Windows Phone 7 Walkthrough
The stock Windows Phone 7 camera interface is well-balanced. While it is in unison with the rest of the simplistic interface, it still packs some advanced settings such as white balance, contrast, saturation, different focus and metering modes, as well as anti-shake. It is also up to you whether or not to leave the flash on/off or in auto mode.
Microsoft has thought of a great user interface here that is completely in line with the rest of the good stuff that we witness in Windows Phone 7. It is the way you can access your image gallery from within the camera app. You can simply swipe to the right and you're already scrolling through your images. Once you're ready, swipe your way to the rightmost part and you are back in the viewfinder, ready to take some more works of art. It's really an illustrative example of the technological advancement that we've reached not only in desktop and laptop computers, but in smartphones as well.
Of course, it would be up to the manufacturers to take their pick between a really capable or just a mediocre sensor (of at least 5 megapixels that is). In terms of video recording, pretty much all Windows Phone 7 smartphones are expected to support shooting in HD 720p resolution.
The Pictures hub is the place where, naturally, you'll find all of your pictures. Here you can view all of your content, sort it by date, or view your favorites only. There's also a section of the hub entitled “what's new” that is reserved for Facebook (and Windows Live) integration. In “what's new” you can track all the latest photo activity going on with your Facebook account. Strangely, we couldn't find a way to selectively view albums/photos of our Facebook friends. We were only capable of seeing the latest activity.
Anyways, viewing photos is what it should be – you can scroll through images quickly and use pinch-to-zoom or double-tap to get a closer view. If you wish, you can easily upload a photo to services like Facebook or Windows Live SkyDrive (online storage service by Microsoft), again giving us a hint that Microsoft's new mobile OS is a bit more consumer-oriented.
Music + Videos Hub:
The Music + Videos hub doesn't need much introduction. This is where all the partying happens and we have to say that Windows Phone 7's way to get things done is very suitable for the job. It is really fun to see the artist you are listening to take up the background space with a panoramic image – it immediately makes the experience better than what you get on most of the competition. Until now, music players featured a big album art at best, but now Windows Phone 7 takes things to the next level by making the whole experience more interactive and absorbing.
Besides the playing track/video, in this hub you will also find some other data like a history of the media that you've consumed (gee, we hate the sound of that). From the menu you can jump to your music library, videos, podcasts, FM radio or the Zune Marketplace.
Overall, we are perfectly content with what we discovered within the Music + Videos hub, so we expect many hours of entertainment going on with the help of it.
Finally, the good stuff – games! You have probably heard of the Xbox Live integration with Windows Phone 7. Indeed, thanks to the Games hub you will be able to do stuff like personalizing your avatar, track various achievements and scores, as well as see requests.
What's important though is your game collection, where the games that you own reside. Thankfully, most Xbox Live-enabled titles are available as demos, so you can try before you buy. We tried a couple of games and while we cannot say that we are blown away by what we saw, we have to admit that Windows Phone 7 supports fine gaming. It will of course be up to developers to take advantage of this new playground, but all in all entertainment options will surely be quite a lot with WP7.
From the Games hub you can also visit the Marketplace if you want to add some fresh titles to your game collection. As with the rest of the apps, the catalog of games is not that great as of now, but we can only expect it to get bigger and bigger with time, that is, in case Microsoft wants its Windows Phone 7 OS to be relevant when it comes to apps and games.