Windows Phone fans are a special bunch. Not only are we often the only one at the party rocking a none-fruit or robotic smartphone, we’re also used to being looked down upon. Whether it’s the app issues that plague our ecosystem of choice, the general lack of third-party accessory support or the stigma of using something branded “Microsoft” that many people naively believe. We’ve all been on the receiving end of negative comments. Well, worry no more. Here is a definitive list of 5 things that you can proudly say that your flagship Windows Phone can do that even the mighty iPhone 6 can’t.
My Camera kicks your iPhone camera’s butt
Let’s start with image stabilization. Believe it or not but the iPhone 6 does not have image stabilization. Apple’s approach is to either a) take a series of shots quickly at different exposure levels and stitch them together (HDR) or b) increase the sensitivity (ISO) of the image sensor. Both of these work to combat image shake but neither qualifies as true image stabilization.
The HDR approach works best if you are taking a shot of a still subject. However, you’ll introduce weird blurring or artifacts if the subject moves while the burst is being fired.
In the second method, you increase the potential for digital noise within the image, resulting in blotchy, grainy images. This noise comes about because the camera increases the gain of the sensor and just like increasing the grain on guitar amp, distortion is often the result.
The method used by flagship Windows phones (read Lumias), is to use optical image stabilization. This means that the lens literally moves to compensate for your shaky, over-caffeinated hands. This allows the lens to stay open longer and capture more available light without the negative effects of HDR and high ISOs. When you add in the superb ability to resolve detail in the darkest and lightest parts of image you can get truly stunning photos. If you have a Lumia with image stabilization, try this: open the camera app, and look at the lens of the camera. You’ll see the lens shifting to compensate for movement.
The killer feature here is the ability of the highest end Lumias is to export raw image files in Adobe’s universal DNG format. This is something that until recently you simply couldn’t get on anything but higher-end camera’s that cost several hundred to thousands of dollars. Raw is important to serious photographers because the file has more information to play with in editing programs like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. This means you can extract the maximum detail out of your photos if you use these programs and get some amazing photographs. Since I do fancy myself a photographer (albeit a middling one) and use these programs, I always have DNG toggled in my phone.
Caveat: If you activate the DNG capture function you will quickly fill up your phone if you take lots of photos. Raw files are huge.
Cortana vs Siri
Cortana is a killer feature on Windows Phone. Here are but a few things that you can do with Cortana that Siri can’t even touch.
You can activate Cortana while the screen is off with your voice, without being plugged in. Siri can also be voice-activated but the phone must be plugged in first.
You can type requests into the text box with Cortana. This is very useful if you are in meetings or other places where you can’t make noise. When you type in your request to Cortana, she’s smart enough to know to be quiet. You can’t do this with Siri.
This one is a little subjective, but I think you’ll probably agree. Cortana is more human and actually seems to have a little bit of a personality. Siri still feels like technology from 2011.
Now we know that Cortana is coming to iOS but it also won’t be the full-featured wonderful digital assistant that we know and love. In any case, rest assure that Cortana on your phone is way better than anything Apple currently offers on their devices.
Apple’s interface may be simple but it’s also very dumb. I don’t mean dumb in the subjective sense. I mean that in order to know what that little red notification means, one must actually launch the app. It’s a waste of time, not user-centric and frankly, it wastes time. Live Tiles are where it’s at.
With one quick glance at my home screen, I can see my next appointment, the weather, what music is playing, news headlines and more. I know if the notification is important or not, without having to launch the app. This can amount to a considerable time savings. Now for some quick math.
Let’s say an iPhone user checks 50 app notifications a day. Let’s say that each check takes 5 seconds. That’s 250 seconds a day, 1,750 seconds a week and 7,000 seconds a month. 7,000 seconds is more than 116 minutes or nearly 2 hours a month wasted checking notifications. That means this particular iPhone user will waste an entire day every year doing nothing but figuring out what that little red number at the corner of the app icon means.
But, but, but the notification shade! Your iPhone toting amigos might stammer in response. Well, not all apps put notifications in the notification shade. And even if they do, once they’re swiped away, they can’t be pulled back later on. So if this poor iPhone 6 user forgets what that notification was an hour later, they’ll have to launch the app to figure it out. Utter waste of time if you ask me.
Customizable Home Screen
Not only are Live Tiles better than anything iOS can offer, they also contribute to the customizability of the phone. I hope I’m not the only one that finds it ironic that while Cupertino talks about phones being personal devices, everyone’s iPhone looks essentially the same, wallpapers and specific app choices aside.
You will never find two Windows phones that look the same. Unlike Apple devices, I can make the layout on my Lumia 930 look and function the way I want it to. Do I want my phone icon at the top or bottom of the screen? Should I make it the biggest or smallest icon? Maybe I should put it in the middle of my screen. The same option apples to every other app on my Windows phone. Not so much for iOS users.
Even if you don’t have children of your own, you probably have nieces, nephews, cousins or siblings that you may not want getting into your email, photos and social media accounts. My work requires me to have a passcode to access my phone. I love the fact that I can hand my phone to one of the offspring and they can play Cut the Rope to their heart’s content and I don’t have to worry about them messing up my corporate accounts.
There you have it. Five things that your flagship windows phone can do that your friend’s iPhone 6 simply cannot do.
So my Windows Phone toting compadres, what are your favorite things that your Windows Phone can do that the iPhone 6 cannot? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook.
This editorial was written by Kenny Larson. You can follow him on Twitter at @Kenny_Larson.Further reading: Apple, iPhone, Lumia, Microsoft, Windows Phone