My new Windows Phone 7

So I got my new Windows Phone 7 today and thought I would share my experience and compare it with my previous iPhone 3Gs. The device I got was the HTC 7 Mozart.


Firstly I was a little disappointed with the release of the WP7. The device options were not that great, in Australia only 1 telco company phones ready for the release date or of 4 or 5 major ones. Not only this but the one company with devices only had 2 models. Putting all of that aside the other thing I was really disappointed with is out of the 10 or so different models announced all except 2 were only 8GB or storage and the other 2 were 16GB. This is ridiculous, it’s meant to be a media centric device and this in no way competes with the current market. That all aside I decided to get one anyway because I wanted to start developing apps for it.

First Impression of the HTC 7 Mozart

The Good

  • The look and feel of the phone is very nice, it feels solid and does not feel like some cheap plastic thing.
  • The buttons at the bottom are touch, it’s nice to just have to slightly touch them to pick it up. One thing that really builds up the experience is the phone vibrates slightly when you hit them giving them some sort of depth.
  • There a couple of nice little apps htc as added to it, nothing outstanding though.

The Bad

  • I was really expecting a bit better quality of images with the 8MP camera. There not too bad, I haven’t really tried it out to much, only indoors around the office. It felt like the digital zoom was useless and just made the image out of focus. When I recorded a vid even this wasn’t outstanding. The sound was hard to hear, the image ok but blurs with fast movements.
  • The speaker and audio output seem a bit crap. I was getting jittering sound once when playing a game, not sure if it was the game or the speaker quality. Also the speakers lack that crispness needed for music and has very little bass. HTC did release an app that you can adjust it a bit which did increase the experience a bit but I think the iPhone had better speakers. It is also located on the back so maybe this has something to do with it. I’m hoping it can be improved by an update
  • The storage capacity is stupid, plain and simple I need more.
  • Something I found very cool as I would drag an avi into my collection, and then sync with the phone and it automatically converts it to the correct format for me, I’m yet to test its extent though.

First Impression of Windows Phone 7

The Good

  • A lot of work has been put into building an interactive experience and this is noticeable by small UI animations like when you hit the end of a list everything squishes up and bounces back, when you select something they wiggle a bit and the text blocks tend to animate in differently.
  • The animations and UI is very responsive. I log of the animations seem a bit quicker than the iPhone
  • The list of ring tones and blew me away. There is a lot more than the iPhone and they are not as dodgy, these are actual musical pieces compiled for the phone.
  • I didn’t think I would enjoy it that much but it is very cool to have little parts of your life pulled down from the web and interact with you in many different ways. I think it will probably encourage me to use social media a bit more. Things like how the people’s tile gets compiled with different images of your facebook friends and it’s very easy to see what’s been going on for a person. All I had to do was enter my facebook account.
  • A couple of the games out already look pretty good.
  • The Zune experience was pretty great; as soon as I plugged in my phone I got a message saying I need to use Zune and to follow this link. This is great for the non-technical people.
  • No more duplicate songs in my iTunes playlist, Zune seems to filter these nicely.
  • It was really easy to create a playlist to sync so I would only sync the music I normally listen to.
  • Wifi sync, very cool, haven’t used it yet but it’s meant to sync after 10mins of being plugged into power, I hope it updates all your facebook info to keep your people hub up to date.
  • It’s easy to share information, images and videos with auto sharing option.
  • Finally no more asking me to wipe my data when I try to sync my phone to my home pc and my work pc, this really is a poor design to the iTunes sync
  • The Maps app caches previously viewed locations so if you lose your data connection you can still see the places you have previously loaded, and the transition as it loads new area’s is very smooth and fades into the new region.

The Bad

  • I did find a few bugs but nothing major, a couple of times when moving a tile it would deselect and I wouldn’t be able to pick it up again until I committed the change and tried again. Also if you touch a hyperlink and you finger covers another element like a text block it does not detect that you selected the hyperlink, this very annoying if you have fat fingers.
  • The coloured tiles, *sigh*, it’s just too much of the same colour. You have several tiles with the same bright colours with white simple image visually I found it hard to figure out what to click on to get to the location I wanted. Not only that but I feel it doesn’t look nice, I really hope they let us skin these in the future. As for the getting lost I’m sure it will improve once you memorise the location of the tile you are looking for.
  • I still use an old hotmail account witch now is kinda my junk mailbox for my windows live account, by using this it added evey contact I had ever used with that account and I have no idea who half of them are. Sadly there was no option to prevent this, I did see somethere on windows live where I could manage the contacts, I might have to delete a few or create a new account.
  • For the developers, you can’t deploy an app to a phone while the screen is locked, you will be constantly forgetting this and seeing a failure message, very annoying.
  • Different mail accounts show as separate tiles, this is annoying, I would rather this in the only location and then select the account I am after.
  • The apps list/settings is really bad, the one hidden to the side not the tiles, all it is is one huge list of applications that you have installed. Its not going to be easy to find anything when you have a lot of apps installed and your not going to want to have every application on your start screen.
  • Really needs copy and paste
  • It doesn’t look like you can skip streamed video content and if your connection is bad it doesn’t
  • Zune will not sinc if your selection will not fit on the device, there is not fill option like the iphone, this sucks.

Summary

The Windows phone 7 is isn’t perfect, it still has its room for improvement but there’s finally going to be some good competition in the market. Out of the box I feel the Windows phone 7 is overall a better experience than the iPhone. It’s far better at integrating bits of information from your life and your web identity. The experience gained from all the little things line the animations seems to have more of an impact than the iPhones. Without the iPhones 3rd party app the experience isn’t that great. You can really tell that Microsoft was aiming for an experience I feel they did it pretty well.

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