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Windows Phone 8 Review - Gaming, Apps, Office and Verdict

By Edward Chester

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Windows Phone 8 Gaming

Another crucial aspect to the Windows Phone 8 experience is its gaming chops. Along with SmartGlass, there are also some games that work across both Xbox and Windows Phone 8 and you can earn achievements for your Xbox account through Windows Phone 8 games.

Plus, of course, you can muck about with your little avatar, making it look as much or little like you as you like.

Windows Phone 8 5 Windows Phone 8 1

Windows Phone 8 Office

Another crucial Microsoft exclusive is Office. Microsoft’s mobile office application offers the most comprehensive solution for creating and editing word docs, spreadsheets and powerpoint presentations while on the go.

Windows Phone 8 Sky Drive

Key to getting the most out of office is Microsoft’s Sky Drive online storage. Sky Drive provides 7GB of free online storage and is compatible with Windows, Macs, iPads, iPhones, Android and of course Windows Phone 8, making it one for the most widely supported online storage services.

Like Dropbox, Sky Drive appears just like a normal folder on your computer and it integrates seamlessly with Office. So, simply update a file on your phone and once synced it’ll be updated on all your other devices.

Windows Phone 8 4 Windows Phone 8

It’s a shame Microsoft has chosen to lock out other alternatives like Dropbox from having full access to the phone interface but Sky Drive is so good that we can’t complain too much. It certainly beats iCloud and Google Drive anyway.

Windows Phone 8 Apps

So we come to the crux of any new mobile phone platform – its app support.

App support for Windows Phone 7 has been slow in coming but has slowly filled out and Microsoft has ensured that all existing Windows Phone 7/7.5 apps will work on Windows Phone 8. So, there should be 100,000 apps available at launch.

We had a look for some basics and quickly found Facebook, Twitter, a National Rail train times calculator, the TVGuide.co.uk app, Angry Birds, linkedin, Vevo, and a London tube map but no Dropbox, Steam, iPlayer or Bad Piggies.

Microsoft also just announced that Temple Run, Urban Spoon, Angry Birds Star Wars, Where's My Water and Pandora are all imminently available.

Windows Phone 8 2 Windows Phone 8

With Microsoft putting such a huge amount of marketing behind this launch we fully expect the app store to fill out quickly, though, especially given the opportunity for cross compatibility with Windows 8, which should natively be able to run Windows Phone 8 apps.

Windows Phone 8 Verdict

Microsoft needed to deliver with Windows Phone 8 and largely we think it has succeeded. It looks and feels slick and largely matches the competition for core abilities. There are a few shortcomings but these are generally balanced by other unique features.

Combined with the improved hardware support of this latest version, it looks like Windows Phone handsets like the Nokia Lumia 920 really will take the fight to the iPhone and its many Android competitors.

Overall Score

8
Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

ElectricSheep

October 29, 2012, 11:17 pm

I'm happy to read that you think this is a competitive product...at long last.

But after Microsoft sucker-punched me with the shockingly poor combination of the Lumia 800 and Windows Phone 7, I will not be even considering investing in this platform for at least another 24 months until it has a proven track record and mature app infrastructure & support.

Oh, and they must ditch the terrible toddler-tile design too!

J4cK1505

October 30, 2012, 12:34 am

Was really looking forward to Windows Phone 8. I saw a live stream from the press conference and thought, hey they have done it. But after reading this it almost seems a step backwards. Missing simple key elements, screen wastage in many places, most offensivly in the app list. Email app looks horrible, search function is ridiculous. Call app taking me to the history is strange, messaging looks pretty good however.

I can lay criticism almost everywhere. I just wrote a huge list of things about the Email app specifically, but nobody actually wants to read that. But theres lots wrong with it. Mostly the swipe menu at the top. Text size and screen wastage, lack of option there to expand a single email whilst remaining in that list.. woops there I go again.

MS, read this review, delay release by a month, fix everything and you'll have a winner.

elnoni5

October 30, 2012, 1:52 am

picture caption says "The Nokia Lumia 920 is the flagship phone of the Windows Phone 8 launch."...erm...that's the htc!! ;)

cliche

October 30, 2012, 6:42 am

SMS notifications /text message receipts were never sorted out on Android (issue 2305)
http://code.google.com/p/andro...

I have stuck with my Windows Mobile 6.1 for years due to text message receipt confirmation which works internationally (as per the old pre smartphone era)

1 )Does this function correctly ?

2) Also, does this synchronise with the Outlook Suite ok (unlike windows 7/7.5 which has to go via the cloud as opposed to Windows Mobile Device Centre) ?

Thank you

Martin Daler

October 30, 2012, 3:21 pm

don't know about the rest of it, but Samsung Android phones can sync to Outlook on the PC (no cloud etc) using Kies. It is a bit klunky, there are endless updates to Kies and it can get its knickers in a twist, but I do use it successfully to keep my contacts synced to Outlook. If you have advanced requirements it might not satisfy however, I already notice that it muddles the order of street address fields etc.

cliche

October 30, 2012, 7:39 pm

Thank you Martin. Have you been able to check the SMS/text message receipt functionality ?

Lantic

November 1, 2012, 1:47 pm

Agreed, the UI looks like it is trying to be a slot machine! Unless it's designed for the younger crowd - looks far too busy.

Richard Mulholland

May 24, 2014, 3:03 pm

If Windows Contacts is the best MS can do in 2014 they will fail. Awful functionality for Contact set up. Soft Reset not really my idea of fun with 523 unwanted contacts. Lazy engineering. They'll all be buying Samsung S5s....the market will not put up with contact garbage in 2014.

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