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Nokia’s Lumia Icon is my latest smartphone squeeze, but it’s a stormy relationship.

Using the Windows Phone 8-based Verizon handset has reminded me how much I like Microsoft’s phone platform. Instead of icons on the screen, you see a grid of colorful squares and rectangles in different sizes – some of which display slide shows, news headlines, incoming e-mails, social-media updates and other ever-changing content.

Windows Phone 8 is different and delightful.

And if were to pick a Windows Phone handset to own, the Icon would be a contender. It has the aesthetic I crave, a metal brick in minimalist black to emphasize what is on the display and not what is around it. Apple’s iPhone 5s and Google’s Android-based Nexus 5 have a similar look and feel. (The Icon also comes in white.)

The Icon’s 1920-by-1080-pixel AMOLED display is bright and beautiful, further enhancing that cool tiled interface. the phone has surprisingly good battery life, yet is fast courtesy of its quad-core Snapdragon 800 chip.

It is a hefty phone and would be all the more of a beast in a case – not that I could find one. I therefore used it naked, which I came to regret.

It took a tumble onto my kitchen’s hard-tile floor and now has a prominent bare-metal dent on its upper/right/front corner. (Sorry, Verizon.) It still works perfectly, though.

App choice remains a serious problem in the Windows Phone world.

I found most of the basics: Twitter, Facebook, Google Search, Netflix, Pandora, Tumblr, Nextgen Reader for pulling in Feedly feeds, MetroMail for pulling in my work-related Gmail, TuneIn Radio and its competitor iHeartRadio, and so on.

On the Photo front, there is an Instagram app, a Vine app, a version of Hipstamatic’s terrific Oggl app, and many more for use with the Icon’s superb camera (which, however, is no match for the supercamera built into the Nokia Lumia 1020).

Yet I frequently failed to find apps I needed. The Windows Store lacks an Xfinity TV Go app, so as a Comcast customer I couldn’t watch my "Avenida Brasil." I wanted to use Lyft and Uber apps to summon those service’s citizen-owned quasi-taxis, but there isn’t an app for that.

Weirdly, FlipBoard has a version of its popular newsreader for the Windows 8 desktop operating system but not for Windows Phone, even though the app is out for Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones.

I could go on and on.

So, while I adore the Icon, the Windows Phone environment still causes me great discomfort. I say that as an app-addicted geek, of course.

Many average consumers will find the lovely Icon and its elegant OS to be just right – and I wouldn’t dream of talking them out of it.

My wife just wants her e-mail, photos, TuneIn Radio for listening to radio stations based outside the U.S., a weather app, maybe a news app or two, and little else. The Icon would be perfect for her – and its sexy looks, decent performance and user-friendly operating system would give her endless pleasure.

Here’s a more detailed Icon review:
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