After my Lumia 710 got water damage and didn't want to boot anymore, I decided to finally make the jump to Windows Phone 8. First I considered picking up the iPhone 4S, but decided not to because of iOS 7, so I got the Lumia 920 instead.
After using it for a month, I have to say I'm pretty impressed how smooth Windows Phone really is: the Lumia 710 had hardware buttons at bottom where you needed to push one of the buttons pretty 'hard' and you basically pushed the phone down your palm to search something, go back or go to the Start screen. But thanks to these touch buttons, the experience gets a lot smoother and less painful.
Talking about the exterior: Nokia has done a great job creating an unique design for the smartphone market which is flooded with rectangular slabs. The outside is made of (white in this case) glossy polycarbonate, a hard, sturdy synthetic material which can in contrary to most plastics, resist hot temperatures. The glow finish slightly distorts the light on the surface in an elegant way and makes the back look even more sexy.
Also a lot of people complained about the weight of the phone being a problem. The first time I held it, I only noticed it weighted a bit more than an average phone -but then again, I come from a mid-range Lumia 710, not a high-end smartphone such as the iPhone or Galaxy Sx. After using the Lumia a few days, I don't notice any struggles in terms of weight, instead it gives the device a solid feeling when you hold it.
They even got the small curves at the end of the glass panel to be gorgeous. Totally love how the glass display flows into the polycarbonate body.
If you look at the bottom of the Lumia, you can find two screws, two speakers and the usb port. Somehow I end up seeing the whole bottom as a face, with the screws being the eyes and the usb port being the mouth. Probably not the intend of the design team, but I just can't unsee this.
Now let's talk about the UI.
The Start screen isn't much different than from Windows Phone 7.8, except that the Xbox Music Tile doesn't show the latest artist played as a live tile, but turns back into a static green tile when inactive.
The calculator app is a perfect example that you don't need a leather-stitched UI to make an app look beautiful. This is how minimalism should be.
Another stunning sample of the formerly called Metro design language is the Storage Check, unfortunately it's hidden in the Settings app so you have to search a little bit for this gem. It indicates how much of your phone storage has been used and where it has been used.
Despite Instagram not being officially available on Windows Phone, there are plenty of third-party apps to choose from such as Instance, Instacam, Hipstamatic Ogl,... just to name a few. But the one that really stands out is 6tag. Its fresh unique UI, huge dedication of the developer (Rudy Huyn) and ability to shoot videos makes 6tag the must-have Instagram client for Windows Phone.
And last but not least, Xbox Music itself. Nothing bad to say about it (maybe because I don't use the cloud music storage) but if you want a background image for an artist and Xbox Music can't seem to find one, download MPAtool, a very handy app which let's you pick custom artist background