I have been using an iPhone 4 since a week after its release. Prior to that, I had an iPhone 3 GS. Before my iPhone phase, I had a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone after having a few different Windows Mobile phones before that.
I started an experiment during Christmas when I bought a Windows Phone 7 (WP7) for her. She has professed that she loves her phone. I really tried to leave her alone with it to see how intuitive it was to her vs. me, and I really didn’t have to do much support at all. I never had to help her setup her email, calendar, etc, and I remember how much pain I suffered back when she had a Blackberry. Since Christmas, I have played with her phone and done some limited testing of my own.
Two weeks ago, I decided that it was time to do some extended experimentation. I put my iPhone in its charger, and took a trip to the AT&T store to get a new SIM card for the Samsung Focus that I have had boxed and stored since Christmas. For the last two weeks, I have used the Focus.
Phone quality – I have to say that the Windows Phone 7 has better call quality. I have AT&T and have had no problems with dropped calls on either device, but the sound quality just seems to be much better on my Focus. I have to give the edge to the Focus. BTW, who really uses a phone to make phone calls anymore?
Camera – Umm, wow. The camera on the Focus is really nice and easy to use. The ability to change the way that the camera works, such as changing ISO speeds, makes it much more flexible, too. The quality is pretty fantastic. I have to give the edge to the WP7 here.
Applications/Games – This is the tough one as the WP7 hasn’t been on the market long enough to have the large number of apps that the iPhone has. I have to admit that there are many apps that I have on my iPhone that I wish were available for WP7, but I certainly see more development on the WP7 now then back when it was just released. Angry Birds is on the way, and that help me. Until then, I have to give the edge to the iPhone on this one. It is a pretty big edge, but it is getting smaller every day.
Memory – This is a double edged sword for the WP7 world. We have the ability to modify the memory, however, it requires a complete reset of the phone so that the phone can map the internal memory with the added memory, and it then treats it all as one memory pool. The iPhone certainly can’t do that, but it is a clumsy way to handle it in the WP7. I also like the flexibility that this process provides in that we can purchase the memory that we desire. The edge goes to WP7 on this one.
Email/Calendar – Both devices have ActiveSync built into them. However, I really would like to see a better experience from Microsoft when it comes to providing a richer experience and more options. For example, with my iPhone, once I delete an email, it can immediately open the next email and display it. In WP7, I have to click on the next message to open it up. There are no options to change the behavior. Edge to the iPhone here.
Contacts – BIG, HUGE, WONDERFUL difference here. In today’s world, I have many different ways that I contact people. I make calls, I send emails, I send text messages, I post to Facebook, I used Windows Live, and so on. As such, I have several different contact for people. When I sync them all up, I end up with 3 or 4 contacts listed for some people because they have accounts in the multiple different environments. In the contacts in WP7, I can link them all to one contact and choose the picture that I want to appear for them. Also, the People tile in WP7 allows me to easily search for and find my contacts as well as to see recent Facebook posts. This is a HUGE edge for the WP7.
Misc – There are several other things that I believe make a very big difference in comparing the two phones.
Charging cable – WP7 uses a standard micro USB, and does not require a special cable that costs a fortune.
Interface – I have to say that I absolutely love the WP7 interface. At first, I was not impressed, but after a couple of days, I really started to like it better. I love seeing everything on the home screen such as the emails that I haven’t read and the texts that are also waiting for attention. I also love the summary items that appear on the screen even when it is locked.
Zune vs. iTunes – Do I really have to say how much I hate iTunes? Zune is a huge improvement.
Search – The search button is amazing on the WP7. It is context aware and provides results based on where you are in the phone. I am very impressed with this feature.
Speech to Text – I found this completely by accident and am now hooked. It is really nice to use voice commands, and I am sure there going to be many apps in the future that leverage this capability. While it needs lots of work, I find it to be pretty impressive. Check out this demo, for example.
Really? You couldn’t tell which way I am going?