Windows Phone 7 First Impressions

Windows Phone 7 First Impressions
   This week I got a Samsung Omnia W device and I am sure the whole Internet is eager to learn my opinion. I had it for a very short time and I cannot make a real review but I am ready to share first impressions. Keep in mind that this is my first smartphone so I cannot do real usage comparison with other mobile operating systems and devices.

Why Windows Phone?

   I work on a Windows 7 machine at work, I use Windows 7 laptop, write documents (including this article) in Microsoft Office, play some casual games on Xbox (in my book Halo is a casual game) and I play serious games on a desktop PC running Vista. I did not choose these things because I am a big fan of Microsoft (I am in fact somewhat of a fan but this is irrelevant for these choices). I chose them because I felt they were the best options for gaming and productivity when I bought each of them. Given this existing ecosystem I chose SkyDrive as the place to store my stuff in the cloud, and Live Mesh as the solution for keeping information between the machines in sync. While both iPhone and Android could be made to work in this ecosystem I am convinced that Windowfs Phone will yield the greatest benefits.

   What is more I find web-based software inferior in almost every way to native counterparts and I detest the idea of using it just because it is always in sync on every device. I want the full benefits of the cloud without the punishment of using web based software.

   The second reason is that from the position of a .NET developer I wanted a phone which I could program in .NET if I wanted to try mobile development. In addition buying a device with an operating system that uses .NET as its main development platform will increase the demand for .NET software and in this way the income of .NET developers – my income. I fully realize that my purchase is insignificant by itself but it is a matter of principle. One of the reasons I got Samsung instead of Nokia was that Samsung, being a Korean company, are sponsoring StarCraft related events. This matters!

   You may be under the impression that Windows Phone is bad but I am going to use it anyway due to outside factors. As I pointed out I cannot compare its real world usage to Android and iOS because I have not used them. However the reviews of the OS are quite positive and the feature list does not lack anything that I want and is present in competing operating systems. I have also played with Android phones, Windows Phones and iPhones that my friends own and I tend to like the Windows Phone interface better because of its style and simplicity. Of course this may not be the case if I had used the devices for several months but it is not completely uninformed decision.

   Before Windows Phone 7.5 was released I felt like the OS was worse than the competitors so I refused to buy a smartphone because I did not want to compromise. Today Windows Phone has probably the fastest mobile HTML5 browser (due to GPU acceleration), copy/paste (just like the first iPhone the first release of Windows Phone 7 did not have copy/paste) and some reasonable level of multitasking (yes it is pseudo multitasking but it works well enough).

Why the Samsung Omnia W

   While each and every Windows Phone device of the last generation got the 7.5 upgrade I intentionally waited for the new wave released in 2011. They have better hardware and I believe they will get more updates for future versions of the OS compared to the previous generation when Microsoft finally decide to stop updating old devices.

   I had two main requirements for my phone – a hardware keyboard and a good screen (preferably Super AMOLED). Sadly no device from this generation includes a hardware keyboard so my main concern was the screen. The Focus S phone is not available in Europe so the two devices for the final battle were Samsung Omnia W and Nokia Lumia 800. According to reviews the Lumia AMOLED Clear Black screen is pretty good but Samsung's Super AMOLED technology is slightly better. Both screens are 3.7" so the size did not play a role here. Nokia's device has 16GB of memory while Samsung's has just 8GB. The Lumia has a better camera but I do not care about this. To compensate the Omnia W has a front-facing camera for video calls but I do not care about this either. Finally the Lumia is considerably more expensive. The unlocked phone costs about 130 EUR more. I already mentioned that I care about how companies advertise and Samsung advertise via StarCraft so this was another point for them.

In Bulgaria

   Getting the phone in Bulgaria was not easy. While the device was announced a long time ago it was not available unlocked and shipping to Bulgaria let alone sold by Bulgarian carriers. There were several changes in the preorder price and I had to send proof that the shipping address existed and that I am the owner of the debit card I used for payment. I would not call the purchase smooth but it could have been a lot worse.

   Speaking of Bulgaria – the Marketplace does not officially work here. Just like with Xbox Live I said I lived in the U.K. because I am part of the big European Union family. However the Marketplace insisted that I provide valid U.K. address and phone. So I provided the address and the phone of the Bulgarian embassy in London. I am pretty sure they get paid from my taxes to represent me in the U.K. The Bulgarian debit card worked like charm because money knows no borders and I was able to purchase apps.

   Oh and the OS does not support Bulgarian language yet.

Samsung Omnia W

   I named the phone Marvin after Marvin the Paranoid Android from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. My Marvin does not run Android but I am sure he is really depressed by the fact that his user cannot give him a task to occupy his marvelous intellect. Also he is probably depressed by how stupid other phones (running Android) are.

   For now I am happy with the software. It is beautiful and smooth. I am constantly amazed by different features but my friends tell me that these are standard for most smartphones. For example I was impressed when Marvin locked the screen when I put it to my ear so I could not end the call accidentally.

   The hardware itself is what I expected. The pictures are good enough for me and the screen is just gorgeous. My biggest problem with the phone so far is that two of the three hardware buttons are soft buttons and I constantly press them with my palm while holding the phone. This is really annoying but I guess I will get used to it. On the bright side pressing these buttons causes a slight vibration so I always know I did press them and I never had to wonder how I ended up on a particular screen I did not intend to visit.

   At this very moment I am downloading the developer tools for Windows Phone but this is a subject for another article. I hope I will be interested in the device long enough to gather enough information to write it.
Tags:   english tech 
Posted by:   Stilgar
19:45 24.12.2011


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Posted by   Tabakov (Unregistered)   on   13:46 25.12.2011

You need to be put in a mental institution Stil.

Posted by   Guest (Unregistered)   on   19:07 26.12.2011

windows phone... not a smartphone at all. it just has nice and consistent HUI.

just trolling ;)

Posted by   JOKe (Unregistered)   on   15:09 27.12.2011

"tend to like the Windows Phone interface better because of its style and simplicity" Yeah it is just a Table with an images in the cells .. of course you will like it ALL DEVELOPERS LOVES tables :D

Posted by   Krum (Unregistered)   on   15:32 27.12.2011

Това е пърата статия, която чета тук. Супер е написано на английски. Всичко се разбира.  Тъпо, че 7.5 няма български. Може да пробваш с руска клавиатура.

Posted by   Stilgar   on   15:57 27.12.2011

Ti mani che sega niama bulgarski mi mai i v sledvashtata versia (taia deto se vika Tango) niama da ima. Sigurno chak v po-sledvashtata shte doftasa. Inache ima app deto e bulgarska klaviatura ama toi ima presetnati neshta koito moje da pravi primerno web search, sms, e-mail i taka natatuk.

Posted by   Guest (Unregistered)   on   01:18 29.12.2011

Честито! Лошото е че трябва да се вместиш в 8gb.

Posted by   Stilgar   on   01:58 29.12.2011

Chudih se kolko tochno shte e problemno tova. Reshih che kato za purvi smartphone shte go probvam taka puk eventualno sled vreme shte go smenia ako se okaje problem. Az ne si padam osobeno po snimki i videa ta se nadiavam da stigne.

Posted by   AnotherGuest (Unregistered)   on   21:05 13.01.2012

Телефона НЕ е за седиш забутан в края на някое кафене и да тропаш с пръсти по лъскавия дисплей, играейки най новата телефона игра . За игри си имаме компютри, Xbox-и , Playstation-и и тем подобно на които можеш да си играеш на воля. Новите телефон имат супер бързи процесори, графични карти, много РАМ и какви ли не екстри, но нямат повече от 8гб памет или добрия стар MicroSD slot който всеки телефон имаше. Телефона е за говорене, слушане на музика из градските улици и тук таме проверяна на spybooka. За това не ти нито супер процесор, нито телефон с грамаден дисплей които да изяждат батерията за половин час.

Posted by   Stilgar   on   21:16 13.01.2012

Ami hubavo ama ako mi se igrae neshto dokato sum na put ili iskam da browse-vam web kvo stava?

Posted by   AnotherGuest (Unregistered)   on   02:57 15.01.2012

Telefonite igri  omrazvart sled 7dmata minuta :),a rucete ti se shvashtat sled 10ta zashtoto nqma na kakvo da pochivat, telefonat kato cqlo e strahoten, no telefonite kato cqlo ne stavat za igri. Vse me e qd che i az si kupih telefon s touchscreen is si spomnqm kolko udoben i compakten beshe stariq mi telefon. Drugoto losho e che veche ne slagat slotove za pamet a te karat da si kupish telefon s 200 leva poveche za oshte malko pamet.
A dokato si naput po dobre si ostavi telefona v djoba, sloji si slushalkite, pusni si Iced Earth i se zamisli kolko sa jalki onezi koito sega si igraqt na angry birds.

Posted by   firstmattheo (Unregistered)   on   06:28 16.01.2012

I'm looking forward for your first App. When it will be as good as your Armed! Gameplay you will make a lot of money.
After an IPhone and Android episode I love my HTC HD7 most because of socialnetwork integration.
I have to say that only Nokia is able to give WP7 an greater impact so my next phone will be the Lumia 900. Maybe ;-)

Posted by   Guest (Unregistered)   on   18:08 27.01.2012

Tva Lumia 900 bih si go vzel vednaga, ama tuk shte doide sled 6 godini :) Nqkoi da me svetne kakvi telefoni s WP7.5 ima na bylgarskiq pazar?

Posted by   ivelinka   on   19:52 27.01.2012

Мисля че никакви за сега... то и в Европа не се срещат много още... Има ги само в 2-3 държави мисля. Не разбирам защо Nokia толкова се бавят да ги пуснат на пазара. От това само губят.

Posted by   Stilgar   on   20:07 27.01.2012

Na evropeiskia pazar ima HTC i Samsung osven Lumiite.

Za protokola absoliutno vseki WP7 telefon ima update do 7.5. Ako si kupish takuv ot vtoroto pokolenie prosto shte imash po-burz procesor koeto edva li e vidimo niakude na toia etap.

Posted by   ivelinka   on   20:21 27.01.2012

П.С. Не съм прочела въпроса правилно. Аз помислих че питаш какви Nokia телефони с WP има в БГ....

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