I have long been interested in trying out WP extensively; shops around here tend to have dummy models and even when they have real phones, it feels like the OS is difficult to understand using fake in-store data. I decided to get a cheap pay-as-you-go WP8 Lumia 520 as a kind of OS-curious experiment. With Android feeling like an imitation of iOS, I was really interested to see what WP was like. I've been using this second phone for a week now and I have to say there are some nice design decisions in there. This is purely a look at the OS and its design and structure, not an argument for or against one phone ecosystem or hardware maker. - I had never been particularly dissatisfied with the iOS launcher system, but as the number of apps increases I started to realise it's unsustainable to have the launcher contain all your apps. WP takes a more sensible approach that mirrors the one found in OS X and Windows on desktop: users have a place where all their installed apps are listed (the Start Menu in Windows, and the Applications folder or Launchpad in OS X), and they also have a place they can pin or keep their frequently used apps so they can launch them quickly (the Taskbar in Windows and the Dock in OS X). WP mirrors this by having the home screen be a place you pin only the apps you want to see there, and then you can swipe to an alphabetical list of all your installed apps. This makes a huge amount of sense to me and I'm starting to wish Apple would use this approach, as otherwise after my first page of apps on iOS I just end up dumping the rest in folders called things like Misc or Default or Less Used. This would also solve the issue people have of having to find somewhere to put default iOS apps like Stocks or Newsstand that they don't use. - Apps in WP are able to declare themselves as lock-screen image providers. The system has an option to pull in a different image daily from Bing, and so far I've seen Facebook and Twitter offer to pull images from their respective feeds. This is a really nice option; the Bing one in particular is a fun way to see something new on your lock screen. I've never been that tied to having a particular image of my own on there, so YMMV but it's a nice option and with Apple increasingly supporting Bing over Google, they could easily add it to iOS. - A few of the built-in utility apps are invaluable: Data Sense monitors your data usage, displays details per app, and can restrict backrund data usage when you approach your monthly limit; the battery saver can turn off nonessential features when your battery is running low, or you can activate it manually and it will turn off when you next charge. It would be nice if Apple is keeping an eye on the competition and not too proud to integrate sensible ideas from them.