This is the first post of DALANEL Review, which reviews various products and stuff. Today, I’ll be talking about my Windows Phone. This is not a standard review like you see on other sites. I’ll talk about what I like about it and what could be better. I am not receiving any endorsement for my comments.

When I was due for an upgrade, I had choices of the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy 4, and Windows Phone 8. I say that to say that I could’ve gotten the latest in any of the top phones. Now, to be specific, I have the Nokia Lumia 920 so I can only speak from this point of view. Other versions most likely will have the same stuff but there’s some differences too. So why Windows?

Customization

First off, the ability to customize the phone to my liking. Unlike a lot of other phones, WP8 lets you take control of the apps you see and notifications you get. Essentially, the many FREE ringtones, color schemes, and app preferences will create a phone like no other. It’s to the point where you can lay your WP8 next to 100 other WP8’s and you’ll be able to tell which one is yours just my looking at the home screen.

Xbox

Next, I have to go with the Xbox integration. As you may know, Windows and Xbox are both under Microsoft. This leads to a great integration of Xbox on your phone. All of your information from the console is available. You’ll have to sign into your phone with your Microsoft account (if you don’t have one, you can create one) and boom, Xbox and any other Microsoft services are there like Skype and Sky Drive and more. So, your gamer score is there too. Your avatar is fully customizable. And with the amount of Xbox games on the phone, you can add to your score on the go. And most of the games look great but most Xbox games cost money. Average price to me is only $3.99 though so it’s not too bad. The most expensive I’ve seen is $6.99 which is a little high.

Contacts and Social Media

I have to say, if you love your social media, then you’ll love this phone too. What’s interesting is that there are built in apps for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Built in. You don’t have to go looking for apps (and there’s plenty to choose from). So, how does it work? Welp, you’ll be able to sign into the account(s) that you want and then your phone will seamlessly take your contacts from that site and add them to your address book. Hold on! You can filter out the contacts you see by social media platform. You want to see just Facebook? Good. Just Twitter and you email contacts? Yup. Again, it’s part of the customization. It fits your needs.

Updating your status is easy. There’s a live tile that is labeled “Me”. That’s you. That’s your center. You can update your photo, status, and more! And you can update at multiple places at once. You go an update for Twitter and don’t feel like typing twice? Just tap the check mark for both Twitter and Facebook and you get two for the price of one. Wonderful.

One thing I really think is cool with the contacts from various sites and email accounts is that you can link the same person from multiple places into one card. This isn’t something special as other phones do it, I guess. It’s still cool. For instance, one of my sisters is on Twitter, Facebook, and Hotmail. Now, Hotmail is you “generic” address book. Adding new contacts will be in Hotmail. Anyway, if I connect her accounts, I get one big account of her. All her info in combined and I see a feed of all her updates from Twitter and Facebook all in one.

Microsoft Office

We’re talking about Microsoft. As I said before, Xbox is easily obtained. WP8 has Microsoft built in. You can read Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can create Word and Excel docs. Adobe has an app too so pdf files are covered. I love this because I can create or read stuff on the go. I can send stuff on the go. Just copy from my computer and take it with me and edit it from the phone. And, as a writer and blogger, I have a lot of writing I do so this is great. WordPress has a fancy app on there too so I’m good there.

Battery

Oh boy. Sometimes I like to think of this phone as a sort of mini computer. I mean, phones of today are getting to that stage but the battery situation reminds me a lot about a PC. Now, my mom has an iPhone 5 and she claims she didn’t have the feature that I’m about to tell you about. There’s something called “Battery Saver”. Here, you can actually save your battery. The idea behind it is that, when you battery is low (typically 20%) then, if you turned the option on, your phone will go into battery saver mode. When in this state, it shuts everything down. By that, I mean that background tasks, any auto syncing you have for email, and other stuff is turned off. You can still receive calls and texts and if you want to use and app or view email, you can manually sync up.

This way, you can make the battery last longer. But, you don’t have to wait for it to be low. For example, I turned mine on while at 50%. Why? Because I was away from home with no charger and didn’t know when I’d be back. So, I tried to conserve as much power as I could. In the end, I was down to 47% when I got home 4 hours later. Not bad especially since I was using the phone for a 20 minute call and a few text messages.

Kid’s Corner

A lot of people with this really love it. Are you tired of letting your kids borrow your phone only to find that they done messed with your personal settings or used up too much data? Welp. with Kid’s Corner, that all ends. Now, on the lock screen of the phone, if you swipe to the left, there’s KC. So how does it work? You can download apps for your kids. If you want to put that game or app in the corner, hold down on the app until a menu appears. One of the options will say “add to Kid’s Corner” and then you tap that and done.

So what’s the big deal? Well, in Kid’s Corner, there’s not much you can do. They have access to saved photos, the games and apps you put in there, and can customize the color appearance of the corner. There’s no way they can get into your private areas and mess around with other stuff. For me, I have a god sister and brother that are very young. I can pick games for them to play and apps for them to use and put them there and let them go.

But wait! In keeping with being able to customize, it doesn’t even have to be a Kid’s Corner. It can be whatever you want it to be. a few examples I’ve read from other users: One guy uses it as a “game hub” where he has quick access to his favorite games. One person used it as the “guest page”. In this sense, you can let your buddy play with your phone without your more sensitive info out in the open. Another used it as a quick update center. All news apps are in there. Whatever fits you, make it happen.

Areas of improvement

No phone is perfect and this phone is not an exception. Remember how I said it’s like a mini PC? Welp, and this happens mostly when you play games for about 30 minutes, the phones gets warm. It won’t burn your hand but let’s just say you’ll be looking forward to it if your hand was just inside a bowl of ice.

Another is battery detail. The phone has one bar to tell you about your battery life. No %, no little bars inside the big bar, just one bar. You end up guessing where it is. Is that 40 or 30? Eh…I don’t know. Now granted, you can always go to the battery savor screen and it’ll tell you how much is left by percentage and hour. But as for a quick glance at the top of the screen, nah. Now, I did find a great app that tells me the percentage number. And since it’s a lock screen app, I can see my battery status just by hitting the lock screen button. So that’s cool. It also tells me when I’m draining a lot of battery in a short time as well as when it’s low.

That’s really it. One other thing I should mention is apps. Now, WP8 doesn’t have as many apps as iPhone and Android but it’s still a great selection. And the collection keeps on growing. For me, it’s no problem. But, for people that like thousands of apps about the same thing, then this is a setback.

Ultimately, WP8 is a bold new look at a smart phone. I think this is gonna be special. It’s convinced me to give Windows 8 PC a shot. And while you may value the security of the top dogs, you at least have to give WP8 a look. It’s not as bad as WP7, that’s for sure. And if the other guys aren’t careful, in a few years WP8 will definitely be able to take over. This was a good start and I can’t wait to see what they got coming up next.

If you want me to review something else, go to the “Ask Dante” page. Ask me about the phone if there’s something else you want to know about it in the comments. Thanks for reading and I want to hear from you if you have a Windows Phone. What’s to love? Hate?

-DALANEL

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