Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hello Nokia Lumia 900 - and thanks, Endomondo

After years of using a Samsung Focus (older generation) for Windows Phone 7, I recently received my brand new neon blue Nokia Lumia 900. A trip to the AT&T store had my SIM quickly moved from the regular SIM card for the Samsung to the micro SIM that the Nokia uses. I was up and running in minutes. After that, the fun began.

First, the Windows Phone 7.5 OS itself is phenomenal. It literally took me seconds to set up my various emails. The best part was the seamless integration with Office 365. I entered my email and password, it figured out that I was using Office 365 and connected my Exchange, linked me to the SharePoint site, and sent me to download the Lync application so I can communicate with my coworkers on the phone. All of that was literally without a hitch. I plugged into the laptop and a few minutes later had all of my music and video collection downloaded.

I've been so used to 3G that I about choked the first time I started using the web and downloading apps over the LTE and 4G connections. They really are fast. Even better though is the built-in Internet Explorer. I didn't realize how much I was missing on the 7.0 version compared to 7.5 - it renders sites well and unlike the older browser most sites detect the mobile mode. When in desktop mode the pages load quickly and I was surprised at how much I could really do from the phone browser.

I haven't had a front-facing camera on my smart phone before, so I had to check out the video chat. Tango comes installed on the phone. I asked my daughter to load the same app on her iPhone. A few minutes later, we were video chatting - it just worked. The display is beautiful, the built-in camera at 8 megapixels does a great job, but I was also surprised to listen to the sound. Sometimes I like to sit on the deck and just play music through my phone. The Samsung wasn't very audible, whereas the Lumia has loud speakers that are very easy to hear.

The best part about switching though, and what led me to write this blog post, was my running software. I've been using RunKeeper for some time and was surprised to find it had been yanked from the Windows Phone market when I tried to install it on the new phone. That meant going to a new application. I downloaded MapMyRun and tried it, and I'm not sure if it was flakey GPS or failure to run under the lock screen by default, but my 4.5 mile jog was logged in at 31 miles. Apparently I was running a 1:30 minute mile. I then decided to download Endomondo Sports Tracker. Wow! I'm glad I did ... in fact so much I decided to write this post/review when I normally don't do these.

Pretty much everything about the application addresses what I want when I'm going on a run. First, it is integrated with music from within the application - I can start my play list right there and not have to launch it separately. Next, you have the option to count down before it starts tracking an activity. This is important to me because I usually kick it off and then shove the phone into the sleeve of the arm band I have. The countdown gives me time to get that done and be ready to start. The application simply speaks when the countdown is done. Finally, as you are running, you can configure it to give you updates during the run. It is awesome when the phone is not accessible due to the arm band to hear when I cross a mile mark, hear my total time, my lap time, and my estimated total time for the run. All in all it's a solid product and I had a really enjoyable run using it.

There you have it - an awesome new phone and application that I was so happy with I decided to write this post.

Jeremy Likness