Windows Phone 7 Review

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Microsoft has a brand new smartphone platform that they are hoping are worthy challengers to Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android platforms.

New Design and User Interface

The first thing Microsoft has executed correctly is throw out the clumsy Start menus, folders and files to establish a splendid amalgamated hub arrangement fortified by a series of ‘live’ tiles that are cleaner and more dynamic for the phone user.

The phone offers a sleek and minimalistic 2-column design that’s not only incredibly easy-to-use but also lets you receive the latest updates from your social network at a glance.

Navigation is also smooth and visceral by way of sliding, scrolling left to right, tilting and swiping to view the robust content on your phone.

What’s most attractive is that everything on the Start screen is customizable and constructed entirely around the user experience.

Can’t get through the day without calling your beloveds at least five times? Just ‘pin’ them to your Start screen and you can reach them with a tap of your finger, without needing to go through your address book or to do a search.

Each tile can represent anything you wish be it a contact, your favorite web page, a song, application or even a hub. Rearrange them any way you like or remove one merely by long-tapping a tile and choosing to unpin it.

A tap on the arrow at the top of the screen fetches you a list of all your applications. One downside is that there’s no way to sort or categorize these apps and so the screen gets pretty littered once you install many of them.

A big positive for Windows Phone 7 is how it seamlessly incorporates social activities within six hubs – People, Pictures, Games, Music + Video, Office and the Marketplace.

If you are acquainted with the Zune HD music player, navigating through the WP7 hubs becomes even mere child’s play. Both devices are defined by ‘Metro’, a typography-based design by Microsoft, which has large type fonts, a panoramic design, clean colors and fluid animation.

People Hub

Everything you need to know about your friends and family can be found in the People hub as the phone automatically streams information about them from assorted sources such as Facebook or their email accounts. This is a function also offered by phones like HTC Sense.

Call, text, email your friends or check their most recent status update from Facebook simply by tapping on a particular contact.

Merely scroll across the hub to see ‘what’s new’ for everyone’s Facebook updates.

Pictures Hub

As with the People hub, all your photos (including albums from your Facebook account) can be revealed. They’re displayed in little thumbnails and visible by date or favorites. Scroll to see your friends’ latest uploads and even comment on them if you wish.

Capture those quick moments on the go simply by pressing the shutter button to activate the camera even when the phone is off or locked, and you’re ready to snap as soon as the phone’s out of your pocket.

Once you’re finished, WP7 uploads and shares your pictures automatically on Facebook or SkyDrive, a Windows Live file storage and sharing system.

Games Hub

Several notable Microsoft features have also been integrated into the phone and they include a mobile Office suite, Zune entertainment platform and of course, the highly anticipated Xbox LIVE.

The avatars are highly endearing – you can tickle or hit him/her, or shake the phone and watch them fall to the ground with a anguished expression. If you have the Xbox LIVE hub pinned to your Start menu, your avatar will even pop up occasionally before disappearing back into the tile.

Basically Xbox presented in a mobile format, the Games hub lets you play your favorite games, look through Spotlight for the latest updates or check up on your friends’ or your own achievements and gamer profile.

While there are only over 60 game titles according to PC World, the fact is incorporating Xbox LIVE games will offer users rich graphic and gaming experiences.

Music + Video Hub

Don’t despair if you are unable to get your hands on Microsoft’s Zune player, as phone users can now enjoy the same music and video features of the Zune HD thanks to Windows Phone 7.

Syncing music is just a matter of drag and drop, though users will need to download the Zune desktop software. Apple users can also rest assured that using WP7 will be a breeze as Microsoft has derived a basic compatible software called ‘Windows Phone 7 Connector’, which allows users to synchronize multimedia content from iTunes or iPhoto to the phone.

Office Hub + Calendar

View, edit, share and sync your Excel, Word or PowerPoint documents with your PC. However, only simple edits are possible with editing options being rather basic: format, highlight and alter font colors. What’s fresh here is the powerful OneNote application, which allows you to make notes, do voice recordings or even snap pictures when necessary. The calendar’s also pretty sound and lets you plan your daily agenda complete with colored labels in relation to the urgency of the task at hand. You can also look at your calendar by month to find those free days when you can hang out with friends and family.

Marketplace Hub

As with any smartphone, the phone is not complete without apps, and WP7 users can download everything they require for music, games, entertainment, news, sports and more through the marketplace. The apps are sorted between free and paid.

It will be a while though before Microsoft can catch up to the huge app libraries that make smartphones like the Apple iPhone such great winners.

Microsoft has recently hit the 1000 app milestone while Apple has reported a total of 300,000 apps.

However, featured apps like Twitter, IMDB and eBay, are already on Windows Marketplace while more developers, such as EA Mobile, are jumping aboard to publish a slew of Xbox LIVE games for WP7 users.

In Summary

Microsoft has gained several favorable reviews from critics and deservedly so.

In a world where connectivity and speed is everything, Windows Phone 7 has proven to be a huge enticement for social- and multi-media phone junkies, especially with the integration of Xbox LIVE and Zune.

Some beefs however are that users need to sign up for a Windows Live ID to gain total access to phone features such as SkyDrive or Zune. Fortunately, signing up is easy enough even if you are a Gmail email user.

Critics have also sounded off about the lack of a copy and paste function (which will be solved with an update early next year), video chat functions and the inability to multitask when it comes to third party applications.

Generally speaking though, those who want something fresh will enjoy the new Windows Phone 7.


Source by Bryan Marino

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