Over the last few years Smart phones have become the must have mobile device for millions of people. The the growth in the Smart phone market the devices available to chose from have grown as well. The first smart phones were mainly targeted towards business users and had very little value to an average consumer.
The Apple iPhone was the first Smart phone made for the average person. It was easy to use and just worked. The major downside was that the iPhone had little to no customization. That posed a issue since many wanted their phone to be unique and genuine to their own personality. This opened up a bright new world for the competition and within a year the smart phone really took on a new life.
The Android operating system on the other hand provided users with the freedom and customization they were lacking on the iPhone. This freedom did come at a cost. Every company that makes an Android powered Smart phone makes it they way they want to. This results in Smart phones from different companies that both use Android that have completely different features and functionality.
When Microsoft started development of Windows Phone 7, they did so with the purpose to build a phone that was easy to use yet powerful. A phone that provided simple user controls yet user customization options. As you can imagine this made this devise very popular in the modern world and even in our home.
Over the last month I have been using the Samsung Focus running Windows Phone 7 operating system. I have previously owned and used iPhone, Blackberry, and Android devices before this and have to admit I was very impressed with the look, feel and functionality of Windows Phone 7 OS.
The first thing you will noticed is the home screen setup. Windows Phone 7 uses tiles that you set on your main screen that provide you quick access to programs you use most often. These tiles also provide you with live information on the tile. For example the messages tile will show you a count of unread messages. Other tiles such as People will randomly shuffle through your contact icons.
Contacts are handled by the People application. Windows Phone 7 does an excellent job at contact handling. You can easily import contacts from email accounts like Hotmail and Gmail or social sites like Facebook. Windows Phone 7 also makes linking contacts between accounts a breeze. I was able to link all my contacts between several accounts together in just a few minutes compared to about 20 minutes on an Android device. I also liked the ability to add a contact to my home screen and have quick access to call, email or text from the main screen.
The web browser on the Windows Phone 7 is fast and very user friendly. I was very impressed with the performance of the browser on different websites. I saw no issues in accessing sites and found the browser to wonderful to use.
The Camera app on Windows Phone 7 is by far the nicest one I have ever seen. Picture quality is superb, with easy to use and understand controls. The feature I found most useful within the camera app was the ability swipe over into stream of pictures I have just taken and just swipe right back to the camera. There was no leaving the camera and going into the gallery to see how the picture turned out then going back into the camera app. On Windows Phone 7 this process was smooth, streamlined, and made it easy to take pictures review them and go back to taking pictures very quickly.
The Xbox Live games on the phone provides a central hub in finding and downloading games. Every game I wanted to try I was able to download a demo and play it first before buying. Overall the games available for download are numerous and of great quality. I found the games to offer great graphics even for the simplest games. I also found a large selection of kid friendly games that my 4,5 and 6 year old kids could play and have fun with. While they had the phone in there hands they quickly figured out how to play different games and navigate the Windows Phone 7 interface with no issues.
Windows Phone 7 also provides excellent support for Office programs. This makes it easy to view and edit word, excel and power point files right on your phone. There is no need to same a special version of the file. The Office app handles the same file format as the desktop version. I found opening excel and word documents to be quick and easy to navigate. This is a feature that anyone who uses Microsoft Office will come to appreciate quickly.
As a parent I found the Samsung Focus to be very useful. The applications are easy for even our 5 year old to sort though, start and play. Here are a few of what we are currently using (see below). They offer a large selection of education games, reading tools and just plain ole’ fun to have ones to.
- Animal Kingdom – Teaches the names and sounds of animals in different languages with flashcards.
- English Grammar – Includes chapters on grammar and writing, focus on commas, adjectives and adverbs.
- Flash Cards for Kids – Flash Cards that display the alphabet A to Z. Also displays the numbers (one through twenty), colors, shapes, planets and mini-games.
- Flash Cardz! Alfabeto – Now you can learn your Spanish A,B, C’s the fun and easy way. With pictures and sounds!
- Giggle Pad (our 18m son’s favorite) – Fun and educational game for children ages 9 months and older. It includes two modes. The first mode, called “Play Phone”, is a pretend phone that speaks. Numbers, voices and songs play when you or your child press the pretend keys and call button. The second mode, called “Tap Shapes”, shows random shapes, letters, and numbers when you touch the screen or press a key on your phone’s keyboard. All letters, number, colors and shapes are spoken out loud.
- Kindle – Users have access to more than 750,000 books with this app.
- Slurpy the Fog – An activity book for preschool aged children designed to help your child learn shapes, colors, sizes, relationships and facts about the world.
Overall Microsoft has made a smart phone operating system that is extremely fast, user friendly and just nice to look at. Windows Phone 7 provides a user interface that will be easy to use regardless of the phone manufacturer. While at the same time giving you the ability to customize it to fit your needs. For anyone in the market for a new smart phone a Windows Phone 7 would be a great choice for any-one’s needs. It has great applications for a business person while having the games and apps that a causal user would love. I have really enjoyed this phone and look forward to new Windows Phone 7 releases in the future.
BUY IT: You can purchase the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Samsung Focus from AT&T for $49.99 with a 2 year agreement or grab it from Amazonwireless.com as well.
Written by: Daddy D, co-owner of motherhooddefined.com
Disclosure: I received a sample for the purpose of review. My opinions are my own. Please view our disclosure policy if you have any questions.