My First Impressions Of Windows Phone 7 And The HTC HD7

Today is big day for Microsoft as Windows Phone 7 is now available for purchase in the United States. Unlike Todd, I had to wait until today to be able to get my hands on a device to use Windows Phone 7. It is far too early to reach any conclusions as I believe one needs to use a new smartphone operating system for at least a month to have enough time to find all of the positives and negatives of a platform, however I thought I would share my first impressions of the device and the software.

Because we all use our phones differently, there will be different things that are important to each of us and therefore a collection of impressions from different people provides a better perspective on the device. Pictures are important to Todd, so one of the first things that he checked was the camera on the HD7, while accessing information is important to me, so my first focus has been on apps and overall use of the device.

I bought the HTC HD7 from T-Mobile for two reasons. First, I am a happy T-Mobile customer and the HD7 is the only phone that T-Mobile sells today running Windows Phone 7. Second, the HD7 has the largest screen of the T-Mobile phones and I have been curious to see whether or not I will find a 4.3 inch screen to be too big for daily use.

When I first took the phone out of the box I was surprised by its weight. Even though the battery was already installed, the HD7 is noticeably heavier than the Nexus One, and I don’t think the screen is the only thing that accounts for the additional weight. I’ve been carrying my Nexus One in a coat pocket or the front pocket of my pants, and I think the weight will definitely make the phone noticeable.

Initial set up of Windows Phone 7 is not as easy as I expected. I had already reviewed my Windows Live account so that it is connected to Facebook and Flickr and I expected that once I configured Windows Phone to use my Windows Live account all of that information would automatically load. What I found is that the contacts in my Windows Live account downloaded to the phone, but I had to add Facebook as an account on the phone in order to add my Facebook friends to the People hub. I still haven’t figured out how to get my Flickr photos into the Picture hub.

I am impressed with the keyboard on Windows Phone 7. It is doing a very good job of accurately identifying the words that I am typing and it might be doing a better job than Swiftkey. The 4.3 inch screen makes a big difference with typing and I can comfortably type with two thumbs in portrait on the HD7, which is something that I find difficult on the Nexus One.

My goal is to force myself to use the HD7 for all of my smartphone needs for the next four weeks. I am going to continue to carry the Nexus One most everywhere because it has apps, like Evernote, that just are not available for Windows Phone. My worry about the switch to Windows Phone is that I won’t be able to do all of the things that I am accustomed to doing on the Nexus One and find the switch to be too jarring. I will continue to post here on my experiences.