Windows Phone

Discussion in 'Computing' started by Mitlov, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    Anyone here using a smartphone running Windows Phone 7.5 Mango? Just got an HTC Trophy, and I have to say, Windows Phone is the best-kept secret in smartphones and a very, very good alternative to Apple's iOS and Google's Android.

    Wrote this lengthy review for a tech forum I'm part of, and I thought I'd repost it here for anyone interested.

    EDIT: it won't let me just post a url to YouTube and keep it as a url instead of an embedded video. Sorry for the big video boxes breaking the flow.

    THE GOOD

    HTC hardware is solid construction and quality materials, though the styling is somewhat drab and anonymous compared to more stylish designs from Apple, Nokia, and Motorola.

    Windows Phone’s tile-based interface is easy-to-use, self-explanatory, refined, stable, and attractive. For those not familiar, here's a quick overview of what the tiles and some of the native apps look like in action ([ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2m3wFWeTIU"]Windows Phone 7 - Intro - YouTube[/ame]).

    The integrated address book pulls all information from your Facebook, Google, and Verizon address books and puts them all in one place, so I can pull up “Joe Sixpack” and have options to call him, write on his facebook wall, email him, look up his employer (if it’s on a facebook profile), etc.

    The Mail app works well with Gmail, and has an attractive and easy-to-use interface, though as one nitpick, I can’t figure out how to modify the default (small) font size. I like to email my mother with large text in the email, and can't do that as far as I can tell.

    It offers native support for Microsoft Office documents—I can open, edit, or even create Word and Excel documents. It's no substitute for a laptop, but it works well in a pinch.

    It has support for Zune subscription (a fantastic subscription-based music service, better than Pandora or Spotify in my opinion). Zune allows you to download entire albums for free, and not just ten-year-old junk that you don't want. But it can only stay only your Windows computer and Windows phone, and you need to keep your Zune subscription ($10/month or $100/year) active to play it, unless you purchase the DRM-free version (comparably priced to downloads from iTunes and Amazon). A four-minute intro to the phone’s Zune app is here: ([ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQaTsj6cZlE"]Zune Integration on Windows Phone 7 - YouTube[/ame]).

    There's a vast selection of smartphone games on Microsoft’s Xbox Live, some of them very high quality. One great example is “Rise of Glory,” a remarkably-detailed WWI flight sim where you control your plane by banking and yawing the phone ([ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VziuBsEAx0c"]Xbox LIVE Games on Windows Phone: Rise of Glory - YouTube[/ame]). I love it. No substitute for the surprisingly-similarly-named PC flight sim "Rise of Flight" by 777 Games, but it's a fun distraction when you're sitting on a porcelain throne.

    The camera is respectable quality and uploading to Facebook or copying to my computer are both easy to do. It's not amazing quality, but it's respectable quality and easy to use.

    THE BAD

    As noted above, the solidly-built hardware is lacking any sort of style or flair or luxury.

    The processor isn’t the fastest. This isn't a big deal for how I use it, but still worth mentioning. Games take a while to load.

    While the screen is sharp and vibrant when you look at it perfectly perpendicularly, it has narrow viewing angles, so the colors wash out quickly if you look at it from an angle. Viewing angles are far inferior to my Kindle Fire.

    The Zune PC software, which you use to manage the device and update its firmware (like you use iTunes to manage an iPhone) is Windows-only, whereas iTunes is available for both Windows and OSX. In other words, if you buy a Windows phone, you’d better have a Windows computer as well.

    My 2011 Civic Si thinks it’s an “unsupported device” and won’t play music off it like it’ll play music off the iPod. (Windows Phone 7 was released after my generation Civic Si was first released in 2006...maybe that's the problem?).

    While the selection of Microsoft apps (both Microsoft Office productivity apps and Xbox gaming apps) is good, the selection of third-party apps is not nearly as good as Apple’s iOS or Android.

    CONCLUSION

    The hardware is perfectly respectable but lacks any sort of flair. It's like driving a new Ford Taurus. Well-made and understated, but don't count on it to draw longing glances from anyone. The screen viewing angles are the biggest issue.

    Windows Phone 7 is a fantastic smartphone OS. Right now it’s really only held back, ironically, by the fact that it’s not already popular. Since not many people are going out saying “I want a Windows smartphone,” phone manufacturers aren’t building many phones for Windows 7, so there’s not much high-end hardware running it. And there’s not a lot of third-party app developers making WP7 app development a priority. But if Windows Phone is able to develop that critical mass of users to start attracting more hardware options and more apps, it could snowball and become huge, because the operating system itself is great. Even my tech-illiterate wife quickly understood how to use it, the Microsoft Office support is great for business users, and the Facebook and XBox Live integration are great for casual users.

    Am I glad I got it? You bet. It offered a level of refinement that I haven't experienced in Android phones, and the UI design, Zune integration, MS Office integration, and XBox integration were all advantages over the iPhone, at least for me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012
  2. LilBunnyRabbit

    LilBunnyRabbit Old One

    I'm currently debating between a Symbian or Windows for my next upgrade - might have to look harder at the Windows option after this.

    Then again the new PureView is very tempting.
     
  3. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    I thought Nokia was giving up Symbian and throwing all its eggs into the Windows Phone basket with the new Nokia Lumia lineup?
     
  4. LilBunnyRabbit

    LilBunnyRabbit Old One

    So did everyone else, but it's still a good solid OS and they have a few more phones coming out with it: http://press.nokia.com/2012/02/27/nokia-808-pureview-ushers-in-a-revolution-in-smartphone-imaging/

    That's the one I'm after. I use my phone as a camera a lot, other than that it's just messaging and calls. For any smartphone-type stuff I have a tablet.
     
  5. shootodog

    shootodog restless native

    double
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012
  6. shootodog

    shootodog restless native

    amen.

    nokia still has the best optics stuck on to a phone bar none! even the iphony 4s cannot raise a candle to the carl zeiss 28mm f2.8 optics on that thing. PLUS it still has the idiot proof operations of a nokia.

    the samsung s2 seems to be a serious contender. i will let you know when i get it.
     
  7. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    Windows poisoned their mobile brand with their previous efforts. It's not surprising that people are sceptical second time round.
     
  8. Bambi

    Bambi Valued Member

    Lots of people had love for previous the various windows phone OS. They were right to pull the previous os until 7 came out though. Note that the zune store isn't available in many markets unfortunately :(
     
  9. shootodog

    shootodog restless native

    i hope windows can surpass their "ol' blue screen of death" image. it made me shift to linux for a while until mac osx was forced on me.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. LilBunnyRabbit

    LilBunnyRabbit Old One

    Frankly, I'd rather OS/2 Warp. Or even Windows ME.
     
  11. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    This isn't the 1990s. I've never once had a BSOD on my Windows 7 laptop, my Windows 7 desktop, or my (admittedly new) Windows Phone 7.5.
     
  12. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    And can I just add that "live tiles" are fantastic? I can tell from my Zune tile what music is currently playing (whether it's actively playing or paused), without opening Zune. I can tell from my calendar tile what my next appointment is, without opening the calendar. I can tell from my "people" and "me" tiles what's been going on on facebook recently, without opening them. I can tell from my alarm clock tile whether it's on or off, and when it's set to ring, without opening it. I can see the most recently-take pictures cycling on my "pictures" tile without launching that app. Fantastic.

    Plus, to be shallow, the effect is quite pretty. You're looking at a bunch of boxes of info, some of which (particularly the People tile) are animated and have pictures. It's divided into nine sub-tiles and it flips through FB profile pics in each sub-tile, or sometimes a box of four sub-tiles. The entire effect is just very refined and attractive, and it's a lot more appealing to me than looking at just a bunch of icons to launch apps.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012
  13. LilBunnyRabbit

    LilBunnyRabbit Old One

    This is my one and only complaint about my ASUS Prime - the aesthetic effect of the widgets isn't exactly pleasing. I spent hours trying to get it to look as nice as possible.
     
  14. shootodog

    shootodog restless native

    that's how long i haven't been on windows? wow!
     
  15. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    And if you have an Xbox Live avatar, he/she pokes his/her head around the corners of the tile. It doesn't have pragmatic value, like the display of your next appointment on the calendar tile, but like displaying a mosaic of your friends' facebook pictures on your People tile or the last band you listened to on your Zune tile, it just makes the entire thing feel more "personal" without feeling aesthetically disjointed.
     
  16. Bambi

    Bambi Valued Member

    When you have your xbox avatar onscreen, you can shake the phone and make him fall over. Do it often enough and he will do stuff like kicking the screen in anger causing it to "crack"
     
  17. Quincyma80

    Quincyma80 Valued Member

    Of the Mango that may have been...

    I was waiting to purchase this exact same model for months in the US via my carrier Verizon Wireless for many of these reasons...

    I knew the Mango 7.5 system had been rolled in the UK late last Summer - so any month it would be coming to America, qui?

    Month after month... oh Mango will here for the holidays. Bah Humbug!

    In January the time had come - but in the end I chose an HTC Android phone.

    Why? Well for the same price I would be buying a 3G vs. a 4G platform?

    And the young retail sales attendant put it bluntly - that Verizon had not seem much corporate commitment from Microsoft about their long terms plans.

    Was I bamboozled, maybe.

    Perhap I just didn't want to have to dial 911 during an emergency and be told by my phone to reboot.
    :(
    Or to date myself back to Windows 3.0 get this splash screen:

    UNRECOVERABLE APPLICATION ERROR

    Didn't the famous Roman Statesman Marcus Porcius Cato, commonly referred to Cato the Elder always end his speeches with:

    Carthage must be destroyed and Bill Gates must die!

    One of these centuries Microsoft will get it right...
     
  18. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    Find me a professional review that criticizes Windows Phone 7.0 or 7.5's stability. Even one. Please. You're criticizing a two-year-old phone OS with the bad behavior of a totally-unrelated ten-year-old desktop OS.

    Windows Phone is remarkably stable and bug free. Can't say the same of all varieties of Android, especially after hardware manufacturers have customized the hell out of it.

    I have a lot of trouble believing you were ever actually in the market for a Windows Phone with those sorts of comments. The ONLY negative experience you actually report, besides outdated stereotypes of Microsoft as a brand, is that you were impatient waiting for Mango to arrive. And it's not like it even took unusually long to arrive...it was announced mid-2011 and arrived starting September 27, 2011.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  19. Quincyma80

    Quincyma80 Valued Member

    Perhaps I should use emoticoms to clearly highlight when typing my sarcasm and satire...

    Despite your opinion I did in fact spend time looking into a purchase HTC Trophy because of some POSITIVE reviews - I even looked up a couple I had saved:

    PCWorld, May 31, 2011
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/229104/htc_trophy_review_windows_phone_7_comes_to_verizon.html
    ________________________________________

    Windows Phone 7.5: What will make it a winner?
    by Harry McCracken December 10, 2011 1:47 PM PST

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-33200_3-5...7.5-what-will-make-it-a-winner/?tag=cnetRiver

    ----------------------------------------------
    However I myself am somewhat tied to using Verizon Wireless as a carrier (pricing discounts) and when visiting multiple stores during the 4th Quarter they kept saying the Mango version hadn't arrived. Could it be their sales staff are told not to go out of their way to push Windows phones?

    I simply was making a consumer decision of not wanting to buy a product with a pending major OS upgrade. I had a four year old phone - so what was a couple of more months.

    Ironically the model I did buy in January - an HTC Thunderbolt introduced in March 2011 - had just been discontinued - and I scored some deep discounts when buying accessories.

    Talk about a short shelf life...
     
  20. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    I've gotten the idea that Verizon has chosen not to push Windows Phone for one reason or another. Maybe because it doesn't come with the bloatware-tastic Verizon Media Manager. Maybe it's a lower profit margin than some of the fancy Android phones. In the physical store near me, they have one display model just stuck in the middle of a row of cheap Android phones, with no banner saying "Windows Phone" or anything like that (even though they have a six-foot-wide-by-four-foot-high Apple banner over the iPhone, and an even bigger Droid banner over the Motorola Droid models).

    Anyway, what they told you was technically true but misleading. The HTC Trophy has never shipped from the factory with Mango. Even the one I bought last week had 7.0 instead of 7.5 when I took it out of the box. But I took it home, plugged it into my computer, launched the Zune software, and it updated itself to Mango. Besides launching Zune, it did it itself--it wasn't a complicated process. So when they said "we don't have an HTC Trophy with Mango," that was literally true but woefully misleading, because since September of 2011, you could have updated it to Mango.

    That seems to be a trend with Android phones because of the multitude of Android versions out there and because many manufacturers won't let you upgrade to a newer version of Android.
     

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