This past Friday, I headed out to T-Mobile to grab the HTC HD7 if they would sell me one. T-Mobile wouldn’t sell and I ended up playing with the myTouch 4G instead. I headed back to work and called around. I found a store willing to sell me an HD7 a few days early. I packed up and headed out to buy the HD7. I arrived at the store and decided to just pay full cash so I could get out the door before they changed their mind. Since Radio Shack was on my way back to the office, I wanted to check out that myTouch 4G again. I also needed a T-Mobile account since I have been an AT&T customer for more than 10 years. I ended up grabbing the myTouch 4G too and I signed up for T-mobile. I even ported my number over. I now own three of the hottest GSM devices on the market and I am not sure which one will win out as my daily driver. I have the HTC HD7, the myTouch 4G, and the iPhone 4G, but it’s down to two since I have already eliminated the iPhone 4 from the game.
This choice comes down to two factors, hardware and software.
Both the HD7 and the myTouch 4G are made by HTC. They are both well built and sport speedy 1GHZ processors. Here my pros and cons on each of them, I am leaving software related issues for the next list.
Pros: Super-sized screen, fast phone, kickstand, great battery life.
Cons: Pink camera issue, screen not as vibrant as the amoled displays out these days, no hot swappable memory slot, beveled edge hurts my ear when talking on the phone.
Pros: Sexy design, user replaceable memory, great camera, loud speaker
Cons: Poor battery life, silly optical sensor
I honestly found enough good in the hardware design for both devices that my choice can’t be made on hardware alone. I am a big guy, so the HD7 is just my size and the myTouch 4G is a little small for me, but it’s still quite usable. Battery life isn’t much of an issue for me since I can charge with my MacBook Pro and I am close enough to AC power most of the time that I can keep her topped off.
I used to laugh at people caring about cameras on a phone, but with social media and the ease of sharing candid, quick snap shots, I found myself taking more and more photos with my phone. Cameras now matter to me. The camera issue with the HTC HD7 is more than likely something easily correct with software. I know the same issue occurred with the HTC HD2 last year and software fixed it.
The storage issue is a big old issue in my book. With Zune intergration and Zune Pass content available for the HD7, storage memory is important. With the HD7 not being able to have it’s memory increased without voiding warranty and reforming the device, my dream of merging Windows Mobile into Zune isn’t working out too great. I didn’t buy a Zune HD because I didn’t want to lose the capacity I have in my Zune 120. Knowing I only have 14gb to play with for media on the HD7, I started through my music selectively picking music I wanted to live on the phone. A few minutes later, I looked down and I was at 8GB of music already. I pulled out the tools and was ready to dissect the HD7 and throw a 32GB card in there but I chickened out. I decided to pop the card into the myTouch 4G instead.
My hardware choice is the myTouch 4G.
Windows Phone 7 vs. Android 2.2
Here’s the tricky part. There are a lot of reasons I want to love Windows Phone 7. Trust me. This week, I planned to use the HTC HD7 running Windows Phone 7 for the entire week and wrap up a review. This new and definitely improved mobile OS Microsoft has brought to the table grew on me a little more each day. The last two days have proved a little trying though. I was enamored by the newness and was real busy taking it all in. I didn’t pay attention to the real world, day to day tasks that I need a phone to accomplish. That said, I will start off with Windows Phone 7 in my comparison of these two operating system.
Windows Phone 7
Here are the positive thoughts I have about Windows Phone 7 right now:
- Very fresh UI. Not a copy of anything. Very unique and I appreciate that.
- Chassis spec allows the OS to run smooth as can be. WP7 runs extremely fast in most core processes.
- Playing to your strengths. Microsoft has embraced their brands that sell, Zune and Xbox. I know Zune is debatable, but Zune was far from a failure. Although it’s a brilliant move, they do need to take advantage of all the features that they can from Xbox Live and Zune. Don’t water it down.
- A good friend coming back. I missed Microsoft mobile in my life. This past year as an iPhone user was quite stressful knowing my friend, Microsoft Mobile, was suffering with the horrible fate that they call Windows Mobile 6.5. I am really excited for Microsoft and their chances at getting back their mobile swagger.
- The best of both worlds. With Windows Phone 7, it seems that Microsoft has learned a great deal from their mistakes and watching their competition. They seem to have integrated several things that Apple and Google have done well into their OS. I just hope they don’t suffer the same fate WebOS, great looking software with no developer support.
- Exchange support is top notch. Gmail is supported, but it’s just not the same on any device other than Android.
- Great contact/people hub. Great use of Facebook integration into the phones overall social mode. I only wish Twitter was more embedded.
- Zune Integration. Simple as that.
And here are the negatives so far.
- No screen shot utility built in. I know that Android can’t take screens either, but at least there is a way around it. At this point, there is no way around it with Windows Phone 7… yet. I feel like this is an area they should have snatched from Apple. Look at all the app reviews happening online today for the iPhone. If it wasn’t so easy to get screens done, I doubt we’d see 1/2 of these app review sites out there.
- Search button consistency! There is none. Microsoft should require developers to disable the search button unless the app plans to actively use it within the app. There is nothing more disappointing that being 1/2 way through a task in an application just to have an accidental search button press take you out of the app and into Bing search. When you go back to the app, it won’t resume since there is no 3rd party multitasking happening.
- Multitasking. There has to be some level of multitasking supported. Ask Apple, they’ll tell you! One way I use my phone with social media is that I set up alerts to let me know when someone has @ replied me or DM’d me. Without Twitter running in the background, this is not possible. I did have a developer tell me that they could still pull off push notifications despite this, but I don’t see it happening yet. It’s also a pita when the app has to reload each time you go from one app to another.
- Marketplace search. Microsoft needs to separate the stores in search. When I search the Marketplace for “Twitter”, I don’t want to see a dozen songs about Twitter pop up in my results.
- Marketplace quality and quantity. I was somewhat surprised with some of the early “big name” apps to hit the store, but there really aren’t that many major apps yet. There are still a couple apps missing that I really have become reliant upon. There are some great games and some great utilities, but there is more garbage in there that I can handle. There is one guy with 76 different currency converters, 76 of 132 of the financial apps are $0.99 junk converters.
- Official Twitter App. It’s beautiful and follows the Zune styling perfectly, but the apps on the HD7 is extremely slow to refresh/load and the side to side columns (Timeline, Mentions, Messages, Lists) are too easy to move into when you are trying to scroll down. When you leave a column, it takes a couple seconds to refresh which costs valuable time. Get in and out and back to life right?
- No support for tethering. This is a big downfall for me. I just recently canceled my $55/mo unlimited laptop data plan in favor of more affordable tethering. Android and iPhone allow it, Windows Phone 7 doesn’t.
- Status bar. I am probably in the minority here, but I want to see my signal strength and other indications all the time. Windows Phone 7 hides the data on this bar. Yes, you can bring it back up with a tap, but I want it there all the time.
- Remembering settings and states. This must not be by design because it seem too obvious of a need. When you change settings, the phone should remember that setting so you can return to that app tomorrow and not have to set that option again. Windows Phone 7 can’t remember settings for some reason. If you go into the camera and set the mode and leave the application and come back, the setting is forgotten. Not cool Microsoft.
- Cut and Paste. This one is one that I thought I wouldn’t miss. Well, I was wrong. I picked up two phone the same evening. After poking out my email address and password for 6-7 different services, I was quite frustrated. Cut and paste my email address six times and I would have been in and out and back to life (or back to playing with the phone more) much quicker.
- Lack of any major customization. Not way to really make the device stand out from others running Windows Phone 7. This isn’t huge for me anymore, but I would like a few more choices to make.
This is a mature OS that has come a long way since the last device I used before I took 6 months off, the Samsung Moment. I admit that before I reviewed the Samsung Fascinate, I wasn’t too thrilled with Android. Now, I am liking it a lot more. 2-3 major updates and more familiarity can do wonders. I am starting to feel more platform agnostic now.
Here are some things I love about Android 2.2 (on my myTouch 4G).
- SWYPE. Is there any better keyboard anywhere? Well, my Logitech G15 is pretty good, but you know what I mean.
- Wi-Fi Hotspot. This alone is going to save me $40/mo. $55 laptop card vs. $15 tethering. Easy choice and Windows Phone 7 can’t do that for me.
- Fastest browser. Just watch this video to see what I mean.
- Gmail experience is the best. I know that it’s expect considering Google is Google, but it’s perfect. I moved from my own exchange server to Gmail exclusively earlier this year and loving it.
- Multitasking. Need I say more.
- Applications Galore. The Android market is 2nd only to Apple. Other than Netflix, everything I need is available.
- The notification bar. I love the notification bar so much. It does allow me to get in, get out, and get back to life. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
- More customization than “I” will ever need. I love how my myTouch 4G looks like the HTC Hero now.
There really isn’t much that I can say negative about Android 2.2, but here is that short list.
- Overcoming a personal bias against Android in the past.
- I am unfamiliar with the OS as a whole. I am learning fast, but still lots to know about Android.
- Battery life is 1/3 of what I am getting on the HTC HD7 and that is with Wi-Fi off and without tethering.
- No Zune Pass support. Really, the media experience is decent, but I prefer Windows Phone 7 here.
It’s really not a fair comparison since Android is a more mature OS at this point, but I have to give props to Microsoft, they did come out with V1 fighting.
Without a doubt, the myTouch 4G would be my choice if I actually had to choose between the two. I don’t have to choose though. I intend to use them both. I want to watch how Windows Phone 7 progresses and need to have a Windows Phone 7 device to be able to follow along with the progress. I am going to retire my Zune 120 and use the HD7 as my Zune, even though it has a little more than 10% of the total capacity my Zune has. I will be able to use the HD7 as a media player/internet browsing device along side the myTouch 4G through it’s Wi-Fi hotspot. Email, Facebook, Yammer, and Twitter notifications in my bar provide me all the info I need on the myTouch 4G at glance and I can punch out an email quicker with Swype than I could on the iPhone and definitely much faster than on the HD7.
I am going to use the myTouch 4G as my daily driver.
A couple of final notes:
This assessment of the HD7 and myTouch 4G is not my final answer. While the opinions will mostly likely not change, my final review of these two phone won’t be post until I give both of them more time. I have used the HD7 for 4 days and the myTouch 4G for only a day. That’s not quite enough time to give a fair assessment. Stay tuned!
The odd thing about this choice I am making, or didn’t really make is that my buddy Matt Miller is going through the same dilemma right now. Just yesterday, he posted a similar article with similar opinions. We spoke after his went live and I think we both have the same feelings in regards to Windows Phone and wanting stick with Microsoft to watch the OS grow. This is version 1 of this OS and look how far Android and iOS have come since their versions.