Are you an over scheduled mom with little time to figure out technology? Or are you a technology guru who loves sharing tips with others?
We cover different ways to make technology work for you without spending hours researching and learning how to do it on your own.
It’s been a while since I’ve used a Windows phone, I first used one back in 2009 for the AT&T Lose the Laptop Tilt 2 blogger contest I competed in. I’ve been itching to try the newest wave of Windows phones. Everyone who has one says they love it. HTC recently lent me their latest Windows phone*, the Titan II for the AT&T network.
The Galaxy Note compared to the Titan II
My first impression of the Titan II was, wow, what a big screen at 4.7 inches! In fact, it is the closest competitor to the Galaxy Note, which is 5.3 inches. The HTC Titan II towers over my HTC Amaze screen. The clarity is great as well…from the home screen to the apps to my pictures.
Benefits of a Windows Phone
1. Home screen – I like the simplicity of the big tiles or ”buttons” on the home screen. I can readily see:
how many calls came in
how many text messages I have
how many e-mail’s to check (from my various accounts)
how many updates from the App Marketplace I have
how many items in the social media space relating to me (tweets, Facebook responses, etc.)
what upcoming appointment I should be aware of on my calendar
I can easily pin or unpin any tile I want and move them so the most important apps or notifications are on top. Just scroll down on the phone to see more tile options.
2. People Tile – This is a fast way to get contact info. and social media updates from that person at once. Dependent upon have much info I have on a contact, I can see and click on:
home addresss – instantly brings up a map, allowing you to get directions with a click of a button. You can also easily look up restaurants, shopping, and things to do near the address you’re driving towards.
mobile phone – calls the person’s number
home phone – calls the person’s number
Calls/missed calls – when the person called and how many calls this week
text – opens up a screen for you to type or speak your message
write on wall – to post to this contact’s Facebook page
birthday – it shows me their birthday (from Facebook)
children – tells me all the names of their children (from Facebook)
tweets – shows latest tweets from my friends and those I’m following on twitter
3. The Call Tile – shows me all of the calls I made, took, or missed with my contacts. Clicking on their name gives me their profile info., making it easy to call or text them back.
4. The Calendar Tile – shows me the agenda for the day, including all appointments. Scrolling down gives me the next day, etc. I can see the view in a monthly calendar frame too, but you can’t read the detail. Simply click on the day you’re interested to see all your appointments. You can pull calendar info. from various calendars. Outlook looks the best. I am currently pulling in my Google calendar with no hiccups.
5. The Messaging Tile – shows your latest threads of conversations via text or Facebook messaging.
6. The Pictures Tile – shows a slide show of your latest pictures you’ve taken on the phone. I love how it’s constantly updating the live tile.
7. The Zune Tile - use this to play your favorite saved tunes.
8. The Marketplace Tile – gives you a number to update you on how many apps you need to update, very handy.
9. The Xbox Live Tile – is basically the portal to all the games you have on your phone, not necessarily XBOX Live games. But you can see your Xbox 360 avatar, update your profile, see your achievements, and even update your Xbox Avatar on your phone with a free download called Xbox LIVE Extras.
10. The Scout Tile – gives you the low down on where to eat, see & do, and shop nearby. This is a great program, especially when you’re in a new area and really looking for a good restaurant or place to shop.
The beautify about the Windows phone is that you can pin up other important tiles as you see the need. For example, I pinned these additional tiles:
BlogHer notebook from OneNote
Cozi shopping list (a pinned website)
Now I can easily get to my favorite apps/websites.
What I Love About this Phone
1. The Tiles – they are great. I thought I wouldn’t like all of those big “buttons” all over my homepage, but many of them display “need to know” info. like new texts, calls missed, e-mail’s, app updates, etc. I can quickly see at a glance the info. I want to without searching for it. I also love that I can pin website URLs to my home page. I’ve never been able to do that on an Android phone.
2. Internet Sharing - this is the bomb and it’s so easy. Do you have a tablet (any brand), Nintendo DS, PS Vita, Nook, Kindle Fire, netbook, laptop, etc? Now you can easily share the mobile Internet access from your Windows smartphone directly to any or several of these devices (up to 5!) Just go to Settings and look for Internet Sharing. I wrote an article on how I did this with our PS Vita and Netflix. Imagine being on a road trip and each family member having Internet access without having to pay separate 3G or 4G coverage for each device…there’s no extra cost! If you had an iPhone though, there would be an extra cost. Tired of paying the extra $20/day cost for Internet in your hotel room? No worries, turn on Internet Sharing on your Windows phone and you’re good to go! Slick!
3. The Camera – the Titan II’s camera is 16MP! That’s better than my camera! It takes great shots. There are all sorts of settings you can choose, plenty of automatic features like smile capturing, intelligent auto for choosing the best scene, face detection, red eye reduction, image stabilizer, etc. You can also choose manual settings such as ISO, metering mode, saturation, brightness, effects, etc.
Other options include:
Panorama shot, where you can stitch together several photos (really cool!) and Burst Shots which takes 5 quick shots in a row (great for basketball games, hitting a baseball with a bat, etc.) But, even with all of these great features, the part I like the best is when I frame my shot, I press the main area on my screen of my shot that I want the camera to focus on. Once it achieves the focus, it immediately takes the shot. No waiting for me to press the button. This simple gesture if so incredibly helpful. The Titan II camera is the bomb!
4. OneNote – many people use Evernote, but if you haven’t tried OneNote, you must! It is an Office product you can use to keep track of everything…your life’s goals, journal your kids stories, your receipts, phone conversations, To Do list, favorite recipes. Anything and everything can go in it. I used to carry around a thick day planner, now my life is contained within OneNote. I use the OneNote app on my Android phone and iPad, but it is so much more impressive on the Windows phone. Very easy to use and update. Two of the pictures to the right show OneNote on the phone. I use OneNote to help me plan out my BlogHer trips, map out home decor, keep up with my Mom’s doctors, and much more.
5. The Display – the screen display is 4.7 inches! It’s huge, yet not too big that it doesn’t fit in a pocket. Honestly, it’s more fun to look at, you see so much more on this phone than most phones.
6. The QWERTY keyboard – the bigger size screen makes for a bigger onscreen keyboard. I rarely type the wrong letter by mistake, as I do OFTEN with my Android phone. I also like the feedback sound it gives you when you type in letters/numbers.
7. Office Synchronization - any Microsoft Office documents I have saved in my Microsoft SkyDrive are automatically available on my phone, once I connectded it to my SkyDrive account. The document renders beautifully on the phone, complete with tables and pic. I can have my PowerPoint presentations ready at a minute’s notice for an impromptu meeting. There is no extra cost for this service either as long as you don’t store a huge amount of data on your SkyDrive. Beautiful.
Things that Could Improve
1. The Apps- Windows now has over 100,000 apps in their Marketplace, that’s a lot. But I was sorely disappointed that some of my favorite apps weren’t there yet. Apps like Cozi, Where’s My Water, Words with Friends, Draw, Temple Run, Pet Hotel, Carl’s Jr. app, and a few others. The Windows Marketplace has Angry Birds, but only the main one, it it costs $.99. Angry Birds is free on the Android phone. Angry Birds Space and Rio are no where to be found.
2. Open Apps – At first I couldn’t find a way to scroll through my open apps. One day I mistakenly held down the back button arrow on the phone and I could see all open apps. This is not very intuitive. I often have a lot of apps open (I often do), which can slow down the processor, but there’s no way to kill the apps I don’t need at the moment. It would also be great to jump from one open program to another without having to scroll through all the apps again.
3. Pictures Taken in Poor Lighting – the camera takes excellent shots in good lighting but once you’re inside with poor lighting, the pictures become grainy. The camera’s performance is sub-par in the evening when inside.
A Mom’s Perspective
The Titan II Windows phone does a great job at simplifying things and making important data readily available at a glance. Being more of a techie, I didn’t know if I’d like the simplification of the phone. But, it is very helpful and very much appreciated.
Would I trade my beloved Android phone for a Windows phone, despite the lack of apps available?
Yes I would. Even I am surprised at my answer. The most important apps/programs I use are available:
Mail (Google, Hotmail, AOL)
The games would be nice to have, as my kids love them, but I could use the Windows phone fine and get my business needs taken care of. If you are looking for a phone with the simplest operation, best camera, and best screen, you can’t beat the Titan II.
* I was loaned a HTC Windows Titan II in preparation for the review.
67891 comment to http%3A%2F%2Fwellconnectedmom.com%2Fblog%2F2012%2F07%2F15%2Fthe-new-windows-titan-ii-phone-wow%2FThe+New+Windows+Titan+II+Phone%2C+Wow.2012-07-14+17%3A40%3A10Lori+Cunninghamhttp%3A%2F%2Fwellconnectedmom.com%2Fblog%2F%3Fp%3D6789The New Windows Titan II Phone, Wow.