Its now been 6 months since the release of Windows Phone and Microsoft have finally started to push out update to the phone. However even with all the hoopla around the delays of getting updated out to the phone I have to admit I still really like using my Windows Phone (so much so I have bought a seconds one). Therefore I thought I would explain some of the reasons why I think Windows Phone is still a great phone to use everyday.
I love how it takes only seconds to sync the contents of my phone with the Zune software on my PC. The ability to quickly sync my phone when running out the door to catch a buss with a full two hours of public transport travel ahead of me is wonderful. This is way better than the number of time I plugged my iPhone in to sync before leavening for work only to have the process take forever (many minutes) or even totally stall.
I mainly listen to podcast on my Windows Phone and I like how tapping the Next button makes it jump ahead 30 seconds which makes it very easy to find what I am looking for or to just jump over an add that I don’t want to hear. What is also nice is that when I press the Previous button it only goes back 7 seconds meaning I can quickly listen again to something I have missed.
The Pictures Hub is also really great and being able to show your friends photos in film strip mode is a really nice way to quickly scan your photos. What is also nice about the Pictures Hub is the Facebook integration that means that my Facebook photo’s automatically re-appeared in my pictures hub. This was a real time save as after I changed over my phone from a HTC Mozart to a HTC HD7 as all i had to do is type in my Facebook credentials to get my photos back on the phone.
Another nice feature about the Pictures Hub is that now that Yahoo has released the “Flickr for Windows Phone 7” App so you can easily upload any photo my phone to Flickr. All this while still preserving the meta information on the picture such as geo-location without having to launch a separate upload App.
I really like my Xbox and being able to earn Xbox Live gamer points has its very nice. This makes playing games such as as Flight Control, Fruit Ninja and soon Angry Birds all the more fun buy getting more points. The added geek factor by show people that I have Xbox on my phone and how it makes them extremely envious is also pretty cool…
Find my phone
While I have not had a need to use it yet it is very re-asuring that I can go to http://windowsphone.live.com Find, Lock, Beep or even Wipe should anything happen.
While my new HTC HD7 already came with the NoDo (copy and paste) update out of the box my HTC Mozart has only just got the February update (in April). While it was agonising to wait for the update to be delivered when it was FINALLY pushed out to the phone the update process was quick and and it did NOT need to flash the entire firmware for a minor update.
Note that even the the screenshot below said 20 minutes the whole process including download and flashing took about 5 minutes to complete.
Another nice thing about having Facebook and Windows Live integration with the phone is that it sync the contact details on my phone with the “Cloud”. Again this made the transition from my Mozart to the HD7 a lot less painful and it meant that I did not have to manually transfer any contact details back into my phone.
Sidenote: My wife just started to use my HTC Mozart which did required us to manually type in some contact details that was save to her old phone (not on the SIM). This was a real paint but when I pointed out that now she has these contact details in the cloud she will never have to do this again she could see the point it what we were doing.
Dedicated Camera Button
With the proliferation of SmartPhone cameras many people have been able to capture those special moment that they would other wise been able to capture because they did not have a phone at hands reach. Having two daughters under five I can really appreciate how having a dedicated camera button will allow you to quickly take a picture or video before the moment has passed.
Auto Upload to SkyDrive
As I mentioned before I have two daughters and the photos I take of them are just priceless (even the bad one’s). Therefore I have great confidence that I will never lose a photo taken with my phone as I know that almost as soon as I take a photo it is automatically uploaded to the cloud in my own private folder on SkyDrive.
The Size I Want
As I have mentioned before I now own two Windows Phone’s, the HTC HD7 with a 4.3” screen and a HTC Mozart with a 3.8” screen. I mainly bought the HD7 due to the bigger screen and the larger on board storage as compared to the HD7 and while I am not 100% certain that having a larger screen is better it is nice that I have the choice of screen sizes.
A lot can be said about personal preference with the Windows Phone UI however one feature of the UI I really like is the live tiles feature. Normally I have my home screen configured with 7 live tiles on my start menu and 2 of which are third party programs (Twit and Beeze). While a lot of people scoffed at the “Really” adds saying that the same can be said for Windows Phone it is very true that having the live tile support makes it much quicker and easier to just glance at your phone to see if there is anything new.
Pinning a contact is not something I initially thought was all that great a feature and normally I only have one pinned contacts on my phone (my wife). What was interesting is that my wife has now pinned 5 people (her friend’s, her mum and me) on the start screen as she find it really nice how she can quickly call or SMS anyone of us.
Another feature that you don’t think much about but now that Micro USB is becoming more a defacto standard for peripherals I find that I never have to think much about making sure I have a cable to charge or sync my phone. It is also nice to know that if i don’t have a cable on me that easily pick one up for under $10 or I use it as an excuse to buy another pocket USB hard drive which has the same cable.
While the current NoDo update is still being rolled out to phones around the world that lets people use much wanted “copy and paste” feature on Windows Phone what I really am looking forward to is some of the new features that have been announced that will be delivered to the phone by the the end of the year.
- IE9 with HTML5 support and hardware acceleration
- Multi-Tasking or better described as quick pause and resume
- Twitter integration with contact
Granted they will have to actually deliver these feature in the “Mango” update to Windows Phone I hold out great hope that these features (and possibly others) will make the phone even greater going into the future.