Software – Windows Phone 8 OS:
We covered the user interface and the ecosystem of Windows Phone 8 in detail in our Lumia 1020 review, so we won’t be repeating it again for this review. Instead we will look at what makes the Lumia 1320 stand out, if it does, from its smaller Windows Phone counterparts, and whether the size is worth the trouble or not.
At 6-inch screen size, most manufacturers on the Android side of things add a lot of software based features to their phones in order to make use of all the space that is available. Windows Phone may have a beautiful looking interface on smaller screens, but it falls a little short of expectations on the Lumia 1320. Let’s first talk about what Microsoft has done on this phone differently from the Lumia 1020 sized phones.
The start screen can now house an extra column of live tiles. On smaller devices, only two medium, one double wide or four small live tiles can be placed side by side. On the Lumia 1320 you can place up to six small Live Tiles side by side, or one double wide plus one small, or three medium live tiles. This can either result in a whole mess of live tiles on the start screen, which can be overwhelming for a beginner. However when done right, the extra column really livens up the start screen, providing even more information than the regular two column approach. That being said, I want Microsoft to add an even bigger tile size, something they already have on Windows 8.1.
Some other minor tweaks have been made to utilize the additional screen real estate. The app list now shows more apps at any given time. Similarly the stock apps like email and messaging display more content than they do on smaller phones.
Unfortunately that is where the UI modifications end. Things that haven’t been updated look ridiculous on the screen. The keyboard for example, is as big as an iPhone itself. Metro styled banners in many of the apps look even bigger than before, wasting a lot of space. Everything has just been scaled up to fit the screen, resulting in everything looking very, very big. It’s like an accessibility mode turned on for the visually impaired. Galaxy Mega 6.3 from Samsung can display two apps at the same time, has a one hand mode for single hand usage and several other software tweaks to make the incredibly large screen useful but Nokia or Microsoft hasn’t made any such effort.