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Confessions of an iPhone User: Why I Don't Like Windows Phone 7

I gave up my iPhone 4 for an opportunity to see what Windows Phone 7 is all about. For the past couple weeks, I have been using an HTC Surround with Windows Phone 7, and--while there are many things I like about the new Microsoft mobile platform--there are many things I didn't like about Windows Phone 7, and I am glad to be back on my iPhone.

Don't get me wrong--Windows Phone 7 is both refreshing and formidable. Microsoft's unique approach breaks the iPhone-clone mold and offers users a capable mobile platform. Aside from the reasons I already listed in the previous article, the context-sensitive search button is handy, and I greatly prefer working with the Zune software over iTunes, which I only use under duress because the iPhone and iPad require it.

I am not a fan of the HTC Surround--a slide out Dolby Surround speaker is lame, and ironically the sound quality of the device sucks--but I won't hold that against Microsoft. If I were going to get a Windows Phone 7 I would ideally choose the HTC HD7, but since I am an indentured servant of AT&T my options are limited. Among the AT&T options, though, I would choose the Samsung Focus.

So, given my appreciation for what Microsoft brings to the table with Windows Phone 7, you might be wondering: "why was he in such a hurry to get back to the iPhone?" Well, I am glad you asked. Here are some of the issues I had with my Windows Phone 7 experience--and copy-and-paste and multitasking aren't even on my list.

Battery Life

I almost never even think about battery life on my iPhone, but with Windows Phone 7 I found myself constantly checking the battery meter to make sure it had some juice before I left the house. Not sure, though, if that is a function of Windows Phone 7 or a flaw with the HTC Surround.

Runs Hot

Again, this could be more a function of the HTC hardware than the Windows Phone 7 OS, but I was surprised at how quickly the smartphone heats up. It wasn't unbearable heat, but it seems to me it should take longer or require more processor-intensive tasks to generate heat the way it does.

Apps

There are a lot of apps for Windows Phone 7--at least relative to it being a brand new mobile platform. I expect that the library of apps for Windows Phone 7 will continue to grow rapidly. But, I have already invested time sifting through iPhone apps and finding what works and which ones I want.

In some case--like the Facebook app--Windows Phone 7 has one, but the functionality is different. I missed being able to check-in on Facebook Places and take advantage of Facebook Deals, and I encountered issues when I attempted to use the touch.facebook.com site from Internet Explorer.

Answering Calls

When my iPhone rings, I have to swipe the screen to answer the call. With Windows Phone 7, I had to swipe the screen and then still tap Answer. I know it sounds like whining to complain that it requires an extra tap--but a tap is a tap. I like answering calls with a single action.

Syncing Data

This was the most perplexing issue, and the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. When I take my Apple iPhone out of the box and connect it to my Windows PC it recognizes that I am using Microsoft Outlook and enables me to sync my calendar, contacts, e-mail accounts, and even my Outlook notes and my Internet Explorer bookmarks with a couple clicks in iTunes. Not so with Windows Phone 7.

Windows Phone 7 can sync that information with a corporate Exchange server, but for individuals or smaller companies that use Outlook without the Exchange infrastructure, getting data synced from Outlook to the phone requires a convoluted process of exporting everything to CSV files and then importing it to the Windows Live account that the phone is configured with in order to get the information onto the phone.

In Video: Windows Phone 7 Impresses on the Samsung Focus and HTC Surround

I can't understand why my Apple smartphone works seamlessly with Microsoft Outlook, but my Microsoft smartphone requires me to jump through hoops to be able to integrate the data stored in Outlook.

For some of the issues I had with Windows Phone 7, I am sure there are ways I can tweak the configuration to make it behave differently. While that may be true, though, why would I want to invest time and effort trying to cobble together the smartphone experience I want when Apple is providing it out of the box with the iPhone?

Ultimately, I have no major qualms with Windows Phone 7 (for some perspective, check out Confessions of an iPhone User: Why I Like Windows Phone 7 ). I just don't find it compelling enough to defect from my iPhone. If an employer chose Windows Phone 7 and supplied me with one I wouldn't complain, though. Perhaps the update rumored for January will resolve some of my complaints as well.

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At a Glance
  • The Surround is a solid Windows Phone 7 phone with a regrettable "boom box" gimmick. Read the full review

    Pros

    • Touchscreen looks good and responds well
    • Dedicated button for camera functions

    Cons

    • Pull-out speaker system sounds tinny
    • Maximum upload speed on AT&T is too slow
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