Monday, May 18, 2015

Microsoft Lumia smartphone is my first purchase in the category. Here are 6 reasons why I bought something I swear off never to buy.

Microsoft Lumia finally becomes my first official smartphone purchase.

At least in the smartphone category. I've purchased features phones before - from Sony, Nokia and Motorola. Then tablets from Samsung and Asus (different category). But for a specific category such as smartphone, I have long held the disdain and tried my very best to stay away from purchasing anything smaller than 7.7-inch for I held the negative impression of small, compact devices as merely trends to waste the consumers' spending.

Drop Accident (not test)
But accidents are unavoidable. I dropped my Samsung tablet 7.7 and the screen cracked for the first time, strangely even with the covers on. I've dropped it before and it never cracked this bad. The tablet still functions but the aesthetic quality on the front was marred considerably. I've got no choice but to send it for repair, hence the search for a cheap smartphone to temporarily substitute its place began. I simply cannot view the front with its deformities - a great looking screen matters a lot to me!

Coincidentally right at that time, it was Microsoft's first day opening of its retail outlet at KLCC. I didn't queue up in the early morning like the other fans do to get the freebies. But don't get me wrong - I am as guilty as others too for I am a freebies junkie like them, never doubt that. It's just that since Microsoft took over Nokia's handset business, it never interests me a bit to see what they do with Nokia.

By the time I arrived at the new Microsoft outlet, there wasn't so much of a crowd. It was well past 7pm. I was surprised to not see any price tags on any of its products display. Well, that's the first thing a consumer look for right - the price? Being that was the first day, all the salespeople there are hyped up and full of good energy to help.  So I asked for the cheapest smartphone they have. It was a Lumia 4-incher priced at RM320.

The first thing that piqued my interest in purchasing a Lumia is the Metro interface. The whole look seems new and different to me, with its huge panel button in which I can touch upon easily. Personally, I still find the price tag a bit too expensive, considering I was only purchasing it for emergency purpose since my main "phone" is in the process of repair. So I queried about the freebies.

The salesperson told me I would get a RM50 voucher and a headset valued at RM99. So I added and subtracted the value. I came to the final number of only RM170 in purchasing the Lumia. I needed a new headset anyway, so everything seems to fit in perfectly. That is of course, if I really wanted the headset and cash voucher. The cash voucher could be used in Tesco, H&M and some other outlets I couldn't remember. But Tesco sounds more practical because I could get my groceries there.

Powerful Google
But my reason for purchasing a Microsoft Lumia is bigger than just using it as a temporary replacement. The first and foremost in my thought is how powerful Google has become. Their operating system is almost everywhere. But the thing that irked me the most is how they control the search engine segment. Personally, I don't think Google have the most accurate search results when I type in a specific set of words. For example, when I search for my name - other name results appeared along with mine which clearly are NOT me. (Note to Google: I would prefer only my name results to appear - it's Law, not Lawrence) The reason Google is becoming more powerful is because of the popularity of the search engine. That's why sometimes it's good to ditch least temporarily.

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New Interface
The secondary reason is Microsoft's Metro-style operating system - which is completely new to me. I love to try out new stuff, and with my current situation - it's the most opportune time to try it out. It gets some getting used to - for the interface really requires a lot of swiping right to left. That's still bearable when I use only one hand. The Metro design language looks quite glamorous too with its billboard-like panels which rotates like the flight departing and arriving panels at the airport. I was hoping to open Flash websites on it, but it just appears blank.

Quality Music Player
The third reason was a surprise to me. I find that the music playing on a Lumia actually sounds better. But don't mistaken the quality to come from its earphones. The earphones that comes with are actually quite terrible. So I used my Philips earphones instead and the music really sounds great. But there's a downside to this - the storage is only 8 gigabytes, which means I need the micro SD slot. Please don't believe when others tell you that you don't need micro SD slot like what Hugo Barra did recently for Xiaomi. Just because a person have a pleasant face means anything at all (seriously?) and you should believe that change will happen. We are the consumers and we dictate that micro SD slots are IMPORTANT! This point brings me to the fourth reason.

Convenient Size
The 4-inch size! Yikes, I never thought it would be so convenient to listen to my music with a 4-incher versus say a 7-incher. This Lumia fits right into my palm and I can increase the volume button on the right side. The great thing is I can change my music just by using one hand! And that's a real convenience when you have things to carry with you when you're moving about. But I do have a few gripes about managing the music with its interface. Sometimes I need to swipe a few times to get to the list of music. It doesn't just get me straight to the music I want.

Below are the cons of the Lumia:
1) Takes long and complicated to insert SIM card to read on phone
2) Low quality earphones
3) Requires effort to manage music player
4) You can't open the apps without a micro SD card
5) Flash websites cannot be accessed
6) Small storage size

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