Windows Phone 7 Review / Walkthrough

So thinking about getting a Windows Phone 7 device? Before you do, you want to know what it’s all about? Well, in this wireless 101, we’re going to go over Windows Phone 7 as an operating system and list out some of the things it does super well, and some of the things it could improve on. As newer versions of Windows Phone come out, we’ll add links to this post to new runthroughs/reviews of the update to show what new features they’ve added and what they can still improve on.

Highlights

User Interface

  • Slick, smooth, and intuitive
  • Transitions are prettttyyyyy
  • Uniform layout and design, even in most third party apps

Performance

  • Responsive and smooth
  • Feels natural (similar to iOS)
  • Apps load relatively quickly
  • Pageloading in the browser is on par with Android and iPhone
  • Games are fluid and have little lag

Multitasking

  • Poor if any (as of this release, called “NoDo”. Expected in next update due out this year called “Mango”.)

Contact Management

  • Simple, easy to navigate contact list.
  • Able to jump to certain letters in contact book quickly
  • Facebook, Exchange, and Google contacts can all be synced into one contact book.
  • Contact images can be grabbed automatically from Facebook
  • Ability to pin contacts to the homescreen for quick access to their Facebook feed, and to contact them

Social Networking

  • Integrates into contacts natively, no third party app required
  • Ability to click on any contact in phone book and instantly see all of their Facebook activity or even jump to their wall to write on it.
  • Using the Me profile, you can update your Facebook status directly from the native app on the phone and see all of your past Facebook activity in one place.
  • Facebook photos are integrated into your picture album so you can see all of your friends latest photos in one place
  • Official third party Facebook app is a little more robust than other official Facebook apps for other OS’s. (Hmm someone likes Microsoft more than Google and Apple… Looking at you, Zuckerberg!)
  • Twitter official app is available at launch as well.

Phone

  • Dialer is responsive and natural feeling
  • Call log has large writing so easy to read, also missed calls are highlighted in blue.

Messaging

  • Text messaging is simple and sorted by person.
  • Text is large and legible
  • Contact’s name is displayed in large font at the top of the conversation (in case you forget who you are talking to) and clicking on their name will bring you to their contact.

Email

  • Exchange mail is fully supported and well organized (it’s Microsoft after all).
  • Email is no exception and follows the basic, simple format of the other apps with large legible text without any fancy icons etc.
  • Swiping to the sides can give easy access to all unread mail, flagged mail, and urgent mail.

Browser

  • Load times are on par with other major operating systems like Android and iPhone
  • No Flash or HTML5 support however.
  • Browser supports opening up to 6 pages at a time
  • Find on page feature is helpful
  • Ability to pin specific web pages to the homescreen

Maps

  • Bing maps is used instead of the industry norm, Google Maps
  • Automatically switches to satellite view when you zoom in enough
  • When you click on a location, details are pretty robust and easy to find what you need
  • Ability to pin a specific location to the homescreen

Gaming

  • Xbox Live integration allows you to link your Gamertag and profile from your Xbox to your phone. You can win additional gamerscore by playing Windows Phone specific Xbox live games and completing achievements just like on regular Xbox.
  • Ability to see your animated avatar from Xbox live is novel and fun.
  • All changes made to your avatar on the device is reflected on your Xbox and vise versa.
  • You can access all of your Xbox Live messages on the phone as well as friend new users and view their profiles as well.
  • Compete against friends in leaderboards (actual head to head coming soon apparently)
  • Ability to try a demo of any game before purchasing

Entertainment

  • Zune pass is great for a generation that refuses to buy CD’s, one monthly fee listen to all the music you possibly can for as long as you keep your membership.
  • Video and audio playback are on par with other OS’s
  • Music and video library is organized well

Apps

  • 17,000 apps in the app store as of writing this
  • Apps are limited but the ones that do exist are pretty decent quality and have a shared experience with the OS itself (large text, panoramic swiping, etc.)
  • Needs more apps…
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7 responses to “Windows Phone 7 Review / Walkthrough”

  1. WP7 says:

    There is an error in your article. You state that WP7 does not have multitasking, whereas in fact it does have multitasking for the native apps. What it doesn’t have is multitasking for 3rd party apps, which is what the Mango update will solve.

    • TheUnlockr says:

      Hmm.. maybe I should have clarified; there is no real multitasking that is of any use. Try this experiment for me, open a text and begin to type a message, halfway through I want you to push the home button, now go to email and open an email. Now, tap home and go back to your text message. Is the message still there as you left it? Now, go back to the email. Is it sitting on the email you were looking at when you left the email app? You’d call the text messaging and email apps native, right?

      With that being said, I still like Windows Phone, but to say it has multitasking at this time (Mango can’t come soon enough for me) just is a bit of a stretch.

      • Tshelt says:

        You are doing it wrong…

        1) start typing your text
        2) hit home go to email
        3) hit your back button…   Your text is still there.

        By going back via the home screen your are starting a new instance of the app.  First party apps are multitasking – but, you have to understand how to navigate the os.

        • TheUnlockr says:

          I’m not doing it wrong. You are misunderstanding. They way I described is something it SHOULD be able to do. I know that doing it your way will leave the text in this example but I still can’t get back to the email I was looking at etc.

          With such a linear way of “multitasking” it’s not very helpful is the point. Yes there is a way to have it work like you said but it’s almost as if you have to plan it perfectly for it to “multitask”. Doing what you just said, I want you to open an email after step two as if you were reading it, now get back to the text message. Is there a way now to get back to the email (as if you were reading an email then had to finish your text then wanted to get back to the email)? No. You have to reopen the email again cause the email app has restarted. And we’re just talking about “multitasking” between TWO apps. What about three, or four? It’s a pain and, again, is very linear.
          Do you count hitting your back and forward buttons in your internet browser on your computer as multitasking? I need to be able to switch between apps that are open freely, not being forced to only be able to “multitask” (and hardly) between the app I’m using and the very last one I used. I need to be able to jump from an email to a text to a webpage then back to the email then to the webpage to the text to another app etc. without having to plan which apps i open in a specific order so that I can “multitask”.

          Again, I like Windows Phone, but I can’t say it multitasks very well or if at all in comparison to all the other OS’s available. Also, I have used Mango and THAT is multitasking 🙂

          • Tshelt says:

            I agree that the current system is limiting – it’s a side effect of the limited navigation system in the first release.  You can only go backwards – and the back button has a dual meaning, depending on if you are on the first screen of an app or a second screen.  But, my point is that the current first party apps are multitasking.  You can call and surf the web at the same time, listen to music while you surf, etc.

            The enhancements to the navigation system, along with allowing 3rd party multitasking, is definitely an improvement.

          • TheUnlockr says:

            Ok, I think we’ve found an area to agree to disagree on lol So the issue is that I said there is no multitasking, when I should have said, the multitasking is lousy? lol What do you think?

            PS Again, one last time, Mango multitasking is superb 🙂

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