Mobile heaven

Lenovo 920S

A year ago I hit upon a mobile phone, calendar and contacts combination that was so close to perfect that it would have done me for some years. So I sold the phone and started again.

I really liked that Nokia 920 mobile with wireless charger. It felt more like Apple’s build quality than some of the plastic Android phones and it worked superbly.

I bought the Nokia so that I could sync my contacts, calendar and tasks easily between my PC and phone.

The recipe I stumbled across consisted of: an IMAP email account; outlook.com and a Nokia 920 (it could be any Windows Phone 8).

I started on smartphones a few years back by way of an iPhone 3S. Rows of evenly spaced icons may be rark the fan bois up but I have a short attention span and little seems to change with each iteration of the iPhone, other than it is thinner and faster. My microwave sports that too and it hardly excites me. The one thing the iPhone did well was sync contacts and calendars effortlessly with Outlook (at the time, 2007). But the phone, the phone, God the iPhone is so tiny and boring.

About 4-years ago I dumped it and bought an Android-powered HTC Desire. HTC’s syncing software at the time was very basic but worked. It synced contacts and calendar. From memory, that was about it, but, as I said, it got by. This was to a POP account run under Outlook 2007. Remember, this was in clear, sunny days, before the cloud. We have largely outgrown plugging the phone physically in to the PC to sync it.

With my short attention span I soon bought a Samsung N7000 Note. A large and quite usable mobile that had all manner of software toys on board to keep me happy – except, that is, that Samsung is incompetent at writing software adequate to sync one of its Android phones to a PC. I’d had earlier experience of a Samsung in the form of an SGH 800 slider. It too came with syncing software that was so slow as to make it unusable. Remember the slow file copying problems that Vista had? Multiply that tenfold and you get the idea about Samsung’s earlier software efforts.

Samsung’s Kies software is not fit for purpose as I have explained previously and after a year I’d had enough. It’s gone. Nice phone but if I can’t transfer music, calendars and contacts to and from my PC, what use is it? A phone? The Motorola brick that I’d used at TVNZ 27 years ago was a phone. I needed more than a phone.

I had been keen to try a Windows Phone but Microsoft seems to dart about the place, desperate to keep itself relevant and I thought it could easily, with a snap of its fingers, abandon Windows Phone, just like that. Then, encouraged when Microsoft splashed out a few billion to buy Nokia, I thought that they may persevere for at least the next three years, the extreme length of my tech attention span. After that they could do what they liked with it.

I ditched Outlook 2007 and started using the Open Source Thunderbird. The Nokia 920 running Windows Phone synced seamlessly with both Thunderbird and outlook.com contacts and calendar.

Then (and this happens every year dammit) I had a birthday. My kids, aware of my insatiable appetite for battery-driven toys, bought me a new Android. I was taken aback. Finally, after several attempts, I thought I’d found the perfect smart phone. I could hardly throw the new one into a draw so reluctantly I put the Nokia away and started all over again to set up the birthday one: Lenovo S920. It’s 5.2 and a bit inches and it is fantastic and every bit the equal of the Nokia.

Now I can sync my Outlook 2013 on my PC through outlook.com, ditto my calendar and, unlike Samsung Kies, Lenovo has a great PC-to-phone interface that works flawlessly to the point where I can send and receive texts, files and images from my PC through the phone.

A week ago, Lenovo pushed Android 4.4 to me without my having to ask and I am now sporting the latest Android version. In fairness to Samsung, I guess I could have set my Note up the same way but at the time I was weaning myself off USB cables and stepping out into the cloud.

Sitting in a chair, at the beach, the pub, in the street or just wasting time, I can add calendar, to-do, contacts and notes and they sprint up to outlook.com, replicate on my PC and my Android tablet. I enjoyed the Nokia 920 but the Lenovo S920 is big and bold and I think I’ll enjoy it for the next couple of years. If Microsoft can make headway and survive with Nokia and Windows Phone I may even go back to them. In the meantime, I wouldn’t swap.