By now, you’ve probably read countless and seemingly endless articles on other sites about the Mango update detailing every feature and menu option. My goal here, after having spent some time with Mango, is to generally and briefly summarize my thoughts on the beta and how it bodes for the final release later this fall.
To put it simply, the Mango update feels like a final release. Here are some pros and cons that I have found with my time in Mango:
Everything is smoother and more fluid than NoDo. Menus in both native and third-party apps scroll without stuttering and feel much more responsive. The phone seems to boot and shut down faster than before, although I have not timed it officially. IE9 is excellent and having the toolbar and address bar combined into one really give you more viewable space for web browsing. I originally didn’t like the idea of the address bar moving to the bottom of the screen, but I really like the new placement after using it. Some web pages that rendered improperly before, now render correctly. Bing Vision, Scout, Music and Voice are incredible, useful built-in features. The Office hub now feels complete with the integration of SkyDrive and Office 365. The Games hub is better than ever and includes everything in the native hub. The Messaging app in Windows Phone is simply the best way to message and IM on any device. The People hub has some minor, but welcome changes and the groups option is very nice. The little things you will notice as you use the device will start to stand out and impress. I’m sure I’ve missed some cool features and changes, but I wanted to keep this brief.
Mango is currently in beta, so any cons I may have come across may be fixed in the final release. The cons to Mango are few and far between, but there are some small bugs and annoyances. Since the address and toolbar for IE9 has been combined into one bar the options for tabs and favorites have been moved into a sub menu only accessed when the “…” is pressed. This makes for more finger taps to access each option. The letter jumplists in the apps menu may take some getting used to. I was accustomed to swiping through my apps list and it seems to take longer to remember which letter to press. I’m sure this will grow on me, but it’s tough to get used to at first.
Multitasking in Mango is incomplete because most third-party apps have yet to be optimized for quick resume (see comments). I actually find myself using the back arrow to return to apps more than using the multi-tasking card view screen.
Update: I’ve run into a major problem with Windows Live Messenger in the Mango beta. I can’t seem to get nearly any of my ‘online’ contacts to display as being ‘online’ and available for chat and the ‘chat’ option doesn’t appear next to almost all of my Windows Live/Messenger contacts in the people hub. It seems many others are having this problem as well, so hopefully the issue will be fixed come release.
Mango makes some minor and major changes in different places throughout the OS, but its impact on the overall experience is completely positive. Once mango is completed and shipped to consumers it will definitely legitimize Windows Phone as the major contender we already know it to be. Fall 2011 can’t come soon enough. Mango and football season…what’s not to like about that.
Please feel free to comment on a post, use the form on the About page or ask a question via Twitter or Facebook if you have any questions about features or changes in the Mango beta and I’ll do my best to answer them.