Reviews

18

Review: Samsung Focus

One of the more anticipated Windows Phone 7 releases was the Samsung Focus. The black slab phone gained appeal with its 4" super-AMOLED screen and thin form factor making it one of the more anticipated Windows Phone 7 releases.

The tell of the tape has the Focus measuring in at 4.8" tall x 2.5" wide x .4" thick and weighing a meager 3.88 ounces. The Focus sports a glossy black and gray finish with chrome accents. It feels solid in the hand with just enough curves to eliminate a boxy feel.

Join us after the break for more on the Samsung Focus.

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Software Review: Yelp!

Yelp! is a free application being offered over a the Marketplace for Windows Phone 7. Yelp! is a search engine that locates business that are close to your current location.

Searches are done from the various category tiles or you can narrow down things by using the search field. In using the search fields, you can also search different locations.

You can pull up detailed information about each business that includes contact information (phone number, web site, address) and reviews generated through Yelp's main website.

Locations can be displayed on a BING map as well as travel directions. The only thing missing is a "home" button to send you back to Yelp's main page. As is, the app is very dependent on the back arrow.

Yelp! (link opens your Zune browser) is a stable application for your Windows Phone that can come in handy when your traveling or simply looking for a new place to eat.

Check Yelp out in action after the break.

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Review: Windows Phone 7 Pictures Hub

Windows Phone 7 makes it easier to capture and share photographs taken with your Windows Phone. While the hardware on the various Windows Phones may vary, the software driving the camera and managing your pictures will be the same from one Windows Phone to another.

I like the consistency Windows Phone 7 and the Pictures hub presents. You can go from the Samsung Focus to the HTC Surround without having to learn proprietary software. The Pictures Hub lays everything out in a straightforward manner and gives you the ability to share images with ease.

While we've already taken a look at Windows Phone 7, now we turn our sights on the Pictures Hub of the OS. Follow the break to see how in focus the hub is.

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Review: HTC Surround's Camera

We briefly mentioned the HTC Surround's camera in the full review of the phone.  More times than not, we cover the Windows Phone camera in a seperate review detailing the software and performance. 

I am so accustomed to cameras on Windows Phones being driven by manufacturer software that I overlooked the fact that Windows Phone 7 drives the camera regardless of the manufacturer. Each model may have unique hardware or capabilities (e.g. 5mp vs. 8mp camera, high definition video recording, etc.) but the software is the same.

Having said that, we are covering the particulars of the camera software in our review of the Pictures Hub. After the break, we'll review the Surround's camera with respect to image quality and overall performance.  We've also thrown in some sample images and videos to help illustrate the camera's performance.

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One great way to make the most of your Windows Phone is to keep track of the weather. Weatherbug has been a staple application for me on Windows Mobile and has made the transition to Windows Phone 7.  

Weatherbug on Windows Phone 7 looks really good and takes full advantage of the Hub layout by offering a lot of weather information on the side-swipable pages. Throw in the live tile and you can stay up to date with the temperature and forecast for the day at a glance.

Weatherbug pulls information from thousands of global weather stations and when first installed Weatherbug, you will be asked to set your location.  You can do this by either accepting the location determined by your Windows Phone aGPS or manually enter a location.  At anytime you need to edit or add locations, just tap on your location name that appears on the main page.

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HTC Mozart Hands-On [Video]

The HTC Mozart may not be coming to the US and honestly, that's a little sad. It's a well-designed, solid, capable, fast Windows Phone 7 device. The aluminum unibody design is not only quite fetching, but it adds a some strength and toughness. While the HTC Surround is nothing to sniff at, the extra thickness for that slide-out speaker seems like a poor choice compared to the elegance on display here. In all it looks to have a higher-quality feel than the Focus, the "black slab" from Samsung that is coming to the states.

The 480x800 WVGA screen sits under 3.7 inches of glass and looks pretty darn sharp. More impressive is the 8 megapixel camera with auto focus sitting next to a Xenon flash, capable of recording 720p video. We'll need to give it a full go-round, but our initial impression is that HTC could have stood to do a little more tweaking to the camera software to improve the shots we've tried.

It's all powered by a 1300 mAh battery and weights 4.6 ounces, with a thickness of .47". We'll bring you a full review soon, but in the meantime check out a quick video hands-on after the break along with a few more photos.

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Review: Windows Phone 7

About 24 months ago, Microsoft began to re-build it's mobile operating system and while there may be signs of Windows Mobile under the hood, you can barely see any resemblance from the working end of Windows Phone 7. With Windows Phone 7, you need to forget everything you know about Windows Phones.

After using Windows Phones based on Windows Mobile for years, it's tough to let go of the old while learning the new. For those familiar with Windows Mobile, I'm inclined to describe Windows Phone 7 as a peppier, streamlined version of Windows Mobile Standard. The OS is straight forward with minimal settings to tweak. It's a very fast OS and while there is a lot to Windows Phone 7, it doesn't take long to learn your way around it.

I've spent several days using the new mobile OS and ease on past the break to read my observations on Windows Phone 7.

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Review: HTC Surround from AT&T

The HTC Surround is right around the corner from hitting the shelves at AT&T and we were able to spend some time with the new Windows Phone over the past few days. The HTC Surround lives up to HTC's reputation for quality phones. It's not without shortcomings but overall, the Surround is a nice addition to the Windows Phone family.

The tell of the tape has the HTC Surround measuring 4.71" x 2.42" x .51" and weighs 5.82 ounces. The Surround was thinner than expected but after using the HTC Tilt2 for the past year, most phones would come across thinner than expected. The 3.8" WVGA screen may not be as large as the HD7's 4.3" big screen but it has plenty of real estate.

Follow the break to read more of our review on the HTC Surround...

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Review: Motorola Oasis Bluetooth Headset

Two areas that really separate high end headsets from the pretenders are comfort and noise cancellation. If you think of some of the contenders in this market segment (Jawbone, Plantronics Voyager Pro, Motorola HX1) pretty much all of them are designed from the ground up to be comfortable, while noise cancellation is analogous to the engine on a shiny new sports car; you don’t see it at first glance, but that’s really the core of the product.

One of the latest Bluetooth Headsets to enter the ring is Motorola’s recently announced Oasis headset. The physical design of the Oasis is fairly close to the Voyager Pro, which is one of my all time favorite headsets. The full review is after the break.

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Review: HTC S280 Side Case

The S280 Side Case from HTC is being offered over at the WMExperts.com Accessory Store for $19.95. The unique design makes the case stand out amongst the other side cases the Store offers.

The S280 is cut to fit a wide range of HTC devices including the Tilt2/Touch Pro 2, Imagio, Snap, Pure and any other similarly sized Windows Phones. Curious how design meets functionality, we took the S280 out for a test drive with the AT&T Tilt2.

Ease on past the break to see what type of impression this HTC Case left with us.

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Review: SureCop

SureCop was recently released by 42Gears Mobility and is a security application for your Windows Phone that allows you to activate security features remotely via SMS messaging.

SureCop will allow you to locate your Windows Phone, lock your Windows Phone, wipe your data clean, remote callback, remotely alarm, and recieve notification is the SIM card is changed.

We took SureCop out for a test drive recently and just follow the break to see how it measured up.

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Review: Samsung Hartmann Luxury Leather Case

While Samsung has built a reputation for quality electronics, they also offer some decent cases for your Windows Phones. The Hartmann Luxury Leather Case is a quality built, uniquely designed case for the Samsung Jack. It will also accommodate the Sprint Snap and Verizon Ozone.

What sets the Hartmann case apart from others is that lack of a case flap. It's more of a horizontal pouch than case. I have reservations about how secure the Samsung Jack would ride in the case.

Ease on past the break to see how well the Samsung Hartmann Luxury Leather Case measured up.

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Review: AddressBookOne

Now that AddressBookOne has launched, giving users the ability to pool together contacts from multiple sources to make management of contacts easier, we decided to take it out for a test drive. We found it to be an interesting service with room for improvement. However, Toffa International Limited, developers of AddressBookOne, have built a nice foundation.

Follow the break for more on AddressBookOne.

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