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iOS 7 vs Windows Phone 8: which mobile platform is right for you?

Matt Egan | Oct. 3, 2013
We test Windows Phone against iPhone to find out which is best

Nokia is by far our favoured Windows Phone maker because it adds plenty of its own software which is sincerely useful. But if we are talking about Windows Phone 8 it is a poor choice of apps. A big win for iOS 7. See also: Siri in iOS 7: Siri is improved in iOS 7, but could still be better.

iOS 7 vs Windows Phone 8: look and feel, features
Under the hood, Windows Phone 8 is no longer based on Windows Mobile, but rather shares the same codebase as Windows RT, the 'trimmed down' version of Windows 8 developed specifically for energy efficient ARM tablets. A big advantage that comes with that change is ease of portability of apps between Windows 8 and RT to Phone and vice versa. It also means the hardware support has been greatly improved.

While Windows Phone 7.5 only supported older single core processors and 800x480 pixel displays, Windows Phone 8 theoretically can operate with 64 processor cores and support displays with 1280x720 and 1280x768 pixels. Another hardware feature that is now supported is a flash memory card reader, meaning it is finally possible to have Windows phones with a micro-SD slot, something sorely missed in Windows Phone 7.5 devices.

As mentioned, Windows Phone 8's home screen closely resembles the one found in Windows Phone 7.5, but at the same time it offers more functionality and possibilities. For example, in 7.5 tiles could be either square or rectangular, meaning you could display one or two tiles adjacent to each other. In Windows Phone 8 tiles can have three different shapes. In addition to the square and rectangle, there is a smaller square size available, which is exactly one quarter the size of the 'old' square. Thanks to the new addition, it is possible to have a lot more apps visible on the home screen without having to swipe. Not all apps can use all three sizes; many apps can only be displayed as either a small or normal sized square, but not as a rectangle.

There are more improvements to the way you can customise your phone, and the lock screen also offers new options for this. In Windows Phone 7.5 you could display the time, an upcoming appointment and information on missed calls and new messages. Windows Phone 8 gives you more freedom to customise the lock screen as well as the option to show previews of the most recently received email. You can also show messages from Xbox Live friends and game notifications, for example.

Windows Phone 8 is based on Windows 8 and therefore shares the same Start Screen with adjustable live tiles. The move means that there is effectively a single platform for all Windows smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs.

 

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