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Newbies Experience with a Windows Phone 8

While making my way through the smartphone wilderness there has been one operating system that has eluded me: Windows Phone. This changed recently as I was able to spend an extensive period of time with the Nokia Lumia 928, which is powered by Windows Phone 8.

The OS:

As a new user to the Windows Phone 8 platform I was quick to test out all the features of this phone and what separated it from other operating system. Surprisingly, the Windows Phone 8 OS works very smoothly without any noticeable lag when switching between apps. Having Microsoft Office pre-installed on the phone proved to be very useful when opening up documents for work and editing them on the go.

The flexibility of the Live Tile user interface was also a welcome surprise. Having the ability to use three different tile sizes, available sizes are 1 x 1, 2 x 2, and 4 x 2, is especially helpful when organizing and highlighting key apps on the Start screen. Having these three different sizes to work with also injected some life into the phone, making it feel customized for my own experience.

The Apps:

Of course the real test of this the Windows Phone 8 was to see how the OS worked with various apps. While it’s disappointing to see that the Windows Phone Store does not feature the large catalog that is available on the Google Play and iTunes stores it was not a deal breaker thanks to the apps that I’ve been able to find so far. Here are some apps that stood out:

PHONLY – After searching for an app that’ll give me all the news I read on a daily basis in one location I came across Phonly. This Feedly-client has turned out to be my most used app to keep up with the websites and blog that I follow on Feedly.

IMPOSSIBLE SHOOTA – As soon as I started Impossible Shoota I could see how it takes its inspiration from Galaga. The aesthetic is there but what makes it stand on its own is how it raises the difficulty with each level that you reach. As you’re level gets higher the more intense the game gets with enemies coming at you at a faster rate, testing your finger reaction time in the process.

FLOW FREE – Flow Free is a fun puzzle game that opens up the idea of trial and error in order to find the correct path to connect the colors together. As with games like Unblock Me, there is an addictive quality to this type of puzzle game that creates a sense of satisfaction when you figure out the puzzle.

CASTLEMINE – Castlemine is a game that feeds into my addiction with tower defense games. In this addictive tower defense game you are faced with a horde of bad guys that approach your castle from the very soil it is built on top of. This unique take on tower defense games has you digging deeper into the in order to eradicate your opposition while simultaneously making things more chaotic with more bad guys to fight.

SHURIKEN NINJA Shuriken Ninja is an app that the farther you get into it the more it becomes a game about precision. Nothing about this game is overtly challenging. What Shuriken Ninja does well is give you a game that is a good time waster.

USA TODAY The USA Today app makes great use of the Live Tile UI of the Windows Phone 8. The navigation of the app feels exactly like the home screen of the Windows Phone 8 home screen. The transitions between news items are smooth and there isn’t a noticeable lag when switching between articles.

ALLRECIPESI may never become the Next Iron Chef but an app like Allrecipes is an invaluable friend in the kitchen. Having the ability to look up recipes or find something to cook with the ingredients I have on hand is great for cooking on the fly. You get step-by-step instructions, along with nutrition information.

Overall Impressions

The Windows Phone 8 experience I had was a pleasant one. The navigation of OS is easy to use and the Live Tile UI makes it easier to keep all the apps organized in a visually appealing way. While the Windows App Store may not have as many apps as other platforms the ones I have been able to find so far make great use of what the Nokia Lumia 928 is capable of.

Are you a Windows Phone user? If so what’s been your experience like? What are some of your favorite apps that I may have missed out on trying? Make sure you follow GoWireless on Twitter and Like GoWireless on Facebook to let us know.