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The Windows Phone 7.5 Review, A Month-Long Experience

More Than A Month With Windows Phone 7.5

After several unsuccessful mobile offerings, Microsoft has released Windows Phone 7 (WP7). With 71% of smartphone owners using either an Android or iPhone device, according to Nielsen, it might not seem like Microsoft's new mobile operating system stands much of a chance. However, quite a few companies have announced their support for WP7, and we believe the WP7 is worth watching.

The name "Windows Phone 7" is somewhat misleading. Microsoft unveiled WP7 in 2010; in 2011, a massive update added a mobile version of IE9 supporting Web standards, Twitter integration, and multitasking. This update was called Windows Phone 7.5 (also referred to as Mango). However, the mobile operating system still goes by the name WP7. Specific references to version history usually make use of the code name.

For the folks considering a smartphone with WP7, accepting and growing accustomed to a very different Microsoft-driven ecosystem will probably represent the biggest change. Indeed, for most of the crew at Tom's Hardware, much experience with Android- and iOS-based devices has colored our expectations of mobility. Consequently, I made sure to take my time getting used to WP7 before writing this review, making Nokia's Lumia 800 my personal smartphone for the last month and a half. After acclimating to Windows Phone 7, I'm convinced that anyone shopping for a new phone should at least consider Microsoft's mobile operating system as a viable environment on the right piece of hardware.

Today, we take a closer look at the usability of WP7. And we can take our time. This wasn't forced under the constraint of a tight embargo, but rather allowed to emerge after a lot of real-world experience. This isn't just another gadget review; it's more than a month living with a new mobile device.

  • s3anister
    WP7 is alright but I'm still not impressed by it or iOS.

    I'll continue waiting until I can buy a phone with a complete, PC like OS on it.
    Reply
  • jasonw223
    I've owned a few different Androids and iPhones, but honestly am much happier with my Windows Phone. I started with a Samsung Focus a few months ago, now have a Lumia 800, and both have been great. Sure there aren't as many fart apps, but I find WP7 does everything I want it to - only better/faster/easier than iOS or Android. The other thing that's nice is having someone ask me what kind of phone I have again... that hasn't happened since I got my first iPhone before everyone bought one...
    Reply
  • gti88
    Switching between apps is too slow. In wm2003, I can just click an icon on the top of the screen, and the app pops up instantly.
    Reply
  • aznshinobi
    Honestly, WP7 looks like a solid platform. But to the company of Microsoft, WP7 is causing them to shoot themselves in the foot. Metro UI is great, but that needs to stay mobile. Not be brought, through Windows 8, to the desktops.

    As for Android, iOS, and WP7. I love Android with all the roms you can flash to, that's not for everyone and try new things. I think iOS has a huge platform, apps and all. It's reliable no doubt and it's simple for people who don't worry about roms and stuff like that. WP7 looks like it'll be a solid challenge. It's fast, simple and I'd expect it to grow even more.
    Reply
  • confish21
    For as much as I enjoy win8, using it on my phone just looks weak. I think I would just be reminded of how limited my phone is compared to my pc.
    Something like... "My brain sees the lil blue tiles and alot of them are missing!"

    Reply
  • beta tester
    Yes, app switching is appalling. Apps often forget where they are when you switch back to them.

    Search is also bad. Apart from being forced to use Bing instead of Google, it's difficult to search sub-areas of the phone. When you want to search for something on the phone, it keeps taking you back to Bing for a web-wide search.

    While the Lumia 800 seemed to get out the door OK, the Lumia 900 launch seems like a disaster, with defective phones and people getting their data connections cutting in and out. Nokia's share price has just gone into freefall. Can it survive?

    Windows Phone 8 is also soon to be released, and it won't work on current Lumias.
    Reply
  • silverblue
    A few more notes about Mango...

    1) The ENG key on the keyboard will only appear if you have more than one language selected under the keyboard settings menu.
    2) On the camera mode, you can scroll between the live camera feed and the last photos you took; in essence, you can have both on screen at the same time. I suspect this isn't just a Nokia thing.
    3) If you tap the left-hand edge of an e-mail in the list, it will invoke the select function.
    4) Office can explore Excel, Word and PowerPoint, however it cannot create documents for the latter.
    5) I can't believe you missed this one, unless it's not an issue on your end... the Toms site glitches to hell and nearly crashes the phone!!! This was present on the 8500 update as well as on the current 12070 update on the Lumia 800; unsure if it's just a Nokia thing.

    In response to beta tester, I wasn't aware of Apollo not being available on the 800/900. Ah well!
    Reply
  • esrever
    well WP7 seems like a solid platform but Microsoft needs to throw in more money to make it succeed as much as iOS or Android.
    Reply
  • @beta tester

    Correct and fast app switching is down to the app developer to implement correctly. This is because Mango introduced new features for app switching but many developers haven't updated their apps yet.

    Any sub-areas of the phone that offer search capabilities will display a search icon. When WP7 was first launched, the hardware search button was context-aware. However, they changed this in Mango because of all the extra features integrated, such as local scout, barcode scanner, text scanner and translator, music ID service etc.
    Reply
  • mockrocker
    I'll never buy a windows phone because of this:

    http://skattertech.com/2012/03/i-won-the-windows-phone-challenge-but-lost-just-because/
    Reply