Android vs Windows Phone 8

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Android vs Windows Phone 8This is not a comparison based on the latest and greatest version of Android Phone and Windows Phone 8 with the best hardware and latest OS.  This is a comparison of pre-paid phones loaded with similar apps based on the MSRP of $99.  My Android is a Samsung Galaxy Centura that still retails for $99.  My Windows Phone 8 is a Nokia Lumia 520 also retailing for $99.

I received my new Nokia on February 3rd.  I haven’t yet activated the phone service as my month for my Samsung ends on the 14th.  I was considering actually re-assigning the Nokia to my current service of Straight Talk.  Which is incredibly doable.  Though, after reading several successful and unsuccessful stories about doing it, I chose to stick with moving to AT&T’s GoPhone service.  So for the first comparison, it won’t be with data, service or phone call quality.  Only apps and hardware performance over Wi-Fi.  I’ll do another review around the 30 day mark as I have done in the past for Windows 7, Windows 8 and my Mac experiences.  I’ll tell you now, it’s like night and day.  They are just that different.

A $99 Samsung Android Centura offers you:

  • Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich OS
  • 800MHz Single Core Qualcomm CPU
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 4GB Internal Storage (with expansion slot for another 32GB via Micro SD Card)
  • 3.0MP Camera (Rear Only – No Focus Features)
  • 3.5″ 320 x 480 Display
  • b/g Wi-Fi
  • 3G Data

A $99 Nokia Lumia 520 offers you:

  • Windows Phone 8 OS
  • 1GHz Dual Core Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 8GB Internal Storage (with expansion slot for another 64GB via Micro SDHC Card)
  • 5.0MP Camera (Rear Only)
  • 4″ 480 x 800 Display
  • b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • 4G Data

Already you can see that you don’t aren’t getting much from Samsung by comparison.  But the hardware isn’t the only differences.  I did a clean install of my Android and along with the new Windows Phone 8, I loaded equal software items on both devices.  Both with Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, Angry Birds, My Bank Software, VIP, Notepad, Lotto Results, Bible, Craigslist, Cardmobili, iHeart Radio, Netflix, Waze, PayPal, Adobe PDF Reader, Skype, and Teamviewer.

About Android

Issues with Android:

  • MP3 music skips and lags.
  • The phone needs frequent reboots from locking up.
  • Free RAM consistently below 50MB.
  • Playing simple games like Angry Birds, caused the phone to lock within minutes.
  • DVD rips had to be recoded and resized to play on Android.
  • Not real keen on Google keeping records of my wireless passwords.  (Found that out after the fresh reload of my device and I didn’t have to enter in my complicated Wi-Fi password.)

Impressive Features of Android:

  • Lots of apps to choose from on their store.
  • Notification Bar is incredibly handy.
  • Native screen capture capability.

Android Side Notes:

  • Having so many different phone makers.  It’s a lot like Linux.  There are so many flavors of phone hardware and only so many can use the same software due to differences.  Makes it complicated to get working apps across the board on all Android devices.
  • Apps that are bundled with many Android devices that I didn’t want couldn’t be removed.  Some could be disabled, but they still took up space.

About Windows Phone 8

Issues with Windows Phone 8:

  • Missing apps that are important to me, such as SugarSync and Open Document Reader.
  • Firefox browser is unlikely to ever grace a Windows Phone due to restrictions on open source software.  Thanks to Cloudfox, this isn’t a huge problem 🙂

Impressive Features of the Windows Phone 8:

  • Initial setup was easy. Signed into my Google, Microsoft and Facebook accounts.  The phone integrated them all seamlessly and imported my contacts, emails and was ready to go in minutes.
  • I was able to watch High Quality DVD rips without a single issue.  No need to recode or resize just for the phone.
  • Built-in FM tuner (I’m fairly sure not all Windows Phones have this.) that provides music without eating up a data plan while not on Wi-Fi.
  • The phone is fast as hell no matter what you open or run.
  • Outside of doing an OS update to GDR3, I didn’t need to reboot the phone for any reason.  Never slowed down.
  • Free RAM consistently around 350MB to 395MB.
  • Angry Birds ran like a champ.  Shame I can’t stand the game.
  • Love having a dedicated camera button that not only takes pictures and helps focus, but it also launches the default camera app if it’s closed when pressed.
  • Videos load and play quickly and smoothly.  (Netflix, MP4, AVI, YouTube, Vimeo, Flixster/UltraViolet are just some I’ve tried so far.)
  • Live Tiles.  Need I say more?  Some better than others, but the better ones are awesome 🙂
  • Native screen capture capability.
  • All Windows Phone’s come with Microsoft Office Mobile.  How freakin’ cool is that?  Android and iPhone?  Pft, gotta buy an app for that.  Hell, you can’t even get that with a $2000 MacBook Pro

Windows Phone 8 Side Notes:

  • Wish the camera lens was just a hair recessed.  It’s flat with the body and it’s easy to get fingerprints on and possibly scratch when setting the phone on other surfaces.
  • Apps that came bundled that I didn’t want I was able to remove without issue.

Some Comparisons

Camera Indoor Shots

Camera Outdoor Shots

I wanted a nice picture for the outdoor comparison, but couldn’t bring myself to ask the pretty girl I was hanging out with on Saturday to be my subject.  Plus I didn’t want to get punched in the face.  Long story.  On the upside, I fixed her laptop 🙂  Better clarity, better color, wide format…  The Windows Phone 8 camera, while only 5MP still puts out more impressive pics than the Crapdroids I’ve had at that same price range.  Not too mention, the lens apps that you can get for Windows Phone 8 are also impressive.

Web browser on Wi-Fi loading from a cleared cache.

(I know my website is large and was not expecting any world record load times.)

Battery Time

I tried my best to use the phones equally for the tasks, but it was hard. I found myself playing with the Windows Phone 8 more.  Though if I had to try and guess at it, I would say the battery time on both was just about equal.  Plus, considering my Android has been in use for a few months now.  I would say on my average use, I could go 48 hours on a single charge.  Maybe less as now my live tiles keep me informed of Social Media events, where as I had to turn off notifications for Facebook on my Android as it sucked the life right out of the battery if I didn’t.  Plus, the sound of it going off every five minutes was driving me bat-shit crazy.  The Windows Phone just puts a quiet number count on the tile (and lock screen).

My One Week Summary

I’m very thoroughly impressed so far.  Sure I’ll miss my Swype Keyboard, Starbucks, Square Register and a YOURLS shortener apps, but I’ll live without them just fine.  I’m sure at one point or another those companies will get on board with Windows Phones as they get more popular.  With all the photo junkies out there, and Windows Phones boasting superior cameras to iPhones, you know they will.  You already get more for your money when compared to an equally priced Android phone.  You get more value for less money compared to an iPhone.  Honestly, even though I’ve only had the phone a week, I would say folks should take the Windows Phone Challenge.  (Watch the Videos from that link.)

And while my Lumia 520 only has a 5MP camera that won’t be winning any photo contests anytime soon…  It is, after all, a $99 phone.  Can’t expect miracles for so little cash.  However, I’m still enjoying it far more than any other low cost Android I’ve ever owned.