Generally on TechForWorld, we never review a product to criticize it. Why waste time on things that are useless? But Nokia Lumia smartphone specially got my attention to write a review for, especially after gifting one to my wife Kiran Solanki. She was so disappointed that she is waiting for her next birthday, LOL. First I thought I must teach her ‘features’ of Nokia Lumia. But even I was stuck and shocked! Thanks to the two giants like Microsoft and Nokia. And also thanks to the big reviewers who actually did shameless flattery of Nokia- instead of actually reviewing it. Read on for a frank, practical Nokia Lumia review written after actually using it:
One of the Most Beautiful Phones
Of course, One good thing about Lumia is that it is one of the most beautiful phones because of its screen quality. Its camera/photo quality is noticeable of course. And playing videos and games on its large, bright screen is really enjoyable. Processor speed is fine and appreciated by reviewers. The phone switches on quickly and apps are loaded fast. Windows Phone 7.5 OS makes it a smooth experience to use it: not worse than using Android. But here are so many limitations in Lumia- which actually are problems for which they have not left any solutions. If you are planning to buy a Lumia, please know about the following issues first:
1. Bluetooth: No File Transfer Support!
What is Bluetooth there for? Correct, to transfer files. Any common phone supports Bluetooth file transfer. But with Lumia, you cannot transfer your files because Lumia does not support widely used OBEX file transfer protocol for Bluetooth. You can transfer only contacts. So they have wasted on unusable Bluetooth feature, but…
2. No SD Card or Expandable Memory
…they did not think about expandable memory card slot! Worst, if you have bought a so called entry level smartphone Nokia Lumia 510, you are stuck because it has only 2.5 GB actually usable memory out of advertised 4 GB. We will come to that point in detail.
3. No USB Mass Storage: You Cannot Directly Transfer Your Files!
Bluetooth is unusable… OK. But you cannot also directly transfer your files from your computer! Sadly Lumia does not support USB mass storage. You have to either use a cloud service or a CRAP utility called Zune with a USB cable to transfer files.
Think about that! If you want to simply copy your favorite song or picture from your computer to phone, first upload it from your computer to your cloud account and then sync with your phone.
What about Zune? I am a software developer and rarely call a software ‘crap’. Zune is the most user-unfriendly software I have ever reviewed. Did really Microsoft develop Zune? It will take too long time and efforts to understand how you can transfer files using Zune. I do not know who uses that software. And if you a novice PC user, Forget it!
And as a bonus, you cannot transfer files of type 3GP and AVI videos. There is nothing like a basic feature called file manager.
4. Large Share of ‘Reserved’ Memory
You are going to feel cheated, because there is a lot of difference between advertised internal memory versus usable memory for Lumia. For example, in a Lumia 800 with 16 GB advertised memory, you can use only 13.8 GB! And worst case, if you have bought Lumia 510, you are stuck at only 2.5 GB. Out of 4 GB advertised memory, 1.5 GB is ‘reserved’ for system! You have no control or setting over it. And do not forget that there is no external expandable memory card slot.
5. Far Worse Thing in Lumia: Notifications
Notifications actually do not serve their purpose on Lumia and it is criticized so much by users. You will so much miss app notifications (missed calls, voice-mails, Facebook, etc.) and messages on Lumia. Like other phones, there is no feature or indicator in Lumia that will continuously remind you of pending notifications by a sound or LED. Whenever you get a notification, a low-volume bell will ring once and then, end of story! You cannot even change the tone or volume of that notification sound.
And for emails, Lumia is far untrustworthy. I have experienced myself, sometimes you get an email notification, and sometimes not! Will you rely on Lumia?
You need to keep checking your phone every five minutes. Really, Lumia has killed the real purpose of notifications.
6. Wi-Fi Will Turn Off When Screen Is Locked
One thing you need to be careful. If your phone is in power-saver mode, the Wi-Fi will turn off automatically if the screen is locked. If you want to keep the Wi-Fi on, you need to get the phone out of the power-saver mode. No, there is no other option!
And surprisingly Lumia does not support Wi-Fi tethering (also known as Wi-Fi hotspot) which any common Android phone can support.
7. Contacts Mix Up
When you login to one of your account, the phone will automatically sync all your contacts on your Windows Live/Hotmail account, Facebook and SIM card. Every single contact on your phone, email address, Facebook and Hotmail will be dumped into your phone, paired up with the same contacts and then uploaded onto your Windows Live address book. There is no setting left for your own control over this and privacy.
8. Set Your Own Ringtone: How Dare You!
You cannot easily, directly use your own sound file as a ringtone. To do that, see below steps yourself:
1. Download and install Zune utility form www.zune.net
2. Then connect your phone to your computer by using USB cable. Then open Zune in your computer
4. Select the sound file you want to use as a ringtone. The file must be in MP3 or WMA format and it should be 40 seconds long and the size should be less than 1MB.
5. Right click the file and select edit.
6. Type ‘ringtone’ in the genre field, or select it from the list.
7. Drag and drop the new ringtone to your phone.
8. On your phone, select > Settings and ringtones+sounds, then select your ringtone.
9. No Way to Take Screenshots
You can’t take screenshots!
10. No Multi-selection
You can’t select multiple messages, images or other files if you want to delete them! So if you have hundreds of pictures or messages, you have to select each one by one to delete. Just LOL.
The question remains unanswered why a ‘smart’ phone by Microsoft and Lumia can have such limitations: most features are supported even by cheap phones. Apart from problems discussed above, there are also some issues which you may experience when using a Lumia. There is still lack of useful and popular apps like Android provides. Also, some of the apps/games I had downloaded started crashing after some days (when starting they would unexpectedly close without any alert). This phone has also limited customization features (theme, colors, sounds) like all other phones provide. I also read reviews of other users of Lumia: many of them cited it as the worst smartphone they have ever had. Most users are also disappointed with battery backup. Some experts suggest that current versions of Windows Phone (7.0 and 7.5) are like beta and may evolve with time. As a Microsoft technology developer, I hope Microsoft and Nokia will together do their best to correct limitations of Lumia and make it truly a smartphone.