Microsoft’s first major update to the live tile filled OS had all the hype. Mango. To bring webOS like multitasking, better email and Facebook integration and sweeter eye candy UI improvements. It’s been hyped to be the killer OS to liven up the sad and weak Windows Phone 7 sales. Is Mango the golden ticket? Or are weak sales gonna need to see a Window 8 Phone for Microsoft to finally get some money in the mobile phone department?
I’ve been using Mango for a few days now on a Samsung Focus. I can say one thing. I own a Galaxy S II, an iPhone 4 and I’ve gotten an HP Veer (I know, WTF). There is one thing that all those phones (except Galaxy S II) all have, and that’s lag. Whether it’s bringing up the keyboard on a webpage, or multitasking, they all experience lag at one point or another. Microsoft on the other hand have done something very special. They’ve learned how to make a phone sans lag. Mango seems to add some extreme speed improvements as well. Before, clicking on your phone tile would take a second or two before the actual phone app would launch. Now, instant. Regardless of me being on a 1GHz single core processer, it’s a smooth, easy experience. This is a big win for Microsoft. They don’t have to pay (or the manufactures) absurd amounts of money on 1.5GHz dual core chips.
I’d like to quickly talk about Internet Explorer 9. Mango upgrading form IE 8 to IE 9 is a big improvement. Contrary to other mobile devices, the URL/Search bar is at the bottom of the page. And while it doesn’t disappear when scrolling, its just smarter. Your finger is always on the bottom of the page, why leave the URL bar at the top? Something else we love about IE 9 is the feature to set web pages to always go to mobile mode or always go to desktop mode. This comes especially in handy when the big screened devices start to roll out. The Focus S, its not out yet, but when it is, it’s gonna boast a 4.3 inch screen, and sometimes viewing pages in mobile versions get funky. You may prefer the desktop version.
What needs improvement.
Mango is a great OS, but it falls short in a lot of aspects. It seems to be the most obvious aspects too. The home screen. There is just too much wasted space. All starting from the top of the screen to the side with the arrow. As you may know, there aren’t many Windows phone with large screens, and you need all the space you need. Also, Mango falls short in the apps department. Say anything you want about having a decent 10,000+ apps in the market, there’s a big shortage of apps (yes, I’m looking at you Spotify). Mango also falls short in…fun. Too much black all around and organizing apps in hard due to the list of apps instead of the norm of having pages of apps. The ‘Theme’ section of the phone also desperately cries for more colors. It all seems to bland. Here’s a suggestion Microsoft, maybe you can have a general theme color, but have the option to change specific apps to different shades of the same color. It lacks something to drag me in.
One last thing that needs improving is the multitasking. Long press the ‘back’ button on your device and wa-lah. A webOS style multitasking comes up. Displaying your 5 recent apps in a card like style. One thing this lacks is a way to delete an app from the cards. There is no way to remove one of those cards. It’s annoying and pretty disappointing. Also, it seems to glitch a lot, and badly. Certain apps duplicate in the multitasking for some reason and once again.. it’s annoying.
All in all, Mango is good, clean OS with semi-decent multitasking and an amazing email app. It’s solid, yet needs a big revamp, as it already feels dated. The problem Microsoft doesn’t understand is that there is nothing to drag in the average consumer. It’s too boring, especially when you know nothing about Windows Phones and you walk into your AT&T store. Nothing special. Of course, if you’re reading this, you probably aren’t the average consumer, so if you’re interested I would recommend this OS, but only if you’re patient for some more updates…
Note: You may notice that there is no score on this review. I deiced not to give it one, as I feel it is important to get a full overview and not just a number. Not to fear though, our next review on what ever it is will have a number.