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on December 2, 2011
We are seniors and needed a new phone, looking to upgrade our older Samsung phones. While we were a little afraid of a smartphone, this Flash and its Mango OS seemed to be what we wanted, but still more than we needed. Well, were we surprised. It is a great phone and while we will not use some of the advanced features, it is just fine for us. We also did not have to ask our grandchildren to come over and teach us how to use it.

So if you are looking for your first smartphone, look no further. Windows Mango is very good and the operation of this phone is easy, once you get over the shock of such an upgrade. We did however have to go online to ATT to get some help via their tutorials but the learning curve was not too bad.

We heartily recommend this phone.
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on January 18, 2012
For the sake of brevity, considering the dozens of reviews that I had to read to make a purchasing decision, I will state my key points in bullet format. Pardon the lack of prose. Lest there be any confusion, I love the Windows Mango Operating System interface, and this phone delivers it decently well.

- Windows OS (cannot be under-estimated...I will only buy Windows phones now. Live tiles are a game-changer.)
- Hardware Windows button
- Front and rear facing cameras, with good picture quality
- Very nice looking, black metal phone when not in a case
- Slim, when not in a case
- Excellent sound quality, garners many compliments even when using bluetooth via Sync in my car
- Good music quality / speakerphone
- Fast fast fast! Very responsive.
- Beautiful video quality.
- Zune is an awesome media interface, makes itunes look like software from the 1990's.
- Quad band, including 4G
- Voice commands and voice recognition are incredibly impressive.
- AT&T commercials don't do it justice: I use data while I chat all the time, for work and personal reasons.
- Skype was bought by Microsoft, so integration should be great in the near future

- Unless you get lucky, your hardware will crash CONSTANTLY
- Most of the pros are due to the Windows OS, not the phone
- 8GB Storage, NON-expandable. Budget phone, budget option. Disappointing, but you get what you pay for. 8gb means you have to manually filter thousands of songs and pictures.
- Back cover snaps on, rather than a push-button release. Given that this has quad band technology, repeated SIM access may break the cover.
- AT&T will not unlock the phone (at least not yet), rendering the swappable SIM card concern moot.
- 1500mh battery is roughly enough for a 12h workday with an hour and a half to two hours of conversation and 20 minutes of data. Not enough for a phone intensive workday, and no larger battery available (yet).
- Cannot activate global roaming while overseas, rendering the phone useless if not pre-activated for global roam.
- Only one cover available upon release, and it's chunky and somewhat unsightly. Beautiful phone, ugly case.
- Big marketing failure to launch with nearly no compatible accessories.
- Lack of Windows OS marketing means that AT&T store employees don't know much about the product at all.
- Smooth metal case causes it to slide out of dry hands. Being winter, this is a the ugly case is on.
- App store lags behind Apple and Android. On the upside, the live tile feature gives the apps far more utility (I own an iPad and an iPod touch)
- Can't function as a hotspot for your other devices with the $25 AT&T data plan (must be $45+). This makes little sense to me, though it may be the case with the Android phones as well.
- No forward button on the browser. this is just dumb.
- Bing really needs some work to compete with Google.
- No Skype yet.

overall, there's a few international issues and a few minor annoyances. I would get the Samsung Focus S or the Nokia lumia 800/900 if I wanted to pay a premium for a premium phone. Since I don't, this is far more phone for the money than you can get elsewhere. Consider it to be a peer to the iPhone 8GB, yet $100-$200 less.

Edit 4/19/12: The phone does indeed occasionally freeze to the point of needing a battery pull. This has happened to me about three times, and several times to my wife. With the slightly inconvenient battery access, this is even more annoying. It also de-sync'ed from my microsoft sync system, and I was told by Samsung customer service that I need to reload my phone OS.
- I would still recommend the Windows phone OS, especially with Windows 8 around the corner promising great integration with their phones.
- Given that the new Nokia Lumia is out, I would probably get that phone instead of this one.
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on November 26, 2011
I love the Windows 7.5 software, and I find this phone has plenty of processor power to run it well. I am very pleased with the phone. It's very well made, and will please the bargain hunter like myself. I got this phone for free so it's hard to argue with the price. I was also considering the Titan and the Flash with the larger screen. When I considered that this phone was only slightly smaller and saved me $200 it was the one.

I have 3 iPhones in the family, 1 is my work phone. I can honestly say that I enjoy the Windows software and find it different, but every bit as good as the iOS devices.
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on November 28, 2011
The Windows Phone OS is wonderful so I will just focus on the hardware.

Just got this phone for my wife a week ago. I wanted to get her the Focus S or Titan, but she is new to smart phones and thought those phones were too humongous. So I got her the Focus Flash and she loves it. It is small enough for her, yet the screen is still plenty big enough to type on and get a great Windows Phone experience. The phone is extremely light in the hand. Camera works very well. One particular thing I noticed was that the battery life is great, which is important for my wife as she rarely remembers to charge the phone. The AT&T guy only charged the phone up to 25% in the store yet it still lasted without recharge for almost two days afterwards until I finally forced my wife to recharge. This was while she was syncing her Live and Facebook accounts and exploring the phone for the first time, so it was plenty busy. Overall we have not found a fault with it yet.
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on January 7, 2012
First let me say I am a senior 72 years and needed to get a new phone when my old one broke. The whole family complained that I never used texting or facebook enough to stay in touch because it seems my kids dont ever talk on the phone anymore! After trying everyones phones at several holiday parties (iphones, blackberrys, htc, samsung, motorola) I noticed that this system was the easiest to read. For people my age it is important that the letters are large and the screen is bright and easy to read much easier than the other phones with little symbols. The calls are clear and the buttons on the screen for mute or hold are easy to use when youre on a call. I'm not fast at typing on the screen but at least its easier than using a number pad. The voice control is something I use more than I thought. I can say open email or text someone and its an easy way to get around the phone. Its easy to get map and directions just talking to the phone. I didnt download many programs but my grandkids love the xbox games and they play until the battery dies its better than tv for them. The camera button is convenient like having a real camera and so fast and easy to take a picture. Ive had the phone about 2 weeks and have no problem sending texts, reading emails and looking at facebook with all the pictures and nonsense my family puts on there. The screen is easy to navigate and very smooth with no problems. One thing i noticed is that some phones you have to close programs or do something to save the battery but with this phone the battery lasts me about 3 days just using it like normal.
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VINE VOICEon December 29, 2011
I love my Windows Phone. I didn't realize how much I enjoyed it until I realized that there were some days I didn't use my laptop. I'm a person that would be on my laptop everyday. Now that I have this phone, I barely use my laptop which shocks me. I mainly use my phone for social networking, checking my mail, and playing games which it does very well.

Windows Phone Marketplace has all the apps that I personally need. Even though it does not have nearly as many apps as Android and Iphone, but most of those apps are junk. There's only a few apps that I care about.

One of the awesome things about this phone is that I can text people by using my voice without searching for a 3rd party app to get that functionality, because that feature is part of the Windows Phone OS. I use that feature when driving.

I originally wanted to get an Android phone, but Windows updated the OS to 7.5 and it now has everything I need from a smartphone and more. This phone is perfect for me. I love using Facebook and Twitter through the People Hub. Sometimes I may have to use the Facebook app or the web version for more complex things, like deleting a post, but most of the time I just use Facebook in the People Hub.

The great thing about it is the Live Tiles. The Live Tiles tell me when someone has responded to a post without have to open up an app or looking at the email. The other good thing is I can create a tile for certain groups or individuals and the tile will tell me when they made a post onto Facebook or Twitter.

I also use this phone to read my pdf books that I stored on my Skydrive. The phone can access my Skydrive and I can just click the file I want, then read it through the Adobe Reader app.

After seeing how much I use this Phone, I can't wait to see what Windows 8 is going to be like on a tablet. The reason I say that is because Windows 8 will use a similar Metro user interface like the Windows Phone. I thought Android was going to steal me away from Windows, but it looks like Windows will capture me again in 2012.
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on December 9, 2011
We bought this phone for my wife and I bought the Titan. I have played with both and while the screen is larger on the titan, I think the screen on the Focus Flash is actually crisper (maybe because of the same resolution but on a smaller screen) and is very responsive.

We paid the extra $20 a month and she can use the built-in wifi for work. Even after many hours of tethering and use per day the phone just keeps ticking. I would say it lasts almost 50% longer than my titan with the same amount of use. Windows 7.5 must have great power management.

One other great "feature" is the button on the front of the phone. My titan doesn't have a physical button so I have to press the power button on the top to turn it on. It's not a huge inconvenience but the button on the front is very nice.

About Windows 7.5:
The first thing I noticed about the OS is how neat and clean it is. It is as responsive as iOS and better than android. When iOS first came out I was amazed at how "cool" the desktop looked with the little icons and its animations. It hasn't changed much in 6 years and now it kinda looks old. Like when you find an old GPS unit and think to yourself "wow, look how GUIs used to look!" The Windows OS is a marked improvement.

That's all! It's a great phone!
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on December 11, 2011
Based on the price, this isn't a high end Windows Phone. However, it has all of the bells and whistles and performs well. With Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) and ~4G, it is very responsive and a joy to use. The social network integration is great and the Market contains most of the popular apps. If you want a smaller phone that works well, doesn't require a lot of thought and is a pure joy to use, this is the phone for you. Check it out.
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on April 1, 2012
I am a 40 year old professional and this is my first smartphone. Why? Simply because all of the features on previous models like the iPhone and Droid seemed to promise more than they could deliver. Playing around with my colleagues smartphones over the years just bored me. After the initial "wow" factor wore off, I found myself staring at a glowing screens waiting patiently for web pages to load or clunky applications to start up. The features that they had were just not that intuitive to me, they felt tacked on.
The Focus Flash obliterated all of my previous prejudices with one demonstration. Within seconds, I knew that I would be taking this home because...

-Its FAST! The combination of the 4G network and its internal 1.4ghz processor makes this little pony leaving the rest of the pack in the dust. To me, this is the whole point of a computer... whats the point of using programs if the phone stumbles over its tasks?

-Its applications and features are elegant and seamlessly integrated. I am not on facebook (which is a major feature on this phone), and I don't tweet or perform other social networking tasks. I do, however, sync with gmail and its calendars quite often. This performs this task about as fast as my laptop. I do share photo's taken with its camera (which is REALLY nice) via email and text.. again as fast as you can imagine. Some big websites are a little sluggish to load, still leaps and bounds better than 3G. I like that it posts my calendar events on my wallpaper on my security screen as well.

-Nice size, weight. Coming from a tiny Sony Walkman phone, I wanted something smallish that is less obtrusive than the larger phones. Even with its plastic case, I barely notice this thing in my pocket.

-Battery life. I was able to go a week in between charging my old Walkman and did not want this phone to spend all the time plugged in. After playing with the settings (disabling background tasks and turning on battery saver), I am able to get a solid 3 to 3.5 days on a charge. Granted, I am not on the phone that much, but I am still impressed with its battery life.

-Applications. Since this phone is so new, I was worried that I would not find a nice variety of applications. This is not the case at all... my favorites so far are FFFShow (an art display, picture download program), and Sports Tracker (tracks my bike ride speed, calories with GPS).

-Sky Drive. 25 gigs to sync files with this phone. I haven't used this so much because I use my iPod nano as my main music device (although Zune seems pretty intuitive on this), and my important files are on other drives. I can see this coming in handy when I travel by seamlessly getting data from it on the phone and backing up photo's.

Overall, this is definitely worth a look if you are in the market for a smartphone. To me, this is exactly what a smartphone should be... small, fast and elegant.
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on January 12, 2012
I was a bit skeptical about Windows Phone (WP). I had a Blackberry Torch and Bold before that. I was tired of the phone freezing because the processor and/or RAM wasn't enough. I mainly use my phone for emails, texting, and calling UNTIL I got a WP.

I originally looked at Android phones because all my friends just moved to them. I found out later that they crashed nonstop for them even though they were top of the line 4G LTE phones. I also found out that they charged their phones at least twice a day. I said no thank you to either. I eventually read reviews that said WP gives you the Android hardware with a much more fluid and stable OS.

Fluid and Responsive: The OS runs smoothly from screen to screen. Check out #smokedbywindowsphone or on youtube the Windows Phone $100 Challenge CES to see the WP up against the iPhone and Android phones in simple tasks. The single core may get a laugh from some people but they simple don't understand that a big part of the equation is the OS. A lot of the test I have seen have Android phones getting destroyed by WP. I saw a WP turn off and on 4 times in the time it took an Android doing it once.

Battery Life: outlast my Blackberry and expect to get a full day with moderate use. The best thing is that most of the notification require just a quick glance vs going through various menus. This will make your battery go further.
Email: I have 4 emails all linked up to one Tile and with a number that appears telling me how many emails I have. Also, I like the look of the email and options you get within.

Integration: I can control my Xbox from my phone. I can look through Netflix movies and/or Zune movies and search by cast or similar movies to determine what I want to watch next. Also, I can view messages and see who is online. I can also send messages and play games that will link up with my Xbox. You can do a lot with your Xbox on here.

Also, People Hub and Me Tile allows Facebook, Windows Live, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. to all be updated and checked in one place. I never was a big user of these UNTIL I got a WP. Now I follow various twitter accounts that do news for my specific field and various blogs. In one glance I can see a short blurb on the article and I can click on the link to find out more.

Live Tiles: I love this feature as you can see Facebook notifications, weather, calendar events, etc. in a quick glance. The weather app will also change when you move to a different location if you set it to (I do).

Bing integration: I wasn't a big user of Bing until I got the phone. Voice Bing search is useful and with a click on one button you can type your search. My favorite feature is Bing Maps here. Local Scout is awesome. Local Scout allows you to search your local area for attractions, food+drink, and shops allowing you to see reviews and sort them by types (Chinese food or star rating etc.). You can click the place and get a whole bunch of information. If you want to go there click the address and you can get directions from your current point. Just a few clicks vs searching online, copying address, opening maps, and then putting it in maps.

Cons: Camera isn't great but isn't bad (front and rear facing). No Skype integration!!

All in all it's a great first phone. Going back I would buy a phone with a larger screen.
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