HTC ARRIVE WINDOWS PHONE March 20, 2011
IN RESPONSE TO "S. Colon "WOLFBANE" (BROOKLYN, NEW YORK United States) "
This Phone is not out yet and you returned it before the 15 days ???????
come on dude, give up,
windows phone 7 is a very good mobile phone operating system.
its sleek and fast, over 10,000 apps in a few months and more are coming day by day..
i've never owned an android phone, but ive used one . and it was a slow wanna be Iphone.
Nice phone, but not for me. July 31, 2011
Reviewer: Brian and Tina (USA) -
I got this phone about a week ago now. It's a nice phone with some pretty awesome features. The camera works pretty well. The keyboard is laid out very nicely. I don't like the virtual keyboard as much because they changed the location of a couple of buttons between the two, and it's easy to get confused. Specifically the backspace button. On the hardware keyboard it's at the top right, but on the virtual keyboard it's near the bottom on the right.
There are a few things that bug me on this phone. I expected the Excel app to be a little more intuitive, since it's on windows' operating system. You can't disable touch feedback (The vibration that happens when you click something), and I don't really like that. The Facebook app isn't as nice as I thought it could be. I don't like that you can't expand the memory on the phone, and that you have to do all your data transfers to Zune.
You also cannot at this point download your own ringtone. You have to use the ones that come on the phone. I also haven't found a way to change my background, but you can change the wallpaper that shows up when your phone comes out of sleep.
Overall, I'm just not ecstatic about this phone. I just checked on Amazon Wireless' return policy, and you can't return a phone that has been used. With how good Amazon's return policy normally is, I'm shocked that I'm stuck with this phone for two years unless I want to pay a ton to replace it. I would have rather spent the extra money at the store and been able to change my mind.
Great QWERTY smartphone that makes use of powerful Microsoft cloud services December 6, 2011
Reviewer: Anselm (Wisconsin) -
IN SHORT -
Hardware - 4.5 stars
Software (WP7.5 "Mango" as experienced on the Arrive) - 4.5 stars
* Great battery life, by current smartphone standards
* Clean, attractive, unique design, and overall pleasant and user-friendly interface.
* Great text handling for SMS, notes and Office (Word), with basic functionality for Excel too. Together with the keyboard, the main reason I wouldn't give this phone up for any other.
* Great voice quality
* Good cloud interfacing through Skydrive, Office 365, and OneNote, allowing storage and sharing.
* Keyboard (and hardware in general) is solid, attractive and a pleasure to use. Well laid out, rounded keys and clicky response, cursor arrows. On-screen keyboard is also quick. This review was 90% written on my Arrive.
* Social integration in Mango is the best out there.
* Limited Google integration (though Gmail works great)
* Bing: search should take fewer clicks and flow better into contacts/web/maps
* Few customization options, plus a few areas where form trumps function
* Not 4G
In the middle:
* WP7 is unique but more like iOS than Android. MS has chosen design consistency and stability (with some associated limitations) over an open, customizable (but buggy/malware prone) environment.
* Marketplace is smaller than Android or iOS, but clean and apps I have used have been good quality.
* Free/cheap apps mostly provide adequate integration with Google services.
* SkyDrive online storage is free and powerful, but some features are unintuitive and confusing. Recent updates to Skydrive have improved the service. MS is clearly throwing resources at improving its cloud services.
* Bing: search and maps are powerful and visually appealing. This is not to say they surpass Google in every way - they don't - but the quality of Maps in particular came as a pleasant surprise. Bing search is not "universal search" the way WebOS search was - it won't search your contacts, for example. Thus it takes a press or two more to make a simple phone call than I would prefer.
Who must have this phone? Anyone wanting a physical keyboard, planning to do any level of document creation/review/manipulation/sharing from their phone. Anyone wanting simplicity and seamless design for all of the basic smartphone functions.
IN DEPTH -
I have owned this phone for 9 months. Like the 6/9/11 reviewer and probably quite a few WP7 converts, I had a Palm Pre for 2 years and didn't want to wait another year just to see whether WebOS would survive (it didn't) and/or come to Sprint. While I am a mobile tech junkie, at heart I am an end user looking for a well-designed experience rather than a tinkerer seeking open source/customization, and "purity" (which MS is not). The Arrive is that phone that was never quite the tech blog darling in terms of its specs, but has the power, design and build quality to be the phone I will actually will love owning for a couple of years. Mobile tech inevitably gets bigger, faster and more advanced (and already the iPhone 4S and Galaxy Nexus are setting the new standard, with no Windows Phone response in the U.S. market, yet). Though now a step back from the latest and greatest, this is a phone that, as a full-time companion, will treat you well through your contract term.
Speed. This is worth a note because every generation of phones brings more processing power, with dual-core processors now moving into the norm. In this race, Android phones have the fastest processors, but the Android OS is also the least efficient in most applications and at managing resource use in general, so it is often a wash. Hence Android is known as the "laggiest" OS. Meanwhile, these big chips require more battery power. The 1 GHz Snapdragon chip in the Arrive, running under Mango, is extremely snappy, with animations running smoothly and applications showing little or no lag. The result is a smooth, fast experience combined with excellent battery life.
Voice quality is excellent, clear and loud on both earpiece and speaker.
Keyboard: Good layout, rounded keys and clicky response, cursor arrows. This is the best physical keyboard I've used, and is worth the extra physical weight. I pull it out for anything over a few words, and wonder how physical keyboards have gone by the wayside so quickly in the race for the thinnest slab phone. I expect to see some reversal of this trend as phones continue keep becoming more omnifunctional. The on-screen keyboard is also quick.
WP7 Office is a simple-enough, versatile-enough, nothing -in-your way affair that asserts MS's historical dominance in this realm. Together with the superb keyboard, Word makes the Arrive the writer's phone - with "writing" including (a) notes and lists, (b) any work requiring a longer process - drafting, editing, saving; and (c) regular correspondence. For the electronic notepad, good for a sparse transcription of thoughts when out of the home/office or in the middle of the night, I would rather have this than an iPad. For these uses, the marriage of good software with the keyboard, ergonomics, weight and balance of the phone, make text handling a pleasure.
Cloud. If you care about cloud/document-sharing, that alone makes the Arrive (and Windows Phone) worth a serious look. MS is clearly building a framework for serious cloud computing, not surprisingly since this is a pillar of the game plan for Office. The Skydrive and OneNote integration result in fast, clean, sharable files and notes and have been a very nice surprise that I use constantly for "sticky notes" of all kinds as well as "real" documents that thankfully remain in their regular Office format as they get bounced around the web. Note: MS owns an awful lot of properties which aren't very distinct from one another: Skydrive, OneNote, Office 365, SharePoint, etc. Google has had the good sense to give everything a name describing its function, like Docs, Reader and Voice. MS is catching on, kind of. Bottom line: Microsoft cloud properties are more powerful and less user-friendly than Google's, so it's a matter of need and taste.
Visual design. The aesthetic of WP7 is part of the identity and value of this OS. Among other things, it says "look how integrated I am!". There is a tradeoff in customizability, but I think that where most users are concerned, MS has hit much closer to the sweet spot than Android, and in a way that I prefer to iOS. However, there are just a few places where the aesthetic is distracting, like the email inbox, where the sender's name is in WP7's trademark giant sans serif font, but the subject is displayed in a diminutive grey font 1/3 the size. Overall, the use of screen space allows a lot of features to be on screen or one (intuitive) swipe away, while never feeling crowded. That's a feat.
Speaking of which, customization of the UI is not high. MS has chosen the theme, you get swap out tiles on the home screen, pick a color and ringtone, and not much else. But in return, you get polished design and an extremely stable, worry-free OS on the market, even at version 1.5. Note that in its most recent iteration even Android shelved its "anything goes" design mentality and put unity of design to the forefront.
Speaking of which...Google integration. Not surprisingly, this is not a high point of WP7. Accessed through IE, Gmail is bare-bones (but nice and fully functional when accessed through the phone's email client), and Docs, Voice and Reader are oddly formatted and not quite a joy to use. However, I do all of my voicemail through Voice via Gmail, and this has worked perfectly, so most of what counts, works. Most Google-related deficiencies in the browser are addressed by decent third-party apps, but for the heavily Google-reliant, these don't quite match the unified front of Android. As mentioned above, MS has some nice web-based services, but switching to them is a commitment and not for everyone. In some cases, it was for me and my buying the Arrive ultimately made me a Live/Skydrive user. If you love Google products, buy the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (though I recommend waiting for the price to come down first!)
Browser (Internet Explorer) - speed is good, and IE plays well with most sites, including sites in desktop (non-mobile) mode. I had some major complaints about limited and labor-intensive browser navigation in WP7.0 (especially in landscape mode), but they have virtually all been remedied in Mango to good effect.
Maps - different from Google Maps, but awesome. Tracking yourself by GPS on the map (e.g., along a marked route with directions to a destination) is smooth and fast. Aerial (photo) view is stunning and detailed. Basic functions such as getting/resetting directions from current location, or toggling between route details and full map, are efficient and intuitive. I'm not a turn-by-turn fan to begin with, but it came with the Mango update, and works.
Also on the Google comparison: I have long felt that Google services represented a major evolution in seamlessness and usability, and for free. However, after using Office online, Google Docs and Calendar seem functionally limited and not as miraculous in their shareability. With Office, the docx and xls most of us use can be edited on web, (WP7) desktop or mobile. These files can then be shared between these formats on Live or synced to the web).
Camera. The camera (including video) is of mid-range for an early 2011 smartphone. Its usability gets good marks for the dedicated camera button, and the Pictures function is superb for its ability to neatly pull in pics from all of your social network connections, sync photos to Live or easily share them via email, SMS, or social.
Battery life. Low on this list but of high importance, the Arrive easily gets through the day with juice to spare (often 50% after a normal work day). I need to be able to go on the road or leave the house without a completely full charge, without having to worry about where the next electrical outlet will be. Closing the deal on its other strengths, the Arrive does very well here, and makes this the phone you want to bring home to mom.
Apps in general - Windows Phone has a much smaller software ecosystem than iOS and Android, but I have rarely run into apps that I wanted that were on Android/iOS but not yet on WP7. However, know that every app out there is not going to be on WP7 at this point. The apps I do use are high quality, and searching for apps is painless. Games - XBox Live is a good source for quality games. There are probably good casual games in all of the major mobile ecosystems, and MS holds its own here. Most of my favorite apps are getting regular updates so there is a sense that developer support is robust, and that bugs get fixed promptly.
Miscellaneous features (which are not my personal priorities). Voice search and text dictation works for simple things - more than a novelty but not earth-shaking. Music/Zune - I am told this is maybe the best music player out there all things considered. I like it; I don't like having to use the Zune software to move music and videos on and off the phone but understand why. It beats using iTunes.
Mangoes are sweeter than apples and blackberries! September 14, 2011
Reviewer: C. E. Hernandez (USA) -
Windows phone 7 completely blew me away. It is fresh, new, fast, and exciting!
The interface is smooth and has tiles which update, and animate to let me know if I have any emails or messages.
The facebook integration is amazing. I touch a contact, I slide over, I see all their status updates.
I can hold my camera button while my screen is locked and it automatically goes to camera mode. Plus every picture I take is automatically backed up to a 25 gb cloud called skydrive which I can access from any computer with internet! No other phone does that.
The web browser is smokin' fast! I put it next to my manager's dual core processor android, and beat him loading a web page. Hands down.
There is also an update coming out soon called mango. Mango brings over 500 new features, including multitasking, audible text messages, and visual voicemail! This phone will be able to read your text messages out loud! I know I'm going to use that while I'm driving!
Simply put: Windows phone 7 is beyond what any other phone can do. It is unique and fast. It's app market is growing exponentially. It's got so many cool features that will blow you away! It's SO easy to use too! This phone is AMAZING. I absolutely LOVE it.
1 and only April 28, 2013
Reviewer: D Bow
This was the one and only Windows Phone 7 cellphone Sprint had ever released. 100% better than Windows 6.x. Best cell phone I have ever had. I wish Sprint had an updated Windows operating system like Windows 8 or even 7.8
Great Phone still one of the best phones on Sprint June 27, 2012
Reviewer: R. Rivera (Southern California) -
I have had this phone since 03/20/2011. This is a great phone and I also have an Iphone4s with Sprint but continue to gravitate to the Windows Phone OS. I have the Zune Pass and its great to have practically any song I want. Bing search is great with the music search "Shazam like" capability built into the Bing search engine, being able to pin just about anything to the start screen is nice. Over a year later, this phone remains as one of the best phones on Sprint. Looking over the Sprint Website, this is the highest rated phone with the exception to the newly released HTC EVO LTE. Quite an acomplishment given all the androids and latest iPhones to compete with. Too bad sales never translated since no reps pushed this phone.
Great Product March 18, 2011
I don't know how S. Colon "WOLFBANE" (BROOKLYN, NEW YORK United States) - was able to review the HTC Arrive, when they have not even been released yet??? Any way I have not had one but I have had a friend who rights reviews and recieved his. It was a great experience, one of the best user interfaces I have used on a phone. I can't wait until Sunday when I can finally get one for my self. Yes, there are a few minor set backs, but this is still a new operating system and needs to evolve a bit. But it is a great phone and operating system!
Best mobile phone experience I ever had. December 28, 2011
I went out on a limb and dropped my android for a windows phone. I will never go back. This is the best mobile operating system I have seen. (Ive had much experience; im a former Sprint employee). Give this phone a try for a day or two and you wont go back.
Almost perfect Phone! December 23, 2011
I love this phone... this one has to be said!
I had a Blackberry for 2 years and was always one of a message-guy...After my blackberry I was so used to the keyboard, that I could not imagine to have a phone without one... After a lot of searching on the internet and not knowing which phone would be my next (my blackberry was really "used" and it was a matter of time before it would stop working...), I found the Arrive in a local o2-Store. I really liked the keyboard, but couldn't imagine to use a Windows Phone... So after a while of thinking about it, i bought it...The price was the biggest pro-point for me... So I had a Windows Phone and just hated it...yes, its true...i hated it... But after a few days I realised how much fun WP7 can be and started to like the operating system... Days passed and started to love it...
So now more than 4 months passed and I love this phone more and more!
The keyboard is awesome and the sliding mechanism is still working like on the first day!
I really do love this phone and the WP7 way of working. I use it for almost everything (Calendar, SMS/Messages, Internet-surfing, chatting on Facebook, Facebook, listening to a LOT of music and so on...)
Would never think that I would ever say this, but Windows Phone rocks! :)
If only everything in life were this great! December 23, 2011
Reviewer: Senor Pablo Bunyon III
I have had my HTC Arrive for about 10 months now. This is the first consumer electronics product that I have owned that I enjoy using every single day.
The Sprint plan has been exceptional with excellent connectivity in my area. I feel like the cost of the plan is reasonable. I have been a long-time sprint customer, and their service and customer service have always been great, including refunding a $200 overage charge from my mistake.
The HTC hardware is exceptional. I have dropped my phone several times (as in "yard-sale" with the battery, battery cover and phone scattering over the floor), and it even went for a full cycle in the washing machine. I let it dry for 24 hours, and it survived without an issue. I'm fine with the on-screen keyboard, but I still like the slide-out keyboard option that comes with this phone for long emails.
I like everything about the phone, but my favorite part has to be the Windows 7 operating system. It's incredibly smooth, fast and intuitive. I love the xbox game integration, and so does my 4 year old son. The phone is so intuitive, there was almost no learning curve. I would recommend this phone for any level of experience. My son has figured out basic navigation to get to the games. It's simple enough that I'd recommend it to my parents. And I'm a software engineer, and it meets my needs.
The Bottom Line:
I wish the phone had Skype and Pandora, but I assume that will be fixed within the next six months.
Regardless, this is an exceptional phone with great OS and great hardware on a great carrier.
Final note, if you don't choose to buy this exact phone, do try a Windows Phone. I really think you'll love the OS!
Used them all - this is the best December 22, 2011
I've worked for an electronics company for 11 years and I've had almost every type of phone/smart phone. This is easily the best thus far.
Android phones are far too fragmented and you never know if the phone you buy will be eligible for the next version. The manufacturer or the carrier could just decide to stop supporting it, even if its only 6 months old. If you root an Android, to put your own OS on, chances are it will work spotty at BEST (or not at all at worst). Then you have a very fancy brick.
iPhones are WAY too restrictive, expensive, and have a terrible time with the most basic tasks - making phone calls. They cost a LOT for what you're actually getting. They are not good with people that need to stay productive and they charge for everything. Even updates that make their equipment better, which should be free.
Windows Phone 7 all of the things that the others aren't. Live tiles are amazing, games (with Xbox) are better, support and updates are free, and they help to keep you productive with out the need for third party apps. They have it all cooked in, natively.
The HTC Arrive is a great piece of hardware, too. Slide out/tilting keyboard is a godsend. Its fast, smooth, and hardy. It's the right size - not a small tablet, but easy to read. Camera works great with a dedicated button. Believe this - it makes CALLS. I know, it's hard to believe, but it makes calls where my Android or iPhone couldn't.
Only drawbacks - no front-facing camera for Tango or Skype calls and it's not 4G speed (however, I don't really consider the 4G a drawback).
If you want an amazing experience, buy this phone!
awesome phone! November 28, 2011
Reviewer: B. Earley
You will never be disapointed about this phone. It mutitasks and syncs with your office products. I really enjoy have the zune player built right in. I pay $10 a month for unlimited music downloads. That's right unlimited. If you have a pc as well you can automaticly sync your downloaded songs to that computer. Free 25GB of storage with your free windows live account; along with 16GB on your phone, you will never run out of memory. Here are some other things that are easy to find on your windows phone.
~upgradable to Mango(7.5) you must upgrade to receive a ton of new features.
~netflix app (does work off of sprint's 3G network)
~great speed of moving from app to app. just press and hold the back button.
~song recignition built right in from search button; then you can download it also.
~take a picture and you can automaticly sync it with your skydrive (free 25GB storage)
~great for viewing and editing your office products (i.e. word, excell...)
~apps that you would want, not apps you don't need.
~will probably work seamlessly with windows 8 next year.
thanks for reading...
Best Windows 7 Phone in HTC's lineup November 16, 2011
Reviewer: ty and beth
the keyboard is my favorite on any qwerty phone I have used. it is a five line keyboard, set up just like a full sized keyboard including the line up top with 1-0. It has a super unique tilt feature that makes the phone super fun to use.
Windows 7 is the smoothest phone OS I have experienced. I had an android for over a year. This exceeds every expectation I had, and surpasses android by far. it is a very minimal, fast, smooth, consistant OS that is uncomparable to Windows computer OS. totaly different, but in all good ways.
picture and video is great.
speaker sound could be better quality, but it does fine. when using it with headphones, it is a true mp3 player. the sound is loud and crisp. There is hardly ever lag in between song selections, videos, ect.
the OS is super fast between apps, programs, multitasking, and everything else the phone does.
battery life is good. About average for smartphones.
best phone I have ever had.
Extremely Happy with this Windows Phone September 4, 2011
I'm very happy with the Sprint Arrive; it is also known as the HTC 7 Pro.
It's lightening fast no matter how many apps you download and install; I can find no 'true' functional problems at all. The battery life is awesome. I've had this phone for about 2 months and have still not explored all the cool things it can do. This is because it does the simple, expected things so elegantly. Make a call, send a text, browse the web, take a photo; they are are right there and intuitive to use.
As with every device not matter what the platform or carrier, it has some quirks simply "not spoken of" until the user him/herself has to figure them out.
MOST IMPORTANT - If you are ALREADY A SPRINT CUSTOMER and this phone is an "UPGRADE" PHONE on your long time account, NOTE WELL: Once you get the telephone and text features to work (usually with the help of a Sprint Rep), IF you are not getting data/internet/sprint vision service, your phone may be creating a new "invalid" [...] e-mail address to access data/internet/sprint vision - this happened to me. (Ugh! After 6 Sprint Reps, I had to figure it out!) Ask a Sprint Rep to help you make sure this new Arrive has the correct ("your old and original")[...] e-mail address for your account stored in it's set-up. To find "your old and original" [...] e-mail address, use your computer to log-in to [...]. Then: go to my preferences, things I can manage on-line, change e-mail server password. Don't make any changes. Do notice: "Your SMTP username: [...]" <---This e-mail address should be in your Arrive's SET-UP, not the e-mail address that it "makes up" spontaneously. Once this is correct in your phone that already has voice and text service, you should now get data service.
Other small tips - hope they help!:
If an "app" won't install WHEN it says an update is available (or says license error), it is probably a "trial app." Uninstall the app, and then download and install the new version of the app.
Photos blurry? Press the shutter button half-way until it beeps (takes an extra second to get a focus), THEN press all the way down.
You can't sync directly to desktop Outlook contacts and MS Office files on your computer anymore. You have to use Window Live (Hotmail) Sky Drive functions for this now. (Outlook for Exchange will sync directly over the internet.) To put media (music and video) from your computer directly onto the phone, you must use Zune; or you can also use the Windows Live Sky Drive. It takes a little getting used to Windows Live and Zune, but they work fine.
Great Phone!!! September 1, 2011
Reviewer: Tristan J. Lueking (Bridgewater, VA) -
I have tried every phone out there...Iphone, Android Phones, the Palm Pre, and even windows mobile 6 and none of them compare to Windows Phone 7. More people should be using this platform.
Best Mobile Experience Ever June 15, 2011
I simply can't get enough of this phone and it's OS! It's hands down, the best mobile experience I've had to date.
Awesome Phone shows promise, growing App store March 24, 2011
Reviewer: Cristobal Vizcaino (Bronx, New York United States) -
Like the other people mentioned this is a great phone, the new OS is great, the Zune Pass is awesome and the Xbox Live and Office hub is great.
The deep Facebook integration is like no other and Sprint service is great
The Arrive and Windows Phone 7 have ample room for improvement, but it's a commendable start! April 6, 2011
Reviewer: Scott Showalter (Ohio, USA) -
After nearly four years since the last Microsoft device was released on Sprint, the first Windows Phone 7 device has finally arrived: yes, the HTC Arrive. I still feel awkward saying the name, but I guess "HTC 7 Pro" wasn't relevant enough. The big question: is the Arrive itself relevant enough to successfully compete in this increasingly chaotic smartphone market?
In this review, I'll take you hands on sharing my experience using the Arrive, which I picked up on March 21st. I'll also compare the device and its Windows Phone 7 operating system to other popular smartphone devices and their OS's so you can make a decent decision whether or not the Arrive is right for you.
Warning: My reviews tend to run up against the maximum length allowed, because they're more in-depth than others. Most people tend to like that, but if you don't, I have organized it into various sections with headings to help you skip right to the juicy bits. In any case, I hope you find my review helpful in at least some way! :)
===== My Windows Mobile Background & Sprint Background =====
I've been with Sprint for 10 years--no reason to switch now. The only drawback in sticking around has been their limited selection of phones. Decent Sprint phones tend to only come along every few years. Lately though, Sprint has stepped up their game, adding some trendsetting phones to their lineup. Unfortunately, the HTC Arrive is NOT one of those phones. Being one of the last carriers to add Windows Phone 7 to their lineup didn't exactly help that cause. Still, it's a decent start to what I hope will be a great future for Microsoft devices on Sprint.
I've owned two Windows Mobile based phones from Sprint: HTC Mogul and its predecessor. Each had a good run, but both degraded over time due to buggy software updates from HTC, which leaves me leery of encountering that with Windows Phone 7, but I'm crossing my fingers. The Mogul eventually met its demise after its release in 2007, as it encountered growing competition from the new iPhone that Apple had launched that same year (plus Android in 2008). Compared to the iPhone, Windows Mobile was staler than a potato chip trapped behind the furnace!
Since 2007, there's been nigh from Sprint/Microsoft. Windows Mobile 6.5 was to be a precursor to a huge revamp of the OS, but it hardly saw fruition before all its concepts were tossed out the window. They needed to completely rework the OS to compete with the iPhone and now Android, WebOS and even BlackBerry 6, which all beat Windows Phone 7 to market. So now, being one of the last modern smartphone OS's to be released, the big question is: can it finally compete with the others?
Windows Mobile took a lot of flack for being behind the times, especially since mobile Web browsing was on the rise, thanks to the iPhone. Even after 6 iterations of Windows Mobile, it took an entirely different company (Apple) to see and do something about the sad, sorry state of mobile Web browsing back then. Microsoft's grossly-outdated Internet Explorer (IE) Mobile could barely keep up with modern websites. I could go on forever about how much better the iPhone browser was in comparison, but I'll spare you.
Being with Sprint limited my choice of phones though. The iPhone couldn't be had, so I was stuck with the Mogul until something better came along. Eventually Sprint launched the WebOS-based Palm Pre whose innovative features included multitouch and multitasking capabilities, clean UI, modern Web browser, comfortable form factor, physical keyboard... you name it! I highly considered getting one, but by the time I had become eligible for an upgrade later that fall, the Palm Pre buzz had faded. (Sprint exclusivity to blame?)
Google's Android OS was the hot new thing. Sprint launched the Android-based HTC Hero and Samsung Moment that fall. Being rather fond of Google Voice and other Google services, I knew Android was for me, but there were several rumors brewing in the technosphere that more powerful Android devices were forthcoming. So I made the risky gamble to wait. It was excruciating, but my patience finally paid off a few months later when all those rumors finally culminated into a stunning new flagship Sprint phone: the HTC EVO 4G. Despite having no 4G coverage, I still bit. I've now owned the EVO for over 9 months and it has satisfied my smartphone appetite fairly decently.
Thankfully I didn't have to give up the EVO to get the Arrive, as I have two lines (personal & business). It's admittedly nice to own two smartphones (especially when one's battery dies). However, I imagine that if you're in the market for a new Sprint phone, you may very well have to make a choice between one or the other, so I hope to help you make a good comparison between them so you can make the best decision for yourself.
===== Arrive vs iPhone and iOS =====
Apple's inception of the App Store and its serious backing of mobile app developers has been the key to the success of the iPhone and iOS, but mobile apps are nothing new. Windows Mobile has always had apps, but the reason it couldn't compete on the same level as iOS is because Windows Mobile was a clunky OS, trying hard to be a portable version of its desktop counterpart. Its apps had windows, title bars, and little X's you usually had to tap with a stylus to close the app. That workflow isn't conducive to these grander days of our on-the-go lifestyle.
Thankfully, Microsoft cought on quickly--polishing a turd was going to be counterproductive to their goal of improving the underlying foundation of their mobile platform, and consequently the image of said platform. They knew they had to start from scratch, and it was clear that apps had to be a part of that strategy. Not just windowless, touchable apps, either. They knew it was the quality of apps available for the iPhone that made it so great, not the quantity. So Microsoft set out to lure developers over from iOS by putting up a bounty for developers of popular apps, and naturally it worked. Developers have flocked to the platform and now they've got quite a selection of apps to help make that aspect of their phones more on par with the iPhone.
===== Arrive vs EVO 4G and Android =====
I've been using the EVO 4G since June of last year, and I really like it. Android is decent, especially with its tight integration with Google services, and its ability to have widgets on the home screens (something iOS can't do, ha!). It's not complete, though. The Android Market is one of its weaknesses. I always see the same stale, poor quality apps on the Android Market. Some apps are fantastic, but most are terrible. In contrast, Apple's App Store is much stronger in iOS and yes, even the Marketplace on Windows Phone 7 seems to have a constant stream of fresh new, noticeably higher quality apps flowing in. More apps have been ported from iPhone to Windows Phone 7 than to Android, even though it's been around longer (partly due to that app-dev bounty Microsoft put out).
I never had an iPhone, but I've used an iPod touch for a couple years, so I can undoubtedly say that the quality of Android apps is much lower than iOS apps. It's improving, but very slowly. Apparently developers have implied that developing Android apps is more complicated than developing iPhone apps. Android has most of the staples though: Pandora, Facebook, Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Flight Control, although Netflix remains to be seen, dishearteningly. In contrast, app development for Windows Phone 7 has reportedly been far easier, which may explain why Windows Phone 7 Marketplace is growing faster than Android's market did when it had first launched. They even have Netflix already! Maybe there is a market for the Arrive after all!
===== Arrive and Windows Phone 7 =====
Windows Phone 7 is clean, responsive and intuitive. It didn't take long to figure out how the interface was organized, how it worked, and how to move between various parts of it. Some people consider Microsoft to be a has-been contender in the mobile space, because they're late to the "modern smartphone OS" game. On the contrary though, facing that already-stiff competition from iOS and Android has put Microsoft in a unique position to further refine and improve on that modern smartphone experience. To do so, Microsoft decided to build a completely new mobile OS from scratch, and with it they've brought some interesting elements to their phones.
One of the main concepts behind Windows Phone 7 is the ability to look at your phone, and see key information at a glance: emails, text messages, missed calls, etc. Content is arranged in dynamically-updated boxes called Live Tiles on a grid, and you can rearrange various tiles so that your priority info is more easily accessible near the top of the grid. Alongside that feature is a concept called Hubs, which congregate relevant content together. The primary hubs are: People (contacts & social networking), Music + Videos, Pictures, Games, Search (web, news & local), and Office (notes, documents, and the mobile Office apps).
According to their marketing campaign, the new OS was "designed to get you in and out, and back to life" though frankly I haven't necessarily found it to be any quicker than using my EVO to access various info.
The interface is smooth and I have yet to experience any jitters or slowness when it comes to native OEM apps. Third-party apps, however, are a different story. Some run just fine, while others do encounter occasional hiccups.
The native apps and the OS interface transitions themselves are smooth and hiccup-free though. That being said, the flipping/sliding effects are interesting at first, but after their novelty wears off. They've become rather annoying now, but it could just be me. I feel like there's a lot of finger work to move around in the OS because text and other elements are so large, so they take up more space and require more scrolling to get at all the content because scrollable regions are limited to a specific area of the screen.
The Windows Phone 7 user interface is also rather clean. Yet, despite its cleanliness, I feel as if the user interface is still very poorly optimized, often not taking advantage of all the available screen real-estate throughout the OS, and sometimes simply taking up too much space in other areas, most notably the obscenely colossal text headings (which don't scroll out of view when scrolling the underlying content, I might add).
It's nice to see Microsoft do away with the concept of windowed applications in lieu of something simpler, but in spite of that they just weren't very mindful of the limited screen real-estate that so ungraciously adorns mobile devices. Despite freeing up that extra bit of space by nixing the title bar and left/right context menus that accompanied Windows Mobile for 6 versions, they've gone and squandered that space by giving the UI obscenely gigantic text headings, and excessive empty space.
===== Arrive's Hardware =====
The Arrive feels like a solid piece of work in your hands. It's display is on par with the now-standard scratch-resistant glass most other smartphones are sporting, and its brushed metal backside nicely accented with soft rubber to ensure it doesn't slip out of your hands, although the thickness of it aught to help with that too. I've heard about other Windows Phone devices feeling cheap and clunky. Even my old HTC Mogul felt cheap, especially where the slide-out keyboard was concerned. The Arrive is definitely sturdy, though a bit on the thick side, but that is usually the case for phones with slide-out keyboards.
I grew quite fond of having a physical keyboard with my past devices. Back then, the only on-screen "virtual" keyboard technology was terrible, and had to be pecked at using a stylus because the screens used resistive display technology instead of capacitive (touch) technology. Interacting with the screen in general required pressure instead of the light touch that most smartphones use now. But admittedly, having used the iPod touch and now the EVO 4G (whose screen is nice and roomy), I've grown fond of virtual keyboards, and have become efficient at using them. Special 3rd party virtual keyboards like Swype and SwiftKey on the EVO have further streamlined my virtual typing experience.
Coming back to a device with a physical keyboard after a two year hiatus is a bit awkward. Typing on a virtual keyboard and a physical keyboard must be two separate skill-sets because I clearly lost my knack for typing on a physical keyboard in that span of time. Initially, I found it easy to accidentally hit multiple keys when trying to type too quickly (to match my speed of virtual typing). However, I found that being able to once again "touch-type" on the physical keyboard, I've already quickly regained those skills after using the device a while. Depressing the physical keys gives a nice, tactile click as expected on a good quality physical keyboard. There are also two LEDs that give you feedback about when the Shift and FN keys have been depressed. The nice thing about physical typing on Windows Phone 7 is that you still get word completion suggestions, and plenty of them. They appear in a black strip across the bottom of the screen.
The tilted angle of the screen when the keyboard is exposed doesn't improve on the experience though. At that angle, I feel like I'm looking down at the screen, rather than straight at it. This is a phone, not a laptop! Fortunately, the screen can be fudged into a parallel orientation, but it's not necessarily meant to stay in that position, and usually it's a little cockeyed. It's tolerable though.
I'm also thankful the screen isn't an AMOLED screen. Why? Everyone goes goo-goo over AMOLED because of its purported brilliance, but have those people actually SEEN an AMOLED screen? They're horrible! What bugs me most about AMOLED screens is that there's a subtle checkerboard pattern with the pixels--every other pixel is darker. This is because every other pixel is missing either the red or blue part of the pixel, thus giving AMOLED the checkerboard pattern. I first became aware of this pattern on the Epic 4G, and it was obvious to me right away. I thought it must've been a cheap alternative screen used for a demo I'd seen at Best Buy, but after a little research I found that it was indeed AMOLED. Supposedly the odd pixel pattern improves the battery life without sacrificing brightness--at least the illusion of brightness, as that's all it really is. Engadget has a good overview of this perceived illusion, along with a better alternative from Samsung called "Super AMOLED Plus" which you can google for the article link.
So again, thankfully the Arrive does NOT have an AMOLED screen (nor does the EVO). Good call HTC. Nonetheless, the Arrive's display is still quite vibrant and fantastic.
===== Web Browsing =====
Internet Explorer's mobile counterpart has come a really long way since the days of Windows Mobile, though for as long as Microsoft toiled with their new OS, it hasn't come quite far enough. It's still very much behind the times since it doesn't yet support technologies like HTML5, Flash or even Silverlight--Microsoft's own Flash-counterpart. What's that mean for you? Well, you probably won't get very far media-wise when surfing the Web, because sites that offer HTML5-based videos and content in place of Flash won't even be available for you to view. So not only is IE mobile behind iOS's browser in this respect, it's also behind Android's browser. I hope they fix this soon.
===== Email, Messaging and Social Networking =====
Arrive and Windows Phone 7 pride themselves on delivering a unique and usable experience when it comes to messaging. This is partly due to the tiled interface that displays at-a-glance info where it can quickly be seen, but only to a certain degree. An undoubtedly clever marketing campaign for Windows Phone shows tons of smartphone addicts portrayed in various life scenarios ignoring everyone around them, mulling about in a zombie-like fashion with their eyes incessantly glued to the screen of their non-Microsoft phone, with the narrator exclaiming "It's time for a phone to save us from our phones." This might lead you to believe you might be able to read all your emails, text messages and so forth from this tiled interface, but you can't.
As I previously mentioned, it's not necessarily that much faster than accessing the same kind of information I access on my EVO. You still have to open up your email account, then tap through to the email you want to read in order to view it. The dynamic tiles really only give you the number of emails, messages, etc. That misnomer doesn't make the experience any less unique.
If you add a contact to the tiled interface however, it does show you their Facebook status. Tapping their Live Tile allows you to browse their Facebook feed in another "hub" style view as well. Twitter hub integration is also purportedly coming in the future.
===== Multimedia Experience =====
Today's phones are expected to do more than ever, and media is a huge part of that. Media is what made the iPhone and iPod touch what they were originally. Wanting to compete for that market, Microsoft eventually brought their own "Zune" portable media player to market hoping to improve upon the interface and experience of media devices, but by then things had changed. Apps and games had become the new allure of the iOS devices. I thought the Zunes were nice, but I never bought one because they didn't have apps. So in that respect, Microsoft remained behind the curve, yet that didn't deter them.
Rumors of a "Zune Phone" began circulating. It would be like a Zune, but with apps and a phone to boot! Eventually those rumors came true, albeit under the name Windows Phone instead. The good news in all of this is that now you can have the quality multimedia experience that the Zune brings to the table, with the added benefits of apps and a phone. As expected, the multimedia integration in Windows Phone is superb.
Meanwhile, Apple having focused a bit too much on apps has caused the multimedia capabilities and interface of iOS to remained nearly unchanged pretty much since the iPhone first came out. So the thing that made the iPhone and iPod touch what it was initially has become stale and clunky, simply because it hasn't been improved upon in the last few years. Don't get me wrong, multimedia functionality of iOS has always been as clunky as it is today, it's just much more noticeable when you've used something that provides a much nicer experience.
Android's stock music and video capabilities are a little better than iOS, but they still seem like an "afterthought" of the Android OS. On the other hand, because Microsoft's Zune has deeply integrated into Windows Phone, that fresh audio/visual experience is a welcome breath of fresh air in the mobile multimedia space. Not only does the Arrive support Microsoft's standard WMA audio and MWV video formats and common formats such as MP3 audio, but it can also play AAC/M4A audio (iTunes podcasts), MP4 video (iOS's primary video format) as well as, MPEG-4 video, H.264 video, and yes... even AVI/DivX/Xvid video formats! Support for the latter format was completely unexpected--Android requires a special app to play such videos and iOS doesn't support them AT ALL, not even with an app! Kudos to you, Microsoft... simply outstanding!
If that isn't enough, apps like Pandora and Netflix also have you covered.
===== Arrive Photography and Video =====
Photography on the Arrive is a sketchy and controversial topic. You see, my HTC EVO 4G touts an 8 megapixel camera, and it's nearly a year old, so you'd think HTC would be using that same camera in all the phones now, especially at the price-point at which Sprint is offering the Arrive. Hang on just a sec! More megapixels doesn't always equal better quality photos! Consider the 1 megapixel camera of the iPod touch. While the resolution may not be much to look at, the photo quality itself is outstanding, which is especially notable in low-light situations.
I thought for sure that if HTC was still using a 5 megapixel camera, it must take a better quality picture than its EVO counterpart. Well, as it turns out, it's not any better than the EVO. In fact, it suffers the same problem as the EVO--photos taken indoors are often unacceptably blurry and even grainy, even when the sun is shining right through the windows. Of course, the lower the light, even when there are ample amounts of indoor lighting, the worse things get. And for some reason, lower light photos, which are grainier and poorer quality, are often bigger in file size! Explain that one HTC! I'm not sure what Apple is using for their iPhone and even iPod touch cameras, but it's way better in low-light situations. Perhaps HTC needs to consider all new camera hardware. We can't let the iDevices have all the photography fun!
That being said, the built-in 16GB storage is a definite boon because videos take up A LOT of space on the device very quickly. Not sure what it is about them, but it's the same story on the EVO though, so I can't really complain there.
===== E-Reading =====
I'm a huge fan of using mobile devices for reading eBooks, especially on the go. I don't want to lug a heavy, oversized tablet around everywhere I go, so having the ability to simply pull up a book on my smartphone is a definite plus. The high-resolution screen of the Arrive fares decently in this endeavor, but the quality of apps available for reading PDFs and such could stand to see some performance and usability improvements for sure. Adobe has ported their "Adobe Reader" app to Windows Phone 7, but just like their Android version of the app, it's very slow and its limited features and preferences (such as lack of decent zoom functionality and lack of vertical scroll lock) leaves a lot to be desired regarding its user experience. For now, I'll have to stick with reading any eBooks on my iPod touch's retina display and its exceptional "GoodReader" app.
===== Search =====
Web searching on a mobile device has become one of the primary uses of smartphone users on the go, but with so much information at our fingertips, it's no wonder. Furthermore, Microsoft is so fond of their Bing search engine that it's very deeply integrated into the phone, kinda like how Google search is so fundamentally ingrained into Android, only the Bing interface on Microsoft is new and intriguing.
Like Android devices, Microsoft has made it a requirement that all Windows Phones have a dedicated search button somewhere on the device. When an app is opened, pressing said button will typically resort to searching something within that app, depending on how that app's developers programmed the app to respond to the search button. Alternately, if there's no app open, then hitting the search button will let you search the Web, news or local (maps) using the default Bing mobile app. You can also do a voice search by holding the dedicated start button (the one with the Windows logo on it).
In general though, as a tech-oriented individual, I find Google to provide better searches for my tech-related queries than I've had luck with using Bing or Yahoo. However, Bing's news searches are pretty much on par with Google, and Bing's integrated local search segment with its sliver of a map view is interesting too. As I've mentioned above, however, Bing's search results suffer from Windows Phone 7's poor use of screen real-estate common in the other "hubs" due to excessive empty space on the left-hand side and the colossal "Bing" heading that doesn't move out of view when you scroll through the search results. I think to myself, "Yeah... I already know this is BING! Shut up about it and let me see my search results already!!"
That being said, I probably won't be using the Arrive much for searches.
===== Arrive Productivity =====
I don't know about you, but I find working from a mobile device to be fairly productive at times, because the small screen helps me focus more on one task at a time fewer distractions than its desktop/laptop counterpart. On a mobile device, you don't necessarily have all the other distractions on the screen vying for your attention. However, the quality of that productivity can be greatly affected by the smoothness of the workflow that the interface permits. Ideally, the fewer touches required to complete any given task, the greater the experience. One tap too many can tip the experience's scales from bliss to frustration... I know from experience.
Windows Mobile was generally reliable for productivity, and I was expecting the Arrive to bring that experience a whole new level, not just with Windows Phone's efficient new user interface, but also by bringing with it an updated version of its mobile Office suite--the "Office Hub". This is one of the main reasons I contemplated getting a Windows Phone to begin with. Other mobile OS's require 3rd party apps to edit Office documents.
However, the latest incantation of mobile Office on the Arrive is a bit clunky, requiring more work to make edits than should have been necessary, and a lot of functionality was buggy or missing altogether. It didn't seem to preserve as much of my original formatting from documents created on the desktop as I was hoping, especially .docx files saved in Word 2007, with pre-defined text style sets used in documents created on the desktop. It couldn't handle background colors on text, and some text even disappeared completely, though I later realized it was just white text where the background color had not been preserved. Images and tabular data also fared poorly in documents edited with Mobile Office. Mobile Office is really no better than the 3rd party apps available on other OS's. Disappointing.
Copy & Paste support is another important component of productivity to me, and the Arrive is the first Windows Phone 7 device to support it. The implementation is a bit flakey though. You can only copy/paste text of text fields but not actual text from the content of Web pages themselves in the browser, so you can't copy info from the Web or most 3rd party apps until developers of those apps change things around. It works for emails, text messages and Office docs in the meantime though. The Copy and Paste icons are also located in two separate spots on the screen which breaks up the perceived flow of the functionality. Instead, the icons should all be in the same general vicinity. Hey Microsoft: there's plenty of room to add each icon to the same menubar for continuity!
A "Cut" action would also be useful--extra steps are the antithesis of productivity.
===== Arrive Gaming =====
If you're like me, you probably don't have much time for games. Ultimately, I see the Arrive as a productivity device more than as a gaming console, but it's still healthy to have some fun now and then. Thus, mobile gaming has become a growing part of my life. I don't engage in console or PC gaming, but there's always time for a quick round of Angry Birds on my phone! Angry Birds is still being ported, but thanks to Microsoft offering a bounty to various game developers to port their apps to Windows Phone 7, there's plenty of other choices for your mobile gaming pleasure, including some of the most popular iOS games. Hit the comments for a list!
A lot more iPhone games have been ported to Windows Phone than have been ported to Android. That and the tight integration with XBox makes the Arrive a definite boon for gamers. The mobile gamer in me has enjoyed the wide variety of games available for iOS because of the iPod touch. So it's great to see Microsoft attracting a lot of good game-dev talent to their mobile platform.
However, not being much of a console gamer, Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7 was a bit confusing to me at first. Apparently it's no Xbox in and of itself, it's just a different take on the concept of mobile gaming, similar to Game Center on iOS where you can track goals, stats, achievements, scores and leaderboards of the games you've got installed on your device, and apparently even from games on your Xbox console, if you have one. I don't, so I can't necessarily comment from a hardcore gamer's perspective, but I digress. It sounds nice nonetheless.
===== Praise =====
* Physical keyboard - complete with quality tactile feedback (nice keypress click)
* Vibrant screen without AMOLED - no awful checkerboard pixel pattern that AMOLED screens have
* Comfortable form factor - it feels good in your hands
* User interface - intuitive interaction experience with a very clean look and feel
* Outstanding multimedia support - including the popular H.264 and AVI/DivX/Xvid video formats... unbelievable!
* Decent quality apps and games on par with iOS, with some big-name apps having been ported over from iOS
===== Disappointments =====
* Camera hardware could stand to see significant quality improvements
* Tilt-screen should have a lockable orientation parallel with the keyboard
* User interface - oversized text and excessive waste of empty screen real-estate
* Poor copy/paste functionality - icons should be on the same bar for continuity, also needs a "Cut" action
* Mobile Office - I expected it to be able to handle more of the formatting its desktop counterpart handles
* The brand - "Windows" is not only stale, but has a negative connotation to it any more. Adding "phone" after it doesn't make it any better. Also, the "7" component is a designation of continuance... a continuation of what existed before, not a designation of fresh starts. Perhaps Xphone would have been a more ideal alternative, especially to coincide with both the Xbox integration and the concept of the new OS as being "anti-phone" as portrayed in the advertising campaign. Alas, maybe they can work that out by the time version "10" rolls around? Sounds good to me.
===== Bottom Line =====
The Arrive is a solid piece of hardware that unfortunately still has to suffer through some of Windows Phone 7's growing pains. The OS will improve though, so in the meantime HTC just needs to improve their camera quality to be on par with Apple's, especially in low-light situations, and possibly innovate a dual-position lock so users can more easily keep the screen parallel to the keyboard without sacrificing the angular screen orientation for those that prefer it. Otherwise, their Arrive is a nice package.
While the price may be a bit high for something without 4G built in, at least you won't have to pay Sprint's $10/month surcharge that they charge for the EVO 4G and other similar devices. So it all works out. I just hope that Sprint doesn't stop here with their Windows Phone 7 lineup. It'll be nice to see improvements made down the line.
In my mind, the Arrive has earned 3 stars, but the 4th is just a tad out of its grasp. Had the tilt-screen and camera hardware been more solid and higher quality, the Arrive would have earned a definite 4 stars, but until that happens, I am inclined to hold out on that extra star. Naturally, the 5th star is being withheld for my disappointments with the overall Windows Phone 7 software due to its various quirks, bugs and the habitual knack for its user interface to utterly waste so much screen real-estate with mere emptiness or uselessly colossal text headings that don't scroll out of view in the hub screens, especially on such a small display... after all it's no EVO 4G!
That being said, if it came down to either the HTC Arrive and the HTC EVO 4G (or upcoming EVO 3D), I would probably have to choose the EVO. While I like the physical keyboard of the Arrive, I simply prefer Google's search algorithm much better than Bing, and the Google services integration with Android is undoubtedly a bonus for me.
If you don't use Google much, or if you're a fan of gaming (XBox or otherwise) or multimedia, then Windows Phone 7 is absolutely meant for you, no question. Now, if Sprint ever gets the balls to get the iPhone for their loyal Sprint fan-base, I'd drop the Arrive in a heartbeat, but it's still no less of a decent phone, has Office integration built-in, and the more smartphones the merrier!
Well, that's my 3¢... I hope you've found it helpful in some way. Feel free to continue the discussion by interacting with me in the comments!
Now U Know! May 12, 2012
Reviewer: B-CuZ (Erf!) -
Back when they were dissing the HTC Smartphones and the trust fund chicks and geeky doctor types were raving about their Blackberries and Treos, I was already pumping up the functionality and forward looking aspects of the HTC PPC 6700. HTC PIONEERED the modern pda/smartphone. BTW where is the Treo (Palm platform) or Blackberry cheerleaders now? Don't get it twisted.
You know many of us tech savvy types understand the beauty of Mac computers for music production. Pro Tools and the newer Ableton come to mind. The masses were dissing Macs and touting Windows. Almost my entire family included. Next thing you know iPhone is released and all the bandwagoneers jumped on the hype like a bunch of snake oil selling, prairie bound, pioneering, bible thumpin' "Christian" tent-revival preachers. Now Apple is the "bee's knees" and the geeks get their panties all in a bunch over it. Right on sheeple.
Look, America picked VHS over Betamax. The decision was based on marketing and ignorance. When are you going to get it straight and think for yourself? The Windows phones have been hit-or-miss. So have almost all the "smartphones" including the iPhone. If you're a real biz type and not some 21 year old light sabre app loving, video calling geek, THIS Windows phone is dope and for you. One example of its depth is Mango which when hooked to your car's Bluetooth, will sense this, read your texts, transcribe your voice into a text reply, read it back to you, then send it if you want. This isn't even a new feature.
Great phone and highly recommended for those who aren't worried about hotspots or vid conferencing. Use Skype or GoTo Meeting on your computer for that. Hopefully HTC forgoes that BS Android platform and sticks with Windows and phones with real keyboards. Some of us thumb type faster than we do on a large QWERTY, and that's because of the slide out keyboard option.
Love it! July 22, 2011
Reviewer: Dan Dautrich (Arizona) -
I love my Windows Phone! The fast and fluid interface is simply a pleasure to use, and everything is designed to get you information quickly and move on. I especially love the fact that I haven't had to add or update anyone's contact information because it was all pulled automatically from the profiles of my friends and family on Facebook. All of their status updates and photos are surfaced in brilliant ways on both the Start screen and each person's page in the People hub. The Arrive also has an easy-to-use 5-megapixel camera (which can be activated even when the phone is asleep with a long press of the camera button) that allows me to quickly snap and post a picture to Facebook or share with people through email or text in a matter of seconds. Add in a great selection of games (Angry Birds, Plants vs Zombies, and Tentacles are my favorites right now) and growing selection of apps and you have a solid mobile platform.
And it will only get better with the upcoming "Mango" update, enabling built-in Twitter and LinkedIn integration, visual voicemail, battery saver technology, and (my favorite) an improved Music + Video hub with the ability to download podcasts and use "Smart DJ" playlists without the need to be connected to a desktop. Don't be afraid to buy a Windows Phone now, they're nothing like the clunky old Windows Mobile phones, and all current Windows Phones will be eligible for the update this fall.