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New year, new phone: Why I use the Lumia 920 now

This wasn't exactly a New Year's resolution, but it was a move that was simmering for a while.

I'm starting the new year with at least one new gadget: a Nokia Lumia 920 as my main phone. The iPhone 4S, my previous main, is now a backup, used for occasional games of Angry Birds until it’s available on Windows Phone.

The decision wasn't one of partisanship or corporate preference. I put all that silly technology religion behind me in 1993 when I sold my Amiga and gave up on getting overly obsessed with the brand name on what are essentially tools to do a job.

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I've had an iPhone since the 3G came out in 2008 and it served me well enough. I've been through AT&T's growing pains with the iPhone, and was living in San Francisco for the worst of it.

There was no falling out of love with the iPhone, or getting mad at Apple and not wanting its products any more. The problem was really simple: the iPhone screen is just too damn small. I was tired of squinting at it and using the corners of finger tips to type. I was looking at the increasingly larger screens in the Android world and getting jealous.

I'm not alone in this. I've seen threads on message boards and mailing lists from people looking for an iPhone alternative for the exact same reason as myself: the iPhone's tiny screen is not friendly to fat fingers.

Just one problem in my case: I can't stand Android. I think it's ugly, clumsy, too Linux-like and scatters things around the phone in a variety of places. I'd spend more time looking for apps than anything else.

At the same time, the Android world is getting too large for its own good. The Galaxy S III is a stunning piece of hardware, but with a 4.8-inch screen, it's too big. And word has it a Chinese manufacturer will introduce a 6.1-inch device at CES.

What was needed was a happy medium and a viable alternative to both iPhone and Android. Not too big, not too small. In all these things, I found the answer in the Lumia 920.

At 4.5 inches, the screen is the perfect size. At 1280x768 with 331 ppi, it's the most beautiful screen on the market. Even the S III can't match this. The Live Tiles are a nice touch but consume a fair amount of battery life. With the dual-core processor and twice the memory of the Lumia 900, it's lightning fast and responsive. SkyDrive integration means I tap one button and the phone is backed up to the cloud.

The application selection continues to grow. At this point, the only significant app missing for me is Wells Fargo, my bank of choice. I suppose Angry Birds Seasons would be nice, too.

It has its faults, particularly with heat and the battery. Twenty minutes of gaming and the battery is down 20%, a ridiculous draw, and the phone borders on too hot to hold. At 185 grams, it's one of the heaviest phones out there.

And once again, AT&T has proven a failure as a provider. The Lumia 920 supports LTE, but LTE reception is abysmal where I live in Orange County, especially indoors. I've been inside buildings and could not get any connection at all. When I disabled LTE and used 3G only, it worked fine.

There are other nitpicks in both directions, what I like and what I don't like. In the end, it serves its purpose and makes my life easier, alleviating the shortcomings of the iPhone. If the iPhone 6 comes out with a 4.5-inch screen of comparable resolution (meaning they stretch it along the Y axis as well as the X axis), I'll take a look. But for now, color me satisfied.

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