A former Windows phone diehard's experience switching to iPhone 8 Plus

Windows phone and iPhone
Windows phone and iPhone (Image credit: Windows Central)

After using a Windows-based phone for the better part of 10 years, it's now come time for me to move on. I knew it was inevitable and with an ailing Microsoft Lumia 950 XL and failing apps, the end came a bit quicker than I had hoped.

My move was to the iPhone 8 Plus and while I will miss Windows 10 Mobile, the move was not as traumatic as I had imagined. Ends up that the grass is a bit greener on the iPhone side of things these days (with Windows 10 Mobile dying on the vine) and the iPhone 8 Plus is an option worth considering if your Windows Phone just isn't cutting it anymore.

I have been researching options for the past few weeks when the Lumia 950XL started missing notifications, self-resetting more frequently and apps began crashing with more regularity. I was very impressed with the Samsung Galaxy S8 but just didn't feel comfortable with the operating system. Android is a capable OS and not a wrong choice, but I was more comfortable with iOS, plus everyone in my family sports an iPhone.

Lumia 950XL

I've grown accustomed to the larger screen of the 950XL, which narrowed things down to one of Apple's Plus models of the iPhone. I ended up going with the iPhone 8 Plus with 256GB of memory. I figured it was my first iPhone and I should get the most current model. I'll miss the expansion card slot of the Windows Phones, but with 256GB of memory, I should be good to go.

I did consider waiting for the iPhone X but the "notch" bothered me. The new sensor bar is a critical component of the iPhone X and offers delivers some cool features. I also liked the infinity screen but you lose a good amount of real estate on the screen with the sensor bar resting so low. It's like having an ad banner on a YouTube video that you cannot close out. Had Apple increased the iPhone X's casing and positioned the sensor bar above the screen, I might have waited.

I have enjoyed using the iPhone and find it to be a capable operating system. However, I am often reminded that Windows 10 Mobile does a fantastic job of delivering a boatload of information at a glance. From the lockscreen to Live Tiles, you can keep up with life rather easy. With iOS, you can still keep up with life, but it requires you to dig a little. For example, you do get notifications on the lockscreen but have to swipe to the right to access a widgets screen that can display everything from the weather to news items to your favorite contacts.

Speaking of which, I would like to see Apple allow for contacts to be pinned to the home screen, much like Windows 10 Mobile does by creating contact tiles. The only option that comes close is the option to display your favorite contacts on the widgets screen.

There are other little differences with iOS that take some getting used to. You lack the ability to assign a specific notification sound to apps, you lack the ability to add information to the lockscreen (just shows time and current notifications) and when connected to a PC, the iPhone does not act like an external drive.

On the plus side, it is refreshing to see the volume of apps available for the iPhone (including the Microsoft suite of apps). It is a bittersweet experience to see so many apps that are available on Windows 10 Mobile in the Apple Store and updated. This only increases the app gap and sadly reflects the state of Windows 10 Mobile where apps are left unattended or abandoned by their developers.

I like the Touch ID system, not only for unlocking the phone but in many cases, it can replace the need for typing in a password with some apps. I haven't spent much time with the camera, but it does feel on par with the Lumia 950XL's camera. Battery life is respectable and the convenience of wireless charging is always a plus. I do think the build quality of the 950XL and other Windows Phones is better than the iPhone. I'm nervous enough about scratching the glass backing of the iPhone 8 that I bought a skin case to protect it. I haven't bought a protective case for a Windows Phone since the days of the Lumia 900.

iPhone 8 Plus

I have to tip my hat to Microsoft for bringing Windows phones to the table. From the Palm Treo 750 to the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL, Microsoft delivered a mobile platform that developed into the best mobile OS on the market. Unfortunately, Microsoft failed to put enough energy behind Windows Phone to make it a competitive platform. While I think Apple could learn from Microsoft on smartphone features, Microsoft could learn from Apple on marketing.

It's a shame Microsoft is letting Windows 10 Mobile die on the vine and while I would like to see someone at Microsoft have the backbone to say Windows 10 Mobile is dead, I'm not going to hold my breath. I'll continue to hope that Microsoft reenters the smartphone market next year, maybe with a Surface Phone, but if that never happens I'm comfortable with the iPhone. There is a slight learning curve, but nothing too taxing. I think my biggest challenge is to stop the temptation to double-tap to wake the phone.

If you are considering making the jump to iOS or Android, here are a few Windows Central Forum discussions going on that might be helpful. Plus, you can always sound off in the comments..

Updated November 2, 2017: We decided to rerun this story following the release of the iPhone X.

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.