Recently, I decided to buy a new Smartphone as my previous Nokia E71 was beginning to get old and its battery began to slowly die out. Also, the fact that I recently moved to Guadalajara and wanted to get a mobile line with a local number was a perfect excuse to buy a new phone.
I considered most high-end phones on the market. My choices basically came down to the BlackBerry Torch, the Samsung Galaxy S, the Apple iPhone 4, the LG Optimus 7, the Motorola Atrix and an HTC Android device I can’t seem to recall the name of.
Out of these, I discarded the BlackBerry Torch because of the outdated hardware (In reality the only reason I was considering it was Blackberry Messenger), the Galaxy S (my initial choice due to that gorgeous AMOLED display) because it was $6000 pesos on a 24 month contract (which is completely ridiculous, especially considering the Galaxy S II had just been launched), the HTC device because it was on Iusacell which I’ve heard is not very good in Guadalajara (as opposed to Monterrey where I’ve heard excellent things about the service) and the Atrix because the MotoBlur interface that Motorola puts on top of Android is not very good.
It came down to the iPhone 4 and the Optimus 7. Ultimately, I decided to go with the Windows Phone 7 device, the LG Optimus 7 (E900) because of the very nice hardware, the decidedly beautiful Metro UI interface (more on this later) and the fact that Telcel (yes, I went with Telcel this time) had it on sale at the time at no cost with an 18 month contract as opposed to the 24 month contract plus approximately $1500 pesos they wanted for the iPhone (which is not much but you can’t beat “free”, also this is about the same price the Optimus 7 has when not on sale).
Now, on to the interesting part, what do I think of the phone 2 months after getting it? Well… it’s not perfect, but it’s very very good.
I’ll start off with the bad things, there is currently no real multitasking (but that will be fixed in the upcoming Mango update), there is no tethering option and, more importantly, there are not as many apps for it as there are for other ecosystems, notably, there is no WhatsApp or Skype application for it yet; however the platform is quickly catching up as several high-profile applications have been released since I got it.
Also, there are some issues specific to the Optimus 7 (and not WP7) the display on the iPhone is somewhat better than the one on it and the battery lasts about a day with some use, but that is the case with most modern high end smartphones. Also, the camera flash tends to white-out photos taken at a very close distance and the white balance on the camera could use some work.
Now, on to the good things, the Metro UI is simply gorgeous and it leads to innovative use in apps. The interface and the phone in general are extremely responsive, much more so than many Android phones with better hardware specs and about the same level as the iPhone. Also, most of the apps available are of very high quality and superior in my opinion to equivalent apps in other platforms.
Facebook and email based contact integration in the phone are handled very well (though it did mean that I had to clean up and merge my contact list). The Marketplace is also very good and I love the fact that most paid apps have a trial option before buying them and when you do, it is the same app, you don’t have to download separate “lite” and “full” versions.
I’ve also begun to dabble with the development tools for WP7 and I have to say they are top-notch (though I will comment more on this in a future blog post).
There are several other good and bad details to the platform but I think I’ve covered the major things.
Overall, I’m happy with my phone and, though there are still some improvements to be made, would definitely recommend WP7, especially with the upcoming Mango update.