So What Does STYLEZ Think?
Before anyone asks, I'm still using my T-Mobile HTC HD2. I recently modded my HD2 (again) and added the ability to run alternative mobile OS's from the phone's internal memory (NAND). This has given me the option to run everything from Windows Mobile (WM) 6, 6.1, 6.5; Android 2.1 (ECLAIR), 2.2 (FROYO), 2.3 (GINGERBREAD); Windows Phone 7 (WP7); UBUNTU Linux; and even Nokia's newest project MEEGO! Currently I am dual booting the phone with a custom GINGERBREAD installation (based on the popular Cyanogen Mod 7) running from the MicroSD card, and a custom release of the WP7 operating system built for HD2 running from the NAND memory.
So in this review, I want to talk specifically about Windows Phone 7 (WP7) and how it stacks up to expectations. This is written from a more consumer stand point, and if anyone wants a more technical overview of the ROM that I am using, then please feel free to contact me. Well let's get to it.
I have been running WP7 for over 3 weeks now. It works fairly well. Not any major issues, it's just that WP7 is really showing its "youth" as a Phone OS. I think that it will be great phone OS... eventually. It has its positives and its negatives. But doesn't every phone OS? Anyway, the following two lists really show why I love... and hate... WP7 as my newest phone OS acquisition!
My gripes with WP7 include:
- No COPY/CUT/PASTE
- No Navigation software (only Bing maps, which is maps only, no turn-by-turn navigation)
- Bad camera quality
- Unable to connect to Exchange properly
- Unable to edit text in quoted email text (essentially a forward and reply only allow new text to be entered, no editing of the original text is allowed)
- Multi-task is supported, HOWEVER there's no easy way to see or select list of apps currently running in the background
- No visual customizations allowed (other than a simple base color change and simple text color). You can't even change Font used, or text size, which sucks.
- Apps that use the Metro-UI style (the ZuneHD style user interface, with the large titles that go off screen) are nice when they use the style properly and consistently however some apps don't quite do it right, or don't use the Metro-UI at all and look weird or horrible
- phone freezes (not as bad as WM6.5) when downloading/syncing
- the app list is only one long column of apps, so when you have a lot of apps installed, the list is ridiculously long
- the START screen (which is like the homescreen on Android) is only 1 screen, with 2 columns, so pinning items to START creates a very long list of quick-link boxes on the START screen. Some are "live" which is cool looking, but when you have 20-25 rows, it can be annoying looking for what you want to open
- There are lots of cool app ideas in the marketplace already, but unfortunately they are not all working as intended, so it's tough when you see what should be the ultimate app, but downloaded it and find that it doesn't actually function well, or at all in some cases!
- Sharing webpages is a pain since only Email and Messaging is available in the Share list. Facebook/Twitter/Seesmic/Other Social apps, etc, don't appear there for some odd reason
- It's a chore to manually sync email accounts involving SEVERAL taps and button presses and essentially telling the system to change the sync setting in order to force it to sync manually.
But the system does have its good points:
- REALLY fast (when no downloads/syncs are happening)
- Unique and cool homescreen with the "live" tiles
- Text/MMS messaging is setup nicely with a chat style feel to it, and inline Picture viewing
- Crisp, clean and sleek UI with the Metro-UI interface. Text just pops with it
- if you aren't into custom wallpapers/backgrounds/gradients/etc you will love how simplistic and clean the interface is. It just sucks that for people like me that love a "unique" feel to the theme, that option is just not available. Even the people trying to develop unique themes are complaining that their attempts are thwarted by the fact that if you use anything other than a solid color background or solid color text, the OS crashes contantly!
- Zune integration is top notch, allows you to keep your music on the go in sync with the music on your desktop/laptop without any difficulties
- XBox Live integration is also amazing. This is definitely a Gamers (and music-heads) Phone OS with these tight integrations
- According to developers, the app creation process is fairly simple, so I would have to assume that WP7 is going to have a flood of apps in the coming months, and compete closely with iPhone for ease of development
- Email integration is on-par with Android, whereas, the different accounts sync and display contacts/calendar in combined views, for easy use on the phone. But the separation is maintained as to not muddle up your accounts on the back end, which is essential when you are mixing personal and business accounts on the phone!
- The Facebook integration is on-par with the way HTC Sense did it on WM6.5 and the way Android does it, with contacts, pictures, statuses, etc
- keyboard is really good, on point with Android
- text completion/correction is also really good and on point with Android; except they still haven't learned that although it's a great idea to put the automatic space after words, once you put a punctuation, the auto-space should be automatically removed, unless I manually put it there! that still annoys the hell out of me as an issue from WM6.0
- search is good, not great, but it is integrated pretty well throughout the phone. i.e. if you open Marketplace, and press Search key, the Marketplace search opens. If you open Phone app, and press Search key, the contacts search opens. If you open email, and press Search key, you can search that email account... etc.
So all in all, I think WP7 is a viable Phone OS, just needs a lot more work on the features/functionality and a little less restriction on the customizations. I truly believe this started as a new ZuneHD/XboxLive centric OS, and someone thought it would be a great phone OS. So those two features are very "complete" and top-notch, but the rest of the system is definitely "showing its young age". So is WP7 ready for primetime? Not quite, but it is ready to take this journey into becoming your favorite modders, favorite phone OS! :)
That is what Stylez thinks! What do you think? Please leave your comments, questions, etc!