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Old 11-17-2010, 02:51 PM
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Re: Anandtech reviews the Surround

The Surround got no love from any reviewers which turned me off of it entirely at first. It wasnt until I went into an at&t store and played with both a working Focus and a working Surround that i decided on the Surround. I liked a little weight, and side by side with the focus its maybe a millimeter thicker. It felt solid in the hand, the touchscreen was very responsive and 3.8" i think hits the display size sweet spot for me. The speaker didnt play into my decision at all. I just made sure the sliding mechanism was solid (which it is) and wouldnt easily detract from the device being a "slate" in practical terms vs a "slider" But it is pretty nice to plop down and use the kickstand to watch a movie handsfree. The kickstand just isnt designed for tapping the touchscreen while sitting on it. Its a really beautiful device I think gets alot of undeserved hate and bad reviews.
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:31 AM
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Re: Anandtech reviews the Surround

Telus offered me (and I imagine everyone else on unlimited data) a deal to upgrade on the cheap despite only being about 8 months into a new contract, so I was locked in to getting one of their phones. Ideally I would've liked to have waited to see what updates are coming in January, or even to see if new phones come out, but I slipped on the ice and broke my TP2, so I needed a new phone asap and I figured someone had to take one for the team and buy the WP7 devices now to help convince MS to develop them to their true potential.

Having said that, I did play with a focus that a friend has. For me, the focus was too light and plasticy. Given how much abuse my last phone took, I wasn't sure that was for me. The screen and camera were superior. But I rarely go anywhere without my DSLR so I didn't really need the camera. I found the screen quality on the Super AMOLED to actually be just barely better than the LCD when both are viewed directly. Obviously the viewing angles were better, but I rarely do anything but look straight on my phone anyways, so I felt it was a moot point. Also, I don't watch a lot of video on my phone. I watch occasionally as time filler, but not so much that a marginally better screen would be a selling point.

The LG also felt cheap to me. Given that all the WP7 phones have the same basic technical specs, the only differences I found are build quality, weight, screen, camera and features. The LG wasn't a nicer weight or size, the screen wasn't better than the others, the camera quality was the worst and it had no extras. It only took me about 5 minutes to decide it wasn't in the running.

I figured the chance of me using the speaker and kickstand on the surround was pretty minimal, but the build quality was obviously the highest of the 3 available in Canada. I also personally felt it was the most stylish, but that's not really much of a factor in my decision making. In the end, for me, it was all about the build quality. It was the most solid-feeling phone, so it's the one I went with.

Having said that, I actually DO use the speaker now that I have it. I know, it looks like a gadget you'd use rarely, but it turns out I use it all the time. I used to have a netbook on my bedside table for firing off/checking e-mails before bed or when I wake up, and I used to watch a TV show or two trying to fall asleep. Well, turns out the browser is snappier on my Surround so I use that instead. I've also been playing 30 mins of Crackdown 2: Operation Sunburst to fall asleep these days. So the netbook has been tucked in a drawer and I just use my phone. I don't even use my alarm clock anymore, I use my phone for that too.

Almost all the negatives come from the OS. No tethering, no copy-and-paste, no real GPS (I miss iGO8 already), can't be used as a USB flash drive, etc. But the fact that it's snappy and I can actually use it for stuff balances it out. It's faster to check e-mail on my phone than on a computer now. No menus to drill down or page loads to wait for. Browsing is acceptable though I'll still use a computer if one is nearby and already turned on.

For the record, the sound comes out of the pop-up speaker even when it isn't popped up, so the "Surround Sound" quality is still there, just mildly muffled, giving it excellent sound (superior to the competition) even without needing to pop the speaker out, so that takes away some of the "gimmickyness" of the speaker.

But the device itself is fabulous. It's quick, it's responsive, it's handsome, the speaker and stand turned out to be more than just gizmos despite me being REALLY convinced I'd never use it, and it's the most solid feeling phone I've ever owned. I would like a slide-out full-size keyboard, I miss that. But being stuck on Telus, that wasn't an option for me. I did strongly consider Android and there are a lot of offerings there that I think are "better" phones, but I'm not a big fan of any of the android interfaces. Personal preference is why I went with WP7 despite it's limitations.

I'm not sure why it's getting bad press, but I'm personally VERY happy with my purchase. Even having used it for a week and sat down again to play side-by-side with the Focus, I still think I got the best phone of the lot.

EDIT: Regarding battery life - it's been acceptable for me, but I'm not a "heavy" user. I check showtimes, compare prices and read reviews when I'm out and about, I check e-mail whenever it comes in, I respond to a handful of them and that's about it. I'm a "moderate" user when I'm out. At work my phone is usually plugged in half the night anyways (i work almost exclusively midnights). For me, battery life has been fine. I've never tested it and have no need to, so if someone has perhaps than can give us the lowdown.

Last edited by dtjohnst; 12-24-2010 at 08:36 AM. Reason: Battery Life
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