8 things I miss after switching from Windows Phone to Android

misswindowsphone

Almost three years ago I was given the opportunity to become a Windows Phone user. I was a little nervous to give up my Android device and switch to something completely different, but in the end I decided to do it. The first month or so with Windows Phone 7 was very rocky. As time went on I got more acquainted with the OS and started really loving it. Two years and two massive updates later I was being called a “Windows Phone fanboy.”

Four months ago I was given another opportunity, but this time it was to go back to Android. I was just as nervous to leave the OS I had learned to love, but in doing so I learned a lot. Switching back to Android from Windows Phone has given me an interesting perspective. Now that I’ve had the time to fully adjust back to Android there are a few things that I think Windows Phone does better than Android. Here are the 8 things I miss the most.

“Unofficially Official” Apps

insta 3rd party

Everyone knows that Windows Phone suffers from a lack of apps. The situation has been getting better, but there is still a ton of work to do. They say “desperation is the mother of invention,” and for Windows Phone developers that couldn’t be more true. If there is a popular app missing from the Store you can guarantee some developer is working on porting it over.

This may sound like a sad situation, but it’s actually one of my favorite things about Windows Phone. There is no official SnapChat app, but there is an app that is better than anything SnapChat could ever make. Instagram finally made a Windows Phone app, but there is an unofficial version that blows it out of the water. Having the choice of which Instagram app to use is something you can’t do on Android. Sure, there are hundreds of alternate choices for Twitter, but most services arrive on Android so quick that there is no need for anyone to build their own.

Customization

Customization is a funny thing. I am not going to try to convince you that Windows Phone can be customized more than Android. It can’t. The thing I miss is how Windows Phone does customization. You can’t choose custom launchers or icon packs, but what you can do is choose background and accent colors. These two simple color choices dramatically change how the entire OS looks.

cortana colors

In the screenshots above you can see Cortana in three different color choices. Many apps tie into the background and accent colors like this to deliver a personal experience for every user. Even the Start Screen icons for most apps use the accent color. If you do some tinkering there are ways to theme apps in Android, but the ease at which you can make the entire OS look different in Windows Phone is truly great. No hacking required.

Battery Saver Mode

battery saver

One of the very first things I missed about Windows Phone was the built-in “Battery Saver” mode. This feature is a godsend when you’re stranded away from a charger. When enabled, it automatically shuts down some battery-hogging features. Apps won’t run in the background, email won’t sync, live tiles will be shut off, but important things like SMS and phone call will still go through. This helps you eke out several more hours of use from what would normally last a couple of minutes.

In Windows Phone 8.1 the feature got even better. Now you can decide which apps should be allowed to run in the background when Battery Saver is enabled. I’m glad to see Android is finally adopting some of these features in the “L” release. You will be amazed at how handy it is. I’ve used it in the past to go through an entire camping trip without charging my phone.

Volume Controls

volume control

I hate the volume controls in Android. I’m constantly changing the volume for the wrong thing. On larger screen devices like the Nexus 7 you get a little settings icon which lets you adjust the volume for media and notifications. For whatever reason that option is not available on phones. You can only adjust the volume for whatever is currently making noise. Windows Phone 8.1 does it better.

Tap the volume button once and you get a numerical value for the volume of “Media + Apps.” There is a down arrow icon that expands the menu so you can adjust the volume for other things, such and ringer and notifications. There is even an option to turn vibrate on or off. I have to laugh that I’m including this because in Windows Phone 8 the volume control was awful. A lot can change in one update.

Smooth as Butter

Butter and knife

You have no doubt heard about how silky smooth everything feels in Windows Phone. It really is true. Android has come a long way since the days of laggy phones, but there is still just a little something that holds it back. For my money you can’t beat the smooth scrolling of an iOS or Windows Phone device. Even under-powered Windows Phone 7 devices felt incredibly smooth and fast.

I will admit that I don’t notice a lot of lag on my Nexus 5. It’s not as big of a deal as it used to be, but just go into a Best Buy and swipe around on the newest Nokia Lumia phone for a bit. You will notice how buttery smooth it is.

Hardware Camera Buttons

camera button

Having a dedicated camera button is a feature that too many manufacturers overlook. Some Android phones still come with a hardware camera button, but the vast majority do not. Microsoft requires manufacturers to include camera buttons (at least they used to). Having a two-stage camera button on your smartphone is incredibly handy.

Not only is it great for focusing and snapping pictures, but it also allows the camera to be launched while the phone is locked. Most Android lockscreens have a shortcut to the camera, but it’s not as quick as mashing down on a hardware button from your pocket. A physical camera button is also very useful for situations when I needed other people to take a photo with my phone. Every phone has a different camera UI, but all I had to say was “use this button like a regular camera.”

Multitasking

multitasking

This one is honestly just a personal preference. I think the multitasking screen in Windows Phone looks nicer than Android. You get a full screenshot of the app, not just a list of square thumbnails. It also seems to be faster and more reliable. Sometimes when I tap an app in the Android multitasking it doesn’t open. I like the look of the new multitasking in Android L, but I would still prefer a full screenshot of the app. Like I said, this is just a personal preference.

App Lists Are Better Than Drawers

list drawer

The last thing I miss is the Windows Phone app list. Everyone knows about the Start Screen with live tiles, but if you swipe to the right you can see a full vertical list of the installed apps with icons and names. The apps are organized alphabetically, and by tapping on a letter you can quickly jump to a different spot on the list. I find this to be a much quicker way to launch apps than finding them in the Android app drawer.

For this reason I have found myself using the Yahoo Aviate launcher as my daily driver. It organizes apps into categories, but also has a vertical list of apps in alphabetical order. Also, if you have a Samsung device you can switch the app drawer to a vertical list. So while the default app drawer might not be my cup of tea, at least Android allows me to download something that is.

***

The great thing about Android is I can usually find an app or mod to do something that I miss from Windows Phone. The nice thing about Windows Phone is all these features are baked right into the OS. I’m glad Android L is addressing some of the things that I miss. Windows Phone will always hold a special place in my heart, but for now I am very happy to be on #TeamAndroid.

Do any of these things sound like something you would like? Are there any other features from different platforms that you want on Android? Have you switched from another platform and missed some features? Let us know!

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  • Defenestratus

    I find that most of these are all personal preferences and very much the opposite of what I feel.

    • http://twitter.com/tallshmo Joe Fedewa

      And that is perfectly fine. Thank you for being rational.

      • StraightEdgeNexus

        For some reason, I find WP interface ugly, just not of my tastes. That reason is enough for me to stick with android. :)

      • androidscales

        Lets get real windows phone has 2% market share. The silly tile interface looks like a kids phone. Its still single threaded. Feature wise Compared to Android it is 5 years behind.

  • averymlewis

    Very interesting article to read and I do also like the smoothness of Windows Phone and the personality behind Cortana. BUT for the most part just about everything that can be done on a windows phone can be done on Android. From the App List to A physical camera button can be done :) And More…. Just need a decent rom ;) or as they say there’s an App for that.

  • Diego Marin

    Really nothing you can’t do with a Rom and another launcher.

    • retrospooty

      Yeah, I was gonna post that same thing. That and the lag… Android can get bogged down with bloat. If you spend some time to make it run clean, it’s fast as hell with zero lag anywhere. Even on a lowly dual core CPU. The Moto E vs. Galaxy S5 tests all over the web show that a dual core 1.2ghz with 1gb RAM is smoother than the mighty S5 with 4 core 2.5ghz and 2gb RAM bloated with Sambloat.

    • http://twitter.com/tallshmo Joe Fedewa

      Yeah, and like I said, that is something I love about Android.

    • disqus_bnyuEV5OId

      The sad point there for me is… you shouldn’t HAVE to use a ROM and a launcher to get the interface you want. That’s (admittedly) for power users who want to tweak things. The average android user will not go through all that trouble.

    • vmgunz

      Custom rom or launcher is usually nice to use at first.. But when you use it on daily basis, there are usually some issues with stability, speed and even usability as this customer launcher might usually be developed by individual or small team. Of course, there are some that are really good..

  • Leo Marvin

    this guy is obviously a noob.

  • Ricardo Silva

    This is not a very accurated comparison, you should write “google android” instead of “android, because there are android phones that has those features, LG, SONY….

    • http://twitter.com/tallshmo Joe Fedewa

      I think you just have to go into every article about Android with the understanding that not all phones will qualify for whatever the topic may be. Some phones do have these features, and that is great, but others don’t.

      • Medion

        Additionally, EVERY Windows Phone has those features. While most if not all of those features can be found on a myriad of Android devices, you can’t get them all in one package without modifying your phone. There’s something to be said about the out of box experience.

  • GuyBorg

    this is not an apples to apples comparison imo. Most skinned phones do 90% of the things you claim are missing. If this is a stock vs stock comparison, then yeah, I get it. But the phones most of the population are using have the features the article lists as missing.

    • Dan

      That’s what I was thinking. Half the list I was saying to myself, “my android phone does that already.”

  • jhtanglewood

    Of course, most of these things can be acquired on Android phones with mods/apps, however, these features ‘baked’ into these really makes things smoother, easier and able to integrate with each other.

    My personal favorites of Windows Phone over my old Androids are Cortana and the quality of hardware by Nokia. Then of course there is the security of closed ecosystems like Windows Phone and iOS have.

    • CaffinatedOne

      You have to go out of your way to install things from outside of the Android “closed ecosystem”, though. So, if it makes you uncomfortable, you shouldn’t do it.

      The nice thing is that Android gives you a choice here wheras Apple and Microsoft don’t (so far as I’m aware on WP).

      • jhtanglewood

        It’s not just side loaded apps (which are very easy to install), there is also a much higher risk with apps on Google Play than in the App Store & Windows Phone Store.

        I’m not hating, there are many advantages to how the Google Play store works.

        … “According to a 2014 research study released by RiskIQ, malicious apps introduced through Google Play store have increased 388% between 2011 and 2013. The study also revealed that the number of malicious apps removed annually by Google has dropped drastically, from 60% in 2011 to 23% in 2013. Apps for personalizing Android phones led all categories as most likely to be malicious.

        Hackers at Black Hat in 2012 claimed to have found a way to circumvent the blocker system by creating a seemingly benign application that used a JavaScript exploit to turn into an app capable of stealing contacts, SMS messages, and photos.”…

      • jhtanglewood

        To each his own, but I prefer my phone to be secure and if that means a closed OS, I’m fine with that.

        Of course, I wouldn’t want my PC/tablet to be closed like that but I don’t mind my phone being limited in that way.

  • jnt

    It’s nice to hear a different perspective from a solid but oft-overlooked OS. I agree with almost all of these – and the ones I don’t agree with aren’t disagreements but rather I’m just apathetic to the choice. I’m still tempted every now and then to hop back on the WP bandwagon b/c it really is a nice, simple, solid OS.

  • http://androidintvfilm.tumblr.com/ wade_county

    Scrolling on Windows Phone is great, I just hate the animations when launching an app. I wish you can configure it like you can on Android. Also, some phones if you hold down the vol down button it’ll launch the camera when the screen is off. And some will let you use the volume down button to take a pic when you hand it to a stranger.

    • BottledWater

      I think you’re talking about the dedicated camera button on Windows Phone. When you press it the camera will automatically pop on even if the phone is locked to make taking a photograph quick – you don’t have to pass by the lock screen.

      • Bartosz Kwiecien

        It works like that on G2, I guess the same goes to G3 and many other phones…you don’t have to unlock anything, just hold the vol button and it will start the camera, one more click and you have the picture taken…

        • BottledWater

          Ok i see you were talking about android phones with similar functionality. It’s a good feature. Thanks for clarifying.

  • Travillion

    While I have no interest in a Windows phone, I enjoyed the article and felt the author did an honest, fair comparison. As someone else pointed out, people will have different opinions, and that is okay. I think it’s fun to read about the “competition,” if for no other reason than to see how Android might continue to improve in the future.

  • technohead95

    LOL The phone resting on the wooden desk under the section “Hardware Camera Buttons” sort of looks like it is resting on someone’s breast with the nipple partially showing? haha

    • Sameera Kasun

      You really need a camera button

  • http://www.dalydose.com/ Jeff Daly

    I appreciate the perspective of someone that has extensively used and appreciated both. Of course the zealots are going to show up and defend their tech choice and dismiss any opinion that doesn’t support it. Most of those have little to no experience with the “competition” though.

    Kudos to the author.

  • Arion Hossain

    While I use a Moto E, I’d always wanted to move to Windows Phone, and I now want to move to Lumia 530, I was considering 520 then back in may. But the lack of Google apps always held me back on Android

  • catlett

    I have used both extensively and happily retired my Windows phone. I don’t have a camera button on my One M8 but on every other point I you make I have the opposite opinion. No I can’t easily globally change a system color but I don’t care about that at all compared to being able to use the highly customizable Nova launcher and Tasker. To me if there is a legitimate and free work around (as with volume controls for example then it isn’t a legitimate complaint.

    There is almost nothing the Windows phone does that Android can’t do. There are dozens of things that the Windows phone can’t do that are easy in Android.

  • http://last.fm/user/iduluc xankazo

    I have used both and I completely agree with your article. I think the only thing holding WP back is the store catalog. But at the end of the day I still prefer Windows Phone solidness and simplicity.

  • JSYOUNG571

    Well hello @Joe_Fedewa:disqus . me and you use to go to war against each other about Windows Phone. I will admit I do miss Windows Phone for it’s simplicity. I love Android, but sometimes it can get a little overwhelming with so many features. Two things I am surprise that you didn’t mention about missing Windows Phone, was the ability to get rid of the bloatware that this greedy carriers seem to pile on a phone. With Android, you have to damn near root your phone to get rid of it. With Windows Phone you can just simply hit delete and it is gone. Also I am surprise you didn’t say that you miss how voice command on Windows Phone can handle hardware commands where as Android (Google Now) can’t. Even though I am a Android fan, I have been hoping for Windows Phone to catch up on being reliable on OS updates.

    • http://twitter.com/tallshmo Joe Fedewa

      Hello again to you. Good call on the uninstalling bloatware. That is a very underrated WP feature.

    • Medion

      Since Android 4.0, this can be done. Go into settings > Apps, and find the application. Select “Disabled.” While it will still reside in the firmware to be reinstalled later if you so desire, it will be effectively “uninstalled” from the phone. It won’t hog any resources.

  • theonetrueMike

    Man I try using windows phone but I get so bored with only changing the color of the tiles that I just run back to android, but I do like the new picture background implimentation. But I have tried wp multiple times but just can’t get over the app gap and IMO boring start screen, I think I just like side scrolling vs vertical scrolling.

    • TRUTHTELLER

      Windows Phone 8.1 can do more than just change tile color

  • Danny Smith

    Many of these feature are in android too. My note 3 can be set for the app list instead of the grid. You can also download a new windows 8 launcher to get it the way you like. Can’t do that on windows phone if you miss Android though your screwed!

  • JPB

    Interesting list, but no real compelling items here that would make me want to switch. I very much prefer an app page to an app list. It always drives me crazy when I have to scroll through the hundred or so apps on my phone. There’s a battery saver mode already implemented on my Galaxy S3 and I understand that the one on the G3 works pretty well too. A camera button would be great, though.

    Thanks for the interesting perspective!

    • TRUTHTELLER

      You don’t have to scroll in Windows Phone’s app list. You just tap a letter and it jumps to it. Like for example if you wanna boot up Instagram from the app list you swipe right and then tap the letter “I” and voilà there it is. Try a vertical list one time and you won’t go back trust me.

    • jhtanglewood

      Just to explain the app list… you can jump alphabetically by selecting a letter, so you don’t have to scroll at all. I have about 150 apps on my phone, so I know what you mean.

      Another option is to separate your apps into folders.

  • klidoh

    you do know theres an app for that? :))

  • Lonny Luberts

    Went to Windows Phone at the beginning of the year, and have never looked back. Ditched the android tablet in favor of a widows tablet. Now no matter what I do, or where I do it (whatever device), it is there waiting for me on another device. I have never owned an android or iOS device that is as useful. And it just keeps getting better with each new update. As far as the OS goes and integration goes, no one has come close to MS.

  • Lars

    A nice, but for me, also *peculiar* list. Everything you mention is stuff that drove me nuts when rocking Windows Phone for a month, except the physical camera button.

    So my experience is the same, but reversed. Suppose it partially depends on what you’re used to.

  • Ben Lutgens

    Uhh, I’ve had battery saver modes on my android devices since 1983, the hell are you on about? App lists are better than drawers? I suppose, when you only have 2 or 3 apps…

    • jhtanglewood

      Or… just the opposite. I have about 150 apps on my WP 8.1 device and using the list with easy jump to letters makes it much better than digging (scrolling) through that many apps. Of course I could just put all those apps on the Start screen or in folders (which would be about the same as drawers).

      BTW, ‘battery saver modes’ don’t work the same on Android.

  • http://about.me/robblaich Rob Blaich

    Coincidentally to this article, I’ve been trying out Launcher 8. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lx.launcher8) It works very, very well, and brings back some of the features you (OP) miss, such as the live tiles, and the app list. It functions the same way.

    FYI, Nova Launcher can list all apps alphabetically, and scrolling the bar on the right will jump between letters. Action Launcher Pro has an alphabetical list too.

  • JayTee

    Who uses the app drawer
    You have five or seven home screens to place frequently used apps.

    many volume widgets from which to choose.

    Then there’s Floating Toucher…

    • Keith S

      With the nexus you just need to tell google what app to open.

      • Sameera Kasun

        Win 8.1 has Cortana… She’s more capable than Google now

        • Keith S

          I will have to try it sometime. I have a Win 8.1 tablet but have never used Cortana.

          • Sameera Kasun

            Try it man…

          • Mr. Peabody

            Cortana is only on Windows Phone 8.1, but she will be coming to your tablet with the release of Threshold next spring (supposedly).

  • MK2

    The only valid point you have is the smoothness of the UI, which is improving greatly on Android. The rest is just weird personal preference that I found myself puzzled by.

  • jm2c

    I like Windows Phone and it is smooth and fast and buttery. I also have Android devices and although they are not as laggy anymore there are areas where they stutter no matter how fast the processor is. I can make Windows Phone stutter too, if I try.

    One thing not buttery about Windows phone is the annoying “Resuming…..”. Android does not have this “issue”.

    • Mr. Peabody

      Yes, it is an issue, but only for apps not utilizing the latest runtime or the “fast resume” feature. Basically, “resuming” apps are the developers’ fault for not updating the app.

      • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

        Not really, I’ve had “resuming…” in even first-party apps

        • Mr. Peabody

          There are plenty of 1st Party apps not updated or coded correctly. 1st Party has nothing to do with it.

          • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

            That’s embarrassing then. You’d expect those apps to set the example

  • EGO_NC

    I agree with you on several of these and went back my WP as my daily for a few weeks when 8.1 came out, just to try it out . The gaps are definitely smaller now, even in apps. I still went back to my Android phone but think WP is moving in the right direction and is a perfect alternative for a lot of folk.

    • EGO_NC

      Oh I do miss the camera. I think my old 920 takes better pictures than my S4, but that’s mostly outside of a pure WP vs Android comparison. A lot of other factors at play.

  • tntdaddy

    I made the reverse jump last year, from a Nexus 4 to the Lumia 1520.

    Here are 8 things I miss about Android:

    1. Tweaking the homescreen – It was a near addiction for me. I owned damn near every launcher available and switched almost daily. Action, Nova, Apex, Aviate, SPB, Claystone, Go, Next, Launcher7, Chameleon, Crazy Home, *Spark, ADW, etc. One of the reasons for switching so that I’d STOP screwing around with the homescreen all the time. I do miss it though.

    2. The Notification Curtain – Yay! We finally have one in WP 8.1 and guess what? The notification shows ONE BLEEPING LINE OF TEXT! I don’t know about other users, but, for me, the whole point of having the notification is so I can read it without having to open the stinking app. Something like hearing the CNN sound and reading, “Americans expected to die….”, open the app and find “Americans expected to diet more this summer.” It’s just annoying to me.

    3. Flashing ROMs – That’s just fun. Something I also did almost daily.

    4. The XDA Community in General – ’nuff said. *sniff*

    5. Google Apps – When people talk about the app gap, it really isn’t as big as you might think anymore, but this is a big part of the argument. Google Maps, G+, YouTube….Yes, there ARE 3rd party apps that have been made so that WP users can have our Google goodies (and, in the case of YouTube, some of our alternatives are actually nicer looking with more functions than your official one), BUT, it’s almost like Google screws with the APIs on purpose to mess with us. Our best G+ app stopped letting users log in about a week ago. The poor dev has pushed like 5 updates since and it still doesn’t work. So, we deal with stuff like that. The third party apps, in this case anyway, are shoddy at times. Others are pretty awesome.

    6. The app gap – Ok. Fine. There is a LITTLE bit of an issue. ;) Android and iOS users like to jump all over it, but more often than not, I have more apps on my Lumia than most of you probably have on your phone (241, at last count. Over 1,400 in my app history.) BUT, there are still a few out there that we don’t have. Flipboard is the one most people point out. But if I were to list the apps that I used on my Nexus that I wish I had now, it would be a VERY short list. Flipboard, Food Planner, CBS Fantasy Football, Vudu….ummm…..Our ESPN Radio doesn’t work, but it sounds like yours doesn’t either…that’s about it. I didn’t play games much on my Nexus so the game gap means nothing to me, but I’ll acknowledge it exists.

    NOTE: If anyone responds to this, I’m going to receive a notification on the OFFICIAL Disqus app! Which YOU DON’T HAVE!!! AND NEITHER DOES IPHONE!!! We win this round, f**kers!!!! *extends middle fingers* :P

    7. Price – I’m a big fan of gadget ecosystems. Having an Android phone, tablet, Chromebook, and Chromecast? You can do it all for around $1000. If I wanted a complete Windows ecosystem (Phone, Xbox One, Surface Pro)…OUCH! I WISH I had the money to blow on all that just so I could…you know…have that much money.

    8. Not Getting Mocked – One of the funny things about Android is the change in users’ attitude over the years. You’re getting a little cocky. Ok, I agree. Android is a FANTASTIC OS. So is iOS. I’d never dispute that. And Android is absolutely dominating the marketplace…NOW. It wasn’t always this way, you know. Windows Phone is about 5% of the market at the moment, but there was a time when Android was only 5% of the market. The cool kids had iPhones and Blackberrys. Android users were the dorks. You know who was president way back then? The same one we have now! It wasn’t that long ago! Now YOU are the cool kids. But Android users act like there wasn’t a time where they had to wait for apps to get ported, like Instagram (2 years) and Flipboard (also 2 years.) Windows Phone will catch up. Or it won’t. Will it really change anything for you? Can’t see how. We like our phones. So leave us alone, you big meanies!

    (This post was meant to entertain. I will not engage in debate. Android is better than Windows Phone, iOS and puppies. There. You win.)

    Cheers!

    • gmaninvan

      Nice report. I agree with a lot of these assessments. You didn’t really include much for what is coming in Android L though.

      On #8, this is the only point I really disagree with in your post and only because of Microsofts last earnings call. Lumia sales are down year over year and, lets be honest, they are the only windows phone sales that matter.

      • tntdaddy

        Must. Not. Debate. Issue. ;-)

    • Mr. Peabody

      And that WP Discus app is kickass, isn’t it?

      • tntdaddy

        *ping* (another notification!!)

        Yes, it is.

    • Jim_Being

      Comparing a chromebook to a surface Pro isn’t really fair. Switch out the Chromebook Pixel and the prices are much closer.

      • Guest

        Congratulations on receiving another Disqus notification. :P

      • tntdaddy

        Ah. Forgot about that one.

    • Avatar Roku

      No way is Android better than puppies. Also you just compared a Chromebook and Chromecast to a Surface Pro and Xbox One on price. Do you really believe those devices are comparable and competing directly. Sure Chromebook and Chromecast are cheap, but they are not a reasonable alternative to a tablet PC and a game console. Nobody who wants an Xbox One would be happy to get a Chromecast instead.

  • Carl Rood

    I like the idea of a camera button because it makes holding the phone with two hands easier and that keeps the image steadier. However, with my last phone to have one (HTC, EVO 4g LTE), I found that using the button had such a lag that I’d miss pictures when compared to the software button.

    My Galaxy S4 will adjust the current volume by default, but has a gear button that opens up the full volume screen where you can adjust phone, media, and alert volumes.

    I admit that I like the idea of lists. App Drawers remind me too much of Windows 3.1 Program Manager. It’s actually why I hate Windows 8 on a desktop.

    • jhtanglewood

      There is list view for apps on Windows 8, FYI.

      Just slide from down to up on the Start screen, or click the ‘down’ arrow for non-touch devices.

      Your comment just reaffirms what I’ve realized about most people who don’t like Windows 8 – they simply aren’t familiar with how it works.

    • meddle0ne

      Win Phones also have a software camera button, or you can tap the screen. Whatever works. I use the hardware button to launch the camera. If you hold it down for a couple seconds it unlocks the phone directly to the camera app.

  • Yury H

    I miss the back button that truly takes you back, no matter what you’re doing it takes you wherever you were before, an app if you went to home screen or a diff app if you switched em.

  • Barry D.

    Sounds like you need a custom rom or a different phone. Some of the stuff you complained about touchwiz can do. Like the volume adjustment you complained about, app list view in the app drawer, etc.

  • Dillon Shepherd

    I’m an Android lover at heart, but I’ve been using Windows Phone 8.1 the last few months and I have to admit…. it’s a charmer. The app selection isn’t great, but there’s a 3rd party app for most apps that aren’t published on WP yet. Serious props, Microsoft

  • http://twitter.com/charms55 Mark Richey

    Didn’t see mention of updates. Could be it has changed but I have read of so many Android phones being stuck with the version that came out of the box. And those talking about home screens replacing app lists. This was one huge reason i left iPhone. Me? Right now rocking 8.1 and loving the word flow typing. I find I accidentally try to do the same in my tablet. Would take some thing huge for me to switch. There is so much more to the personalization of Windows phone not mentioned in this article from People hub to Live Tiles that as the author noted, take more than a month to really appreciate. I’m a life long convert.

    • gmaninvan

      Updates? This is ironic. Can you remind me what happened to ALL windows phone 7 users?

      • Jim_Being

        Exactly. All. A Kernel change cut off Windows Phone 7 and 8. And yes, it sucked. But the difference was there was no guessing. You didn’t have to wonder if your specific phone was going to get updated or not, you now know “Yes it is” Or in WP7′s case “No it’s not.” And now, with 36 guaranteed months of updates, the answer is much more often “Yes it is.”

        I’d rather have been told about the break before hand, obviously, but it’s still better than the uncertainty of Android.

        • gmaninvan

          Told before hand? How do you figure? Nobody told Windows phone 7 users that they weren’t getting updated when they bought it. It was just dropped on them. At least with Android you know you can get a Nexus or GPE device and not be completely cut off.

      • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

        They were updated to 7.8

        • gmaninvan

          7.8 doesn’t make it OK. They basically made devices sold the same year windows phone 8 came out obsolete. As much as some Android OEM’s are terrible, they typically will push at least one update.

          • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

            You just said (Android OEM’s) typically will push at least one update but somehow the 7.8 update didn’t make OK?
            Yes, Microsoft fucked up with that reboot. No denial there. But saying ALL Android OEM’s will push at least one update is quite naïve. Unless you have a high-end Android device, you live in a limbo wondering when that update will go live.

          • Tanbin Islam Siyam

            Did your Gingerbread devices received KitKat officially?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004906743437 Michael Smith

    Joe, what have you been drinking recently to incite you to switch from Windows Phone to Android? Especially considering the arrival of Windows Phone 8.1 and not to mention that all the goodies (planned updates) that will come after Windows Phone 8.1!

    And with the coming new high end Windows Phone 8.1 smartphones coming during 2014, you will have several tempting Nokia phones, not to mention the Windows Phone smartphones from other manufacturers.

  • irishrally

    Interesting perspective. Thanks.

  • spicymeatball

    Interesting. I do miss the camera button that was on my g1 and wish that I had a battery saver mode. Last week on vacation I had to manually go through and turn off sync and remove some apps so that my phone’s battery would last a bit longer since I wouldn’t always be near a charger. However, not sure what I did saved me much battery life. The other stuff seems to be more personal preference than things missing. Nice article.

  • steveb944

    Most of these are just your personal preference and don’t bring any major spectacle.

    For alternative apps (haven’t kept up with them) try
    http://www.holonation.co.uk
    I was using their Snapchat for a bit and it worked well.

    • Paloma_Pastiche

      It’s really about the ‘stock’ experience though. What you get immediately out of the bag when you turn the device on.

      I believe that is key for the every day consumer.

      • Patrick Smithopolis

        Most people buying Nexus devices are power users. Average consumers are buying other brands.

  • blest

    This sounds like a list of preference. Nothing substantial

    • Eko Alpha

      Which the writer has SPECIFIED in the title and numerous times in the content itself.

  • guitarist5122

    That’s what I took away too. And it’s funny that some things he mentioned Android not doing, my Note 2 does in fact do out of the box.

    • LordpunyTheGreat Guthrie

      I believe he is referring to stock android…not touchwiz.

      • guitarist5122

        I’m quite aware of what he is using, thank you. The problem is he continually says “Android”. An unfamiliar user might think all Android phones work in the manner of which he speaks.

        • Tanbin Islam Siyam

          Let android L to come. There will be only one android to refer.

  • Romdude

    You should have switched to an HTC One, it’s better than a plain vanilla if you are switching from a windows phone.

  • Dougau

    Reasons not to get a windows phone affirmed. Add the fact windows on a phone is just as ugly as windows 8 on a laptop.

    • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

      You clearly haven’t even touched one.

      • Matthew Rhodes

        Company I worked for had issued us Windows phones, Dougau is correct. But! Id rather deal with a windows phone than ios, Android is my personal choice.

        • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

          Well, his comment was rather vague and I assumed it was the typical fan boy biased opinion.

          In what ways it didn’t work for you? I’m truly curious

          • Dougau

            Just saying this article should be titled “8 things Windows phone can do to”.
            One needs to only look at phone sales to see which OS most people prefer. And yes I’m a proud Android fan boy and this article is nothing more than a Microsoft drone trolling Android users.

          • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

            Phone sales do not necessarily translate to what people like. I can assure you many buy an Android (yes, even Windows Phone) because they can’t afford an iPhone but as soon as they can, they switch. Chances are they might like the phone they bought after all (or they’re just used to it so the want to avoid the learning curve) but, again, sales is not equal to their preferences.

          • CGS

            I’ll never understand that. I settled only once for a phone I wasn’t sure was what I wanted and ever since then I just go without a phone until I can get my personal choice of what’s on the market. Sucks to go without a phone for a few weeks but is worth being satisfied for a year or two.

  • J Cav the Great

    I Like Windows phone a lot. in fact, I prefer it over iOS….But the deep integration of google services, PlayStore, and customization has kept me #TeamAndroid for 5 years… Once I get in on T-Mobile’s Jump! Program..I may take a WinPho for a daily try out….. Plus I always got my trusty Nexus 7!!

  • androidscales

    Lets get it straight windows has 2% market share if they like windows kin the killer windows mobile os let em stay there

  • Forget_you

    the app list sucks on windows phone. I hate that. I would rather have the app drawer any day

    • Damian eDameXxX

      So you can pin every app in main screen and you will have a grid :)

    • JAYCEECAM

      The app drawer with Samsung duplicating everything with S whatever is infuriating.

    • http://www.noaddiction-powder.com/ Kavita Batra

      yup you are right frnd…
      No addiction

  • James Cranston

    yeah as you said personal preference, but i much prefer android multitasking view, more of an “At a Glance” app switcher as opposed to flicking through fullscreen preview cards
    That being said, for some reason i like Android L’s implementation and it faces the same issue for me :S

  • Alu Zeros

    nope, lack of customization, and still far behind in features compared to android and ios

    • WP7Mango

      iOS is a long way behind Windows Phone in terms of features and customisation.

    • Microsoftjunkie

      What other features wp lacks? I can name some android doesn’t have.

  • Nebes

    What was your windows phone? I first got a windows 7 phone last year, then upgraded to limits 920 and I have loved every minute and highly recommend it!

    • http://twitter.com/tallshmo Joe Fedewa

      I had the Lumia 925

  • Nishant

    There is an app for that.

  • Paloma_Pastiche

    Good to read an unbiased point of view. I do agree with the overall customisation and consistency it can bring on Windows Phone as opposed to Android.

    • Joeyjoejoejrshabidu

      Everyone’s point of view is biased to some degree.

    • Joeyjoejoejrshabidu

      Except mine of course ;-)

  • pizzamannetje

    On the Galaxy S5 I was unpleasantly surprised to find the alphabetical app list missing.

    • Lennatron

      It’s not missing. Open your app drawer, press the onscreen menu button, view as, alphabetical order. First thing I changed when I got my S5.

  • Phil_A_Shio

    Good read, WP would be my second choice OS.

    • Microsoftjunkie

      Android isn’t even a choice.

  • Eko Alpha

    This is what you call objective. Helps me much because I’m also currently using android but in the brink of buying a winphone.

  • xdapao3

    There is not a single thing I agree with the author here but Windows Phone really has become *much* better than iOS, although it sadly still lacks apps.

    Both of them, anyway, are USELESS TOY OPERATING SYSTEMS compared to Android. Period.

    • Damian eDameXxX

      You’re funny because you’re wrong.

      • xdapao3

        You are wrong and you are not even funny…

  • Robert Olejnik

    I don’t agree with the article either as you can customise an Android to look like any device you want. Download a WP8 launcher and you’re good to go.
    Apps can also be sorted alphabetically with a custom Launcher like Nova if you prefer the list view.
    Also, many unofficial apps are also avaiable on Android!

    • http://pelland.me/ Francis Pelland

      The level of customizability in WP is far different. You can only really customize the OS in Android. WP you can customize the OS and the experience within the apps.

    • Microsoftjunkie

      No wpm launcher comes close to the real thing. Get real!

  • Khalid AlHamdan

    6snap has a couple of cool features that I would like to see in the official snapchat app. Article failed to mention that 6snap has no push notifications though, which I consider a major flaw.

  • Patrick Smithopolis

    Most of the things he listed is subjective – Unofficial official apps, customization of Cortana, volume controls, hardware camera button, multitasking, and the app list. Battery saving came achieved through numerous apps in the Play Store and many Android skins have it already baked in. I personally haven’t used a windows phone so I can’t attest to its smoothness but the scrolling in Android in my opinion is better than iOS because it’s much faster.

    • Avatar Roku

      Camera button is not subjective, there is nothing positive about not having a camera button.

      • Anthony Walker

        It’s personal preference. I don’t care one way or the other if a phone has one.

      • Denny Crane

        Yes, it’s SO hard to simply touch the screen.

        • Microsoftjunkie

          It is when you trying to negate shakiness.

        • Robb Nunya

          My EVO 4G LTE has a camera button. Trust me. It’s better.

      • bobdude5

        most android phones let you use the volume button as the camera button

        • Microsoftjunkie

          They are not twos stage either.

          • Tanbin Islam Siyam

            That’s the point. People do not even understand what camera button means.

  • ichuck7

    I much prefer android multitasking. It lets you see more than two running apps at once. And unless something has changed, android is the only platform with a dedicated recent apps button. This is a must-have, deal-breaker feature for me.

    • http://pelland.me/ Francis Pelland

      WP lets you see 3 once, though a bit cut off.

  • Delmar

    I actually like windows tablets over android, I find they come closer to a desktop than any other tablet will

  • JamesSB

    How about the ability to uninstall any app, including all the loaded bloatware.

    • Avatar Roku

      This for me is reason enough to go WinPhone. I shouldn’t have to hack my phone and load third party software just to delete an app or app trial that I don’t want.

  • Denny Crane

    Windows Phone… conquering almost 4% of the market share!

    • torch4x4

      could be less than 1% and could contain some better features than android, that is not the point, WP is important for the competition, Android has more maturity and can adopt some good features from others easily…, (even Fire Phone from amazon can provide good ideas to the rest of the platforms)

  • torch4x4

    When I was in a trip to albuquerque I found a tour on Wikitravel, the Breaking Bad tour http://wikitravel.org/en/Breaking_Bad_Tour
    if you go to that site on your Android or iOS you will notice the addresses of the places to visit are there but only on WP are highlighted and you can tap and your navigation app will open… why this basic feature is not available on Android or iOS? thats why WP is important because will force others to do the same…
    also yesterday was released the Live Lockscreen for WP and I think is better the unlock of a phone with animations :)

  • ari_free

    Unofficial official apps? This is like an alternative universe where linux gets photoshop and AAA games and Windows users have to make do with Gimp and bzflag

    • http://pelland.me/ Francis Pelland

      The unofficial apps are often better than what the official app developers do on the other platforms. Instgram, Pinterest and SnapChat are prime examples of those. Heck even the unofficial Tinder app is terrific.

    • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

      You do really need to try them out. Borrow someone’s Windows Phone and use 6Tag (unofficial Instagram) and you’ll see what we mean.

      • Robb Nunya

        I literally don’t know a single person who has a Windows Phone. Hard to borrow what nobody has.

        • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

          Good but I wasn’t talking to you.

  • jurrabi

    My take on your 8 things you miss:
    1. Doppelganger apps: Maybe today yo have a favorite app for some function that it’s not official and you find better than the official. But history tells us that that won’t last. Android had that for a time. But as soon as the official ports come (and they will to WP) those dg apps will disappear. And even if they are allows to continue I find it hard to believe the lack of official ports as a reason WP is better than Android, because it depends highly on an specific App you prefer. I’m willing to bet that there will be others that you prefer the Android versions. Result: NOT REALLY TRUE OR GENERAL
    2. OS Customization. Reading further you can’t call this OS customization. You simply refer to theme, colors. And I can agree that Android lacks a OS level color customization, because you can change Launcher theme, but that won’t affect any apps, and that gives a poorer experience for the phone as a whole. Result: I CATCH YOUR DRIFT. I WOULD LIKE IT TO. BUT THIS WON’T MAKE ME CHANGE OS.
    … to be continued…

  • jurrabi

    3. Battery saving mode. I’m sorry, but I can’t accept that. First because you say it allows “essential functions”. Maybe for you phone and SMS is the essential. For me is email and hangouts. So WP won’t be for me (until the last version). But mainly because there are dozens of android phones with built in battery saving mode (My HTC One X is one of them). I even can too select what apps to allow. No to mention the thousand apps or custom roms (yes, android allows this) that do this the same thing in any way you want. RESUlLT: I DON’T AGREE. MAYBE AOSP ANDROID DOESN’T HAVE THIS, BUT IF YOU ALLOW DOPPLEGANGER APPS A A GOOD THING FROM WP, THEN ANDROID HAS INFINITE APPS TO ALLOW THIS.

  • jurrabi

    4. Volume Controls: Your description on WP volume justs reminds me of my volume. The one I now for years. I have to agree that my roms are always custom, from day 2. But that’s the may reason I choose android. I’m not force to stick with what Microsoft or Apple think is better for me. I can choose. Resutl: MAYBE AOSP HAS BAD VOLUMEN. I WOULDN’T KNOW. SO AGAIN THIS IS NO REASON FOR ME TO GO WP.

  • Kieran Collins

    Htc one m7 plus action launcher takes care of all those points except the accent colour one which basically is a poor excuse at customization compared to android and hardware camera key which even most Windows phones won’t be using anymore since 8.1update.

  • Nkolsen

    I bet if you get an HTC One M8 or Samsung Galaxy S5, most of your points are none excisting. I cant say anything about butterness or app quality, but saying that because Original apps on WP suck, makes them suck on android too is a bit far out….

  • indio7777

    Windows phone sucks…yes I tried it on a Lumia. No thanks.

    • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

      Android phone lags… yes I tried on a Samsung Galaxy — so-called high-end. No thanks.

      • moises1204

        i would still pick galaxy over any windows phone any time.

        • Microsoftjunkie

          I would still pick a windows phone over a android anytime!

        • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

          So you do affirm even a high-end Android would still lag. Well, that’s a first…

          • moises1204

            what what trying to say to you is that android is ten thousand time better than windows phone even with the meth lag that someone told you, and 53% market share agree with me! and what does your almost 4 % market share tell you?

          • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

            First of all, how is it ten thousand times (lol where did you get this number from?) better with a freaking lag?! That’s absurd and moronic. Second of all, nobody told me anything, I personally held a Samsung Galaxy S3 and freaking lag was there. Even Windows Phone 7.0 with a SINGLE core (2010) NEVER lagged AT ALL. Market share doesn’t say about preference or performance, if so then OS X is garbage and Linux (where Android comes from) is a piece of shit compared to 90 % Windows market share. You really are a fan boy, aren’t you? :)

  • ASP

    I have been using android … currently using s3… and I must say phone gets really slow if I dont reboot for 3-4 days. also I hate att apps that keeps popping up all the time, cant uninstall them. I tried Windows phone in store it was fast, no lag I’m impressed, may be I will make a switch soon

  • Captcaveman

    I very briefly thought about moving to Windows phone a few years back. I think what I would miss the most is the integration that I have with Android.
    I know there are some people that don’t want everything tied into one company. But I like the idea of one sign-on for most of things that I use and the fact that the services all work together very well.
    Microsoft has lots of services that they could offer and make them work together seamlessly but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
    Microsoft offers a lot of comparable services to what Google has but you simply don’t hear much of them or they just don’t seem to have put a lot of resources behind the services.

    Also Microsoft has a bad habit of dropping consumer services and hardware like a stone. Remember the Kin phone? How about Web TV? Before MS bought Skype they had a VOIP service which was dropped. This was about the same time they entered the ISP ring and offered consumer based internet service. Or the TC1000 remote that the made with Harmon Kardon. And heck, let not forget the previous entries of their Windows CE phones.

    I think what worries me most about Windows Phone is that they could pull the plug on them at any time. Yeah, they did just spend a ton of money on Nokia. But that was the choice of the old management.

  • JRomeo

    If you’ve use the Nexus5 you’ll notice that its smooth as butter, and you can use your volume button as a hardware camera button to take a photo. Also, app lists are not better than app drawers!

    • Robb Nunya

      That last thing is opinion. I happen to agree with you, but the OP obviously doesn’t.

    • Tanbin Islam Siyam

      Do your volume button provides half press-full press feature just like a camera button?

      • JRomeo

        No, but the camera does tend to autofocus before the shot is taken.

  • Roberto Sanchez

    Honestly, being able to uninstall almost any piece of software was HUGE. I was a big Android and BlackBerry “Fan boy,” and from day one, I used to always root my Android phone so that I could get rid of a lot of the bloatware amongst doing other things. That said, BB also dropped the ball in a lot of things for the day-to-day usage, e.g. apps etc. I don’t use iPhones because I’m not cool enough to wear fedoras or skinny jeans, plus i have too much work to do and don’t have time to talk about how great Apple is, or how great I am for buying one.

    Yes I miss some apps on my WP that Android provides, but I think that MS as hit a sweet spot by providing a good business phone, and a good personal-use phone. The apps will only get better, and the phone integrates well into an Exchange environment and for a multiple-device, single platform user.

  • Mitchel White

    I think its funny that alot of this is all options on Samsung’s and other custom skins from manufactures