My first impressions on Windows Phone 7

Before you start reading this, you should know this is a very negative review, coming from a .NET developer, that works exclusively with Microsoft technologies (and enjoys it:))

Being a Microsoft enthusiast and .NET developer I wanted to go for the new Windows Phone 7, instead of an Iphone or Android.

After playing the entire day with my new wp7 here are my first impressions:

At first, I said wow! The graphics are cool, especially the animations. The look and feel of the whole OS is great. I’m not complaining here, though I have to admit the graphics are inferior to the ones on iphone and android. It just doesn’t have the same glassy look. Knowing how much Microsoft obsesses on glass interfaces in Windows Vista and 7 I though they would at least try to do the same on WP7, especially since Iphone and Android do. Let’s leave it at that…the interface is cool but it could have been much better.

Browsing on it is very easy and pleasant. It’s probably what I like best at it.

The Outlook on the phone is certainly more finger friendly that it used to be on windows mobile 6.1 and 6.5, but I find it a lot more difficult to quickly select a large number of email and mark them as read, and even worse, there is no select all button. Huge downside imho. I’m using the phone to check an account I also use on the PC, so most of the mail I will have already read on the PC, so I need to quickly mark it as read without too much fuss.

Another really cool thing is the facebook integration in the contacts application (now called People). I like it because I can quickly import the pictures of everybody in my list and link it to my existing phone book. If you have the First Name and Last Name set properly it will be done automatically. If not you will have to link manually, though the suggestion mechanism reduces this to a few clicks only. Very cool feature.

And now we are getting the the unpleasant stuff:
1. You can import your contacts from your sim card, but you can’t save them on the SIM! The contacts get store on the phone and on your windows live account. Ouch. I tend to move my sim card to various phones and I can’t carry my address book around. It seems very useful to switch sim card between the business phone and personal phone, but only if you can prevent the address books from mixing. This one is almost a deal breaker. Let’s say though I could live with this.
2. The contacts are synced automatically on your live id. In theory it’s a nice thing, but when I want to make a call I DON’T WANT TO SEE THE EMAILS FROM MY LIVE ID. I would want phone numbers. Can’t delete them either because you delete them from the live id. This sucks big time.
3. Once you’ve entered a live id account you can’t change it anymore, unless you factory reset your phone and loose everything: photos, documents, emails and contacts (yes contacts because they are not stored on the SIM!!!) I really don’t understand what Microsoft team was thinking here? Or not thinking at all to be more accurate……
4. I can’t buy anything in the market place. Looks like Romania is not on the list of countries that can use the marketplace (and it looks like it’s a short list). Why the f are you selling this crappy phone here then? Imho a smartphone is good because you can install anything on it and extend it’s functionality limitless. Not with a Windows Phone….I’m stuck with whatever Microsoft decided to put on it and a few free apps. Now this really is a deal breaker!

My advice is: buy an iphone or an android. Really! If you are not living in the US when you can definitely buy apps then just avoid it. For the rest of us it’s not even a smartphone!