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An iPhone fan's month with Windows Phone: Week four

Lex Friedman | March 26, 2013
My month with Windows Phone has drawn to a close, and the decision is before me: Do I stick with the Lumia 920, or return to my iPhone 5? There is perhaps no better description of my answer than that provided by the inimitable Peaches and Herb.

To start with, it runs iOS, so that I can get all the best apps. But it uses larger hardware--like the Lumia 920. And while we're daydreaming, let's make sure it gets better battery life than either the 920 or the iPhone 5.

My Frankenphone would incorporate several aspects of the Windows Phone home screen: The ability to adjust the size and shape of app icons (or tiles, in Windows Phone parlance) proves pretty useful; it allows for greater customization than the iPhone's inflexible icon grid, for example, making certain apps' tiles larger, so that they'd be easier to tap. And with Live Tiles, those icons can gain more interesting information than iOS's simple badges allow. Where an iOS Twitter client's icon can show just a single number, a Windows Phone Twitter app tile might show separate counts for your number of unread direct messages and your replies.

But where Windows Phone allows only a single, endlessly scrolling home screen, the Frankenphone would allow iOS-style multiple home screens that use the Windows Phone live tile approach. And the Frankenphone must also inherit Windows Phone's alphabetical app list, along with its ability to pin other items--specific views within apps, or individual contacts--to the home screen.

If you've read my previous weeks' entries, you won't be too shocked that Siri and Notification Center are no-brainer inclusions for the Frankenphone.

I'd also want the Windows Phone keyboard--I love having the comma present without toggling to a view of special characters. And I want the Windows Phone wide row of word suggestions as I type, but with iOS's autocorrect algorithm, which more confidently and consistently replaces poorly typed words.

iOS's multitasking mechanic makes the cut; the Home button double press makes quicker work of seeing your recently used apps than Windows Phone's press-and-hold-the-back-button approach. But I want the Windows Phone multitasking user interface, which shows the actual screens from your recently-run apps instead of just their icons.

I'd like the lenses from the Lumia 920's camera, but with the software from iOS; it's far easier to focus the camera on an iPhone than on the Lumia. Let's also keep the Lumia 920's dedicated camera button.

I prefer the iPhone's top right placement of the Sleep/wake button, and appreciate the fact that the iPhone's Home button can also wake the phone. The Lumia 920's Home button is touch capacitive, and it only works if you first wake the phone with the somewhat awkwardly placed side Sleep/wake button. The Frankenphone thus uses the iPhone's basic body design, just blown up to a larger size--but there's no question in my mind that it should inherit the Lumia 920's vibrant color options.


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