New features in Windows Phone 8 include support for multi-core processors, higher resolution screens, microSD cards and NFC sharing. Pre-installed apps will include Internet Explorer 10, Wallet and Nokia Maps. See also: AirDrop review: Apple's iOS file sharing tech makes it easy to transfer documents.
Windows Phone 8 includes extensions to its Live Tiles interface, as well as new features including a child-safety feature called 'Kid's Corner', a tool called 'Data Sense' that will help keep down data costs, and 'People Hub' - via which groups of fellow users can communicate and share content.
While Windows Phone 7.5 already was a fine operating system, Windows Phone 8 offers more options to customise the phone according to your own ideas and preferences. That change is most visible on Windows Phone 8's home screen, but also functions such as groups and simple stuff like being able to select the background colour of the mail app really are an added value. The promised better integration of VoIP services like Skype is also very welcome, while Internet Explorer 10 is a vastly better browser than IE9. It is not just faster and more stable, HTML 5 support is also much improved.
But compared to iOS 7? Well there is a fair comparison to be made. But on balance - and subjectively we prefer Apple's software. Some of the new features are sure to be universally loved, though. Control Center, which is long overdue in our minds, provides easy access to common settings such as Flight Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and brightness. On an iPhone you can even toggle the LED on and off, making 'torch' apps virtually redundant.
It's available everywhere, even from the lock screen. We're not convinced Flight Mode should be switchable without unlocking the phone, however, since turning off all comms will prevent Find My iPhone from working.
Other features, such as the parallax effect where your wallpaper moves slightly as you tilt your device, are fun but have no real use. Apple has introduced new 'dynamic' backgrounds, with bubbles that slowly move across the screen as you move your iPhone or iPad.
The jury's out on whether all of iOS 7's animation, 3D and blurring effects negatively impact on battery life.
The 3D effect when opening and closing apps was previously only available to jailbroken iOS devices. In iOS 7, when you tap on an icon, the app zooms in to become full screen. Hit the home button and it zooms out, with the home screen icons flying back into place. This works on folders of icons too, and aids your navigation.
It's a shame Apple doesn't allow you to customise the 3D effect, nor change the simple slide transition between home screens, but the changes are a step in the right direction.
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