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  1. d.moss's Avatar
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       #1  
    I am in love with webOS. It is still my favorite OS. But, the love may be dwindling. While I love webOS, I am a Windows man. I've had a Zune, have a 360, and a Windows PC.

    So, I figured I'd try WP7 for 30 day's. I am at day 12 and here is my semi in-depth review of the HTC Arrive.


    Hardware

    HTC makes great hardware and the Arrive is no exception. It feels very solid and compact in the hand, and the brushed metal backing makes the device feel like its tough and has value.

    I didn't think that it would really matter, but the tilt of the screen when in "qwerty mode" is very nice and somehow makes the device feel professional. Its like a baby laptop. With that said, the hardware keyboard has some annoyances.
    For example, on my Pre, I can perform the operation of hitting the orange/grey key and then a key for whatever symbol I want in less than a second. In WP7 there's a slight delay when hitting the function or shift key. I find myself making punctuation and capitalization errors because I'm typing too fast. However, I assume this could possibly be fixed via software update. Other than that, the keyboard is very nice to type on.
    One more gripe and then I'll move on to software. I don't like the placement of the power button. This is an Arrive specific issue. It is placed right next to the tilt hinge and I find myself pressing down on the hinge often, or actually looking at my phone to find the button. Can you believe that!? I actually have to look at it! Obviously that was sarcasm, but it is an issue for me when coming from the Pre. I never have to look for my power button on my Pre. But I'm sure after prolonged usage, I'd get used to the placement on the Arrive.

    Software

    I feel like its June 2009 all over again. The OS is very slick and visually appealing, but there are many little things missing here and there. I will talk about the good, first.
    In my opinion, the OS is visually pleasing. It's minimalistic on the surface, but once you get inside of the Hubs, its very artsy and feature rich. Some of the Hubs backgrounds change automatically, and the Pictures Hub background can be changed manually or automatically. This creates a fresh experience every so often when visiting your different Hubs. It really makes you want to explore, or revisit those fun times you had, by effectively reminding you with pictures. I've grown to appreciate the minimal face value of home screen (and the live tiles) because I know what's underneath.
    I won't go into details about each Hub, but Hubs in WP7 are beautiful and are what make the Windows Phone unique. With future updates, they'll only get better by offering more content and features.

    One of the biggest features to me is multitasking. In blatant terms, its completely non-existent. Most of the apps go into somewhat of a save state when backed out of by hitting the home button. But, the only way to get back to an app, without completely relaunching, is by hitting the back button. Even after doing that, most apps don't resume instantly. You get a screen that lasts for 3 seconds or more that says "resuming." In fairness, multitasking is coming in a future update; and, there is a homebrew hack out there that eliminates the "resuming" process as well. But, coming from webOS, it gets tedious.

    Overall, WP7 feels good. It has nice animations, it's very smooth, and Hubs are visually pleasing. It is a unique experience, and I mean that in a good way. Solid.

    Apps

    If you follow technology, you know that the app number in the Marketplace is growing rapidly. With that said, a lot of them are junk. There are a handful of apps that cater to the WP7 Metro style well. And the ones that do are awesome. I give credit to the developers that didn't simply port there app, but conformed it to the metro style as well. It makes everything feel unified. I hope developers continue to design with Metro in mind as the app count rises. I'm, overall, satisfied with the performance of the stock apps and a few 3rd party apps.

    I am, however, disappointed with the official Twitter and Facebook apps. I'm disappointed with the Twitter app because its not a feature rich as Carbon for webOS. I purchased a Twitter app called moTweets and it has more features than the official app, but the interface is choppy too often; which takes away from WP7's overall smoothness.

    The Facebook app just annoys me. For some reason it won't recognize my deleted messages and notifications. I went to Facebook on my laptop and deleted all messages, deleted the app from my phone, restarted the phone, reinstalled the app, and it still says I have 13 unread messages and event reminders. I don't even know how this is possible.

    Internet Explorer on WP7 is sub-par. It's built well, but lacks flash and html5 support. Therefore, the Bing site doesn't look as good as it does on iPhone or Android, and the Facebook mobile site just doesn't work. It could use an update.

    Games

    The game offerings are solid. Not as many as the iPhone, but match the quality amount for both webOS and Android.

    Integration

    Microsoft obviously had integration in mind from the start. This is an area that WP7 does very well in, and that I believe it will soon excel in. Facebook, Windows Live, Google, and more can be integrated into the People Hub. Facebook integration is done well in that you don't have to sync all of your Facebook contacts. You have to option to sync only the Facebook friends that match the contacts in your phone. Twitter is soon to come.

    Many of the Music and Video apps integrate with the Zune Hub as well. This is nice because I don't have to search for iheartradio in my app listing, I can simply tap the Zune live tile on my home screen and begin listening to local radio. Also, the Pictures Hub can be synced with windows SkyDrive. And, oh, of course all of your pictures, videos, and music can be synced with the Zune software on your CPU, wired or wirelessly. And, XBOX Live integration is awesome. Nuff said.

    Things I Miss/Random Other Stuff

    I miss Just Type and Multi-tasking. Bing Maps is nice. Copy and Paste is pretty good, I don't use it much. Wish there was a Google Chat app or was integrated into messaging. Hardware keyboard light takes longer that I'd like for it to come on. Oh, having Microsoft Office on my phone is sweet. I typed this review in Word on my Arrive. Wish there were more theme choices. Love the lock screen. The Camera app is nice. I've taken some very good macro shots. Took the attached photo with my Arrive. There are many hidden features that are fun to find and nifty to use. That is all I can think of.

    Conclusion

    I can see Windows Phone being in the top 3 mobile OS' category (webOS, Windows, iOS) in about 3 years. Its a nice OS, and hey, its Microsoft. I'm currently on the fence. Here's my position. I'm 12 days into my 30 day return policy with Sprint. If another WP7 phone is announced for Sprint, that has a front facing camera (don't care about "4G" WiMax) and will be released before the Pre 3; I'm going with Windows Phone. It is a good OS that will only get better, and it makes sense in that I have a Windows based PC and an XBOX 360. Or I may not. Palm/HP has me in a situation that sucks. I would love a Pre 3 and Touchpad, but I would also love a Windows Phone and Tablet combo (whenever Windows redesigns their tablet UI). To me, it would make more sense to go all Windows. Paaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalm!
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  2. #2  
    Thanks for the review.

    Once Windows Phone gets its Fall update, and there are some more phones with 4G options....i'll take a serious look.
  3. d.moss's Avatar
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       #3  
    well.. i have an update.. and its not pretty.. apparently there is a well known, common issue with live tiles.. they will almost inevitably stop working due to a 15 live tile limit set by microsoft.. this results in what has been coined as "constipated push/pull notifications," i believe. the only way to fix this is to unlock your device and delete some registry keys, which is not a super easy process. i'm confident that i could do it, but i dont feel that it is worth my time.. its an interesting bug in that, in my experience, it cant even be resolved by factory resetting.. so, with microsoft's mango update not scheduled for release until "fall," i'm gonna go to sprint and see if getting a replacement will void my 30 return policy.. if not, i'll get another htc arrive and return it at the end of my 30 days.. if it does void my 30 days, i'll switch back to my pre until there is more news on the pre 3... sighs
  4. #4  
    Good review!
  5. #5  
    Appreciate the review. I personally only want a phone with a virtual kb or a fixed portrait kb. I never like a fixed landscape kb so if Pre 3 isn't on Sprint and there's a WP7 with portrait kb, I'll go WP7.
  6. #6  
    Can you run older WM apps on the Arrive?
  7. d.moss's Avatar
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       #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by berdinkerdickle View Post
    Can you run older WM apps on the Arrive?
    not sure.. as of now, apps cant even be side loaded unless the device is developer unlocked.. $99 bucks to gain dev access and unlock privileges... or go the chevron ("illegal") path..
  8. #8  
    Nothing illegal about he chevron path same as nothing is illegal about rooting your phone or jailbreaking your phone.

    EDIT: Of course the next steps you take can fall in the illegal realm.
  9. d.moss's Avatar
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       #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by Brain Mantis View Post
    Nothing illegal about he chevron path same as nothing is illegal about rooting your phone or jailbreaking your phone.

    EDIT: Of course the next steps you take can fall in the illegal realm.
    instead of illegal, i should have said "microsoft frowns upon it." as opposed to google and hp who somewhat embrace the "hacking" community
  10. #10  
    Yeah i was just being difficult...but Microsoft has actually had meetings with the Chevron team i guess to come to a mutual benefit type deal.
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by d.moss View Post
    instead of illegal, i should have said "microsoft frowns upon it." as opposed to google and hp who somewhat embrace the "hacking" community

    Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.



    Microsoft actually hired the chevron team to be the official homebrew HQ. Is HP paying the folks around here to hack? No.
  12. #12  
    I don't want to be splitting hairs here, but if Microsoft hired them, they're no longer homebrew hackers, they're Microsoft employees - no matter what they were before that.

    HP have supported webOS Internals by donating a new server (and yes, HP have in fact hired a few webOS developers... the guy who wrote NANplayer comes to mind).
  13. #13  
    I have to say, the lack of multitasking is a set back. Not being able to listen to a radio station (like Last.FM) while surfing the web is madness to me. However, Mango update will be fixing this and since there is no customization on WP7 the only thing that could slow down me getting that update is Sprint. But I will actually get it -- unlike some Android phones, it takes a while depending on the OEM/Carrier.

    But I have to say, with all the great stuff on my phone, I can't say this is a deal breaker for me (the lack of multitasking). Especially since it's being fixed in the fall.

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