Windows Phone Holiday Swap
GoGirlfriend challenges Microsoft to make travel easier
Traveling with the Microsoft Windows phone is like taking your all-knowing best friend on your getaway (while avoiding the creepy intimacy issues).
Microsoft Canada invited GoGirlfriend to take part in a Holiday Swap and challenged us to give up our iPhone in exchange for a Windows 8 Nokia 920. There's so much we love about the iPhone but we were willing to give it a shot. Everything can be improved, right? We were as nervous (it felt like a big learning curve) as we were excited (we are closet geeks). iPhone gone, we packed our bags and took off with our new phone in hand.
Seeing Toronto through a new lens
The GoGirlfriend duo took a Windows 8 Nokia 920 (sponsored by Microsoft) phone along with us for a weekend extravaganza shopping, an overnight getaway, restaurant hunting, and a Carrie Underwood concert at the Air Canada Center (ACC). With its fantastic camera, feature-rich app selection, the Windows Nokia phone helped us navigate Canada's largest city and find Burrito Boys, Pizzaiolo, and all the shopping my credit card could handle.
As a traveler (both for business and pleasure) using the Windows 8 Nokia 920 phone, the native features and core apps simplified our searches and added some fun:
- Spectacular image stabilized 8.7 Megapixel camera - Probably best-in-class for photography on a phone (and Skydrive for your cloud storage and file synchronization).
- Windows 8 live-tile featured interface (apps and tiles) - New interface updates the tiles instantly for a visual as your connections post something new. Customize your homescreen with some hack tips from Lifehacker.
- Friends tiles - Takes the opportunities to connect with your friends and family to a whole new level of integration ... choose Sandi and connect via cell, email, text, Facebook, twitter, map locate, birthday all in one People app ... LOVE IT!!
- Xbox live music, video and gaming experience - To help you survive waiting in lineups while shopping or at the train station or airport terminal.
- Bing Search - Bing travel search a destination and swipe side to side for enhanced destination resources
- Nokia City Lens - [GG recommendation] while walking, allows you to explore what's right in front of you (and how far) for food, hotels, shopping, famous landmarks, sights, fun, transportation. Rotate yourself around and see the new opportunities pop up!
- Nokia Maps - Explodes your destination experience with relevant info: photos, reviews, and what's nearby.
- Nokia Drive (Beta) maps - Handheld GPS navigation for your routing.
- Weather app - Check out the cold weather at home to make yourself feel better.
To add to the impressive native apps that make travel easy, in searching the Windows Store, GoGirlfriend tested out a number of downloadable travel related apps and here's our top picks:
- Flightaware (free) - If you've ever had a connecting flight in stormy weather, this live flight tracker shares the status details on your current and departing flight.
- XE Currency app (free) - Convert world currencies with live rates for every country in the world.
- TripAdvisor (free) - [GG recommendation] Reviews and opinions by fellow travelers (Travelocity, Kayak and Yelp are available too).
- Hotels.com app (free) - Booking engine linked back to their hotels.com site
- Geocaching Live (by Groundspeak free) - [GG recommendation] Take your GPS treasure hunting with you for some fun and exploration.
- Translator apps (free) - More than 30 languages translated via text with voice coaching for the translated segment
- Flashlight (free) - When you wake up in a strange room and need to find the loo!
For more info on making tackling the friendly skies with your Windows Phone, check out my friend Darren Sprout's best travel apps post.
The Nokia 920 Windows 8 phone is loaded with functionality and it's built for you to customize to your tastes. If you're familiar with the Windows 8 OS, love the Skydrive shared-storage capabilities, and want a kick-ass camera for great photos, you need to consider test-driving this phone at your nearest Microsoft store ... it's quite the experience!
For photo samples from our weekend Windows adventure, check out GoGirlfriend's Facebook album to see the quality in everyday action, we think you'll be as impressed as we were.
If you love travel and want a chance to win a girlfriends getaway, make sure you enter our "Celebrate Girlfriends with Lansdowne" before the Dec. 21st deadline, you might be the lucky winner!
If you'd like to read what our fellow Holiday Swappers are saying about the phone, follow the convo on Twitter with #holidayswap or check out their blog posts:
- Ottawa Valley Moms ~ Erin Blaskie
- Canadian Dad ~ Chris Read
- Parent Club ~ Caroline Fernandez
- Freckles the Mom ~ Christy Laverty
- Tara's View of the World ~ Tara Robertson
- Shelagh Cummins ~ Mombiz Retreat
- Grace Rosien ~ I AM Grace Rosien
To comply with the long list of regulating bodies, possibly even Geneva Conventions and in the interest of transparency, compensation for this post was provided by Hart & Galla and Microsoft Canada. Commentary and perspectives are those of GoGirlfriend.