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Windows Phone 7 – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Jan5

Written by:
2011/01/05 08:01 AM RssIcon

Windows-Phone-7

Well, I’ve really enjoyed the few weeks I’ve had to test drive the Samsung Taylor (Prototype) Windows Phone 7. Lots of good and bad, but mostly good. I would say that it is a good OS, miles ahead of it predecessors.

If Microsoft could just fix the few of the “bad and uglies” then it would be a great OS. In fact as I write this there is talk of an update coming sooner than we think.

The Good

What a place to start. Right of the bat, I found Windows phone 7 an exciting and energizing OS. I was drawn to using it as often as I could.

The user interface

Simply put, the user interface is simple yet very attractive and appealing. From the lock screen, which shows a user-selectable wallpaper fronted with a variety of useful data, to the functional simplicity of the Start screen, to the panorama views, Windows Phone 7 is just pretty to look at.

Transitions are quick and energetic, holding your attention leaving you with a sense of wanting to do it again.

Windows Phone 7 might just be one of the, if not the most attractive and pleasant, mobile operating systems on the market today.

Performance

All I can say is “Woosh”. Man was I surprised at the responsiveness. The performance is lightning fast. Not what I had expected. There’s no lag or delays other than those caused by apps grabbing data from the cloud.

A few of my friends who have mobile devices that make use of iOS, Mobile 6.5, webOS and Symbian have all marvelled at the responsiveness of Windows Phone 7.

Communications and Social media

It seems that Windows Phone 7 is big on Communications and Social media. While the email client could do with a bit of work. It does the job admirably.

The people hub is just fantastic, allowing me to keep up to date with all my contacts, whether that be on Windows Live, Gmail, Facebook, or Yahoo mail.

Zune integration

Zune integration with  Windows Phone 7 and mobile devices is almost perfect. The Zune software on Windows Phone 7 is good, but it could be so much better. It lacks some of the features, such as the Smart DJ. Shuffling options are also limited. Fix a few things up on Zune and you’ve got a great Media Player.

But I forget, it’s a mobile phone.

Camera

Images look crisp from the flash equipped 5MP camera. Although in little light one starts to see a bit of bleeding and blurriness. But then again, if one wants picture perfect shots, get a proper digital camera. The pictures are also easy to browse.

The camera is also equipped to take 720p HD video, Which I was really surprised at. I took a one minute video of my son riding a mechanical bull. Was very surprised at the good resolution, good frame rate and smoothness of the video.

The Bad

I suppose with all the accolades I’m handing out, there has to be some bad and ugly. Granted, Windows Phone 7 is not perfect.

No Multi-tasking

Wow, this is a big one. Not only is there no multitasking, but most apps don’t keep their state when you move away from them. Resulting in you having to start all over again.

I suppose in defence state retention is up to the app developer.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Remember Apple’s iOS didn’t multitask at all until very recently with iOS 4.X, but it’s not perfect. Android’s multi-tasking is not without it’s problems either.

It’s impossible, for example, to start a Twitter post, do some quick research to clarify a point, and then finish the post.

But all is not lost. Microsoft are working on this, an update will be here soon, within the first three months of 2011. So we wait with baited breath.

No Copy ‘n Paste

It’s common knowledge—and a running joke—that Windows Phone 7 doesn’t yet support copy and paste functionality. But I have it on good authority that it is coming in early 2011.

Having said that, I haven't missed copy ‘n paste yet. So perhaps we’re making a mountain out of a mole hill.

No File explorer

No more file explorer, this means that you can no longer plug your device into your PC and us it as a removable storage device. But do we really need to use our mobile phone as a mass storage device. We could get bigger and more flash drives at a whole lot cheaper, smaller and lighter. So I’m not to upset about that.

Office

While it is great to have some Office apps readily available on your Windows Phone 7. I find that the office apps are a little basic.

We probably will not be writing that Thesis on the Mobile version of MS Word, nor would we do that company budget and 5 year forecast on our Mobile Excel.

But it would be nice to apply some basic formatting like indentations and line spacing, and do more with Excel spreadsheets than enter and edit data.

The Ugly

There is always an ugly. Now these are so bad that I almost do not want to mention them. Primarily because I have not yet figured out why they happen or if there is a work around, but they really irritate me.

I do not know if these are as a result of the OS or the actual device, but I mention them anyway.

Loss of service

My phone continually loses service with my mobile service provider. Resulting in me not being contactable.

I first thought that it was as a result of a power saving issue. Because it seemed to happen when the battery was low.

But it seems to happen at random times. The problem is I’m never aware of it. When I am made aware of it, the only way I can re-connect is to switch the phone off and on again, re-entering my pin.

Now I do not know if this is the OS or the device. But it is frustrating as frustrating as can be. Why?

Answering a call

The other day while  in the bright South African sunlight my phone rang. Boy was that a challenge to answer the call. You see, when the phone rings, you have to answer it via the touch screen.

Ever try do that in the glaring sun? I wish there was a one button answer. That would make life so much easier.

I realise that this is probably a device issue, but seeing that I am testing the device as well, I mention it here. I am aware though that this is only a prototype, so things could change for the better.

Conclusion

All in all I still think it is a fantastic OS. I want one. I really do.

I do believe that Microsoft is hard at work improving the OS, and listening to their user base. I’m eagerly awaiting the coming update. I’m sure that will improve an a lot of the negatives, like multi-tasking and copy ‘n paste.

I will still give it a thumbs up.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Related Reading:

Windows Phone 7: Major Update Coming in January. Are You Ready For It

Windows Phone 7 – A New Beginning

Windows Phone 7 –Ladies and Gentlemen We Have Lift-off

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