WP10 REVIEW: On the MI4

Fiesta

Junior Member
Dec 15, 2015
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Windows Phone 10 for MI4

Brief background: Having switched to the Mi4 just 3 months ago from a Lumia 800 (which oprated on Windows Phone 7), personal preferences say WP, but as of late I got used to the MIUI.
The Lumia last me a good two and a half years, and I absolutely loved it. I only switched because the phone was in a despicable condition and I liked the idea of a phone that wouldn’t make all those in proximity cringe when I pulled it out.
The SIM tray was broken, the screen was cracked and looking at it made my retina fold up.

With that, let’s begin with the criticism.

Criticism for the developers, here.
Naturally, when Microsoft announced WP10 for the MI4, first reaction was to look for a Recovery ROM.
There isn’t any.
There’s just one flashable Fastboot (technically a fastboot), for which the phone needs to be connected to a PC via USB. All hopes for On-the-go switching between WP10 and MIUI were smashed.
Let’s not judge, we aren’t technical experts (I assume). There might be heavily technical reasons as to why a Recovery ROM wasn’t released.

Then came another surprise.
WP10 was only released for the LTE versions of the MI4 , and not the normal WCDMA version that is much more widely available. Luckily, that was the version I had, but not 10% of all MI4 users in India have the LTE version.
It is a BETA after all, duly considered, but a one-word question:
Why?
Not like WP10 can’t operate on WCDMA bands. One doesn’t need to be a technical expert to know this.
The only logical explanation would then be that they purposefully only wanted a small number of MI4 users to be a part of the BETA program.

My question still stands- Why.

Backup.
As mentioned before, the ROM was technically a fastboot, which I had to flash using MiFlash201.
The phone was wiped clean.
As I expected, my MiCloud back up was of no help. All the BackUps to the MiCloud are useless, there was exactly 0.00bits of data on the MiCloud.


The phone booted, and it was perfectly empty. No backups to fall back upon. Contacts, images, music, accounts, all gone.
As I fed in my Live ID, I was astonished to notice I had most of my contacts from 3-4 months ago came back in - my OneDrive backup from the Lumia had survived, and against all odds, saved my MI4 from oblivion. MiCloud didn’t do that, OneDrive did. The irony.
Listen, developers. We need our Data.
Microsoft, kudos to your OneDrive. I am fairly impressed.
Xiaomi, you need serious work on your MiCloud.
The ROM was in tandem with Microsoft, and very much official from you guys, and the hardware was yours as well.
Where is all my data? Why is it that I lost everything when I switched from MIUI to an official WP10 ROM which you yourselves offered to me?
So apparently nobody at either office thought of this.

Okay, let’s come to the Operating System.
Two perspectives on this one.

One. Having come to Windows Phone 10 from Windows Phone 7.9, all I can say is that everything I loved about 7.9 was picked up, beautified, smoothened, made better in every possible way and stuffed back into better hardware.
The simplicity is what makes it beautiful. I love the tiles layout, and the fact that every tile can be customised in size. What’s new is that an image can be used as tile background with tranclucent tiles on it, or the tiles are composed of one picture as a whole with a black background. This wasn’t possible on 7.9.
The “People” tile remains more lively than ever, I love how all your social media accounts stay beautifully integrated with your phone contacts.
I love how each one of your phone book contacts automatically integrates with Facebook, so that the contacts each use the facebook display picture as a unique contact image, and the e-mail is synced without me even needing to press a button.
I love how the phone never lets you forget a birthday by putting it on the lock screen itself, along with Facebook notifications, WhatsApp messages and Instagram notifications.
You can also customise which notifications are shown on Lock Screen and which ones aren’t.
Microsoft Edge is a much better browser than whatever that ‘Explorer’ thing was before this.
The Maps are accurate. Searching for “Lodhi Garden” navigated me all the way inside the park, straight to the monument, where as other navigation applictions would just have led me to a gate(not like I can crash right through the fences straight up to the monument in my car, but still feels more accurate and trustworthy).
Also has most of Microsoft Office inbuilt, so I don’t have to go around searching the PlayStore for Microsoft office (I agree, its barely an inconvenience, but an iconvenience nonetheless)
As always, the inbuilt xBox app syncs to your xBox Live account and everything there works like a gem. Nothing much was changed here.
Personally a PlayStation guy, I find this quite redundant. Also, WP10 is a Microsoft product, and hence there is no official PlayStation app. Stop fighting like two-year-olds, Microsoft and Sony.
The Settings have been tweaked beautifully, in comparison to 7.9 and 8.1(Amber) as well.
All of them fall under general headings, and it takes half a second to search for absolutely any setting you might require (provided the phone has it).
Cortana, oh Cortana. Absolute gem to use, when you can use it.
So many conditions. Cortana is available only in a handful of countries. It needs your location and speech settings set to that very area, which is a dreadful pain (I’m sorry but it is).
I live in India, and I switched mine to the UK. Cortana worked beautifully (she’s got a dangerous attitude, mind).


Then I tried dialling my friends, and not one call connected.
International Assist was on, and hence all numbers were pre-fixed with +44.
That was annoying, but also brought out the attention to detail Microsoft pays (to the details it pays attention to).
There were some small things that were missing from WP10 which previous versions had, but they are so small that I probably won’t miss them. Such as ‘Double Tap to Wake Phone’ and ‘Screen Saver’ which we had on the Windows Phone 8 (the later updates) aren’t there anymore, but let’s be honest, we don’t bother with such superficiality.
Shifting from WP7.9, this is an absolute gem. I couldn’t have been more satisfied if I had shifted to WP10 from WP7.9.

There lies the problem. I hadn’t shifted to WP10 directly from 7.9.

Two. Enter, the MIUI.
The most beautiful Android mod there is, downright amazing. (personal opinion, save your onslaught of comments)
There’s nothing I couldn’t do on MIUI, and with the added facilities of the PlayStore over the Microsoft Store (which seems somewhat handicapped in comparison)
Android keeps it simple. It puts everything out there, right in front of you.
You know exactly what your system has, how much is being used, how much further can you push it, everything is laid out in front of you.
Only one way to put this- Windows Phone doesn’t. The difference between MIUI and WP10 is exactly the difference between driving a Manual and an Automatic.
The Manual (MIUI) needs constant attention; it does it’s job while you have absolute control.
The Automatic (WP) once taken 2 days to set up, doesn’t require any inputs from you later, and automatically behind the scenes does some wizardry and keeps everything well synchronised.

Migrating to WP10 from MIUI 7, expect to notice the absence of some features that MIUI spoils us with.
These are small things that one doesn’t realise the importance of till one loses them. These can be fixed by the developers with one small update.
Then there are some issued that can’t be fixed.

The Issues
So here it is. Although not having experienced any deal-breaking bugs yet (Except for the backup data issue, which I shall not address here as it is a Developer issue and not an OS issue), some of these may pose serious challenges to Windows’ popularity as a mobile OS.

Number one. Power consumption.
Xiaomi has been quite generous with a 3100 mAh battery for the MI4.
On the MIUI, I could leave my home at 40% battery, quite confident that it would last me a whole day.
On Windows Phone, probably not. There has been a considerable increse in power consumption, at least on the device I tested with. Why, I do not know. But this is a cause of concern for good percentage of MI4 users, that is something which cannot be denied.
Also note that LTE is one of the biggest battery consuming features and ironically only the LTE versions of Mi4 have WP10.
Buggy. Well, let’s be fair. It is a Developer BETA ROM. But these bugs need to be noted so that they can be fixed.
A good number of times, the keyboard pops up late. Other times, the keyboard is still present on screen when I’ve quit to the Start Screen.
When multiple heavy applications are open, the response time slows down considerably (which is acceptable to a certain degree, Windows, not the degree that it actually slows down by)
One time, the phone froze. Completely hanged, absolutely unresponsive. This never happens to an MI4, hence is not acceptable at all.
I had to hard reset.
This also brings us to the next issue.


RAM Information. At any point in time, by pressing the left capacitive button, Mi4 users have access to the screen where they can see what applications are open in the background, and hence are eating into the RAM available, on the MIUI. They can then close or lock applications as they require.
Windows Phone 10 doesn’t let us do that, the left capacitive takes us straight to Cortana.
After attempting to look for the option to see how much RAM is in use for 10 minutes straight, I conclude that there’s no way to tell (I may be wrong. If you know, do let me know how we can see RAM allocation).


Applications.
People who think that WP Marketplace doesn’t have all the applications you need, you are horribly wrong.
Migrating from MIUI 7, there isn’t one application that one “needs” that is not present on the WP Marketplace. WhatsApp, Facebook, Hike, Skype(pre-installed, if I may mention), Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, it has it all. (We’re all looking forward to SnapChat, yes. Hopefully it’ll be here soon).
The problem lies in the applications itself.
Windows 10 is a beautiful OS, and the apps just don’t match the beauty. They’re crude and unrefined.
All the features are present in the apps, just that they’re located in all the wrong places.
For example, in Whatsapp, the Call Button is located right between the Emoji icon and the attachment Icon. I have on multiple occasions, rather embarassingly ended up calling people instead of sending them a middle finger.
App crudeness also brings us to another issue.
Font sizes.
The overall font size of the system does not bother in-app font size at all. Butt-scratchingly confusing.
My system font size is tiny (looks beautiful) but in-app font size is as big as a swollen ankle. See for yourself. Both are set to the smallest possible setting.

Not appreciated.
Then there are various other small tiny things.
‘Power Button Cuts Call’ (self explanatory and absolutely necessary to me)
‘Data Usage Monitor’ which monitors daily data usage, which Windows Phone doesn’t allow you to do. You can fill in a weekly or monthly quota only, which makes it possible to exceed your data plans within the first week of the month itself. Rather problematic.



Final Verdict.
No beating around the bush here.
Windows Phone 10 is beautiful, excessively so.
It does more than you need a phone to do.
It has every setting you’ll ever need (this is in context to many people saying it doesn’t have the features that most other phones today have).

No issues with the customisablility of the interface’s looks, it possibly can’t look bad (unless you’ve set Background to ‘Light’, ew). Needless to say, it’s not as customisable as Android (which in personal opinion can’t look as good).
The system animations are beautifully smooth. They make one feel so involved with what the phone is doing.
Above listed are the slight problems you might face. If you feel they aren’t deal breaking, absolutely go for it in a flash. You will not regret this decision.
Be warned, it will take you 2 days to get used to the absolutely different interface.

Apart from better developed and thought-out applications, I see nothing that gives Android an edge over (apart from an insane market share) Windows Phone. Do however keep in mind, that Microsoft Bridge may soon solve all your application problems, since it’s main function is portability of Android applications to Windows Phone.
Yes, you may soon enough be able to run Android applications on Windows Phone as well. Win-win situation.


Sure, at the moment, WP10 Mobile is a lot more buggy, but remember, it’s a BETA Rom and will be fixed soon enough. Expect the perfect Windows Phone Experience in about 2-3 months.
Should you decide to flash to Windows Phone 10, remember this- It’s not like android, which puts it all in front of you. It does not consume ridiculous amounts of data for no reason like the iOS.
You will need to put your trust in it, give it 2-3 days.
You may not love it as much as MIUI 7, or any other mod you use.

But you shall not be disappointed.


If you find a way to retain all your data as well, you might just hear me yelling “Do it! Do it!” from a fathomable distance.



Thank you.
 

Graze

Senior member
Nov 27, 2012
468
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Yes, you may soon enough be able to run Android applications on Windows Phone as well. Win-win situation.


That's not going to happen(MS has no plans for this and just scarped their plan to offer tools to convert Android developer app code to work with MS ecosystem, because it was too complex of a task apparently ) and even if it did its not going to make any difference to the state of Windows phone. It did not for blackberry who still ended up making an Android nor did it do anything for Jolla who is on the verge of bankruptcy and reshuffling.
 
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thilanliyan

Lifer
Jun 21, 2005
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been running WP10 preview my Lumia 1020 and I like it. Latest build is a lot smoother but battery life definitely isn't as good as with windows phone 8.
 

Fiesta

Junior Member
Dec 15, 2015
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0
That's not going to happen(MS has no plans for this and just scarped their plan to offer tools to convert Android developer app code to work with MS ecosystem, because it was too complex of a task apparently ) and even if it did its not going to make any difference to the state of Windows phone. It did not for blackberry who still ended up making an Android nor did it do anything for Jolla who is on the verge of bankruptcy and reshuffling.

Application Developers already have the option to enroll for Bridge.
Running android application code for the windows phone shall soon be a thing, if all goes as planned.
Have a look.
https://dev.windows.com/en-us/bridges/android
 

sbpromania

Senior member
Mar 3, 2015
265
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www.sbp-romania.com
I recently changed from WP to Android, just because of the lack of some apps. But I must confess that I miss WP, for me it's way smoother and better looking than Android, and the Live Tiles are awesome.

After seeing WP10, I'm considering buying an Android Tablet, and switching to a WP phone again.
 

sweenish

Diamond Member
May 21, 2013
3,656
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That's not going to happen(MS has no plans for this and just scarped their plan to offer tools to convert Android developer app code to work with MS ecosystem, because it was too complex of a task apparently ) and even if it did its not going to make any difference to the state of Windows phone. It did not for blackberry who still ended up making an Android nor did it do anything for Jolla who is on the verge of bankruptcy and reshuffling.

Not scrapped, delayed. The difference between those words is pretty important.
 

Graze

Senior member
Nov 27, 2012
468
1
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Application Developers already have the option to enroll for Bridge.
Running android application code for the windows phone shall soon be a thing, if all goes as planned.
Have a look.
https://dev.windows.com/en-us/bridges/android

No, you have a look.
That thing is basically dead. Where have you been?

http://www.engadget.com/2015/11/16/microsoft-android-bridge-tool-delay/

http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-may-have-detonated-its-android-on-windows-phone-bridge/

http://www.theverge.com/2015/11/16/9742338/microsoft-android-apps-on-windows-on-hold



Not scrapped, delayed. The difference between those words is pretty important.


Oh yes yes. I am sorry. That would be a huge difference indeed especially to the hopeful!