1. crsbbq's Avatar
    OK, here's my official review: To start with something positive, I like it better than the Android but then, I haven't really used the Android that much. It�s also a vast improvement from Windows Mobile. I�ve had three of those over the years and though they weren�t too bad as a standalone PDA, once the phone functionality was added, they became terrible. The Bluetooth was almost unusable on earlier Windows Mobile phones. The selection of available apps are not as bad as you might be led to believe. I actually found a fair number of the apps I use on my Blackberry and iPad in the marketplace. The quality of the apps is another story though. If this is your first smart phone, you will absolutely love it.

    Now for reality. After owning the aforementioned three Windows Mobile devices, seven blackberries, an iPad and an iPod Touch, I have a pretty good idea of what I like, what I don�t like and what I need. I�m only two days into using it so I suppose that I will adjust to it more as I go along but I actually decided to send it back the first night. I reactivated my Blackberry and was going to get up in the morning and box it up but by an annoying twist of fate, my Berry browser which had been having issues but which I was generally able to get working with a battery pull crapped out completely. Since I was already well on my way to having my WP7 set up I decided to tough it out for a few months and give it a fair shake at least until the new Blackberrys with faster processors and touch screens launch.

    My first question is, why would Microsoft produce a phone that is absolutely dependent on first impressing MS loyalists and not make it compatible to sync with Outlook? I actually have to use Google Calendar to sync my calendar and contacts with WP7. I can�t sync my Outlook notes at all and the only way to access them on my phone is by using Onenote or Evernote. Neither of those will actually sync with Outlook and have to be updated manually which is a pretty big pain in the ****. It took me two days to get Onenote to connect to my Skydrive account on my WP7, a task which took about 20 seconds on my iOS devices, so that it could sync my Onenote notes. Since I was having so much trouble with Onenote, I decided to try Evernote and I still can�t get that to pull up my notes on the phone.

    Apps behaving clunkily is pretty standard with this phone and I�m sure that the app developers deserve most of the blame for this but who needs the hassle? Speaking of syncing; why can�t I sync my Internet Explorer bookmarks with this? I can sync them with my iPad and iPod touch? I�ve never tried to sync my bookmarks with my Blackberry because the browser sucked. That and their processor speed are my main issues with RIM. Everything in Outlook will sync to an iOS device and everything but Bookmarks will sync to the Berry. How tone deaf to their core fan base can Microsoft be to not make this functionality available in their phones? It�s their own products, for crap sake!

    The only thing keeping me from buying an iPhone has been their alerts. You cannot pick different alert tones for each email account like you can with a Blackberry and their stock alert tone which I�m forced to use is so quiet that I can�t hear it. This is the same with WP7. For years, I haven�t used an alarm clock, I set my Blackberry to turn off automatically around Midnight and turn on around 7AM. When the mail that has arrived during the night starts to hit it, the tones wake me up every time. My WP7 did NOT wake me up this morning. The stock tone that you have to use for every email account is louder than Apple�s but still not loud enough. Also, I cannot set my WP7 to turn on and off each day automatically so I guess if it were louder, it would wake me up during the night when mail arrives. In a way, it�s like being shot but being happy that the bullet didn�t hit any bones or organs. It�s not as bad as it could be but still not good.

    Sticking with audio deficiencies, One of the cool things about Blackberry is that you can use any song that you have saved on your SD card as a ringtone and it costs you nothing. I believe that you can do this with Android as well but you cannot with iPhone or WP7. This is less of a sticking point for me but it matters a lot to some people. I always thought that it was ridiculous that you couldn�t use the music saved on an iPhone as a ringtone. Apparently you can�t with WP7 either and from what I�m reading, you can�t even buy a ringtone for it. iPhone has no slot for an SD card but it kind of makes up for that with iTunes and the ability to create playlists and then sync them to your phone. You can sync an existing playlist from Zune Desktop to your WP7 by dragging and dropping the whole thing but you cannot create or use playlists with the actual phone and the actual playlist doesn�t actually sync to the phone if you make changes in it. I love my Zune and think it�s a better MP3 player than my iPod but the way WP7 works makes no sense. If I change phones, I lose my playlist completely and have to reassemble it again on a new phone. At least with my Blackberry, I can save everything to my SD card and it will transfer to a different phone. My WP7 phone has no SD slot either.

    I mentioned that Bluetooth didn�t work well with the earlier Windows mobile phones. It will stay connected with WP7 but the sound quality is noticeably worse than it was on my Blackberry Bold 9650. It�s very scratchy. I�m honestly just glad that Bluetooth will work with the phone because I can�t really get any other accessories for it. I�m a Verizon customer and the HTC Trophy is the only WP7 that they offer. Verizon and Microsoft are still having a spat over the Kin debacle of last year. I can�t say that I blame Verizon much for this but their decision to not offer any silicone cases to protect the phones or any other accessories specific to it is ridiculous. They�re just hurting their customers. I will now have to cart this thing around in my old Blackberry holster to protect it.

    I had already been using Blackberry for several years before I got on Facebook. The Blackberry Facebook app was never as good as iPhone�s though its latest release is very good for the most part. The Facebook app for WP7 SUCKS! It doesn�t give any alerts when new messages come in at all and it is clunky and crappy overall. I have better luck with the People feed that�s built into the phone but not much better luck. Both are very slow and hard to navigate in. This seems to be the case with most of the apps. The one notable standout is Poynt which is one of my favorites and still seems to work fine. Foursquare is aright as well. The live tiles are hit and miss. If you use IM and are used to using Trillian, Meebo or Digsby, you�re out of luck. The closest facsimile that I�ve found is IM+ but it takes at least three minutes to load every time you try to go into it and I�m not seeing that the alerts are working right with it when I set it as a live tile. That particular problem seems to plague many of the WP7 apps. This is really your only way to use Facebook chat with this phone. Since Microsoft owns a sizeable stake in Facebook, this is unacceptable. It is also the only way to use Skype right now which Microsoft owns but I�ll excuse them on this since that is a recent acquisition for them and I hear that it will be integrated with the Mango OS update. I guess I don�t use Trillian, Meebo or Digsby with my Blackberry either. Trillian costs money, Meebo doesn�t have audible or vibrating alerts and there is no Digsby for it but I am able to drop all of the messengers into one folder on the BB desktop and assign different tones to them so I know which one has a message coming in and that has always worked fine for me. I like Meebo so much on my iOS devices that I decided to give it a try but it was subpar for the Berry.

    Looking at the list of updates coming in Mango is actually encouraging. It looks like a lot of my gripes are being addressed by it and this is part of why I�m willing to stick with it for a few months. Microsoft would be wise to purchase RIM now that they are having issues and roll the two together. I just hope that if they do, they don�t go through and rape and pillage the good things about Blackberry. RIM never has produced a very good operating system but for business users like me, it�s all about the ability to communicate and with that, Blackberry is absolutely second to none. If WP7 is supposed to be the blending of business functionality and casual consumer apps and entertainment, they could combine with Blackberry and conquer. The iPhone is, for the most part a great device but not even the most ardent enthusiast will argue that the mail can really compete with Blackberry mail.

    I realize that I am a power user and most smartphone users are just happy that they can access email at all. Add the web, text messaging and the ability to make phone calls and a lot of people are just fine. The vast majority of smart phone users really have no idea how to use their phones to their full potential and will be happy either way. If you�re particular like me and you are switching from a Blackberry to a WP7, the first thing that you are going to realize is that while you could assign a speed dial to all but a couple of the 35 keys on your BB keyboard, there is no way to add speed dials at all to WP7 other than adding live tiles for each contact to your dashboard. If you add 30+ contact tiles it will take more time and attention to find someone than by just going to your contacts list and searching.

    If anyone out there is shopping for a new smartphone, I hope this helps�
    08-05-11 04:27 PM