A Look at Windows Phone 7 Reviews

The first U.S. Windows Phone 7 smartphones will be available on Monday (Nov. 8), so it makes sense to look at what reviewers are saying about the new operating system. It better be good, because it’s entering an already tumultuous smartphone market dominated by Android, iPhone and BlackBerry devices.

Gizmodo.com (Oct. 20):

  • Why it matters: There are a million reasons why Windows Phone 7 matters. It’s the most important PC company in the world, battered, bruised and badly lagging, coming back to the next generation of PCs, after crashing on a bunch of rocks and abandoning ship. It’s potentially the most tectonic shift in mobile since the launch of iPhone and Android. It’s Microsoft starting over and betting massively on its future. It’s a very different kind of Microsoft product. It could be the beginning of something truly great.”
  • Intentionally simple: Everything is superflat and two-dimensional. Ultra-basic squares, primary colors and lists. Fonts are gigantic and clean, white text on an almost universally black void. It’s fluid. And while it looks and feels very different in some regards, it’s still uncanny just how deeply inspired Windows Phone is by the iPhone in its philosophy, versus anything else Microsoft or anybody else has made.”
  • Overall? Windows Phone 7 is really great. A solid foundation, it’s elegant and joyful. True, a lot of that greatness is potential. But if anybody can follow through on their platform, it’s Microsoft. Should you buy this instead of an iPhone or Android phone though? In six months, after the ecosystem has filled out, the answer will be more clear. But right now, Window Phone is definitely an option. Considering where Microsoft was just a year ago, that’s saying a hell of a lot.”

Engadget.com (Oct. 20):

  • Side scrolling UI: The UI (incorporates) a lot of layers within a single page, so when you’re swiping through menus you get a kind of parallax scrolling effect reminiscent of 16 bit side-scrollers. It actually works well here, giving a sense of depth and detail but not detracting from the content Microsoft is putting up front.”
  • Fast and responsive: We’re still extremely impressed by the software’s touch responsiveness and speed. In fact, this is probably the most accurate and nuanced touch response this side of iOS4.”
  • Excellent keyboard: Let’s just put this up front: the keyboard in Windows Phone 7 is really, really good. We’re talking nearly as good as the iPhone keyboard, and definitely better than the stock Android option. It’s one of the best and most accurate virtual keyboards we’ve used on any platform – and that’s saying a lot.”
  • Lack of Twitter integration; lots of Facebook: For some, Twitter is every bit as important as Facebook -- if not more so -- and it seems like a glaring omission (other services like MySpace or LinkedIn are missing as well). The fact that only Facebook is represented here is a little frustrating, especially when you see how lacking the Twitter implementation is.”
  • Still a year behind the OS market leaders: “(Nevertheless,) with terrific Zune and Xbox Live integration, a fast and smart method of getting around the OS, great Office and e-mail experiences, and a genuinely beautiful and useful user interface, Microsoft has definitely laid the foundation for the next several years of its mobile play. Now it’s time to get the upper floors finished.”

CNET News:

  • Visual, integrated and consistent UI (Feb. 15): When creating Windows Phone 7, the team focused on visual design and a more integrated experience for the user. Interestingly, OEM partners will be able to customize the user experience but won’t be able to replace it. Microsoft wants the same user experience on all its phones.”
  • Playing catch-up (July 18): A lot of time has passed since (the Barcelona Mobile World Congress 2010) and the rest of the smartphone world hasn’t stopped, so we were, and still are, a bit worried that Windows Phone 7 may be too far behind to catch up.
  • Variable Start screen (Oct. 20): What’s cool is that you’re not just limited to pinning apps or contacts. You can also pin things like individual Web pages and maps to the Start screen, which will save you time from having to first launch the appropriate app and then navigate to the item you want.”
  • A world organized by hubs: The idea behind hubs is to bring together related content into a single place for consumption and interaction, and it really showcases some of the work Microsoft has done on relevancy, organization, elegance and typography. There are six hubs in total--People, Pictures, Games, Music + Video, Marketplace, and Office.”
  • Good browser: Mobile Web is such a huge part of smartphones nowadays, and fortunately, Windows Phone 7 provides a relatively good browsing experience, certainly much improved from Windows Mobile.”