Friday, November 7, 2014

Windows Phone 8.1 vs Android


Let me preface by saying I have used a windows phone since it was an inch thick and slid up giving an actual keyboard.  Recently I had a need to test some android video streaming for work, so I headed to Best Buy and purchased a Samsung Galaxy S5 outright ($799), along with 2 years protection ($199) and a really great glass screen protector ($40) and used it for a month.  Here are my experiences and comparisons to my HTC 8X.

Apps

clearly android has the edge here, everything under the sun is released for android.  I was able to join my friends in clash of clans, catch up on candy crush, watch xfinity live tv when the cable was having problems, update blogger, etc.   Windows phone has a good number of important apps and a lot of good games, but just doesn't get the support of developers since the marketshare of the phone isn't high enough, its a tough cycle to get out of, Microsoft is doing their best to buy up applications like minecraft to bring them to the platform and hopefully attract some market share.
Winner: Android

Phone Design - Hardware

Android has a back button, home button, and a button that brought up a task manager (may just be default option on the galaxy s5).  Windows has a back button, windows button (home), and search button (cortana).  Windows phone brings up task manager/switcher by holding down the back button. Android and Windows phone are available on a variety of comparable hardware.
Winner: Tie  

Phone Design - Software

Here is the big difference, this is where you notice the difference.  Android gives a flexible design where you can install other apps to change things around, but this was the most frustrating thing in using android.  Out of the box it just wasn't as good as it should be.  I downloaded a different launcher (google now maybe), a different app to handle txt messages, had to download twitter, facebook, etc, then had to setup the homescreen which wasn't that easy to figure out.  Windows Phone uses the microsoft live tile design, its square and retro looking, but once you use it you see how much better and simpler it is.  Microsoft started their marketing campaign about being able to look at your phone and see everything, and it really is like that, I move my home screen around and rarely have to scroll down or view the app list.  Which brings me to the app list, android like iphone displays pages if icons, that do little more than take up space.  Windows phone uses a single alphabetical list with the ability to jump to any letter.
Winner: Windows Phone

Voice Assistant

Cortana was added to the windows phone in version 8.1 and acts more like an assistant.  Android's OK Google seems to function in the same manner, though I don't use voice interaction with my phone much.  Though I nice feature added, not really voice, but related to cortana is quiet time. Cortana will handle your calls/txts during those hours, so if you don't want to be bothered cortana can reply to your txt messages, of course allowing someone to get you in the case of an emergency, they will just have to call or txt twice.
Winner: Tie

Misc

Android app support is great, but it was a pain to go into the twitter app to check my twitter feed, then into the facebook app to check my facebook feed, and using two different mail clients for my corporate and personal email (though there may be something to merge them, I didn't look that hard). I don't having to research the best launcher or the best app for messaging or the best keyboard.  I guess the flexibility is nice and a lot of people like that.  Windows Phone just has everything right there from the start.  My people tile has my twitter and facebook feed, my email is easily linked so all my accounts display in one area.  I wish the windows email would allow the swipe to delete like the android app I found.  The windows word flow keyboard was much nicer than the samsung swipe keyboard, it predicted better, had better guessing on what I meant and most of all if I hit the backspace to make a change to a word it doesn't know it doesn't keep changing it like the samsung keyboard.

I also tested Android Wear with a moto360 watch.  It was the first android watch I saw that I liked the design of.  I was hoping I could load multiple watch faces and switch them at will.  I could, but had to purchase a facer app, download watch faces and load them into the app, and have to change them via the phone instead of on the phone, but that wasn't too much of a problem.  Battery life lasted for a day, notifications were nice when the phone is in your pocket, it didn't quite turn on perfectly, sometimes I had to move my wrist around to see the time.  I will test the microsoft band and update that test when they get more in stock and I can purchase one.

These are my experiences using android for 30 days. I have just switched back to my windows phone and will update here to see what I miss from the android phone, if anything.

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