sad thing for users not to be able to have the consistency that Windows desktop+Windows mobile provided. One email app, one calendar, one assistant, one streaming music service. All sharing the same UI and basically same features. It is a disservice to customers to have these ecosystem battles, adds redundancy and complexity for no reason. I hope Microsoft moves is pieces right fit the next communication device (augmented reality) and we can drop this smartphone nonsense and go back to simplicity.