|The images to left left are of the HTC 7 Mozart Windows Phone 7 now available from Telstra in Australia with $0 upfront on a 24 month $49 cap. Specs for the phone can be found here:
and details of the plan here:
I have have been using the phone for 3 days and and for the main part am very impressed, interface elements such as the screen and button layout are good and the build quality is solid. The large v shape area that makes up most of the rear of the phone is aluminium and wraps round the edges of the front. The top and bottom left corners of the back of the phone are plastic with the top left containing an 8mp camera, while the bottom can be removed to access the battery and sim card. The left side has volume buttons and a micro usb type b socket for charging, the right has a button for the camera and on top the headphone/microphone jack and main power button, all feel solid and responsive.
The new Windows Phone 7 interface is clean sharp, simple to configure and navigate, the screen itself is bright and sharp and can easily be read in daylight (note it does not have lines or look like the photo, thats just my poor skills 🙂 ). At the top level the interface has the new tiles which can be swiped up and down to shown more options. Each tile can be moved by pressing and holding briefly and then dragging the tile to the new desired location, the option to unpin also appears to remove the tile completely. Swiping from right to left takes you to a list of all installed options that can be scrolled up and down touching and holding an item on this screen give the option to pin it to the front tiles view.
The camera takes good quality pictures and the flash works well inside but can oversaturate at close range, video equally works well in the context of a phone. A nice feature is being able to activate the camera at any time by holding down the button on the right, instead of having to fumble through menus and miss that in the moment shot! After taking a photo it can quickly and simply be shared or uploaded as required.
The phone quality is good and clear, contacts can be simply imported from gmail/outlook/sim card/facebook in seconds and (relatively but not perfectly) combined to remove multiple entries. Once set up Facebook updates can be viewd with a couple of touches. SMS messages are simple to type with the on screen keyboard which seems precise but for some reason has the haptic vibrating feedback in some areas but not others. Predictive text is good and speeds entry without being intrusive and forcing selections, personally I would like to see Swype or SlideIT as an option having use SlideIT for a while it’s hard to lose it. Email is also simple to send, one gripe is that you end up with a tile for each account on the home page, I would have preferred a single tile to keep the numbers of tiles down.
The TelstraOne hub is actually well designed and useful it give quick access to the latest news, sport and weather. All of this is unmetered to Telstra customers so there are not issues with chewing through the limited data pack that comes with the cap plan. On the subject of the plans Telstra really need to revise the current options the 200Mb that comes with the plan really is not enough, when signing up I was give an bonus pack till the end of November doubling the allowance but I think a base of 500Mb as standard should be nearer the mark. The NextG data speeds are truly amazing browsign the marketplace and downloading applications takes only seconds.
The Marketplace is good has logically categories and purchasing and installing is very fast and works well. There are a good number of applications for launch and I am sure it will increase rapidly, there are a few things missing currently such as Skype and a business card reader along with some others. The games store has some good titles along with some really terrible ones, the XBox Live integration is good with achievements on phone games counting towards your live profile. It will be interesting to see if any games appear that have both a 360 and phone component.
On the downside I have had some issues connecting to the marketplace over wifi the connection was slow and some downloads failed, applications such as Facebook would also not connect but these issues only occurred over wifi and for the minute I am happy to put them down to teething issues. I would guess with wifi off and general usage the battery would last me a couple of days on a charge.
Overall I would recommend this phone to anyone looking for a new smartphone and it stands up well to the iPhone and Android phones. There is not reason to compare this to previous Microsoft OS phones as they are two completely different beasts. Is MS back in the phone game YES have they left it too late I don’t think so consumers are very fickle and if a new option looks more promising they will switch (except hardcore Apple fanboys but do they really count?). Anyway if you decide to buy on I don’t think you will be disappointed.