on March 19, 2011
DISCLAIMER: This is an in-depth review, if you want a simple thumbs up or down review, this is a huge thumbs up. If you have time to spare, I'm long-winded so bear with me.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I own the HTC Arrive which I purchased through Amazon Wireless (full blog review + images + video coming soon) I also have extensive hands-on experience with Windows Phone 7 with T-Mobile and AT&T devices. I am also an application developer for the WP7 platform, and have been using the freely supplied development tools (Visual Studio 2010 Express Edition for Windows Phone 7) since they launched. I first experienced Windows Phone 7 hands on at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in March 2010 (over one year ago).
First of all, the 1 star review from "WOLFBANE" is an obvious troll. He "tried the phone for 14 days" but took it back? Well Mr. Bane, that is impossible seeing that they don't even go on sale until 03/20/2010 (tomorrow). The only units that have shipped are review units to the media and semi-functional display units for the stores. The first review of an HTC arrive was given by WireFly on their YouTube channel on 03/03/2011, and the device wasn't activated. Trust me, if it was possible to get the HTC Arrive two weeks ago, I would have it. I've been bugging my contacts at Sprint for WP7 since it's launch six months ago. I also know that most Sprint stores aren't getting the devices until deliveries later today (03/19/2010).
On with the review...
The HTC Arrive is a great phone, here are strong points about it:
- The overall design is extremely high quality. Because of the full slide-out keyboard it can seem heavy in the hand, but it is far from burdensome. Holding an Arrive and an Evo 4G I couldn't really tell the difference. I personally like the weight of it, it doesn't seem fragile.
- The slide out keyboard is large and works well. While the WP7 isn't completely integrated for horizontal displays the keyboard works in all the most important apps. You'll find yourself using a combination of the virtual keyboard and the slide out keyboard, but even on other mobile OS's you run into that. The keys on the full keyboard are large, and easy to type on. The keyboard is also back-lit so works well in lowlight situations. It is a real blessing for people with fat fingers like myself. The "popup" hinge for the keyboard is a nice touch and makes for better video viewing for students, cubicle workers on their lunch breaks or passengers on a plane or bus. It is also sturdy, and I don't think they'll wear out with normal usage.
- The call quality of the Arrive is great. I know that many HTC devices make sub-par telephones, but this is not one of those devices. The speaker is loud and clear and call quality seems to be great on the other end as well. It is one of the better cell phones I've used in recent years, and much better than most HTC devices, especially the speaker phone.
- Overall it is a very solid device, and one I'm happy to own. In my opinion it is easily the best WP7 device to date.
Here are a few shortcomings of the HTC Arrive:
- The 5MP camera is actually of decent quality. I didn't have high hopes for it initially as my HTC Hero also has a 5MP camera, but it is horrendous on all fronts. However, the auto focus on the Arrive works as needed and the LED flash is quite bright. The HD video is decent quality, but like most smart phones doesn't work all that well in low-light situations. HTC could have gone with an 8MP camera to add a little more gusto.
- I'd like to see more support for being able to use the full keyboard whenever you wanted, but this is more on Microsoft than HTC or Sprint. Until they update every screen for the WP7 platform to work in landscape mode I'm afraid we're going to be stuck in a hybrid usage of the virtual and physical keyboard. With that said, the virtual keyboard is a huge improvement over their competitors.
- The LCD screen isn't amazing. I'd love to have received an AMOLED screen like that of the Samsung Focus, but the LCD screen on the Arrive is about on par as you'll see on other devices from HTC, like the Evo 4G. For a mobile device it is perfectly fine. The response time is snappy and videos play smooth and clear. I'm just really nitpicking here, but an AMOLED would have been nice.
Windows Phone 7 is an innovative idea, it isn't another cookie cutter smartphone OS with simple icons arranged on a screen in no particular order. Let's be honest Android fans, but Android's UI design is a blatant ripoff of what Apple brilliantly released in 2007 with the iPhone 1. Since that time other manufactures have tried to emulate the "idiot proof" icon-filled UI. Android has done extremely well since it's release and it is arguably the mobile OS to beat, but it also wasn't exactly innovative. Put an average consumer side by side with an iPhone 4 and an Evo 4G and they'd have no idea what the differences are, and that's a fact.
Microsoft has been behind in the mobile game for nearly a decade. I've owned some pretty horrible Windows Mobile Phones in my day, and it was hard for me to fathom that they could come up with something as innovative as WP7, but they did. Here's where I think Windows Phone 7 Stands apart form the competition:
- WP7 is a unique experience, unlike any other smartphone. The design is simple, yet elegant. It is an inspired design and delivery from a company that makes us forget sometimes that they know what they are doing.
- The integration and convergence of your data, social media and contacts is completely seamless (almost). The only hiccup is that Microsoft just recently came to an agreement with Twitter about building WP7 into the device itself (like Facebook already is), so that will be added later in 2011. Until then you'll have to use the Twitter app (which Microsoft designed) or another 3rd party app like Seesmic (my choice). Otherwise your news updates, check-ins and photos from all of your friends can be located in once single place.
- The hardware standards are key to the success of WP7. The minimum standards guarantee that every WP7 phone released will be able to completely perform up to the standards set forth by Microsoft. All of the devices released thus far are snappy and perform well. As an example of how it could have gone wrong, there is a huge discrepancy between Android devices. While the higher end phones run brilliantly, the entry level Android devices crawl along. I'm glad Microsoft set high standards for the devices.
- The Zune interface on the phone far exceeds the competitors offerings. The music app in iOS is boring and stale and almost unchanged for four years, while the included Android music player is slow and clunky. You can download apps for Android like WinAmp, but even then they don't stand a chance against the Zune interface. I've been a huge fan of the Zune since their launch, even though they have been the butt of many jokes and the Zune software of WP7, is nearly identical to that of the Zune HD, a device even most critics applauded for it's great design and usability.
- The applications and games are extremely promising so far. Office Mobile is fantastic and a great free added bonus, and the mobile gaming and Xbox Live integration is great. I can't wait to see further XNA development that allows a user to be playing a game on their handheld on the bus ride home, then pausing it and then picking back up where they left off on their Xbox. Very cool possibilities. I am also happy to have Netflix, an app that you won't see on Android anytime soon because of it's openness. I think Apple has proven that a closed platform is good for business. The hacker community will crack WP7 eventually, but for now their closed platform may help attract more developers.
- Microsoft doesn't allow bloat-ware from phone manufacturers. Android devices are known to be filled with with useless and resource hogging UI "improvements." I should know, I've been struggling with my HTC Hero for a year and a half. The fact that Microsoft only allows manufacturers and mobile providers the ability to install applications, not edit the UI is a stroke of genius and far overdue in my book.
- The simplicity of the three physical buttons and a dedicated camera button are elegantly brilliant, and not something most people have come to expect from Microsoft. Microsoft's past devices have been clunky and generally had horrible touch screens, so even interacting with the phones was a chore. Thankfully, that is no longer the case. The "instant on" camera is a fantastic addition, and one I can't believe hasn't shown up on a smart phone before. The software integration for the camera is also a step above the rest, with integrated instant uploads.
- The integration with Live services is a huge plus. Some of the complaints with WP7 is that it is a locked platform (like iOS), and thus can't be mounted as a drive when plugged into a PC. Well, cry me a river on that one. Microsoft gives you a free 25GB of online storage with Skydrive. Or you could simply just install DropBox like most normal people who gave up flash drives a couple of years ago. Knowing that I can upload Word documents, photos and videos to and from my PC and phone to Skydrive with doing much of anything is a huge perk.
- WP7 has amazing developer tools. Microsoft has given would-be WP7 developers everything they need to succeed. Along with the SDK the tools to develop are also free (Visual Studio 2010 Express), and there are countless resources to learn more about Silverlight, C#, XNA and everything else you'd ever need to know. There is a thriving community at create.msdn.com and literally tens of thousands of documents and files in the MSDN repository. Not to mention that they give you free video training for absolute beginners from Bob Tabor of LearnVisualStudio.net. All developed apps also have a "built in" trial system, and they have a mobile ad network SDK for developers of free apps.
- Zune Pass. I don't care what anyone says, but being able to literally have instant access to millions of songs listed on the Zune Marketplace for just $14.95 a month is brilliant. No other MP3 store can compete with this (including iTunes), especially considering you can keep 10 songs a month, so the service actually costs you under $5 a month.
- Devices are now on all the major US carriers. With the recent addition CDMA support, and launches coming to Sprint (03/20/2011) and Verizon (03/24/2011) Microsoft can now be purchased by the vast majority of cell phone users in America. I have no doubt that over the next 12-18 months WP7 will eat into the big 3's market share, because when most people put their hands on a WP7 device they love it.
WP7 isn't all great, here's a rundown of what I think they need to improve upon, and fast:
- They need to be faster with their updates. Before the NoDo update, WP7 users have only seen one update for the WP7 OS, and that was simply an update to improve the update process (/facepalm). Meanwhile some users with launch phones from T-Mobile and AT&T have been stuck with a somewhat buggy OS for six months now, and that's ridiculous. Microsoft is the king of hot fixes, why in the world do they have to wait until they have a huge update to fix problems? Send out updates to bugs as soon as you fix them. Apple has been brilliant with this, Microsoft needs to move in this direction immediately.
- There need to be more devices that allow for expandable memory. Come on Microsoft, it is 2011... 8GB-16GB of storage on a phone that can be filled with apps and media just isn't enough. Give and/or encourage manufacturers to start integrating MicroSD into the newer devices. These phones are HD capable, but one HD movie can be 4GB!
- Application browsing on the phone isn't horrible, but it needs some huge work in the Zune desktop software. I actually really love the Zune software and have been using it over iTunes since the Zune launch. It's simplicity was a huge reason I loved it, but the application search on the marketplace is far too simple. Give us more ways to search and sort the apps, from categories, to best-selling, highest rated, newest, etc, etc. See iTunes for details.
- Microsoft needs to do a better job of wooing "big name" mobile application developers. Angry Birds' developers are finally on board, but why not six months ago? Some glaring omissions from applications that I love include Pandora (although Last.FM is available), Square (credit card payments) and Gowalla. There are countless others as well, but there needs to be some serious developer wooing going on on the part of Microsoft. Go find the biggest Android and iOS developers and convince them to also develop on your platform. WP7 is a super-easy platform to develop for, and Microsoft needs to do a much better job of selling that fact.
I could go on forever, and at this point I've probably lost everyone anyway. All I know is that anyone who sees an HTC Arrive in person will be able to admire it for it's intuitive and elegant design. The same can be said for the Windows Phone 7 operating system. Most people that use either the Arrive and WP7 for an extended period of time would appreciate both of them, even if they chose to go with another phone or a platform. To simply write off WP7 because it is from Microsoft is shortsighted and laughable. WP7 is far from perfect, but Android and iOS were far from perfect in their infancies and are are far from perfect now.
I for one love WP7 and am thrilled to have it in my hands.
on March 20, 2011
As a long-term Sprint customer, I received an email on 3/17 giving me the opportunity to buy an Arrive early and placed my order that same afternoon. It was delivered to my doorstep by UPS in less than 24 hours. Consequently, I've been able to try it out for the past couple days. I have waited a LONG time for a capable Windows phone. Thankfully, I haven't been disappointed. My environment is Windows 7, Office 2010 with hosted Exchange/SharePoint for my business. I wanted a device that would leverage my investment in the Windows platform and take my personal and business communications to the next level.
First and foremost, the Arrive is built for rich communications. I LOVE the interface - simple, elegant, easy to use & navigation that's smooth. This device is very solid, more compact than I had expected. My worries about size/heft were unfounded. The screen is solid, clear and bright. The illuminated QWERTY keyboard is just fabulous and the virtual keyboard is the best I've tried - especially in combination with the `Predictive' text feature. This is crafted like a Swiss watch.
Kicking the Tires
Setup was a breeze given the complexity of this device. I first enabled WiFi and then entered my Exchange email address and password and it configured everything for auto-sync automatically: Outlook Email messages, Contacts and Calendar entries all replicated within moments. Same for POP3 email accounts. Created some test emails for all accounts and got to see how great the `Predictive Text' feature works. Bluetooth setup with my car was quick. Same with integrating Facebook with Contacts. Linked to Windows Live and Zune, including wireless sync.
I tried some test phone calls and the audio was great, speaker phone loud and clear. Used the voice recognition to `Call' a couple contacts saying their names and `Work' or `Mobile'. Gives me a list if I just use first names. PERFECT. I then ask it to `Find' an artist and recording on Amazon and it does it. All flawlessly. WOW.
Dropped and dragged music and pictures to the phone. Set wallpaper with grandson's picture which it auto-framed framed and auto-cropped and converted landscape to portrait. COOL. Shot a 42-second video. Excellent quality on playback. I like the placement of the dedicated camera button - I don't even have to unlock the phone, just hold down the camera side-button and the camera comes up. CLICK and SHARE to your heart's content.
Activated the Map and TeleNav GPS applications and charted my course to the local airport with both. then downloaded the Weather Channel app. Plugged in enclosed earbuds which serve as an antennae for the built-in FM Radio, activated the FM radio app and set my favorite stations. Took a test picture and uploaded it to Skydrive, then check Live.com - yep - it's there. I then tested the connection to SharePoint. Oops! My hosting service is running SharePoint 2007 and the Arrive requires SharePoint 2010. I call my hosting service and they promise to upgrade soon. Not to worry, the Arrive defaults over to IE browser for access to my SharePoint site and I download a large Excel file with multiple tabs and charts. Flip to landscape mode which works wonders as well as quick gestures to zoom in/out. I log-off of SharePoint and zoom around the downloaded Excel file. I detach a large Word document from an email and edit it.
I turn off WiFi and surf around the Internet with Sprint's 3G connection. It's reasonably fast. I go back to WiFi mode and install the HTC YouTube and NetFlix applications from the `MarketPlace' hub. I try them on both WiFi and Sprint 3G, watching them in full screen, landscape mode. The WiFi is great and the 3G is acceptable - buffering in the apps solves latency problems. I'm also really liking the dedicated button that launches a Bing context sensitive search function. Finally, I try the much discussed cut and paste feature and find it well implemented. There's a gazillion free apps in the Games hub but I'm not into that. Someone else will need to comment on the Xbox Live stuff.
A Few Criticisms
There needs to be integration for document sharing between the Arrive and desktop or cloud, not just videos, music and OneNote info. Not everyone has access to a SharePoint server, much less SharePoint 2010. Sure, you can hustle files around as email attachments but this is old school. I would also like to be able to back up my Arrive configuration completely to my desktop so that I can reload everything should the need arise. On the other hand, if you lose your Arrive, you can go on Live.com and wipe your Arrive clean remotely. There are a few places where the display doesn't flip to landscape mode - a minor annoyance. The 5 mega-pixel camera is not an issue for me. I certainly don't see anything in this device that can't be addressed with a 3rd party app or a patch to the OS.
The Arrive is truly impressive - there is a huge amount of functionality here that has been made very accessible. I HAVE to give the Arrive 5 STARS. Everything about this device is well thought out and admirably executed in both hardware and software. If you want to take your Windows communications to the next level, this phone's for you.
on March 23, 2011
I am an avid HP/Palm supporter but unfortunately they have not been quick enough to get devices out to the consumers. This market moves amazingly quick and they are falling behind. After a year and a half of lugging around my painfully slow Palm Pixi (minus), I decided to use my Sprint upgrade before I lost it to the 1 April upgrade policy changes took effect. I had been looking at the Arrive ever since it was announced back in October as the HTC 7 Pro. I was confident that I was going to stay with Palm for the long haul but we all know how that story goes. Needless to say, I got tired of waiting and gave in.
My decision to go with Windows Phone 7 came from how interesting the OS looked as well as my dislike for iOS and Android. I already have an iPod touch so I really have no need for an iPhone. I'm not really sure why so many love the iPhone. It is boring, and feels outdated when compared to webOS and WP7 to be honest. My husband has an Evo and I find Android unorganized and not very intuitive. RIM is out of the question so this made me really consider WP7.
I preordered the phone on 17 March. Amazon emailed me saying that it would arrive (no pun intended) on 30-31 March, but it was at my doorstep on 22 March. For 149.99 and free shipping it was a no brainer. Amazon is always excellent.
Now for the phone. The hardware is very solid and attractive. The screen is bright and clear and although it's a print magnet, I have managed to keep it clean but I need to order a screen protector. The physical keyboard is by far the best cell phone keyboard I have ever used. However, the virtual keyboard on WP7 is so solid that sometimes I forget I have a physical keyboard. I thought I was always going to hate virtual keyboards due to iOS (worst virtual keyboard ever) but this phone made me change my mind. As far as the OS I can honestly say there is really nothing quite like it. Although I do prefer webOS for its multitasking, card view, Touchstone and notifications, I can say that I am very impressed by WP7. I'm still learning the ins and outs of the OS but it literally took me less than 5 minutes without even looking at the guide to figure it out. To me that's what an intuitive OS really is all about.... Funny that my husband just said he wished he had gotten it instead of the Evo while I was writing this review.
My only problem with the phone is that not every application goes into landscape mode. The OS is still in its infancy so I'm sure this will be worked with at a later date, but I'm guessing that's up to the developers who release the applications.... but it kinda beats the purpose of having a landscape physical keyboard.
Overall, this phone is very solid. WP7 is an excellent OS and I'm very satisfied with my purchase. It's unfortunate that many still think Microsoft is incapable of making a quality OS. It's unfortunate since no software company has ever been able to match Microsoft's success. Regardless of anyone's opinion no one can deny that Microsoft has really developed a truly amazing and unique phone OS. I don't think many will be disappointed.
2 April update: Just wanted to make an update in regards to the hardware. Initially the keyboard was hard to open but with time it has eased up quite a bit and now I can open it without much thought. Also, I have dropped the device 3 or 4 times already. I even dropped it on the pavement yesterday. Although the battery and the cover went flying out, the phone still works perfectly and doesn't even have a scratch. The same can be said about the screen. No scratches even without a screen protector.
14 April update: Bought a Skinomi skin protector. It looks horrible but I guess it will do for now. Yesterday I was using the Navigator and the phone shut off on me unexpectedly kinda like my old Palm Pixi. I did not get a good feeling from that. The phone was kind of hot so I am guessing it shut off because the device was overheating. Other than that, I haven't had any issues with the phone restarting unexpectedly or getting too hot.
on March 20, 2011
I absolutely love this phone so far. Its a very sturdy phone, might be a little on the heavy side, but that is because of the keyboard. The feel of it is one of the better phones I have ever used. I am not going to be one who is going to judge some of the features of the OS based on the phone. We all know some of the shortcomings of the Windows Phone 7 OS but if you have never used it, you will love how it seamlessly functions.
Pros: Very sturdy, Call quality is great, Keyboard is done well, Great response from touchscreen
Cons: Speakerphone may be a little low, not high on the placement of the charging port, camera quality could be better
on March 23, 2011
I just got my HTC Arrive yesterday and IT IS FAST! I don't know if this is common with all WP7 devices (since the Arrive comes with NoDo update already installed) but this is by far the fastest phone I've ever used. Waaaay faster than any Andriod, and shockingly even faster than IOS4 iPhone4. Even 3rd party apps and games all load in under a second. A very intuiative interface, easy to customize, etc. The live tiles are frickin' awesome, the content aggregation into the hubs is insanely nice, and the Netflix real time streaming app works flawlessly. I can't say enough good things about this phone. Oh, the physical keyboard is by far the best I've ever used (and I had a Touch Pro 2 which had the best rated physical keyboard) and the buttons are springy, they give tactical feedback when pushed. The only downside is that the OS doesn't always support landscape, but this is a minor annoyance that I am sure will be rectified. (It always rotates fast, just some areas don't support landscape period so it stays in portrait.)
on March 27, 2011
When my wife asked me to help her select a smartphone, I have to admit that I was sold on the Microsoft commercials about the simple user interface: get in, check your messages and status updates, and get back to life. I like HTC as a phone maker and Sprint service has been good, so was glad when the HD7 Pro / Arrive was announced.
The user experience is smooth, fast, simple, and integrated for the main applications of email, facebook, web, maps, camera, search, and text messaging.
My wife is a busy full time mom with our young children, and we see too many parents with their heads in their smart phones all the time, so I was concerned about the over complexity of iPhone and Android phones with pages and pages of icons and an obsessions for apps for every little thing.
Her main requirements were a physical camera button (to grab photos quickly without unlocking and finding the camera app), easy upload of pictures to facebook and flickr, hotmail/outlook email support, and physical keyboard.
We added a few of the free mainstream apps like youtube, flickr, amazon, netflix, google, and zune to synch some music (itunes / mp4a format), and that was easy to do from the marketplace, and all work well.
The HTC Arrive phone feels solid, seems well made, and the keyboard is excellent. We have no complaints about the screen, battery life, or memory (plus the free skydrive cloud storage adds flexibility here too).
Ideally I would have liked 4G service and flash support in the browser, but these were not show stoppers, and no phone offered everything I would have liked, so overall this is a very good smartphone and user experience.
on April 21, 2011
I used an iPhone for 1.5 years, and I had an Android for a mere week. We only gave up our iPhones because we hated AT&T and Verizon is a bit too expensive, so I opted for an Evo Shift. Android was just too much... I don't want to have to out think my smartphone, but I want a phone that can do e-mail, texting, music, etc.
Then I picked up the Arrive, and the entire interface of the phone is just so blissfully simple and clean. It is running circles around my iPhone, and I can get in and get out without being distracted by millions of apps or 8 home screens.
There are some quirks, such as the home screen orientation, but it's easy to look past when you realize all of the glorious other features this phone has. I would HIGHLY recommend.
on March 25, 2011
I have owned the HTC Arrive for several days now, and I can say that this is the beginnings of a very good smartphone platform for microsoft. After the atrocious crap known as Windows Mobile, Microsoft finally has the makings of a winner. Charlie Sheen would be proud.
The first thing I noticed about the OS is how smooth and slick it is. Android should learn from this, because I sold my beloved HTC EVO to get on the WP7 train, and I can honestly say that I am not disappointed. The OS comes with built in support for office apps, and windows live, which are both a huge plus to me. It's nice to be able to take pictures with my phone, and have it auto-sync to my SkyDrive account (25GB of free online storage to boot). Exchange connectivity is there, via Mobile Outlook and a mobile version of IE7 (more like 7.5 since it incorporates features from IE8). The live tiles are very interesting and easy to use and set. The much anticipated "NoDo" update comes pre-installed on the device, which brings Copy/Paste functionality, as well as numerous bug fixes and speed fixes.
The onscreen keyboard is very nice and fairly accurate in Portrait mode, and more accurate in Landscape mode. In fact, I find myself rarely using the slide out QWERTY if I'm typing a short message/tweet. The settings are fairly easy to configure, and the phone will auto-config once you start the device up. You need to be on (at least) an Everything Data Plan, for this phone to work. Of course, you can always just use it as a wifi device, with no calling functionality if you want.
As for pre-installed software, there is the HTC Hub and the Sprint Hub, which provide apps from both HTC and Sprint. Unlike Android (unless you void your warranty and root), these apps can be uninstalled. You can re-download them individually from the market, at a later time. I do wish there were more Google Equivalent type apps available, like Bing Navigation because I can't stand the Sprint Navigator software. So Market still needs time to mature, but it's gaining traction and will get there eventually. Some of the best apps come from HTC within the HTC Hub, including a decent YouTube app, as well as an app called "Attentive Phone" which can help you customize some of your ringer/volume settings (like in-pocket volume, etc). You also have the option to download the TeleNav GPS software from the Sprint Hub, as well as options to view your account, pay your bill, etc.
Noticeably missing is the ability to use custom ringers/ringtones and the contact management needs some work. In my case I used Google Contacts for my contact management. WP7 uses Live Contacts, although you can use Google contacts as well, however there is no way to un-sync the live contacts. It can make things a little messy. These issues will supposedly be fixed in the "Mango" update, later this year...if it happens.
Other cool features are the ability to remotely lock and wipe your phone from the Devices section of your Windows Live account. This is a very nice feature, that MS gives you for free. Android currently has no "baked in" method of doing this, as you have to do that using 3rd party software like Lookout Mobile Security, and pay their $30/mo. fee for the remote wipe service.
I'm not really a huge gamer, but I do enjoying pwning people on XBOX live. Games like Fruit Ninja now have leaderboards, and you can play against your friends, if they are on XBOX Live. Also, the Netflix app is probably the crown jewel of apps for the Marketplace. It is very nice to be able to watch my queue on my phone, while out at lunch. I only wish the phone had 4G so the video could play more smoothly, but I can live with it.
HTC designed a BEAUTIFUL device here. Everything about this phone is visually appealing to me. From the brushed metal back plate, to the Super LCD screen (just gorgeous!). The best part is the slide out qwerty. This is, hands down, the best feeling keyboard I have ever used. The keys are very responsive and feel just right. The only issue, is the slider mechanism is a bit stiff, but it does loosen up after a few uses.
The phone has a dedicated camera button, so you can take pictures, even when your phone is locked. That is a very nice feature. It also has a 5 Megapixel camera for nice video and pictures. I do miss having the dual cameras of my EVO, but I'll live. The battery is the same size as the HTC EVO, HTC HERO. So if you have a higher capacity slim battery (Seidio 1750mAh or HTCExpress 1800mAh), it will fit perfectly into the battery slot with no extra back needed. They also managed to do a great job at hiding the internal memory card, so tech-tards won't go and change it out. If you do, it will render your phone unusable and it will void your warranty. Truthfully, 16GB of storage is plenty for me. Sure I can't carry my entire Zune library around, but after using the Zune HD for the last 2 years, I've finally learned how to deal with it.
Overall there is very little to complain about with this device. The software is a good leap-forward for Microsoft, and is an exciting platform to watch. The OS is polished and smooth and will gain new features over time. I'm glad I bought in early. The hardware is very nice, with a nice springy, responsive qwerty and a beautiful Super LCD screen. I'm not a big fan of the power buttons design, but I'll live.
If you're looking for something different from iOS and Android, then this phone is for you. It's easy to get in, do what you want, quickly, and then get back out. If you want an interface that is icon driven, then get an iPhone or get an Android. Windows Phone is not for you. Overall I believe the user experience on Windows Phone is MUCH better for the average user, than on iPhone or Android.
I wanted to rate this with 5 stars, but due to the glaring omission of custom ringtones and the sloppy contact management, and the lack of complete landscape support, I had to give it 4 stars. These three things are very basic Smartphone 101 type features that ANY modern smartphone should have out of the box. In this respect, Windows Phone fails. Once these two features are included/updated, I'll change my rating to reflect.
on March 22, 2011
Got mine on the 19th. It is a great device. Fastest Operating System on Sprint. Everything just moves smoothly. Missing 4G and hotspot. I could have given up 4G but hotspot or tether is a must for work. Not as bulky as I thought it would be. The LCD screen is great if looking head on, but move a little and it is washed out and looses color. Great keyboard though I find myself not needing to use it since WP7 onscreen keyboard is pretty good. Battery last me 1.5 days with pretty heavy useage.
My only gripe now if hotspot and display is kind of small. So dbating to exchange for Nexus S 4G coming to sprint. Have to really think about it because android really feels unpolished.
on April 25, 2011
I switched to this phone from a Palm Pre Plus on Verizon about a month ago. The phone has been excellent, I regularly get 2 days between charges. Coverage under Sprint (in my area) has been even better than I had with Verizon.
Overall the WP7 UI is excellent, all of the menus and animations are fluid, and the phone is very easy to use.
The slide-out keyboard is excellent, and fully back-lit.
The screen is very good, I was a little spoiled with AMOLED on the ZuneHD, but the display is bright enough to use in direct sunlight.
If you have Zune account, this phone is a perfect fit. You can download songs on-the-go, and I was able to move my collection of music and movies from my zune to my phone with very little effort. The on-board speaker volume at its lowest setting is rather loud.
The Netflix support is pretty cool - works under 3G and wifi.
Sprint does not yet support tethering (cable or wifi) on this phone, but has plans to support it in the future.