Impressions of Windows Phone 7 vs. iPhone

2011 February 6
by Nick Lamb

To keep the arguing to a minimum before I start.  I like the iPhone and I had a 3G and a 3Gs for the past few years.  That being said, I thought it was time for a change, something fresh and new.  I’m a microsoftie at heart.  I’ve worked in the Microsoft development ecosystem for a long time now and love Visual Studio and all the developer tools.  So why wouldn’t I try Windows Phone 7 and even tinker with building some apps for it.   C#/Silverlight has got to be better than the monstrosity that is Objective-C, right?  I got the Samsung Focus so that’s what my opinions of the hardware are based on.

The Good

  • Software Keyboard
    • Windows Phone 7′s keyboard blows iOS’s out of the water.  It’s just more intuitive and useful and I find myself hitting the right keys more of the time.
    • Spell checking and suggestions are great.  Once you get used to the suggestions they’ll save you a lot of key presses instead of typing out the whole word.  One in particular is that I end up typing  the word “we’re” a lot and on iOS you have to type the “we”, switch to the punctuation find the apostrophe and then switch back and type “re” and lets face it, that’s a lot of work.  On WP7 you can type “were” and it gives the suggestion for “we’re” to replace it.  It’s not a big time savings for just that word but when you’re able to do that for longer words it ends up being very useful.
  • Text Messaging
    • Thankfully there’s a character counter that kicks in when you’re over 130 characters to let you know when you’re close to the 160 character SMS limit.  No more sending multi-part texts where the second part arrives before the first.
  • The Back Button
    • This actually took a long time to get used to coming from an iPhone.  I had to re-map how my brain thought about navigating the phone, but once I did I don’t know if I could go back to hunting for a different type of back button in every app like most of the ones on iOS.
  • Live Tiles/Lock Screen
    • Having information that gets bubbled up to the homescreen and the lock screen is really refreshing compared to having to dig into each app like you do in iOS.  Appointments get shown on the lock screen too.
  • Facebook Integration
    • This may not be for everyone but if you like facebook it’s great to have the deep integration so you don’t always have to open an app.  With one click from the home screen you can see what’s new with all your contacts since their facebook info is automatically retrieved.

The Bad

  • My biggest complaint isn’t with Windows Phone 7 itself, but the capacitive buttons on the Samsung Focus.  There’s no separation between the edge of the screen and the back, home and search buttons which can lead to a lot of frustration.  Especially when games have their onscreen controls near the capacitive buttons.  There have been many times when I was playing a game only to accidentally move my finger too far and the back or home buttons were triggered.
  • Apps.  The Windows Phone 7 marketplace is just like the iPhone app store back in the beginning, a few good quality apps and a ton of terrible fart-style apps.
  • Loading times some of the third party apps take forever to load, lets hope they can fix that.
  • No visual voicemail.  I didn’t know how nice visual voicemail was until I switched since I never got many voicemails, but once you have to go back and use the automated system, it sucks.

Hopefully Microsoft can fix some of the problems and get updates out in a timely manner.  For the time being I’m satisfied, especially since the wife has an iPhone 4, so I can play angry birds whenever I want.

  • Ryan

    #import

    int main(void)
    {
    Magical *objeciveC = [Magical new];
    [objectiveC status:1]

    if( [objectiveC status] == 1 )
    {
    printf(“Objective C is the best language EVAR!\n”);
    }

    return 0;
    }