A Short Windows Phone 7 Review (on a mac site)

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by thejadedmonkey, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. thejadedmonkey, Nov 11, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2010

    thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #1
    After a few years - almost 4 - I just replaced my sony ericsson w300i flip phone with a samsung focus.

    First off, this phone is thin and light. It's on par with an iPhone 4 I'd guess, definitely smaller than the original iphones, and much smaller/lighter feeling than the droid X and droid 2.

    The speaker is ok, it definitely sounds different than the 4 year old flip phone it replaced, but I haven't ever had a problem understanding anyone, so I'll just chalk it up as being "different", not necessarily bad though. No one's complained about being able to hear me, so I assume I sound fine on the other end, too.

    Onto the software...
    The software doesn't do much, but what it does, it does very very well. My friend asked me if she could see my "not iphone" and spent a few seconds looking at it, before handing it back saying it was better than she expected. that's about how I feel about it. On first glance, it's much better than anything I would have expected from MS, but when you start digging and using it, you begin to notice the flaws, such as the lack of customizable ringtones or alerts, and its inability to connect to my campus' wireless.

    Microsoft's mac sync tool works well enough, although I eventually connected it to my PC, so I can use Zune's wireless sync ability and leave it charging in my bedroom overnight. However, I did play around with it, and I was very impressed with its ties with iLife. For example, you can sync albums, faces (I don't think you can do that in Zune, for example!), places, etc. The music and video sync was equally as impressive.

    app wise, there's not a whole lot yet, to be expected. The worst part though, is the store design itself kinda sucks. It's like walking into a wal*mart or target, and having the cold food and bicycles on the same shelf.

    At the risk of parroting everyone else, it's no iphone yet, but it's a worthy competitor, especially for a first gen OS. I like where Microsoft has gone with regards to using tiles to display info, however I have yet to see an instance where a tile beats an iOS icon with a badge.

    Ask me anything, and I'll answer as best I can. If you have a specific question about an application, as long as it's free, I'll install it and tell you how it looks/works/etc.

    mod note: I wasn't suer if this belongs in Apple, Industry, and Internet Discussion, or elsewhere. I opted to leave it out of the iPhone section to try to stop a flame war from starting, however if you feel the need to move it, feel free to.

    Everyone else: Please, lets try to keep flaming to a minimum. I'm doing this because I like the MR community, and want to give something back. Keep it civil.

    As I use the phone more, I'll just keep adding interesting points to this list.
    • The volume control is system wide: Changing the ringer volume changes the music playback volume
    • The volume buttons work even when the phone's screen is off
    • If you turn the screen on, the audio playback controls are on the lock screen
    • In the Zune (music) app, seach will search the store, not the device
    • Found my first bug: bing Maps put me about a mile away from where I am, and consequently turned my 5 minute walk into a 9 minute drive.
    • Missing (more) features in the music player app, that are in the zune, such as smart DJ and a jog style control for fast-forwarding.
    • The games have the ability to be amazing. The Harvest - a MS Game Studio title - blows any other cellphone game I've seen out of the water, graphics wise
    • Everything is touchable. Like Aqua is lickable, you can touch just about anything here.
    • The playback volume for music seems a bit low...
    • The alarm doesn't seem to wake me up. Maybe there's a setting I can change, but setting an alarm and sleeping through class doesn't make me happy.
    • The power button doesn't always turn the screen on. This is a major bug, as it's happened to me twice now.
     
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
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    #2
    Does the interface with all the cut-off headlines and word bother you? From the pictures I have seen, it would drive me nuts
     
  3. thejadedmonkey thread starter macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
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    #3
    I thought they would bother me too, but that's not the case at all.

    The cut off words seem to take up a lot of space, such as in the "People" tile, where I end up ignoring it all together. Or they're in a row, such as in the email or facebook app, where it provides a nice, yet subtle, hint that I can swipe right or left.

    Where I ignore it, it's just a lot of wasted space, which doesn't do anyone any good. But where I find that it works, it works nicely, almost like a more visual/written representation of the . . . . thing that Apple does.
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #4
    I think that MS' bid to attract developers will pay dividends. Look how long it took for android to start gaining traction with apps. From what I hear, developing for a wp7 phone is easier/better then that of android. If that is the case, then that certainly will help.

    As for the customizable ringtones and what not. I'm really surprised by that, as MS has made it a critical point that the phone is very customizable to your needs. Ballmer kept saying your/my phone to really hammer home that you change it the way you want.

    I suspect that the update that is due to come out in a month or two (for the promised cut/paste functionality) may correct some of those glaring flaws as well.
     
  5. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #5
    I'm surprised anyone still asks this.

    By now it should be widely known that this is a pretty intuitive way of showing that there's more information to the left or right.

    It's funny, but when the iPhone first came out with the flashy next-screen effects, many Apple fans mistakenly thought it had a viewpoint UI that showed part of a larger visual field that you scrolled within. As it turned out, no it didn't, but the WP7 UI does.

    Highly customizable ringtones, copy/paste, apps, and so much more were also missing from the iPhone for a long time. Luckily for Microsoft, the smartphone market is still in its general infancy.
     
  6. thejadedmonkey thread starter macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #6
    I completely agree. The phone cannot connect to my campus wifi, the data detectors don't always detect (so copy/paste would be helpful), and it's missing a lot of customization options to the point where I would return it if it wasn't a 3 day old OS... But for now I'm giving MS the benefit of the doubt, and hoping that by Jan/Feb, most or all of its shortcomings will be fixed, because like I said, what works, is beyond simply polished.
     
  7. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #7
    What I have been trying to figure out is how easy is it to develope software for Windows Phone 7 and what the cost is. What type of trouble would I have to go threw if I just want to write software for my own use. It would be something fun to do while in school.

    I know that is something that has my attention with android is I could write some of my own code for the phone. WP7 I can download the ide for free threw www.dreamspark.com (MS site for students)
     
  8. KeriJane macrumors 6502a

    KeriJane

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
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    ЧИКАГО!
    #8
    Thank you for the mini review.

    Did you say the RINGTONES are not customizable?
    That's hard to imagine.

    The "store" that seems unfinished is their app store right? That's understandable for the short term.

    Enjoy your new phone,
    Happy Friday Eve,
    Keri

    PS. I'm about due to replace my RAZR2, so it's alway nice to hear what's out there.
     
  9. thejadedmonkey thread starter macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #9
    Keri, there's 41 ringtones on my phone - 30 WP7 ones, plus 11 added by AT&T and Samsung. They're all good, but as far as I can tell there's no way for me to appease my Bieber fever and get him as a ringtone! :rolleyes:

    Honestly it's not a big limitation as I haven't used a song for a ringtone in a few years, but it is just another limitation you notice.

    Rodimus Prime, I don't know about putting custom apps onto your phone, but I downloaded the IDE from dreamspark too, my friend who is in a VB class started coding a program that added 1 to a number - real basic stuff here - and he said it was very easy. I don't know any more than that, and this was before I got the phone, he was just using the emulator.
     
  10. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    Aug 1, 2004
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    St. Louis, MO
    #10
    The iPhone didn't have customizable ringtones when it first came out either. Hard to imagine, right? :rolleyes:
     
  11. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    And still doesn't, or at least not with non iTunes bought sound files. Something that has rather bugged me actually as I mainly buy CD's

    Am I right in thinking the Windows Phone 7 App Store will be moderated in more or less the same way the iDevices one is?
     
  12. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #12
    It's trivial to cook one up in Garageband or (insert your favourite audio editor). Google is your friend.
     
  13. thejadedmonkey thread starter macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #13
    More or less. I'm hoping that, as MS is the underdog, it'll be less, or at least they will (eventually) allow side-loading of apps. At least, if you compile your own you don't have to pay $100 for a developer license to run it (I believe).
     
  14. shingi70 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2010
    #14
    sounds good. I'm going to get the venue pro.


    how is the web browser ? i hear you can download files directly from it and even zip files.
     
  15. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #15
    whys around that if you are a student. They will wave the 99 fee and allow the first 5 apps sent to the store for free.

    I have the sdk installed on my computer but I am going to sit on registrations t so I can have the
     
  16. thejadedmonkey thread starter macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
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    #16
    You can't exactly download files (at least, not that I can see). However, it understands office, pdf, etc... and can open them. If you select a zip file, it'll show you the contents and you can tap on the file to open it, but I don't think you can save anything. just open.

    Also, the app store has already changed slightly. So MS is definitely working on it.
     
  17. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #17
    So how do notifications from apps work?

    The biggest problem I see with it is the fact that average consumers are not gong to compare Windows Phone 1.x with iPhone 1.x. They're going to compare it to iPhone 4 and wonder why it's missing features. Also, Android already has the alternative-to-the-iPhone market covered. Who exactly is Windows Phone for?

    The odds are already stacked against it. However, I hope it is successful. It's different and not just an iPhone clone like Android. That's worth something.

    This is the same development team that made Windows Media Center, Portable Media Center, then Zune, then Zune HD and now Windows Phone with a little Ken thrown in there. So, they're due a hit.
     
  18. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #18
    So for me I am torn and looking at WP7 for my next smart phone. I have ZERO interested in the iPhone but WP7 seems to have some promising stuff on it that has my attention.
    But at the same time Android really has my attention as well. I will have to see what form in the next 6-7 months so I know which ship I will be jump too from blackberry.
     
  19. thejadedmonkey thread starter macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
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    Pa
    #19
    Notifications are displayed on the lock screen in the format # icon, so if you have 2 new texts, it'll say 2 and have a little picture of the text message icon. I'd take a picture, but I don't know how to take a screen shot, and I'm just too lazy/tired to pull out my camera and upload a picture right now. maybe tomorrow ;)

    Than, on the home screen the tile will display a number, which signifies the number of unread texts or missed calls, etc.

    Compared to the Droid X, it's a smaller phone. Compared to Android 2.whatever-comes-on-the-droid-x, I much prefer WP7. The OS seems more smooth and polished, and it has a more unified look. Plus, because programs can't really run in the background, my phone is never laggy or stuttery. My friend's android phone is always acting up after a few days of being on, due to app issues.

    But again, I'm biased, I just don't like the android UI.
     
  20. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #20
    There are aspects to android that I like and others that I don't. The notification system is superior to iOS and that's a plus. iOs has a better integration to exchange servers and I like their email client better.

    On my droidx, I have a gmail email client, an email client, and a third party email client because all three cannot do what a single email client on iOS can. So with that said, I am drawn to WP7 because its microsoft and I have little doubt that its email client/exchange integration will be top notch.

    I also expect cut/paste to be done well. So far in android, I've been left wanting on cut and paste. Its limited to only editable text. So even if I reply to an email, I cannot copy any text to the clipboard. Perhaps gingerbread will fix this, which should be released imminently
     
  21. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
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    #21
    Yeah it is,, especially in this day and age... :rolleyes:


    Thanks for the review!!
     
  22. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
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    #22
    The Windows Phone 7 phones look really nice. But I think I'll wait for newer phones to come out - first-generation phones always have kinks to work out.

    And besides, I'm stuck with my 3GS until next summer, anyway. So I'll buy an iPad, and see which OS is the best come summer and get a phone with that OS, be it iOS, Android or WP7.

    Good times!
     
  23. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #23
    Alas, too vague to be useful. We don't know what your friend's phone is, how old it is, or what apps he's talking about. It's like someone saying their friend's iPhone is dog-slow, but not tell is it's an old one trying to run 4.0.

    I would ask that everyone be more specific with such comments. Which Android phone? There are cheap ones, slow ones, and then there are really nice, fast ones.

    That's okay. It's great that we have all these UI choices now.

    As for Android, I fully expect someone to do a nice WP7 style launcher.
     
  24. *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    Feb 5, 2009
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    Canada
    #24
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/8B117)

    It's really a shame (depending on your preference) that WP7 will be a disaster of epic proportions. It's marketed to the wrong users (average consumers) and offers nothing revolutionary in a field of by now very entrenched players. Add to that the lukewarm reception upon its weak release, that it's also crippled (forgivable in 2008, but not in 2010) and you've got the makings of yet another trademark Microsloth failure.

    Zune-like, in the presence of Apple and Google, there's absolutely zero reason to get one of these.
     
  25. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #25
    And yet there is a high interest for it. They have sold out in the uk. And whereas I wont be getting one because I have my iPhone, I have used one and I am rather impressed. Immature as it may be now, it will not be long at all until it is on a par with the iPhone.

    Now, please, take you're views elsewhere. I doubt you have even used a Windows Phone.
     

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