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Windows Phone 7.5 – How Does it Compare to Android? [Opinion]

Samsung Focus S

For the past week I’ve been reviewing the Samsung Focus S. I believe that competition drives innovation, so I love spending time with multiple devices and operating systems to see what works well and what doesn’t. I think most of us have spent some quality time with an iOS device and are aware of the competition it presents, but I’m guessing that most of us haven’t played with Windows Phone very much. So how does Windows Phone 7 stack up against Android?  

Lock Screen
One of the most important things on a modern smartphone is the lock screen. I think this is one of the areas that Microsoft did really well. As you can see in the image above (the quality won’t be the best because WP7 doesn’t have an easy way to take screen shots), the lock screen gives the usual information at the top of the display (connectivity, battery), the time and date, and my next appointment. To unlock the device, you slide the lock screen upwards. The lock screen is simple, yet elegant.

Start Screen
The Start Screen is  where the simplicity of Windows Phone really shines. If you use Launcher 7 then you should be fairly familiar with the appeal to Windows Phone’s Metro UI. Rather than have pages of widgets and app icons, Windows Phone highlights important applications and information through Live Tiles. The point of these Live Tiles is to give users quick information or to jump into an app’s feature or content more quickly. The calendar tile launches the app, shows me the date, and shows me an upcoming appointment. Another feature is pinning an album or a contact to Start for easy access. Sliding the start screen to the left reveals a list of all most of the apps installed on the device.

Multi-Tasking
Windows Phone 7.5 introduced multi-tasking to the platform, though the implementation of multi-tasking is one of the worst I’ve seen on a modern smartphone.  To access multi-tasking, you hold down the back button. At first I thought this was a strange implementation, but holding back to return to an app makes sense. What doesn’t make sense, however, is the limit to only six applications being stored for multi-tasking. Perhaps the most frustrating part of this limitation is that often times applications are duplicated in the list, as can be seen in the photo above (Internet Explorer is the middle and left option). To make matters worse, the only way to jump back into an application from where you left off is to use the back button. Opening the app from its Start icon re-launches the app, even if it’s been cached in multi-tasking. This needs to be improved upon greatly if Microsoft wants to compete with Android and iOS.

Applications
The selection of applications available for Windows Phone 7 is sparse at best. Though the Marketplace has 50,000 applications, many big name developers and apps are missing. Even the apps that are present often lack major features that are present in their Android and iOS counterparts. Twitter, for example, lacks push notifications (and good luck finding a third party app that compares to third party apps for Android). The YouTube app is just a shortcut to Internet Explorer. Many major apps like Facebook and last.fm were developed by Microsoft, demonstrating a lack of developer support for the platform. If Microsoft wants to succeed, they need to start pushing more of their cash in front of developers.

Gaming
Gaming is even more of a joke. Light games like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja are available for $2.99 and more graphically intense games like Assassin’s Creed ($4.99) Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 ($6.99) are available. It’s a bit strange to me that these games are all more expensive than their Android and iOS counterparts. Perhaps the higher costs are developers’ way to make up for the low market share of Windows Phone. Another annoyance is how gaming is organized. Instead of listing your games along with other apps from the Start screen, games are collected in the Games hub. They can be pinned to the Start screen, but it’s still a sloppy implementation.

Productivity
Windows Phone comes with Microsoft Office built in. The Office apps work well for editing documents and spreadsheets and viewing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. OneNote, Microsoft’s premier note taking application, is also built in. The editor is very basic and you’re limited to local storage, Office 365, SharePoint, or SkyDrive to store files.

Email offers a decent experience with support for Exchange (shocking!), IMAP, and POP accounts. Surprisingly, Gmail is well integrated. Unlike iOS devices, selecting Gmail when setting up email will set up sync with email, contacts, and calendars (this can be done with iOS, but only by setting up Gmail as an Exchange account). That said, the application uses especially large fonts when viewing messages, making the browsing experience sub par (the relatively low resolution of Windows Phone devices may be influential as well).

Other productivity apps like Calendar and Messaging continue the same Metro trends of clean text and hyper-simplistic graphics. The Calendar application is similar to the email application in terms of giant fonts and restrictive resolutions, but unless your calendar is especially crowded it’ll get the job done. The messaging app is extremely simplistic, with white text boxed off in solid hues. It certainly isn’t flashy, but it also doesn’t look like Microsoft spent much time on it.

Major and Minor Annoyances
Throughout the past week there have been a number of major and minor issues that have bothered me about Windows Phone. One of the more annoying issues is the volume level. Windows Phone has thirty (30!) different levels of volume. Try as I might, I had a hard time really telling the difference between 13 and 14. It’s a minor oversight, but it’s an annoying one.

Another minor issue is the inconsistency of the physical button’s functions. As I mentioned before, holding the back button to see your recently opened applications makes sense. Just hitting the back button functions almost identically to the Android back button. The Start button brings you back to the Start screen, but holding it launches voice command. Hitting the search button launches Bing. That’s it. Holding it does nothing. Hitting the search button in an app launches Bing. In other words, it’s a rarely used button. Hopefully in a future update Microsoft will allow the use of the search button for an in-app search.

A more critical issue is notifications. If you’re in the middle of an app, a bar with the notification will slide along the top of the screen and stay there for about ten seconds before going away forever. After the notification disappears, the lock screen will display a badge for the app and the app will have a numerical badge next to it if you’ve pinned it to the Start screen. There is no centralized place to see all of your notifications, which can be a bit maddening if you’re used to a modern operating system.

Conclusions
I honestly can’t imagine using a Windows Phone 7 device as my main phone for any extended period of time. The animations and scrolling are slick, the UI is cohesive, and the simplicity is attractive, but the overall experience is not on par with Android or iOS. Android offers a better experience in terms of apps (both availability and price), multi-tasking, notifications, service integration, gaming, and productivity. It doesn’t matter how fast your phone is if it’s lacking in so many areas. So many parts of the operating system feel unfinished or untouched that it’s honestly astounding to me that this is the second major release.

As I’ve said elsewhere, Windows Phone 7 feels like 21st MS-DOS. Microsoft says that the inspiration for Metro UI is “street and airport signage.” The signage inspiration is clear, but what isn’t clear is why Microsoft thought that reverting the majority of visual cues to text would provide a better experience to the overtly graphical interfaces found in Android and iOS. Even if the apps were there (and to be clear, there is a serious dearth of quality apps), there are so many part of Windows Phone 7 that still feel incomplete or not thought through. Why would you make the email text so big that you can only preview four to five messages on a screen without scrolling? Why limit multi-tasking to six applications? Why do applications relaunch if you slect them from the Start menu instead of the multi-tasking menu? Why doesn’t the email app replicate changes made on the server for IMAP connections? These are massive oversights that were possibly forgivable in the initial release, but to still have these issues in the second major version is incredible.

Tim Cook is right, Microsoft will keep trying. I’m glad they decided to start over with Windows Phone 7, but if they want to break into an already established industry, they need to offer a product that blows the competition out of the water. Microsoft does not have that product. For the foreseeable future the smartphone space is going to continue to be dominated by Apple and Google. That’s a disappointing sentence to write, but it’s the truth. I want more competition. More competition drives real innovation. Android would not be as polished as it is today if Apple hadn’t pushed the importance of design. iOS wouldn’t have the excellent notifications it has now if it weren’t for Android paving the way. I believe that Microsoft has some good ideas in Windows Phone 7, but if they really want to make an impact they need to do a lot better.

  • Jordan Kroeger

    one very important benefit that comes with WP7 is outstanding battery life, they seem to have taken the torch, no pun intended, from blackberry

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I found that battery life was on par with Android and iOS in my testing. I was expecting better, but it was about the same.

  • Anonymous

    Very good review. Although I think the author just sort of glided over the actual performance of the phone, and probably for a reason: from what I’ve heard even a 1.5Ghz single core 512MB RAM Windows Phone can feel faster than a dual core 1GB RAM Android phone.

    It does appear too simplistic and early for me (need more apps) but for a lot of people, new people or people who want simplicity it may work for them.  I’m looking forward to seeing what Microsoft does with it and how it holds up.  I’m locked to my Nexus for the next two years but when my upgrade rolls around again I’m going to be taking a hard look at other platforms, especially if the performance and update issues remain the same (I’ve given up on the skins, they’re not going away and there isn’t going to be a major unskinned phone outside of the Nexus)

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      The performance of the device was fine. I didn’t cover the performance of the actual device because the specs are so similar on every Windows Phone. Also, I was trying to compare the operating systems. If I wanted to compare WP7 to iOS then I’d only have a few devices to compare, but to compare the Focus S with Android devices would be impossible due to the massive variety.

      • Anonymous

        The specs on Windows Phone are similar, if not identifical but I would have liked to have seen a comparison between the Focus S, a similarly speced Android phone (I guess the Infuse), and a dual core Android phone like the Galaxy Nexus, Just to see if the performance that Windows Phone loves to tout is true.

        • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

          I did some comparisons with the Rezound that didn’t make the review. Suffice it to say that the speed tests I linked to are what I found as well. WP7 can be faster at some activities, but I think its shortcomings with apps, multi-tasking, and notifications make WP7 a poor choice right now.

          • Anonymous

            Cool, so kind of what I thought. WP7 may be good for new smartphone owners or people who want smoothness over capability but for someone like me who has been using a smartphone since like 2006, and an Android phone since 2009 not a good choice.

  • Kierra

    Ron’s diction makes me uncomfortable.Are you a native speaker?
    No shade

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Born in the USA. What parts read awkwardly?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1027037089 Micah Roy

    I simply like how they continue to emphasize the use of a hardware shutter button.  I want to kick whomever at Google/Verizon/etc that decided that button was not needed!

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      It is a bit strange that the shutter button has been hit and miss with Android phones. That’s a great example of something that Google should consider standardizing for all Android devices.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the informative comparison. I have been toying with the idea of buying a windows phone when Nokia finally gets one on Verizon. I have never used one, and I can’t even download the emulator to play with it because it requires windows 7. Still rocking XP here, lol.

    It sounds like I would be pulling my hair out and wanting to throw the phone after a couple of days. Notifications in one place are critically important to me, and I need a phone with a good resolution to record and watch 720p or 1080p videos. After my Droid RAZR, I don’t think I could stand a crappy resolution on a screen. Next phone needs to be at last as good as this one.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I would definitely wait for them to fix notifications, multi-tasking, and to get more apps before considering a switch. Hopefully they’ll get those issues worked out in the next release.

  • Anonymous

    When Win Phone 8 comes out and has completely seamless integration with Win 8 desktop and tablet along with NFC, xbox integrations and others, it will see a dramatic increase in market share. This seamless experience from phone to tablet to desktop is where MS is going to shine… if they do it right that is.

    • Anonymous

      On the other hand, Android is relegating the need for a desktop entirely.

      • Anonymous

        Right. Tell that to the millions of corporate users. Keep believin man!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25001493 Hank Godwin

      I am really looking forward to Windows 8 tablets.  Not sure if I can afford one, but I am still looking forward to them.  As for phones, I’m sticking with Android.

  • Anonymous

    I was just having this conversation with a buddy of mine. While it has some nice features nothing on the market can hold up to Android right now in terms of functionality.

  • Anonymous

    I will try and say something positive about it. It is better than Windows Mobile 6.5…Thats all I got..The “sceenshots” in the post are enough to make the OS itself laughable.

    • Anonymous

      I agree.  I can’t stand the “Metro” crap that MS is pushing as design brilliance.  It smacks of being lazy and not wanting to support full customization like Android does.

  • RaptorOO7

    I have used a WP7.5 device and for me the biggest issue for their platform is the lack of devices on carriers.  The fact that Android has so many (and at times far too many new devices) arriving offers users a wide range of choice.  Microsoft needs to get manufacturers to actually start building their phones and of course phones with LTE.  Time will tell, but I do have a GNexus so I guess that says it all.

  • Anonymous

    Even though I doubt I will ever deem myself a fan of this operating system, I am still glad that it exists within our market. With Android being as voracious (and wonderful) as it is, and ios being as obnoxious as it is, I like this third major flavour.

  • Anonymous

    I bought an LG Quantum just to play around with WP7.  I don’t much care for it.  There are some things I like but overall its a very bland OS to me.  I like that with Android I have customization with apps and gestures and shortcuts and such.  I think I will be sticking with Android for the foreseeable future.   

  • kniceguy

    If you say “The quick brown fox Jumps” instead of “Jumped” you can totally eliminate “Sheep,” just fyi…you know in case you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to know that…

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Good to know. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/EliJuicyJones Eli Jones

    Wow are you wrong. Luckily, nearly everyone who owns a Windows Phone disagrees with you.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      What was I wrong about in particular? 

      • Anonymous

        Your opinion was wrong!!!! How dare you not feel the same way as Eli & the 107 people that use WP7!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Yea, all 107 of you!!!! Next time try to elaborate on why YOU dont agree with his OPINION instead of just trolling & running…. If you actually are a WP7 user it would make for an interesting conversation, but from your post i doubt that would be possible

  • CheapWindowsPhone

    The Windows Phone Is quite powerful! I have used it nearly one year!  I fell in love with it. How can we stop loving the powerful and cheap windows phone???  At this site [ http://cheapwindowsphone7.weebly.com/ ] i get a cheap Windows Phone —-HTC Mozart 

  • manny

    Microsoft got it all wrong again.. The tiles kinda remind me of that zune debacle. ios and android are light years ahead of these guys..with BB in the Garbage I cant imagine another mobile os even denting what ios and android have acomplished.. Thank God for Apple and Google and Samsung !!!!

  • Richard Ericksen


    One of the most important things on a modern smartphone is the lock screen. ”

    First sentence, and where I stopped reading.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Thanks for the excellent feedback. 

    • TC Infantino

      Wow, so you’re a douche.  Good to know.

  • Anonymous

    Looking over this it really seems to me that Windows is really focusing on design, and while focusing on that design they completely forgot about making a product that you can’t live without. The thing here is that you could do the exact same look and feel with your Android and then switch it back to normal android when that get’s boring. This really reminds me of Web OS. There were some really great design ideas, but not good enough to keep the business going.

    I’m starting to get the Windows Phone commercials though. They really stress just glancing at your phone and then moving on to your real life. The reason people do that with WinMo is because the interface is bland and there’s not much to do.

  • Tim242

    I’m starting to dislike Microsoft as much as I do. Apple. I loved WinMo, but it had its issues. I loved it, because it was a computer in my pocket. WP7 is the exact opposite. It is as bad, or worse in functionality than iOS. Android offers the perfect balance. How do you have an OS without a user-accessible file system? I already use my Nexus for 95% of what I can do on a PC. I rarely get my laptop out anymore. I’m looking forward to not having to use Windows at all. We’re almost there. I am ready for an ICS tablet. I used to be anti tablet, but, I believe it will even further reduce my need to use a PC.

  • Anonymous

    Seriously Ron, why do you write on this site? You have some of the worst and least interesting articles on here. No one cares about win phone on this site. I wish I had the time back from seeing this article in the stream and distracting me from actual articles that matter.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      If you don’t like my articles, don’t read them. 

      • Anonymous

        ^^^ HAHA!!! ^^^
        If the article distracted you then you were obviously interested. Don’t be mad at him because you disagree with his review.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for the article.  I appreciate you writing them and look forward to reading more. 

        • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

          Thanks!

    • TC Infantino

      Wow, another douchebag.  Seriously people, someone writes a well thought out article and you act like a douche because it wasn’t about exactly what you wanted to read about?  Easy solution don’t read the article.  No one is responsible for your actions other than yourself, want to punish the person who wasted your time…punch yourself in the face. 

    • Anonymous

      Damn, trollin on this article too??? Did you wake up this morning & find out someone took the free toy out of the cereal box?? Then decided to be pissed off at the world for it & thought, “Hey, im gonna troll DLife comments all day so people can be as frustrated as i am!”????

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25001493 Hank Godwin

      You seem like a very unhappy child.  Your parents should consider putting you on some Zoloft.

  • Tom

    I’d like to note that, though it beat all those phones, I have a strange feeling he worked hard to be able to use that phone completely efficiently. And it still lost to three phones, one of which was a G-Nex along with a Bionic, and an iPhone 4S. They should have gotten people who had just as much experience with the phone. Getting random people proves nothing, except that the users were slower. Clearly the Nexus had the capacity to be faster as did the iPhone 4S and even the BIONIC of all phones. 

    That said, I do hope they make a splash. More competition means better phones for the consumer. And that is only a good thing.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I did some speed tests on my own and I had similar results to Ben. That said, speed isn’t everything. It’s important, but they need to get everything else worked out before the speed is relevant. 

  • Carmen Diva

    I just thought about something.
    The app restarting when you choose it from the Start Menu instead of just picking up where you left off/multi-tasking….

    Is it possible that this is done on purpose? Like if you hold the back button down, you want to multi-task and go back to one of your 6 apps but if you do it via the start menu perhaps you are simply trying to restart the app?

    Also, Doesn’t Android only show the last 8 recently used apps? Sure it is 2 less than Android but I don’t see the big criticism there.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Android 2.x shows 8 applications, but on ICS there doesn’t appear to be a limit (I can go back 14 apps on my phone right now). The major issue with the limitation isn’t necessary the number (though that is an issue), but rather that there can be multiple instances of an app in multi-tasking on ICS. Earlier today it showed me Messaging, a text messaging conversation, and then the same conversation again. That app was taking up three of my six spots. That’s not good design. It’s possible that going to an app from Start and it starting over was by design, but I don’t think it’s a good design. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Graham-Cluck/1848256183 Graham Cluck

    I have to agree that I would like to see Microsoft be more successful in the mobile arena. Not because I want a Windows phone (go ahead, try to pry my Nexus from my cold dead hands), but like Ron basically said, competition breeds innovation, and would make Apple and Google step it up even further. Really, who doesn’t want that? More updates, better features, and a greater experience overall than we even have now would be fantastic.

  • Carmen Diva

    Personally, I love Windows Phone 7 and I truly believe it is the best OS and picks up where Webos left off.

    I own a Galaxy Nexus and A HTC Sensation and while they and Android are great, there is nothing quite like WP7. The smoothness, the lack of having to worry about lag and it just performs the way that it should without dualcores and quadcores.

    I’ve loved Android since my Motorola Droid in 2009 and 25 phones later to my Galaxy Nexus and Sensation.

    The only reason i still have android is because the hardware was never here that I wanted. My HD7 was a recycled HTC Evo which was a HTC HD2 beforehand.

    Now with Nokia onboard, I will definitely be buying myself their latest offerings. 
    The font design that you listed as a con in my opinion is what differentiates WP7 from the other OS and it gives it an identity of its own. You can’t say WP7 is a me too OS because it is not. Hell, my nexus has borrowed quite a bit from WP7 right down to the market.
    I’m an Android fangirl and I honestly believe with Nokia onboard, we finally are going in the right direction and I can honestly say I am also a WP7 fangirl.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      It’s not the font design itself that’s bad, but the use of text over GUI. That’s what makes WP7 look like 21st century MS-DOS. The smoothness is great, but it doesn’t have the apps, multi-tasking, or notification system to make it a great OS. Hopefully Nokia’s influence on the software will help make it a real competitor. 

      • Carmen Diva

        See I disagree.
        If they get some of the big name Apps while work on offering them competitively in comparison to IOS and Android, they will be in a better position.

        As far as the notification system, Personally the way the tiles are set up is much more attractive and useful in my opinion. For instance, I can have about 10 different emails on my Start screen and it will show me the individual inbox notifications vs I believe with Android, it will show the unified number and then I personally would have to go inside the app to see which it is OR i’d have the pull the drop down menu down to see which inbox has new mail.

        I personally rather the display bar with notification to disappear instead of it just being there in Android because the notification bar gets way to crowded, espeically if I am not interested in checking at the time…the more notifications I get with Android, the crowded the top bar becomes.

        • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

          I don’t think Android’s implementation of notifications is the absolute best (though ICS is pretty close). I think the iOS version is superior in some ways, but to each his own. Without multi-tasking working properly, better notifications, and better apps I don’t see how it can be successful. 

        • Anonymous

          Had to like your comments for having a well thought out opinion & discussion, well done Ms.

          • Carmen Diva

            Aw you are sweet :D

  • angermeans

    It’s refreshing to see other OS’ being used on a site like this where we all love all thing Android. While awaiting the Galaxy Nexus release on Verizon I was in dire need of a phone and could not stand the thought of one more minute with the HTC Thunderbolt so I was online looking at some phones and have always been intrigued by WP7 so I ordered the HTC Trophy for $29.99 w/ 2 yr contract. Anyways, I still have the phone and have been completely happy with it. WP7 is beautiful and the Metro UI makes sense. It is really nice to look at and the typography and font add to the experience. The only complaint I have is the major lack in applications that run on the device besides that I really am impressed with Mango and just how fast/smooth the device when it has specs that are much outdated on Android. I still have my Trophy and plan on using it alongside my Galaxy Nexus (although it hasn’t been used much since I’ve been loving ICS on this amazing phone). 

    Im not a big MS fan, but what they are doing with WP7 looks and feels great and anyone that gets a chance to use it do yourself a favor and try it out. I could see myself using WP7 as my full time device, but would need a higher res screen and or bigger screen before I would do that. If Verizon doesnt get another Nexus device I might pick me up another WP7 phone as I have had nothing but problems with skinned Android devices and the OEMs show no desire to keep their devices software updated beyond just a couple months. 

  • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

    Its all about the ecosystem no apps, nothing new, hardware old why would someone switch to windows mobile

  • Llbarcode

    I have an HD7 on T-mobile and the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon. Windows phone but other than th is very smooth and I do like the lock screen a lot, but other then that I find Windows phone to very dull and boring. I use the Nexus a lot more and the ability to customize Andoird to my liking is why I prefer Android over anything else. I think Microsoft is moving the right direction but they still have a ways to go.

    Just my $.02.

  • ddevito

    MSFT is trying too hard these days to be Apple.

    -locked down OS
    -Windows App Store
    -Locking down Win8 machines to prevent OS overwriting

    It won’t work. What made windows so popular, whether you hated it or not, was that it ran on 1000s of PCs that were essentially unlocked. Hell I even enjoyed my HTC Wizard circa 2006 mobile – it was the first phone I modded – windows mobile 6 ROMs, etc.

    You can’t bet Apple at its own game.

    • ddevito

      Windows 8 reminds me of another previous OS that featured “tiles” and no desktop space behind it.

      Oh yeah – Windows 3.1!

  • Anonymous

    The issue I have with windows mobile is Microsoft.  I gave Microsoft a chance to release wm 7 when I  was using wm 6.5 but they took to long.  Android on the other hand is what I thought Windows Mobile should have been. 

  • Jordan Webb

    As long as it’s not the default, I think it’ll work alright. I remember people -hating- Vista based on the visual changes (not the real reasons it sucked), but they got used to it. As long as Metro isn’t forced on people, I can’t see it being a total disaster.

  • Satya Chowdary

    windows 7.5 = android 1.5 – 2 years…
    so might be windows 9.5 will be = to android 1.5

  • OGDroidToWP7

    I switched from Android to WP7 and aboslutely love it. Many of your complaints are genuine and real issues (for instance the multiple multitasking instances, as well as the app selection being low and expensive at times). However there are a lot of issues with Android too that made me switch (after two years of root/ROM on an OG Droid that lead me to this site, and I still read with a WP7 device). Nothing will ever be perfect, but I can honestly say that I like my WP7 device quite a bit and in some regards, more than my OG Droid. 

    If you do end up spending time with it, there are many various ways to unlock these devices, though for the gen 2 Focus S I’m not sure if they work yet. If you developer unlock you can side load applications (like screen shot apps). Chevron worked for a while but they ran out of tokens. Samsung gen 1 phones can be dev unlocked for free using a jailbreak, though I’m on an HTC Trophy with Verizon so I don’t know very much about the other ones.

    As a heads up, WP7 (NoDo) initially had the search button used as an in app search button. The issue is that some applications used it and some didn’t — for instance the bottom bar would have a search button and the physical key would go to Bing. Rather than have this discrepency per app, in 7.5 Mango they standardized it and made the physical button go to Bing search no matter what. It actually streamlined it and made it easier IMO.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Unlocking the phone won’t solve most of the issues, but I did see that there were screenshot apps available. I think the Search button should have remained how it was. Instead of forcing Bing when the Search button wasn’t mapped to an in-app search it should have just done nothing. 

      I’m a little surprised you switched from an OG Droid to the Trophy, but if you’re happy with it then that’s great. I think there’s a lot of appeal to the simplicity and elegance of Windows Phone 7. 

    • http://twitter.com/starnovsky Stan Tarnovsky

      So, what do you like in WP7 (except the obvious – smooth UI)?

  • ddevito

    That Metro UI is ugly on a phone.

    It’s downright hideous on a large screen. Win 8 is another Vista/Me disaster waiting to happen.

    Metro looks like a cluttered 2D suffocating interface that doesn’t add any UI depth its OS. Yes it runs great but the honeymoon won’t last.

    Windows Mobile 6 was more functional, and had better multitasking.

    • Jordan Webb

      Because Win8 totally doesn’t have a lighter footprint than 7/Vista or a “normal” Windows mode. It’s just a really, really bloated smartphone OS and will crash and burn.

      /s

      • ddevito

        I’ve been running the Win8 dev preview and I will say that performance looks good – but putting Metro on the desktop version will be nothing short of a disaster.

        It will run great on tablets, I don’t doubt that, and frankly I’m excited to see the ipad have some competition, particularly at work with all the stuffy folks bringing in their iPads telling us we need to adopt them (aaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgg).

        But Metro is suffocating and two dimensional, too much text and never gives the user visual depth (you would think that after 30 years of graphical user interfaces you’d get something more instead of less).

        Just because Glenn Close is a good actress doesn’t make her pretty.

        • Anonymous

          +10

        • Anonymous

          Try Bluep0ison–it lets you get rid of Metro and keep the new Taskmgr, Explorer, etc..

  • mmmmmm

    What you dont tell them is that there is client app for youtube that is even better than google’s original youtube app. In addition, i dont have to restart my phone 10 times a day, which is major annoyance and i don’t need app for every single email account have….well everything is integrated and sync perfectly. I switched from android to WP7 two months ago and i am much happier now. I gave my old Android phone to my GF and she hates me and the phone. That’s why i am going to buy her a phone Windows Phone maybe Nokia Lumia 900. It is beautiful phone with beautiful OS no doubt. 

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Right, there is a third party app that you can pay for, but that doesn’t seem like the best option. If Google and Apple can make a free app that works (even Palm did it), then I think Microsoft can do it too. Putting an app in the Market that is just a link to the website is lazy. 

      I’m sorry that your Android phone rebooted on you all the time. I have a Droid 2 that has that issue as well. Not all phones are perfect. 

      As for the email, I don’t know what you’re talking about. You can have your email all in one app on Android if you like as well. 

      I’m glad you’re happy with Windows Phone. It’s a decent OS, but it needs a lot of work to really compete. 

    • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

      good were all glad you like windows the problem most of us have with it is that there is no ecosystem and thats huge…..people need and want apps and if you dont jave that you have an os that cant do a whole lot….plus windows phone is so far behind in the hardware and the os wont support dual better hardware until apollo which is due out end of this year thats far

    • Anonymous

      Restarting 10 times a day? Youtube app better on WM? Yep definately trolling.

    • Anonymous

      I love when people have a phone like a Droid Eris or LG Ally and talk about how Android sucks and how they have to restart their phone 10 times a day. I think it’s because you didn’t take the time to research anything before you purchased it, so now you have your HTC trophy and your jumping for joy……………. please.You and WP7 deserve each other!

      • Carmen Diva

        So, i have a Sensation and a Nexus and i have complaints?
        What say you then?

        • Anonymous

          I’d say if you have the resources to own such phones certainly you must know something about them……..? I would also ask what those complaints might be, cause its certainly not restarting 10 times a day! The point I’m trying to make is 85% of the people that complain about Android, are simply complaining about THEIR low budget, free-on-contract-phone, not Android!

          • Carmen Diva

            The Phone itself does not restart daily but HTC Sensation with HTC Sense restarts at least 10-20 times a day. I mean the Sense part not the actual phone. WHich means I have to wait 10-20 seconds for the phone to reload the widgets and all that junk.

            It happens whenever you pretty much do anything on the phone and is a common issue on XDA.

            My nexus is fairly perfect aside from a few quirks

  • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

    Android>iOS>Palm>WM>Turd>BB

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Graham-Cluck/1848256183 Graham Cluck

      Turd gets a +1 from me lol

      • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

        I like turds. At least, when you compare them to BB I do.

    • http://twitter.com/ZiHuang1 Zi Huang

      Android/iOS > other OS. 

  • Anonymous

    yeah it runs “buttery smooth” because the OS is simple it only uses tiles some live but nothing fancy. You cant change keyboards, you cant customize home screens hardly, the gps nav with bing is poor, i get the metro look but the cut out fonts like “peop– the “L&E is like cut off and althogh it looks cool its all the same even with alot of their apps.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      The cut off text definitely used to bother me, but you get used to the look. Having everything text based, though, becomes annoying after a while. 

    • Carmen Diva

      Why on earth would you need to change the keyboard? It has been heralded as one of the best touchscreen keyboards to date.

      • Anonymous

        Why on earth? Well it’s a nice keyboard I have used a wp7 before.. it’s just nice to try some other keyboards or themed keyboards.. swiftkey is nice.. plus the quick short texts done via voice input is handy once in a while. Wp7 will never have such option though.

      • Anonymous

        Its def a very good keyboard, but it wont suit everyone. Diff strokes for diff folks & all that….choice is good (cut to Android walking in with 50 keyboards under his arms). Not saying it needs 1003 keyboard replacements, but a few would be nice for cats that enjoy MetroUI but dont like the keyboard layout/size/etc……

      • Nerdy Desi

        Just because you like it doesn’t mean everyone else will. Don’t be such a diva!  ; )

        • Carmen Diva

          I can’t help it. It’s in my blood :P LOL

  • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

    Again, I find that WM7.x.x.x.x.x. is good looking, but doesn’t fit the functionality I require. Someone might like it, but I cannot find two f***s to give about WM7. Not to mention, (like Matthew Rosidivito), if I liked it enough, I could download a launcher. problem solved.
    VIVA LA ANDROID!

  • http://profiles.google.com/ewhitak Eric Whitaker

    Isnt that lock screen the exact same as the galaxy s2?

  • DanSke

    IMHO, I find the design style of WP & WP 7.5 for that matter to be utterly revolting and useless. On a screen that can only show a minimal amount of data (as compared to a computer screen or even a tablet) the tile / large text route is rubbish. So much wasted space is counter productive and not needed. I think designers that thought up and implemented this OS were to caught up in the idea of it rather than the functionality. Its still a smartphone with a smaller screen, making it increasingly important to display as much information on it to be useful in the consumers eyes…or else why bother.

    Rant concluded. Haha 

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      On a smaller phone like the Trophy it doesn’t feel like wasted space as much, but on larger phones like the Focus S it’s ridiculous. They need to increase the resolution and shrink the text size. 

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the review!

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      You bet! 

  • Anonymous

    I like how Windows Phone connects up with Xbox Live. I don’t own an Xbox but wish Sony did the same thing with PSN and Android.

    • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

      I agree with this and with reports that google might be teamingbup woth sony for a tablet i pray rhis cones true

  • DroidzFX

    If I didn’t have Android it would be WP7.

  • Lmrojas

    It will be interesting to see MS Windows 8 on tablets. If their phones cant compete maybe the tablets will destory android and apple

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I have massive doubts about their tablet strategy, but I’m sure they’ll appeal to some. 

  • Erik Meyers

    Integrating all messages (IM, SMS, FB) into one app is one place that WP got it right for sure

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I think that’s definitely a feature that is appealing. I personally didn’t care for it, but for people who don’t mind having the phone curate their information I imagine it’d be convenient. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Slainte-Threeseventeen/100003377967363 Slainte Threeseventeen

    One might ask Microsoft…who did the user experience for WP7?  Blackberry users?  Non smartphone users?  Why not put your product in the hands of say, Android or IOS users and ask them what they think BEFORE you release it.  You might have heard something like the story above.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jonathanf Jonathan Fingas

      Joe Belfiore is mostly responsible for Metro!

      As for feedback, be careful of focus-grouping.  Remember Henry Ford’s statement: “if I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said ‘a faster horse.’”  I think it needs more tweaks than a fundamental reimagining.

      • Anonymous

        That quote makes a lot of sense when inventing or creating something new, or in Ford’s case, being in on start of a new industry. He would have been completely wrong if saying the same thing 10-20 years later.

        The smartphone market is well established now. I think it is time to ask the customer, the only way they are going to grow is by stealing users from Android and iOS.

  • http://twitter.com/drudometkin David R.

    WP7 is buttery smooth

    • http://twitter.com/starnovsky Stan Tarnovsky

      Butter is buttery smooth as well, but it sucks as a pocket computer

      • TC Infantino

        But it does make things taste better, some things anyway.

      • Anonymous

        Yea, and it keeps overheating in sunlight, even when not in use/just sitting there, WTF???….Come on butter OEMS, get it together or im going back to margarine!!!!

  • Anonymous

    It’s almost as if Windows phones are stuck on the setting for partially blind or challenged users.  I cannot for the life of me understand their basic design for their UI. 

    Good luck to them, like you said we need a third party in the smart phone world to push the other two to innovate.  Hopefully they figure out something interesting that catches our eye. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1430760558 Kevin Ly

    IMO WP 7.5 looks old and unappealing. I don’t like the Metro look or the tiles. But it is better than a Blackberry. Only way I would get a WP is if Android and iOS are gone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=797475274 Nadeem Najib Kizi

    This operating system is so ugly, I had to scroll down before I vomit.

    • Anonymous

      lol, I wrote a paragraph to explain my feelings about the phone, but you sir only needed one sentence and it was even more effective.  

      Well done.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=797475274 Nadeem Najib Kizi

        Thanks :) lol.

        I can’t see Windows Phones succeeding, the design is lacking..make 10 squares lined up vertically in Photoshop, and add transitions & codes to them. Woot! It’s a phone peeps, buy it.

        People at TheVerge.com are saying these phone are going to succeed once Microsoft make PC programs compatible with these phones.

        However, I still don’t see how PC programs will work on these phones. There is not really that helpful, sure, Photoshop, Illustrator, these ones. But as for the other ones, I can’t think of anything useful.

        Obviously, that’s just my opinion, I play with Battlefield 3 with someone I know and he says he owns a Windows Phone and he loves it because it does the things he needs, but are there any functions that a Windows Phone does that other Smartphones cant do? I dont know, Xbox Live? He doesn’t even have an Xbox.

        • Anonymous

          You’re not alone. Call me when WP7 breaks single digit marketshare, MS.

  • Matthew Rosidivito

    I think WP 7.5 looks simply beautiful. That said, it’s a testament to Android that I am able to run something like Launcher 7 if I decided to go for a similar look. In my mind, this ease of customization and flexibility that is native to Android will make sure it never goes out of date.

    • Anonymous

      Customization is exactly why Android is so appealing to me.  I can setup my phone pretty much the way I want it and make it work the way I want it to.  I’m not stuck with whatever Apple or MS think is best for me.

      • Jordan Webb

        To be fair, you can’t really do the highest customization stuff without rooting. Once you jailbreak an iPhone, there’s plenty of launcher options and setup stuff you can do (guy at work was showing me his latest iPhone setup, which was admittedly somewhat impressive).

        • http://twitter.com/havens1515 Randy

          You can do a whole lot of customization without root. Yes, to do the max amount of customization (a custom ROM) you need root. But changing launchers is easily done by anyone, and it makes a huge difference in how the phone looks and acts

        • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

          Unless his iphone was jailbroken no he cant

        • http://www.facebook.com/TJHRULZ tjhrulz

          Jailbreaking an iPhone is a lot different than rooting on android, simply put android has SU access built in (linux) and IOS does not.

          A major difference that many do not know it when you jailbreak an iPhone you can not reboot it without a computer (Unless you have a thetherless jailbreak but those are harder to do and come by IOS5 has none that I know of). if I just root an android based phone all it appears to do is give me one more app, which then can be expanded upon.

        • Anonymous

          One significant difference is that rooting lets you get newer versions of android earlier, while jailbreaking makes you wait for new versions of iOS to be cracked.

      • http://twitter.com/havens1515 Randy

        I agree completely. Customization is THE reason why I got an Android phone. I can make it look and act as I want it to.

        • http://www.facebook.com/TJHRULZ tjhrulz

          Yay linux!

  • Anonymous

    In a world of icon-based operating systems, I am still baffled by the decision to get away from a tried-and-true formula. I’ve tried using WP7 on a number of occasions and just simply don’t like that the majority of stuff is text-based. I like me some icons.

    • Anonymous

      Why is it a bad thing that MS tried to be unique and set themselves apart from everyone else?

    • Jordan Webb

      In a world of menu-based operating systems, I am still baffled by the decision to get away from a tried-and-true formula. I’ve tried using iOS/Android on a number of occasions and just simply don’t like that the majority of stuff is image-based. I like me some menus.
      Oh, wait. Sorry. Thought this was 2006.

      • Rocky

        I had the OG Droid for 2 years and the Galaxy Nexus for about a week. My wife got a WP and I dumped my Nexus for the same WP she has. Icons are rubbish on a phone. The touch points are too small for reliable one handed operation, where the live tiles are not only easy to touch but provide more info at a glance. Everything you do on WP is simply elegant and screenshots can’t convey its smoothness or the complete aesthetic of the tiles animations. Miss too many txt messages he turns to a sad face. Notification panel isn’t really needed because everything you’d go there to look for is already up on the start screen. I hated how I couldn’t seamlessly move from contact info to contact history and other relevant info with ICS, or how it wouldn’t allow for completely hands free operation, or how I couldn’t install certs without password encryption, or how the browser wouldn’t follow the cursor inside webmail, or that I couldn’t msg my son on xbox live, or that i couldn’t thread and link my work email via EAS, or that I needed so many apps for things that were essentially built in with WP. Android simply copied the icon style from iOS because everyone wanted either a cheaper iphone or an equivalentish product on their carrier of choice. The market is a free-for-all and half the things I would install didn’t work. I was actually mad at my wife for a while because I rather enjoyed being in the ignorant majority and would have happily gone through life with my Nexus until I realized all this seemingly simple things it sucked at. So don’t hate what you don’t understand. Peace!

        • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

          The Start screen only works for notifications if you have the right apps pinned, so it’s an extremely limited solution. Moving from contact info to contact history is a simple back and then swipe gesture on ICS. No phone allows for complete hands-free operation. You can definitely thread and link email with Exchange Active Sync. I understand the appeal of Windows Phone, but it is severely limited as of today. Hopefully that will change.