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  1. cracgor's Avatar
    I remembered writing a long Windows Phone review back when I first left Android. I realize in retrospect I got some of the information wrong (like Microsoft was not really able to push updates past Verizon), but it is kind of interesting to see what got me to switch and how things have changed. Please forgive the long nature of this review of an HTC Trophy in January 2012:

    I have been looking at a Windows Phones for awhile, looking for a change from a couple minor headaches trying to keep things updated on my Android phone. I had an HTC Incredible before and for the most part the specifications are comparable. I think the only glaringly obvious difference is the 5MP camera versus the 8MP camera, but I think the sensor in the Trophy is better, because it takes better appearing pictures when viewed on my computer (If my understanding is correct a 1080p monitor or television is only capable of displaying a 2MP photo at full screen anyway).

    I chose to get this phone because I didn't feel like waiting for Verizon to get an upgrade in there WP7 line sometime next year and it has all the things I need in a phone and is the perfect size for me. I'm not interested in the giant phones available these days...I don't really use my phone to watch too many movies. I also am not interested in video chatting, so I didn't care there was no front facing camera.

    At first glance it is a little sturdier feeling in my hand than the old phone. It has 16GB of memory to store files on the phone and can sync to a Windows Live SkyDrive with 25GB of online files. The phone has familiar buttons to people on Android devices (Power, Volume, Search, Home, Back). It doesn't have a menu key, using an onscreen menu tab that is unobstrusive instead. This also offers the option to have onscreen shortcuts to commonly used menu items like save or cancel. The phone also has a dedicated camera button on the side that has the feel of a real camera's button. With it you can access the camera from sleep without putting your password in. This is great because I use my phone as my main camera most of the time, because it is convenient. The camera itself takes nice photos, that I think look better than some of the higher MP cameras and even has a Macro function that is pretty effective.

    The "back" key goes back fine. It functions as the running program switcher too, and does a much more effective job than Android. It shows you thumbnails of the open screens instead of just icons. It keeps all open programs open too, not just the last 6 or 8. Finally, it seems to actually run the programs in the background. Android could for some programs, but I often lost the position I was on when I would switch between programs for most.

    The search button takes you to Bing with a built in location searcher, picture (from your camera) search, and music (like shazam) search.

    The windows key is the "start" button and takes you to the home page. Holding down the windows key opens the speech recognition software "tellme" which lets you search, open programs, send messages, and make calls. It works pretty well in my hands after some minor mess ups earlier on. It still has some problems with ambient noise in my car, but that is because my car makes a lot of wind noise. It does pretty well when music is in the background or tv at home. It doesn't have the entertainment value of siri, although there is a cheap/free program that is kind of similar called AskZiggy.

    The volume controls the media and ringer volume together and call volumes separately. You can add your own custom ringtones by adding an MP3 with the genre "Ringtone" provided the MP3 is less than 40 seconds. It doesn't have a built in trimmer yet, but you can trim ringtones for free with something like a program like Audacity on your computer. The volume button also brings up your playing media in a shorcut that lets you open the music program, pause, or change tracks. The music controls are also available on the locked screen.

    WP7 is interestingly the only different operating system out there. Microsoft is running its "people first" campaign, and that is what the phone is probably strongest at. It syncs your contacts from hotmail, gmail, twitter, and facebook. I switched email accounts to a hotmail account because it is more user friendly than gmail and I was already using the SkyDrive on WindowsLive to actively sync files between my computers. Anyway, putting people first means the phone is centered on communicating between people with all of your messages in one place, although you can send through multiple formats, email in one place, and a contact list that I don't have to worry about losing because it is stored on my hotmail account.

    In contrast iPhone and Android are application centered. Really they are just a tool to put the applications on, which is why they are designed mostly with application icons (although you can put widgets on there too). WP7 does have applications, and they are building their library. They have most stuff you would want, but you will of course run into a couple things that aren't there yet...for me that was Epocrates. But I have confidence they will arrive. I remember a lot of stuff that I had to wait for on the Android too...for example Epocrates, Netflix, etc.

    The locked screen is likely the first thing you view. It uses a number combination which is a blessing. No one ever knows how to open my Android phone without a 20 minute explanation. So it makes things a lot easier.

    Once it unlocks you have your home screen. It is arranged in uniform tiles. Some of them will update with number of voicemails or emails. Others will flip through pictures, like your people tile and pictures tile. Then some like whether will update the weather. It takes some getting used to, but after about 3 days, I prefer this layout to the Android OS. I think the tiles and fonts, which remind me of the Zunes, allow the OS to have a more seemless set of animations transitioning between things.

    The typing experience takes a little getting used to because some of the shortcuts I'm used to are different. For example, if you want a shortcut to the exclamation point on Android it is sitting over one of the letters, so you press and hold that letter and the option comes up. On WP7, you either press and hold period and the option comes up or press the symbol key and slide to the exclamation point without lifting up. Not better or worse, just different.

    Selecting text is easy enough too. Maybe easier than Android. I was used to having a track ball on the Incredible to move the cursor when trying to get one letter. Most phones don't have that, and I think you have to kind of just try and tap until you get it right. On WP7 you hold your finger on the text and it will turn to a selecting cursor that you put exactly where you want. It is much easier.

    So far the things I do most on the phone:

    Calls: Works perfectly. As does voice control to call.

    Messaging: Better than Android. It has the option to read your voicemails to you with voice controls. You can set it to specifically do it on bluetooth, headsets, or all the time. Nice when not holding onto your phone.

    Email: The standard email lets you link to your online email accounts. I love it. Looks a lot better than any of the email programs I used on Android (gmail, HTC, or NitroDesk). Also, it has Outlook, which lets you get onto Microsoft Exchange Servers if you work somewhere that employs these. I do but have to wait for a week or two for them to get it setup...had to before also.

    Calendar: It syncs perfectly to my Hotmail Calendar. I like the format of the calendar too. Stylistic and easy enough to read in the daily or agenda views. Also, it seems to incorporate the To-Do list better than my old phone's calendar.

    Internet Explorer: I have run into absolutely no problems. I actually ended up switching to Bing on my computer from Google because I liked the splash page images.

    Me: There is a tile that lets you update things about yourself on any social services that you want.

    WordPress: I blog some. The application on WP7 is easier to use and prettier than the last one I used on Android.

    SkyDrive: This is one of the two big reasons I wanted a WP7. It works great. Only caveat is you can't active sync to the phone with your computer folder. But you can put whatever files you want on the SkyDrive and access them from anywhere, including your phone. You can even autoload photos you take onto your SkyDrive, which I like, because that is where I backup all my photos anyway, and I don't have to plug my phone into my computer to transfer photos anymore.

    Music + Videos: I like the player, it works, it is pretty, and I can use my ZunePass to download or stream probably 80% of music that exists for less than $10 a month. The live tile updates with your latest played artist. I kind of wish the Zune Marketplace was separated from the App Marketplace better, but I really haven't had an issue yet.

    Pictures: The picture live tile and menu photos update randomly from your taken pictures. Looks great. You can turn that off if you have pictures you don't want people to see. I like the camera, and feel like it was an upgrade from my previous one. The colors look more right, and it has better stabalization.

    Maps (and Directions): It uses Bing maps. Instead of telling you turn by turn like google maps it works like this: It makes an unobtrusive tone, you tap the screen and it tells you what the next direction is, when you reach the next turn it makes the tone again to indicate you are following the directions and a new one is available. At first I did not like it, and bing maps is not perfect. It does have some benefits. 1) The robotic voice is less robotic and the tone is not annoying. 2) You can tap the screen anytime and hear the directions again, for example, when you forget what the thing told you--which means you don't have to try and read it. It does have downsides, mostly that you have to pay attention to where your driving more because it won't tell you your next turn is approaching. Other minor downsides to me and my driving are that you can't avoid tolls in settings, search for tolls, and I ran into one instance where the direction was slightly wrong.

    Insider: When you get a WP7 this is helpful. I didn't get it at first, but it is a program Microsoft publishes that gives you tips on using the system (in addition to the demo info that comes preinstalled), 5 free ringtones every month, and free Bing wallpapers if you choose.

    Weather: I installed the Weather Channel application and like it. It has a live tile that shows radar and temperature/forecast.

    Microsoft Office: It is much faster than trying to use google documents. Plus it includes One Note which is helpful for note taking.

    Other things: Battery life is pretty good. I unplugged it this morning at 6am and it is still at 47% with a pretty moderate amount of use including about 20 minutes of GPS use today. It says I have 7 hours left on the battery. It is better at conserving the GPS automatically. In fact, it manages the GPS for you (something my Android phone did not). The phone plugs into a miniUSB (the smallest of the USB connections I know about) which is the same as most Android devices, so it works on my car charger (I didn't use it today with the GPS). You can set it to sync wirelessly with your Zune account when on your home network when the phone is plugged in. It comes with Xbox live (I don't have an Xbox). It has more Ringtones available than any phone I've ever used. You can find your phone automatically from the Windows Phone website if you lose it. You can also make it ring from there (in case it is in a couch cushion or something). It is 3G. I don't live anywhere near "4G." Microsoft provides all of the updates, so I don't have to wait on Verizon to decide to update my phone.

    I am very happy with the phone. The things I would like to see improved:
    1) Allow Zune Channels to sync to the phone
    2) Add better GPS functionality mostly for the turn by turn function
    3) Add LiveMesh to actively sync with my home computer.

    Very happy. I would purchase another Windows Phone.

    Update:
    For other medical professionals wanting a drug reference, it finally has two options-and one is a free app. Both are free. The first is to use the Medscape mobile website and pin a link to the home screen. It is very phone friendly and fast. The second is in the Marketplace. The application is called Monthly Prescribing Reference (MPR) and works fantastically.

    It is hard to remember how things were different even 4 years ago. Back then I was just waiting on the Mango update and the ability to copy and paste. The thing that is funny is back then I thought some of my more common apps (Wordpress) were better on Windows Phone. Sadly, I don't think it was ever really updated because I don't think it is much different than it was then.

    Also, the things I liked most are almost all phased out: People Hub, Me Icon, Zune, and Skydrive (now Onedrive with 20GB less storage space than it used to have). There were a lot of innovations too which were not commonplace at the time: Find Your Phone, TellMe, good GPS management for the battery, Picture backup, Usable email (although my work wouldn't support windows phone on their mail client in the end), and the ability to read text messages on a headset.

    Reading this at that time makes me realize how small the jump seemed from one OS to another. Anyway, this is not about what OS is better, more just nostalgia for Windows Phone and what I wish Windows Mobile could have become.
    04-26-2016 02:28 PM
  2. leonelfunes32's Avatar
    Talk about a throwback. I remember those days when I saved up for an HTC Surround (who remembers those slide out speakers?) - but got a Galaxy S2 E4GT instead, since it was the biggest phone at the time with 4.5 inches!

    Good read
    04-26-2016 04:01 PM
  3. cracgor's Avatar
    Talk about a throwback. I remember those days when I saved up for an HTC Surround (who remembers those slide out speakers?) - but got a Galaxy S2 E4GT instead, since it was the biggest phone at the time with 4.5 inches!

    Good read
    I remember the Surround! I used to be such a huge HTC fan. After I got a Trophy, I talked (edit: "my wife into getting a") Titan. I completely forgot about the Incredible's touch button to move the mouse. I kind of wish I hadn't gotten rid of my Trophy...it still worked, but I had a stack of old phones laying around for a long time.
    Last edited by cracgor; 05-07-2016 at 07:43 PM.
    leonelfunes32 likes this.
    04-26-2016 05:11 PM
  4. jefbeard911's Avatar
    My old Nokia Lumia 900 was the best phone I've ever owned.
    05-07-2016 09:45 AM

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