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Reviewing My HTC Arrive & Windows Phone 7 Operating System


Reviewing My HTC Arrive & Windows Phone 7 Operating System

To begin, I am/was a "fanboy" of Windows and Windows Mobile.  My first "smartphone" was the Toshiba 2032 running Windows Mobile 5.  My next phone was a PPC-6700 using Windows Mobile 5 and my last phone was the PPC-6800 using Windows Mobile 6.1.  I honestly detest the iPhone and Mac computers and go out of my way to stay clear of those "popular" items.  I'm not even a fan of the Android operating system.  I played on it for a while and it seemed "meh" to me.  What I was looking for was an "iPhone Killer" in the HTC Arrive with WP7.  What I got was the iPhone/Kiddie Phone Light....

Perhaps I had grown too accustomed to the various customization options offered by previous versions of Windows on cell phones.  Perhaps Windows Phone 7 has decided to no longer be a "businessman's phone."  I understand that the market was for general consumers but to shift so far away from their original product, well that just sucks.

The Good

1.THE SPEED OF THE HTC ARRIVE AND WP7 IS EXCELLENT. Apps load quick and easy and without lag.  I am impressed by how quickly my phone restarts once completely shut down.  I measured the time it took the PPC-6800 to load the operating system in minutes where the Arrive load time is measured in seconds.

2. THE SMOOTHNESS OF THE SCREEN OPERATION AND WP7.  Flicking my thumb, I can quickly scroll across to another page or scroll down a long list of applications installed on my phone.  It also works well within applications and using Internet explorer.

3. THE MAIN START SCREEN.  I like the way almost any app can be pinned to the main start screen for quick and easy access.

4. PLENTY OF PROGRAM MEMORY.  I remember how I had to shut down programs on my PPC-6800 in order to conserve memory, especially if I was using Opera 10 for browsing the internet.  So far, I have not had any slow-downs or freezes due to have various programs open on my phone.

5. THE PHONE INTERFACE.  I like the way the phone works in that the screen goes black when you are using the phone up to your ear so that your cheek, ear, whatever doesn't hit any buttons and when you pull the phone away, it recognizes this and gives you the options to end call or open the keypad.

6. CALLS ARE CRYSTAL CLEAR.  So far, the calls have been great, but I've only used it in an office setting or in my vehicle.  I have yet to visit a construction jobsite with heavy machinery moving around.  I'll see how it works in that scenario soon enough.

7. THE SCREEN.  Wow! I love the screen.  HD Movies are clear, colors are vibrant, it seems the screen is one of the best features.

The Bad

1. HUGE CHANGE FROM WINDOWS MOBILE.  I think the Microsoft Programmers were too influenced by the Apple iOS and Android to stay with what they originally had in terms of "Windows" operating system.  The name of the operating system is "Windows" so just keep it with actual windows on the phone.  They moved so far away from the standard windows operating system that it isn't even recognizable.  Was Windows Mobile really that bad?  I was able to be quite productive with WM, let's hope WP7 proves to be the same.

2. CUSTOM OPTIONS.  The phone leaves little for customization in terms of giving the user options for color, background, theme or even the transfer of multimedia or files (see Ugly #1).  It seems Microsoft has made the statement, "Do it OUR way or not at all!"

3. HARD KEY SENSITIVITY. I can't count how many times my fingers have accidentally hit the "search, windows, or back" keys on the face of the phone while browsing, texting, or picking up the phone.  I like having the keys there, but they are too sensitive to the touch!

4. PHONE VOLUME.  The volume maxes out at the number "30" which seems fine for a quite office or home setting but at the gym, driving, outdoors, or at a jobsite, one should be able to crank it louder.  I hope HTC or Microsoft can come out with some kind of fix or crack to allow for greater volume on this phone.

5. A KEYBOARD WITH A "SMILIES" BUTTON. Seriously?  Is this a kid's phone or an adult's phone.  I'm ok with smiley use, but to actually have a key that pops up options for various smilies?  My 3 year old daughter uses this, not me.  That should have been my first hint that this phone was made more for adolescent teenie-boppers and not a businessman.

6. FORCED INTEGRATION OF CONTACTS. The worst is from Facebook directly into the phone.  I know I can turn it off when looking at contacts, but why not give me the option to import them or not.  There are people that are FB friends that I don't even speak to or haven't spoken to since High School.  I should have just downloaded the FB app and skipped logging into the phone's built-in FB app which to me is worthless.

7. NO FOLDERS FOR APPS.  At this time, I don't have an overabundance of apps for the phone, but as time goes by, I might have need for more.  Why not have folders for apps or the option to place them in folders so that I don't have to scroll down through a long list.  Sure, scrolling is quick, but with 100 apps (if possible) it could take a while.

8. PHONE TEMPERATURE.  Remember when Dell's laptops would burn people's legs because they became so hot?  Well, the HTC Arrive may not cause burns but it is the first smartphone I have experienced that actually radiates heat from the battery compartment.  Maybe this is a heat exchange issue to allow the phone to cool off.  Maybe it is a big problem to come.

9. BATTERY LIFE.  I know many have complimented the battery life of the HTC Arrive but I have to state that it is not as good as it should be.  I have to charge the phone at least once a day and it has actually shut down on me twice before I could charge it, whereas the old PPC-6800 gave me plenty of warning before shutting down.  I am disappointed with the batter life and will need to purchase a spare for long trips where I can't stop to recharge the phone.

The Ugly

1. TRANSFER OF FILES.  Honestly, why are we forced to use Zune to transfer files to WP7?  I used a "hack" to allow me to open WP7 in my explorer but now what do I do?  Do I just transfer files over?  The files on the phone are not in the window so I have no idea where the files are going!  And what about "syncing" Word and Excel documents?  How do I do that without having to upload them to a skydrive???  I've already had problems trying to transfer a single photo from my computer to my phone.  Let me choose how I want to transfer files.  I'm not an idiot, I can work with computer hardware and software, I did it flawlessly on WM5 & WM6 but now it seems Microsoft doesn't trust me to do this on my own so I am forced to use Zune!

2. MS EXCHANGE SYNC ISSUES.  I am not the only one that cannot sync my e-mail, calendar, or contacts with my Microsoft Exchange Server here at work.  I've read numerous items on the net about these issues.  I was hoping that a Microsoft Windows Phone 7 would work flawlessly with Microsoft Exchange Server.  It used to be a piece of cake to use ActiveSync to establish a physical connection for the option to Sync this data.  Why not bring back that option?

3. AUTOMATIC TILT.  Honestly, why do I need to have my screen tilt automatically?  I understand if I don't slide out the screen all the way I don't have to tilt it, but why not give me the option to tilt like the TP2?  HTC really screwed up on this one.  In order to type with my thumbs and view the screen in tilt mode, I have to bend my wrists forward to compensate for the angle.  What is the reason for the tilt, anyway?  The only reason I could come up with for the automatic tilt was to annoy HTC Arrive users so much that they would rather use the onscreen keyboard than to use the physical one.  This way, HTC can stop making phones with a physical keyboard which costs more to manufacture in terms of parts and labor!

4. NO REMOVABLE MEMORY CARD.  I know one can remove and replace it with skill (at least on the 7 Pro) and with voiding any warranty, but this was one of the WORST ideas yet!  After painfully transferring multimedia with Zune and realizing I had to do a hard reset for another reason, I lost all the information that was on the card!  At least with the PPC-6800 a hard reset just lost my phone settings and programs but not everything on the memory card!

5. FORCED TO USE ONLY ONE LIVE ACCOUNT.  This sucks big time!  If you enter a live account and need to change it to another one later (I get waaaay too much spam in my hotmail account - and have turned off syncing with it) one has to do a hard reset on the phone to return it to factory settings and delete everything, including what is on the internal memory card.  See #4.

6. NO UPLOADING OF VIDEOS DIRECTLY FROM THE PHONE.  Sure, I can upload photos I've taken with the camera but I have to transfer the video to my computer (through Zune, see #1) in order to upload it to Facebook?  Honestly, quit treating us like children and let us work with what we know!  Microsoft has added yet another barrier/step to a process that used to be so simple!

7. NO 4G, NO EASY ACCESS TO WIFI OPTIONS.  I understand that "4G" is possibly on its way out, but why not have the phone have that option.  I don't even know if I am getting 3G service with this phone!  Also, the ONE thing I would have stolen from the Android OS is the ability to scroll to my left from the start screen and access my communication options, Airplane mode, WiFi, 3G, etc...  Having to scroll down numerous apps to get to the phone communication settings is just plain idiotic.

If I were grading the phone I would give it a solid C+. No, I'm not returning it for an Android, I am too much of a Windows user to give this up. I'm not sure how much of a "fix" can be done with some of the issues so I guess I will have to wait for a new phone to come out next year. By comparison, when the HTC PPC-6800 came out, I graded that as a B+/A-.

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Reviewing My HTC Arrive & Windows Phone 7 Operating System

This is my second WP7 device and I'm very happy with what Microsoft is doing, understanding there is a lot of room for improvement with the UX. I had WinMO and iOS devices before and WP7 is far superior.

Here are my comments:

the bad

1 - change was needed since the mobile market has change so much in the last 10 years, they have the right idea and now is time to catch up with the competition. Remember that MS makes mobile devices to keep users in the Windows/Office paltform, iPhone users tent to owniPods, iPads and Macs.

2 - I don't care for customization of colors and themes, I care for live tiles that give me info on the fly.

3 - agreed, not a big problem unless playing a game.

4 - this is a device problem. not a problem for me so far.

5 - I don't mind having a smile key, they are going after the comsumer market.

6 - you don't have to add a FB account, if you do you can only get the contacts that are already on your people/contacts

7 - they will have fast jump by alphabetical order like in people or zune, I used folder on iOS and is a pain to find a program.

8 - again a device problem, it can get pretty hot. Samsung focus did not get that hot.

9 - this new devices are constaly checking and downloading stuff in the background, and faster CPU's will need more power. I only killed the battery once after playing to many games. the power managemen it's actually very impresive, when battery gets low it will stop some services live checking e-mail or not checking as often.

the ugly

1 - not a problem, I actually enjoy the Zune software (especially compared to iTunes), I've been using Zune players for a few years and ZunePass is the best music suscriptions service out there.

2 - big problem, WP7 is designed to work with the latest versions of everything (2010 or newer), I was unable to sink with an exchange server because the login name had a blank space.

3 - more important is that WP7 is not designed to work on landscape orientation when the form factor has a sliding keyboard, not a deal breaker. Still the best soft keyboard available. Some apps will prevent from tilting the screen like Twitter, iOS added this on later versions.

4 - not a problem for me, I hope they can offer models with more memory like Dell is doing (same model w/more storage).

5 - You can use multiple live account but only the primary will have all options available. I use the same for Xbox, Zune and now WP7.

6 - I hope they add this in future updates

7 - First gen hardware, I'm pretty sure they will add new technologies later. I don't know is WP7 is 4G ready. I ping the setting on the start screen to have quick access.


Reviewing My HTC Arrive & Windows Phone 7 Operating System

My understanding is that Windows Phone 7 is 4G ready, at least for WiMAX devices. I'm not so sure about LTE devices though.

Overall, this is a great phone. I have an EVO and I have the Arrive. If I could get WP7 on my EVO, I would be happy as a clam. The 3.6 inch screen is too small for my hands. The EVO is just right. Hopefully HTC will bring us a HD7s 4G this summer, with a second gen snapdragon. That would be the best.

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