Two weeks ago I posted my first impressions and experiences with Windows Phone 7.
Since then I have continued to use WP7, for better or worse, and collect observations
about the user experience. In order to reduce the bias of "this is new to me"
and increase focus on what really
strikes me about Windows Phone 7, I
took no notes, and now write from what impressed me enough to stay with me.
From the beginning
The Windows Phone 7 start screen lets the user pin just about anything to it.
This includes not only programs (apps) but also contacts, documents (like notes)
and web pages! These are things I never managed to do with WebOS or Android (not
that I had my android phone for very long). What I could do with those, but not
with WP7, is have more than one screen to pin stuff to. To compensate for
having only one customizable screen, Windows Phone 7 seems to have no limit to
the length of that screen. They seem to take hold of the zero-one-infinity rule
from the start.
For unlocking the phone, a four digit number seems to be the only option. This
is fine for me, but anyone wanting a proper pass-phrase, or gesture, will have to
To The Points
- Status Bar:
The very top of the screen, which contains indicators of various things as time,
battery, and signal strength, auto-hides. These informational icons are hidden
from view unless called for with a gesture. Perhaps this is to keep the screen
clean and neat, but I considered it an indirection I have to work past to see
- General Feel:
The overall look of the user interface seems to favor straight lines and corners.
This unpolished look is reminiscent of the early days of Linux, but is comfortably clean.
- Alarms: I tried the alarm clock feature and was successfully woke.
So that's good. The phone comes with
16 choices of alarm/alert sounds, all cleverly named "Alarm" or "Alert". Would
it have taken much longer to name them? I can appreciate that sometimes naming
something is challenging, but even distinct-but-not-apt names are better than
The calculator wins with the simple fact that you can turn it on its side for
"scientific" mode; a feature I was disappointed in WebOS for omitting.
- Calendar: There's a calendar, but I never use it.
The camera software is not remarkably good or bad, but it would be nice to be
able to save settings. When one exits and returns, the settings are defaulted.
The Hotmail client, unlike my experience with the Gmail client, does allow me
to see sent items.
The maps application doesn't feel right. I can't even put my finger on why.
- It seems slow.
- It has a funny, blurry, way of loading maps on scroll.
- It doesn't seem to cache map tiles, such that when I scroll over, and back, I have to wait for
it to reload that portion of the map.
- Did I mention it's slow? Yes, Even in areas
of good signal. I'm not sure what to pin that on.
- Also, the search doesn't seem to sort results based on distance;
I was finding closer items on page five.
- The messaging app accents unread messages, by coloring the preview text. Read
messages, however, do not differentiate between sent and received. I suppose
they expect the user to remember, but if one has a long list of messages, and some
are old, or if someone else read it, an indication would be helpful.
- The rendering of conversations seems to waste a lot of screen space on left/right
- Messages received have a "Call back at #" line
on every incoming message. The first time I saw that, I called the person
thinking they typed it. Since clicking it takes the user to a confirmation
screen, it is no faster than going through the contact (also one click away). I
would just as soon get those pixels back so I can view more conversation.
- Music + Videos:
I have not used the Music + Videos beyond the discovery that I cannot play
arbitrary streams with it.
- I have a contact with 20 email addresses, but Windows Phone 7 doesn't seem to think a contact
should have more than three (3) email addresses; it ignores the rest.
It's not a person, but it exists for
the reason of binding those addresses together so alerts coming from them are
grouped under that contact. This worked fine on phones with no restrictions on
the contents of a contact.
- On the topic of contacts, I did notice one contact with two mobile numbers; the
second came from facebook. Does this mean, only one mobile per source?
The pictures app has scanned my facebook profile and includes pictures from
my albums and my news feed in itself. I don't know what to say about that, other
Voice Dialing deserves its own paragraph, even if only to say: it works.
It works well, and I am pleased.
The New List
The list of things I want to do with a smart-phone
is was pretty short.
I've had to add a few new items since my experience with Windows Phone 7.
- Make Calls
- Manage Contacts
- Manage Contacts with Multiple Mobile Phones
- Manage Contacts with Many Email Addresses
- Listen to Streaming media
- Send and receive email
- Review Emails Sent
- Send and receive SMS/text messages
- Switch arbitrarily between current tasks
- Control app volume separate from ringer volume
- Enjoy my user experience