I love my Surface with Windows RT but there are quite a few dislikes I want to point out, that need to be fixed to make the experience even better.
I have written earlier about how I love windows phone enough to swap my iPhone, what I like about it and what kind of apps and games I have on it. It is time now, after about 2.5 months of use, to talk about what I don’t like about it.
It has been well documented how windows phone 7 is neither windows nor 7. Having said that, as a user of a smartphone I still have the right to talk about what I don’t like, from a functional standpoint and from a company/communication standpoint. Some of these points are minor, some major. Some are critical, and some not so critical. However, these are all the things that annoy me on a day to day basis, and hence they are listed here:
- Marketplace search: It provides results from apps, songs, playlists, etc., and there is no way to filter.
- Zune/Podcasts performance/crash: I listen to podcasts on the Zune player. There are times when I want to skip a few minutes forward. If I skip too many times, the Zune player crashes and the only way to get out of it is to restart.
- Zune player last played mark: Often, after some type of crash, Zune player forgets where my last played mark was and resets to an earlier last played mark (or beginning of a podcast if it was not played before). That is very annoying.
- Answering a phone in speaker mode: I don’t like that I have to answer the phone and then click on the dropdown and then switch to speakerphone. Considering that I would do that typically in the car, that extra click on the dropdown is painful.
- Live tiles are not really real-time updates. This could be an application developer problem or a Windows Phone restriction, but things like stock quotes need to refresh as close as possible to real time, and they don’t.
- Not enough Live Tile love. I don’t know why, but there are not too many apps with Live Tiles and the ones there are, don’t have cool-looking Live Tile updates. My benchmark was set with the Music tile and Pictures tile which updates itself with the last artist played and the last picture taken. Why can’t, for example, a Google Reader client update with the favicon of the last feed?
- Marketplace crash: The Marketplace crashes quite often and like the Zune player crash, the only way to get out of this issue is to restart the phone.
- At-rest encryption, VPN: These are two “enterprise” features which I need to somehow connect to my work Exchange server. I sorely miss the inability to see my work email and calendar from my phone (after iPhone and Blackberry in the past, I am addicted!).
- Slowness (or in this case, lack of) updates: Before the launch, I was led to believe that this thing is going to be run nimbly and that updates would be flying left and right. Sadly, it has been almost a quarter since launch and we only hear of the updates “coming in the next few weeks/months”. Such open-ended timeframes are not only bad from a customer confidence perspective, but also show that the nimble and agile assumption I made was perhaps absolutely wrong.
- Browser: So many things to like about the browser, but this is an annoyance post, so what I don’t like is the lack of HTML5 (and related, <video> tag) support and being able to share links from the browser to twitter or facebook. There is a share button but I can only share to messaging but not to twitter.
- Capacitive buttons: I cannot remember how many times I have inadvertently pressed the search or back button while doing something else on my Samsung Focus. The buttons should be forced to be activated while an app is open, so that they don’t get pressed by mistake.
- No universal silence mode. The ringer can be turned off with one button but if I want complete silence, there is no way to do it.
- Related to the point above, if I reduce the volume to avoid loud sounds, for example, then my alarm volume also goes down. The alarm should have its own volume, to say the least.
- Search in app list. The physical search button is supposed to the context-sensitive, but I have so many apps, that when I go to the app list from the home screen, often I just want to search rather than scroll. Not only does the search button not work there, but also, there are no letters to let me jump quickly from a to b to c, etc. Both, context-sensitive searching and the letter paradigm are Windows Phone’s unique UI ideas. Why are they not implemented on the app list, I don’t know.
- GMail-Exchange-Archive-IMAP: I don’t know who is at fault here but for whatever reason, I cannot delete (sent to trash) messages in my gmail account. I was somehow able to get that going on the iPhone but the effect here is to simply archive the message so it is out of the inbox but not from All Mail.
- Report Spam: Again, I am not sure who is at fault here but I cannot report to Gmail spam from the mail client on the windows phone. I understand if that is not implemented as a standard EAS/IMAP feature, but I don’t know if that has or has not.
- (Edit: added 1/28) Screenshots, send link to twitter, etc.: There are so many times I like an app so much that I want to take a screenshot and show it to the world. There is no way to take a screenshot. Also, there is a share app option but it is only by email. I would rather share via twitter along with a link to download. There is no way I can evangelize the platform because the OS limits me in how far I can go with sharing.
- (Edit: added 1/29) Videos taken on the phone have this weirdness that the “date taken” keeps getting set to the date when you download the images to the PC. Not sure when this changed, because a few weeks back I downloaded a whole bunch of pics/vids from a trip and those dates are intact. Very strange, which makes it extremely annoying.
- (Edit: added 1/29) I may be in the minority here but I just have not been able to get my sync setup correct. I want to be able to sync music, pictures, videos, apps, etc. (everything except podcasts) with my home PC and *only* my podcasts with my work PC. While a guest relationship for syncing is awesome for those times when you need to quickly move stuff in and out of a PC which you don’t normally use, the limitation of being in a normal sync relationship with only one PC makes it hard to do what I need to do. iTunes at some point made that change and allowed me to sync different items with different PC’s (well, two at least) and it worked quite well for me. Hope Zune desktop changes in some way to allow me to automatically sync podcasts (only) with a second PC. I know I can do it manually within a Guest relationship, and I am going to do that, but it would be nicer if it works the way iTunes used to work for me. Zune sync-ing and the nightmares I faced, is a topic for a different post, after I master the nuances 🙂
- (Edit: added 1/30, based on input from @aharpaz): Forwarded emails send the original email as an .eml attachment. My note: reminds me horrifyingly, of the outlook express days 🙂
I can’t think of anything else that bothers me enough to put here. If I remember something else, I will keep updating it.