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Windows Phone 7 - How's it look after thirty days

Windows Phone 7 hit the U.S. Market just over thirty days ago with the Samsung Focus and HTC Surround landing at AT&T and the HTC HD7 hitting the shelves at T-Mobile. The new Windows Phone lineup would eventually be joined by the Dell Venue Pro at T-Mobile and the LG Quantum at AT&T.  As far as hardware is concerned, the new Windows Phones have their own strong points but what about the OS?

Microsoft choose not to upgrade Windows Mobile, instead deciding to start with a clean slate and build a new OS. We saw more design and development controls were put in place to bring uniformity to Windows Phone 7.

So how does it look after thirty days?  Are you satisfied with what you've experienced so far with Windows Phone 7? Did Microsoft hit the nail on the head and exceeded all your expectations? Or do you feel the need to run screaming back to Windows Mobile or another system all together?

Feel free to share your thoughts on the first thirty days with Windows Phone 7 in the comments sections. After the jump, you can see some of our thoughts on the first thirty days with Windows Phone 7.

Tim Ferrill: In My Thoughts on Windows Phone 7, I mentioned the fact that I would have to use the Metro UI for a couple of weeks before I could form an opinion. After using the Samsung Focus for the last month, I can confidently say that I am more than happy with Metro. The amount of time that Microsoft spent on making common tasks quick and easy really shows. In Windows Mobile, getting to my email client and managing my email took at least 4 or 5 taps just to get to the point where I could start selecting multiple emails for deletion. In Windows Phone 7, it’s a single swipe and a tap. Contacts are easy to get to, and uploading pictures couldn’t be much easier. I’m thoroughly sold on the Metro experience.

If there is a killer feature for Windows Phone 7, it has to be Xbox Live. I know that it doesn’t do all of the things that one would hope for from a mobile extension of Xbox, but for my money it’s still the most complete mobile gaming platform on the market. The game selection will expand over time (I’m still waiting for Splinter Cell Conviction) as will the feature set and capabilities of the platform in general.

My only real complaints at this point are the basic features that are still missing, and some of these are coming in January. Copy and paste, multitasking, custom ringtones, OTA podcast downloads (please!), and Flash support are all on my Christmas list.

George Ponder: After reading about the development of Windows Phone 7, I was eager to get my hands on the new system. I had my reservations about the lack of customization and the controls Microsoft had put in place. Those reservations were quickly dismissed by the overall performance of Windows Phone 7. I grew to like the straight forward presentation of the new OS and the noticeably faster, more reliable, stable performance. Overall though, from live tiles to vastly improved power management, I think the Windows Phone now operates with greater efficiency and effectiveness.

I really can't put my finger on one standout feature with Windows Phone 7. I think it's successful due to the collective or sum total of it's features. I like the multiple exchange clients, linking contacts, and straightforward settings. I like the strong integration with Xbox Live, Twitter and Facebook. Windows Phone 7 seems to be a more complete package than Windows Mobile.

There still room for improvement. We need a camera application that remembers its settings, vibration alerts for new messages, a screen capture utility, and that pesky cut/paste feature. Hopefully, with each update improvements will be made that will address some of these issues and more while maintaining (or improving) the current level of efficiency and effectiveness.

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

16 Comments
  • I love the functionality of the Samsung Focus. The office integration is great and has helped me in numerous occasions. The one feature missing (i don't use cut/paste that much), is visual voicemail. I find it time consuming getting my voicemails in comparison to the iphone. I would like Microsoft to address this issue quickly. I am sure other businessmen would appreciate it.
  • The wife and I love our Samsung Focuses. We are coming from iPhone 3G and really enjoy the WP7 UI and how smooth the phone operates. I wish more multiplayer (turn based) games were available on the marketplace, but I am sure those are coming.
  • I'm just waiting for MS to commit to a quick and frequent update schedule for WP7, that's really it, I can live with waiting for things to come in every 2 months apart or so just as long as they stick to it. When you think about they more or less have to as well since the competition won't sit still either. Come on MS, you don't have to hold off for a 6 month megaupdate you know!
  • I am really like the Windows Phone 7 UI but one thing that has me disappointed is the lack of apps. I really haven't donwload many new apps since first day i bought it and downloaded many. Now I know that this will all change (hopefully) the next few months. I would like to have a visual voicemail that rrojas said above, but it will come. But other than that i'm happy
  • So far so good with my Samsung Focus. Battery life has been great even listening to several hours of music at work and loving my Zune pass. Biggest thing I want to see change is the volume controls. I need the ringer up high to hear in my workplace but if I put in my headphones I always have to remember to turn the volume down before I play my music.
  • I have been using the LG E900 Optimus 7 (now that's a mouth full) for about a month now. Being that I am a general nut for all things mobile I was a bit skeptical of a lot of things about the platform. I saw quite a bit of information about the direction of the UI and I already had used the ZuneHD experience (much to my liking.) If I was Microsoft I would just get out of the business of manufacturing ZuneHD devices or at least push out the development cycle of the product... why? In the future there should not be any need. There are obviously many missing features from the Zune experience - I could go on and on about no social, no ability to fast forward, and some integration issues around the player and how it works through the phone experience. Those are issues that can easily be address. I for one do not need a ZuneHD device anymore - I have one sitting on my night stand and about the only use it has is well... sitting on my nightstand. UI wise Metro is beautiful... it is a big step away from anything else on the market. It's nice to see that when pushed into a corner Microsoft can actually bring in the right people to design and develop. With the rise of the iPhone Microsoft has gotten away from its roots as a provider of a tinker OS. That is sometimes hard as the development community built around the lack of functionality of WM really made it more of a community project then anything. WM lived so long because the community cared to keep it. With Windows Phone Microsoft is taking back ownership of the product. Does that mean that the vocal tweaking community has something to complain about? Well yes and no... let's be honest, the best place to focus your energy now is in app development. Sure - Microsoft pretty much has that segment on lockdown (if you want to deploy anything to WP you need to get approval to post it in the marketplace.) I think Microsoft can continue to do a better job of bring developers into the mix. Outreach to communities like XDA and PPCGeeks could go a long way to creating a more community environment focused on making the best ever platform. I think the anger from most of the people is indeed Microsoft's switch without addressing the community that built up around it. This has led some developers to move over to the Android community and prosper in doing so... at least in the short term. Getting back to the device - I love it. There are plenty of things to work on but I must say the UI that has been put out makes working in the phone pretty fun and exciting. Live Tiles, while not a 100% new concept, is a refreshing approach to how I consume phone information. Up and down scrolling, however, can get taxing - if I have a lot of Live Tiles (luckily for Microsoft Developers are not quite on the bandwagon 100% yet with the cost of displaying information raising the total cost of development...) It's a good start and as long as I keep getting updates that improve the platform I will continue to stay invested in its success.
  • I just my Samsung focus yesterday and I must say that I am really impressed with windows phone 7. I love how fast the os is and the Zune integration. I also love the live tiles as this brings something new. The games on here so far are pretty good but i would like to see more games that take use of the Xbox live hub's multiplayer. I hope Microsoft brings more features than jus copy and paste for the first update. Overall I'm very pleased with the os and don't think that i ever could go back to the iPhone.
  • Even more Facebook integration would be great. Being able to swipe to my FB inbox and events in the People hub would be fantastic. Couple other things: (1) the keyboard is very good, however there needs to be more space between the last row of letters and the bottom row of keys that has the spacebar. I find myself accidentally hitting the space bar at times, so if that bottom row of keys was a bit shorter with increased space between it and the row of letters above, I would be much happier. (2) When you want to place the cursor precisely, you need to push and hold then align where you want the cursor to drop. That's fine. However, I would also prefer to be able to simply and quickly tap where I want the cursor to fall. Even though I realize it will not be as precise, it is much quicker at times than the tap/hold/align approach. Right now, when you tap on a word once, it highlights the entire word. I would prefer that you tap twice in order to highlight the word.
  • It was a joy to use for the time I had my HD7. Browsing, email, A2DP, gaming, applications, all worked well and has also impressed those I showed it to. Now waiting for my Dell Venue Pro to replace my returned HD7 to continue the WP7 goodness!
  • I've had my Omnia 7 for two weeks now and I'm really happy. If just MS will release updates regulary everything will be fine ..
  • After calling myself a masochist for staunchly hanging on to Windows Mobile so long, I am happy to have the pleasure of using WP7 on the Samsung Focus for a day short of a month. Of course, there's still some suffering to be endured as an early adopter. For example, the lack of copy and paste, VoIP, instant messaging. While I'm able to rationalize why these things are missing and have confidence that they'll be coming along soon, some of the other oversights, choices and bugs leave me feeling like the offended, incredulous people in the WP7 ads - asking "Really?" while "Season of the Witch" plays in the background. lol I'm impressed with the UI philosophy that Microsoft has developed and I'm pleasantly surprised with how it's been implemented in third party apps. Before using WP7, I thought Metro was gorgeous but I was concerned that using the phone would feel claustrophobic, or more accurately, like living in a mansion where all the rooms are the same - repetitive and not necessarily well-suited to the functions of different rooms. However, most (good) developers have taken cues from the Metro UI while still maintaining their own identity and usefulness, so the consistency doesn't bother me. I am bothered by some inconsistencies with "resuming" apps and how apps handle confirmations but I'm not sure if Microsoft is responsible for these things. I'm not confident about the cadence of Windows Phone updates but I hope they'll be very frequent, for my sake and for Microsoft's. Although I liked many aspects of WinMo, I understand what Microsoft is trying to do with WP7 and I will judge them accordingly. They are currently falling short of the promise/premise of WP7 and the OS's usability needs to be fleshed out in some very basic ways. Like Microsoft, I'm in this for the long haul. I won't mollycoddle or apologize for them but I'll do my part by giving them a fair shake and I expect them to do their part by being proactive, communicating with users, iterating often and doing their best to actualize WP7's potential.
  • I absolutely love wp7 and would like to see visual voicemail, video chat in other devices of course, and combined email accounts. Also auto word correction is great but im noticing when i want to tap to a certain letter to change it the asterisk doesnt always allow me to do so dont know if its a bug but it highlights the entire word for me to change and i only want to change a certain letter.
  • I've had my HTC Surround since Nov 8. Great phone, great OS. After using Winmo for several years, WinPho7 is a good start. It definately is more userfriendly but not as powerful or complete. For business use, I found myself taking a step backward with WP7. For example compaired the third party software "Pocket Informant" for Winmo, WP7's calandar feature are extremely basic. And there are zero synchable task apps "ouch". There is no universal search (hard to find stuff on phone). Yesterday in contacts, I tried to look up a list of masons (which I have noted in the note section under each mason contact) and I couldn't search. No available file system for my work docs and folders (in a tiered fashion).
    WP7 has great email, games hub, love the messaging, and a great start to good quality apps. As Microsoft produces updates and starts to fill in the holes, this will create more leeway to develope even better apps.
    I think the future looks good for Microsoft. Full steam ahead.
  • Quick toggle tiles for turning Wifi and bluetooth on/off.
  • Allow ability to expand width and height of tiles. Concurrently, would like to see live tiles for News and weather apps take advantage of the extra real estate to have the live tiles operate more like Android widgets (e.g., news "ticker", multiple day weather forecast).
  • I love the UI. I love the experience. I don't like that I have to reset every time I am in Marketplace and an email comes in (that, I think, causes the freeze-up). I REALLY don't like that there isn't yet and app that will let me import my passwords from a csv file or something. That really sucks. I really don't like the lack of task sync and options in Outlook in general (like no categories) though, again, the UI is nice. I would love to know how to set the default reminder from 15 minutes to "No Reminder." ...and I need the Calendar tab to show the next two appointments AND appointments within appointments (such as breakout sessions within a day-long meeting). But, I like the UI and the smoothness. Actually, if WinMo 6.5 had moved to capacitive screens and delivered this much smoothness I would have been really happy to stay with that - as it did soooooo much!