First impressions: Lumia Icon Windows Phone (unboxing)

First impressions: Lumia Icon Windows Phone (unboxing)

Summary: It’s very, very red. It’s also a completely different UI from Android and iOS. In many ways, though, it's just another high-end smartphone. And that's a good thing.


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  • The little red box

    Earlier this week, I described my intention to give Windows Phone a fair and unbiased look. At the time, I set up a set of questions and requirements that a phone would have to meet in order to meet my needs. Both iPhones and Android phones can meet these requirements. I wondered if Windows Phone could stand up to the comparison.

    Microsoft was kind enough to loan me a Lumia Icon, which I just opened up today. Here are my first impressions, coming mostly from the process of unboxing the thing. I’ll have more in-depth discussions of the hardware, software, and ecosystem in future articles.

    I have pretty mediocre wireless coverage across carriers at home, but Verizon is the best of the lot. Microsoft provided me with a Verizon phone, so we’re in for a lot of red.

  • A smartphone box is a smartphone box

    The box the phone comes in is pretty much like any other smartphone box. The one thing that gave me a grin was the overlaid description of the buttons and connectors. That’s just cute.

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • You can

    change the color of the tiles. The red does appear a little over saturated.
    • Or....

      Change to transparent tiles and add a picture to the background of the tiles instead of just colored tiles. One nice feature of the phone I like, but more tiles need to come in transparent which many of them are starting to do since 8.1 was released.
    • Gotta love Verizon

      They do LOVE that color too much! Yes, my carrier is Verizon also so one of the first things I did was change the color, set transparent tiles and install a pretty background image. The background color still has an effect on things like chat colors and calendar apps so it is a real good idea to try a few and find what works best for your eyesight. I also play with the colors just to change the "mood" of the phone.

      I like the more neutral shades, my spouse actually prefers the really bright bold colors and even has hers set to red from time to time (keep out of her way days...if you catch my drift).
      The Heretic
  • Yes, very Red

    Verizon Red. I'm glad I could change that on mine...
  • First impressions: Lumia Icon Windows Phone (unboxing)

    My Nokia Lumia was very red too with the box and UI but Microsoft Windows Phone is customizable enough to allow you to change the colors of the tiles. The red box is because that is Verizon's color.

    No ear buds isn't much of an issue as most people have a set of them or headphones anyway. Soon you will see other manufacturers dropping the ear buds as well to save on costs. I'm waiting for the next article to see how you like Microsoft Windows Phone when you start using it for daily tasks.
    • OEM Buds Would Be An Insult

      to the "Dolby 5.1 Surround" on the 930!

      Now combine that "Dolby 5.1 Surround" with the on-board "Miracast" and you are talking some serious entertainment!
  • Glance

    It's a shame they sent you a model without Glance.

    Will you keep the loaner long enough that you'l be able to run 8.1 on it?
    • I believe that they provided him the WP8.1.

      This phone is available at Verizon right now with 8.1 already on it. I have the Evaluation version side-loaded on an older Nokia 822 from Verizon but I assume Verizon will make an official release of their customized version of 8.1 available pretty soon. I am just going to upgrade when my current contract is up.
      The Heretic
    • Sort of a Verizon issue

      No models have Glance, I believe. Though at least it has wireless charging and this is the best windows phone on Verizon.
      • I believe....

        They can't utilize the glance screen with the new screen technologies from my understanding. If they could include it they would I have no doubt, but hardware limitations are the reason they do not offer it on newer models. I do like Glance on my 928, it comes in handy when just needing the time.
      • Glance is missing from the Icon and 930... has something to do with the type of glass or something that they used with these models. I believe they are still working on a solution to get it to work properly. For now, I will stick with my Lumia 928. I love the Glance feature. It works on most other Lumia phones. The Icon is a great phone otherwise. I checked it out at a Verizon store. The size of the phone is also the same of the 928 (only slightly larger), but with the 5" screen as opposed to the 4.5" screen on the 928. If you are new to WP, you won't miss Glance, but I would definitely miss it.
  • 8 or 8.1?

    If it is 8, then you are going to miss a lot of cool features like Cortana, Action Center and Wordflow keyboard to name a few. Better wait until it updates to 8.1. Here is a review from another blogger
    • i have to agree

      I liked my WP prior to 8.1, but acknowledged it had certain deficiencies. I considered going back to ios or switching to android. 8.1, however, made things much, much better. My wife is actually considering switching from apple now, which I never thought would happen. My biggest surprise is how well Cortana works - Siri never worked that well for me. I won't get into all I like about it, but the dedicated Cortana app has been very useful.
      • What were the changes?

        I'm still waiting on T-Mobile to get the 8.1 update. What made that much of a difference?
        Buster Friendly
        • Better keyboarding is the biggest for me.

          WP has always had one of the better predictive text systems on the market but the addition of the swype to type feature in 8.1 is simply awesome. I have Cortana, it does make working with the phone much easier and in my car, Chevrolet MyLink equipped, Cortana is accessible through the vehicles audio system so will read and respond to text using voice as well as allow me to play music stored on the phone and even videos (when parked only). The screen is more customizable and allows for more tiles (icons) and overall system performance and memory management seems better. WP8.1 is a much improved experience although I never really had a complaint about the old system until the new one was there to play with. Wouldn't want to go back.
          The Heretic
          • Nice

            I've liked swype on other phones. That will be a nice change.
            Buster Friendly
          • I find...

            That the swype on 8.1 is damn near flawless when I use it. I am starting to use it more and it amazes me how accurate it is when I am not being so accurate with it. May be the best swype style keyboard on the market.
  • signal strength

    You ever look into a cellular signal booster for your home? I couldn't survive without one... for home calls. Once I get about a mile from home I'm good but there's a perpetual dead zone in my neighborhood. Got mine from Solid Signal but they are available on Amazon and elsewhere... Wilson, Wi-Ex, zBoost. some have more coverage and include directional antennas if needed. If you need the directional antenna id recommend using a signal strength meter to hone in on the right placement and directionality. if your signal is really spotty it could make the difference between fair and great results.
  • lame software and lame box

    the windoze OS is as lame as the Nike shoes box it came in!
    Too bad good hardware got spoiled by M$!
    LlNUX Geek
    • ok

      To each there own. Too bad you decided that you had to comment on this. Must be a sad life trying to be negative.