You have read my rants about the limitations of Windows Phone, as well as my reviews of both the OS and phones running it. Windows Phone is really a fluid OS, even on lower end hardware, for example Nokia Lumia 610. We are talking of 800 MHz processor and 256 MB RAM here. I swear: it works well.
At least, it works well as long as I do not require any internet-related tasks, such as web browsing, chatting on WhatsApp, or using twitter and Facebook. are you following me so far? Good.
Now, remember my gripes about how the Windows Phone smartphones I have handled do not have a dedicated 3G mode and how in auto mode, they tend to prefer EDGE to 3G? You remember that too? Good. Remember my conclusion that Windows Phone 7 Doesn’t Play Well At The Budget Level? I was wrong. I finally figured out what the problem is. Here is a quote from that second link:
On the 610, it launches slowly and then stares at you with the scrolling dots while loading the content
I was wrong about this being due to the low-clocked processor and small RAM. There was a factor that I didn’t nail then: internet connection. You see, in EDGE mode, almost every task that requires an internet connection on Windows Phone OS becomes a drag and tasks your patience. I know that EDGE will slow you down on any platform, but there is a way that the WP user interface works that seems to make the impact greater.
Broadband Changes The Game
Now, hook up your Lumia 610 to a broadband connection via WiFi, or take it to a location where it can latch on to a fast 3G connection permanently, and you would almost not believe that it is the same device that almost ran you crazy earlier that is in your hands purring away nicely. You see, I found out by trial and error that you need a fast internet connection in order to enjoy Windows Phone OS. On a slow EDGE connection, PUSH notifications were unreliable, and my complaints about WhatsApp and Twitter were valid.
After all the frustrations of an auto-mode mobile internet connection that spent more time on 2G than 3G, I pulled out my trusty MiFi, pegged it on 3G permanently and connected the Lumia 610 via WiFi. All of a sudden, it felt like a different device. WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Evernote and more all worked much faster. It was then that it hit me – all those reviews by Americans and Europeans were done over WiFi and/or much more stable and faster mobile internet connections. Here, the relatively poor state of our networks mean that the user experience is significantly different. Yes; the poor networks affect performance on every mobile platform, but as mentioned earlier, the workings and UI of Windows Phone makes it more glaring in use.
Don’t get me wrong. The Lumia 610 isn’t as fast as the 820 or 920 in any way, but with a fast and stable internet connection, it isn’t the woeful disappointment that I painted it to be earlier. Simply put, Windows Phone was not designed with a narrowband environment in mind.
If you want to really, really enjoy Windows Phone OS, do yourself a favour and make sure that you have fast WiFi around you, or you are on a broadband mobile network. If you do not, you might be needing to see a psychiatrist .