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An Open and Honest Review of the HTC Arrive & Windows Phone 7

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TexasAggie97
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Cool An Open and Honest Review of the HTC Arrive & Windows Phone 7

To begin, I am/was a "fanboy" of Windows and Windows Mobile. My first "smartphone" was the Toshiba 2032 running Windows Mobile 5. My next phone was a PPC-6700 using Windows Mobile 5 and my last phone was the PPC-6800 using Windows Mobile 6.1. I honestly detest the iPhone and Mac computers and go out of my way to stay clear of those "popular" items. I'm not even a fan of the Android operating system. I played on it for a while and it seemed "meh" to me. What I was looking for was an "iPhone Killer" in the HTC Arrive with WP7. What I got was the iPhone/Kiddie Phone Light....

Perhaps I had grown too accustomed to the various customization options offered by previous versions of Windows on cell phones. Perhaps Windows Phone 7 has decided to no longer be a "businessman's phone." I understand that the market was for general consumers but to shift so far away from their original product, well that just sucks.

The Good

1. THE SPEED OF THE HTC ARRIVE AND WP7 IS EXCELLENT. Apps load quick and easy and without lag. I am impressed by how quickly my phone restarts once completely shut down. I measured the time it took the PPC-6800 to load the operating system in minutes where the Arrive load time is measured in seconds.

2. THE SMOOTHNESS OF THE SCREEN OPERATION AND WP7. Flicking my thumb, I can quickly scroll across to another page or scroll down a long list of applications installed on my phone. It also works well within applications and using internet explorer.

3. THE MAIN START SCREEN. I like the way almost any app can be pinned to the main start screen for quick and easy access.

4. PLENTY OF PROGRAM MEMORY. I remember how I had to shut down programs on my PPC-6800 in order to conserve memory, especially if I was using Opera 10 for browsing the internet. So far, I have not had any slow-downs or freezes due to have various programs open on my phone.

5. THE PHONE INTERFACE. I like the way the phone works in that the screen goes black when you are using the phone up to your ear so that your cheek, ear, whatever doesn't hit any buttons and when you pull the phone away, it recognizes this and gives you the options to end call or open the keypad.

6. CALLS ARE CRYSTAL CLEAR. So far, the calls have been great, but I've only used it in an office setting or in my vehicle. I have yet to visit a construction jobsite with heavy machinery moving around. I'll see how it works in that scenario soon enough.

7. THE SCREEN. Wow! I love the screen. HD Movies are clear, colors are vibrant, it seems the screen is one of the best features.

8. THE CAMERA. Some may disagree, but I think the camera on this phone is good. Not great, but good. It is good enough to take photos. The only change I would make would be for the camera to remember the previous settings and not default back to 5MP.


The Bad

1. HUGE CHANGE FROM WINDOWS MOBILE. I think the Microsoft Programmers were too influenced by the Apple iOS and Android to stay with what they originally had in terms of "Windows" operating system. The name of the operating system is "Windows" so just keep it with actual windows on the phone. They moved so far away from the standard windows operating system that it isn't even recognizable. Was Windows Mobile really that bad? I was able to be quite productive with WM, let's hope WP7 proves to be the same.

2. CUSTOM OPTIONS. The phone leaves little for customization in terms of giving the user options for color, background, theme or even the transfer of multimedia or files (see Ugly #1). It seems Microsoft has made the statement, "Do it OUR way or not at all!"

3. HARD KEY SENSITIVITY.. I can't count how many times my fingers have accidentally hit the "search, windows, or back" keys on the face of the phone while browsing, texting, or picking up the phone. I like having the keys there, but they are too sensitive to the touch!

4. PHONE VOLUME. The volume maxes out at the number "30" which seems fine for a quite office or home setting but at the gym, driving, outdoors, or at a jobsite, one should be able to crank it louder. I hope HTC or Microsoft can come out with some kind of fix or crack to allow for greater volume on this phone.

5. A KEYBOARD WITH A "SMILIES" BUTTON. Seriously? Is this a kid's phone or an adult's phone. I'm ok with smiley use, but to actually have a key that pops up options for various smilies? My 3 year old daughter uses this, not me. That should have been my first hint that this phone was made more for adolescent teenie-boppers and not a businessman.

6. FORCED INTEGRATION OF CONTACTS. The worst is from Face book directly into the phone. I know I can turn it off when looking at contacts, but why not give me the option to import them or not. There are people that are FB friends that I don't even speak to or haven't spoken to since High School. I should have just downloaded the FB app and skipped logging into the phone's built-in FB app which to me is worthless.

7. NO FOLDERS FOR APPS. At this time, I don't have an overabundance of apps for the phone, but as time goes by, I might have need for more. Why not have folders for apps or the option to place them in folders so that I don't have to scroll down through a long list. Sure, scrolling is quick, but with 100 apps (if possible) it could take a while.

8. PHONE TEMPERATURE. Remember when Dell's laptops would burn people's legs because they became so hot? Well, the HTC Arrive may not cause burns but it is the first smartphone I have experienced that actually radiates heat from the battery compartment. Maybe this is a heat exchange issue to allow the phone to cool off. Maybe it is a big problem to come.

9. BATTERY LIFE. I know many have complimented the battery life of the HTC Arrive but I have to state that it is not as good as it should be. I have to charge the phone at least once a day and it has actually shut down on me twice before I could charge it, whereas the old PPC-6800 gave me plenty of warning before shutting down. I am disappointed with the batter life and will need to purchase a spare for long trips where I can't stop to recharge the phone.


The Ugly

1. TRANSFER OF FILES. Honestly, why are we forced to use Zune to transfer files to WP7? I used a "hack" to allow me to open WP7 in my explorer but now what do I do? Do I just transfer files over? The files on the phone are not in the window so I have no idea where the files are going! And what about "syncing" Word and Excel documents? How do I do that without having to upload them to a skydrive??? I've already had problems trying to transfer a single photo from my computer to my phone. Let me choose how I want to transfer files. I'm not an idiot, I can work with computer hardware and software, I did it flawlessly on WM5 & WM6 but now it seems Microsoft doesn't trust me to do this on my own so I am forced to use Zune!

2. MS EXCHANGE SYNC ISSUES. I am not the only one that cannot sync my e-mail, calendar, or contacts with my Microsoft Exchange Server here at work. I've read numerous items on the net about these issues. I was hoping that a Microsoft Windows Phone 7 would work flawlessly with Microsoft Exchange Server. It used to be a piece of cake to use ActiveSync to establish a physical connection for the option to Sync this data. Why not bring back that option?

3. AUTOMATIC TILT. Honestly, why do I need to have my screen tilt automatically? I understand if I don't slide out the screen all the way I don't have to tilt it, but why not give me the option to tilt like the TP2? HTC really screwed up on this one. In order to type with my thumbs and view the screen in tilt mode, I have to bend my wrists forward to compensate for the angle. What is the reason for the tilt, anyway? The only reason I could come up with for the automatic tilt was to annoy HTC Arrive users so much that they would rather use the onscreen keyboard than to use the physical one. This way, HTC can stop making phones with a physical keyboard which costs more to manufacture in terms of parts and labor!

4. NO REMOVABLE MEMORY CARD. I know one can remove and replace it with skill (at least on the 7 Pro) and with voiding any warranty, but this was one of the WORST ideas yet! After painfully transferring multimedia with Zune and realizing I had to do a hard reset for another reason, I lost all the information that was on the card! At least with the PPC-6800 a hard reset just lost my phone settings and programs but not everything on the memory card!

5. FORCED TO USE ONLY ONE LIVE ACCOUNT. This sucks big time! If you enter a live account and need to change it to another one later (I get waaaay too much spam in my hotmail account - and have turned off syncing with it) one has to do a hard reset on the phone to return it to factory settings and delete everything, including what is on the internal memory card. See #4.

6. NO UPLOADING OF VIDEOS DIRECTLY FROM THE PHONE. Sure, I can upload photos I've taken with the camera but I have to transfer the video to my computer (through Zune, see #1) in order to upload it to Facebook? Honestly, quit treating us like children and let us work with what we know! Microsoft has added yet another barrier/step to a process that used to be so simple!

7. NO 4G, NO EASY ACCESS TO WIFI OPTIONS. I understand that "4G" is possibly on its way out, but why not have the phone have that option. I don't even know if I am getting 3G service with this phone! Also, the ONE thing I would have stolen from the Android OS is the ability to scroll to my left from the start screen and access my communication options, Airplane mode, WiFi, 3G, etc... Having to scroll down numerous apps to get to the phone communication settings is just plain idiotic.

If I were grading the phone I would give it a solid C+. No, I'm not returning it for an Android, I am too much of a Windows user to give this up. I'm not sure how much of a "fix" can be done with some of the issues so I guess I will have to wait for a new phone to come out next year. By comparison, when the HTC PPC-6800 came out, I graded that as a B+/A-.
 
supercain
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Thumbs down You said it.

Everything you said is correct. I'm with you. They need to fix all these issues.
I have the Arrive and its like they put us on lock down. They need to unlock this.
 
Leon_84
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I agree with your ideas and i...:

VERY, VERY, VERY UGLY
The phone doesn't have the confortable phonepad of wm6.5 that i could use to get the contact of everybody with some pression.
 
blanket
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agree with u on some, disagree on some
overall, i find this an upgrade over my touch pro, but although the execution leaves much to be desired, it's ms's fault, not htc's

u didn't mention a nice feature.
tried sliding out the keyboard when using IE in landscape mode vs using ie in landscape mode without the keyboard slid out?
 
plusboy
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Default ??????

so what's going on!!!
I really love to work with WM or WP .... but the new htc phones have android...
We can simply write program for WM with Visual Studio . and WM is so user friendly and programmable . I Really need a phone like Htc 7 Pro - but with this OS ....
my previous phones are : K-Jam and Touch Pro -- both of them have keyboard and good style and very very user friendly - Touch pro simply upgrade to WM 6.5 with good Roms Like : Tael Rom ..
maybe they force us to use android ??
 
PhilR8
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Sorry guys. You want endless customization and a huge developer/hacker community, Android is the current platform for that. Android has basically become exactly what WinMo is/was: does a lot, can endlessly modify anything and everything, but user experience is mostly poor.
 
jaqual
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As far as UI and the complete experience, the Arrive is really the best phone I've seen. It is smooth, intuitive, and just looks great. The style is really unique.

That being said, I will be trading for an Epic tomorrow. While I really like the overall experience on the Arrive, the M$ "branding" really limits it for now. I understand they are trying to get a baseline across all carriers/devices, and it is still an early OS, but this isn't really a "smart" phone as far as I'm concerned.

Coming from WinMo, this phone seems just as useful as an iPhone. No real customization options, no Mass Storage device, no way to even download a file from the internet. IE is not bad(or Cube) but there's not even any other browsers that aren't based on IE yet.

I know it's still early on, but I would rather go with a phone for now that lets me do what I want to do, or can be customized to do so. And can multitask. I have used my Touch Pro to fix people's computers, and can run a mostly functional(if battery eating) Android. I can't even change the Arrive's ringtone(although I do like 8-Bit).
 
PhilR8
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This is a great comment that I agree with 100%. If you want an experience that is very similar to what Windows Mobile used to be, Android is the platform for you. There is a huge developer/hacker community out there doing lots of awesome things for an unbelievable number of devices. If you could do it on WinMo, chances are you can duplicate it on Android and it'll be easier to do. So to the OP who doesn't want to go with Android because he's a Microsoft Fanboy - well, your loss.

Personally, I've recently discovered that I'm either no longer a power user, or never really was one. Sure, I tethered used BT PAN and then WMWiFiRouter on the 6700, Mogul, Touch Pro, and then a similar solution on the Evo. But I've since moved to where my smartphone is no longer my primary internet connection. Windows Phone 7 does most everything else that I used my WM/Android phones for. There are still some gaps - I miss multitasking and Google Maps from Android, and I miss... well, I can't really say I miss anything from my WinMo days. Those days were great to begin with, but when I got my Evo, I swore I'd never go back. And yet it only took ten months for my love affair with Android to sour and I was right back to where I was with WinMo - endlessly customizing my device and never being truly satisfied with the results. Basically it comes down to UI performance for me, and right now iOS and WP7 are untouchable. Android has become a laggy mess (this was especially evident last weekend, when my friend showed me his brand new Droid2 Global and it was chugging and stuttering right out of the box). WebOS could have been a contender but terrible hardware and a glacial pace for updates have spoiled any momentum it once had. Which is a damn shame, because I think I'd like a Pre3 just as much as I like my Arrive, but the Arrive is here now and I've already fallen in love with it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jaqual View Post
As far as UI and the complete experience, the Arrive is really the best phone I've seen. It is smooth, intuitive, and just looks great. The style is really unique.

That being said, I will be trading for an Epic tomorrow. While I really like the overall experience on the Arrive, the M$ "branding" really limits it for now. I understand they are trying to get a baseline across all carriers/devices, and it is still an early OS, but this isn't really a "smart" phone as far as I'm concerned.

Coming from WinMo, this phone seems just as useful as an iPhone. No real customization options, no Mass Storage device, no way to even download a file from the internet. IE is not bad(or Cube) but there's not even any other browsers that aren't based on IE yet.

I know it's still early on, but I would rather go with a phone for now that lets me do what I want to do, or can be customized to do so. And can multitask. I have used my Touch Pro to fix people's computers, and can run a mostly functional(if battery eating) Android. I can't even change the Arrive's ringtone(although I do like 8-Bit).
 
Cubfan99
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You know, guys... I don't think it was Microsoft's intention to create the ultimate hacker phone.
 
lokadero
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thanks for the review with the anger.

i knew ms can do it again just like they did on winmo6.5.
now i know for sure not to touch anything cellphone related from ms.

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htc arrive, windows phone, wp7
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