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Windows Phone 7.5 Mango review

500 new features add up to a fully refreshed mobile phone OS

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Our Verdict

For

  • Full IE9 browsing
  • Great Twitter integration
  • Smooth multitasking
  • Voice recognition and new search

Against

  • Internet connection sharing is unreliable
  • No Twitter DMs
  • No Flash support
  • Some features still US-only

Windows phone 7.5 mango

Voice search in Windows Phone 7 was restricted to US phones. Now the UK and a couple of other countries also let you search Bing and Bing Maps by talking to your phone.

What's more, you can dictate text and Facebook messages as if they were texts, and have replies read to you.

Windows phone 7.5 mango

The readback works very well unless you're somewhere noisy – like walking down the street – but it's great in the car, where it's a quiet environment. That's the case even if you're playing music on the phone, since it gets paused automatically when messages arrive.

Bing search and maps

Windows phone 7.5 mango

Voice search isn't the only new option in Bing. The rather pointless News results have been replaced by Images.

Windows phone 7.5 mango

You can use the Local Scout to look for places nearby to shop and eat.

Windows phone 7.5 mango

As usual, the database is a little better in the US, but it does find local venues in London. Annoyingly, the UK doesn't get the best new feature in Bing Maps, though: reading directions aloud as you walk or drive.

Windows phone 7.5 mango

We're not so keen on the way the view is permanently split between the map and directions instead of being able to zoom in on one or the other either.

There's an intriguing new option called Bing Vision, which is similar to Google Goggles. With it, you can photograph text, have it OCRed in the cloud word by word, pick the words you want by tapping on screen and either search on the text or translate it into another language.

This works well on clearly printed text or even text on screen, but not so well on a blurry printed receipt. It also recognises QR codes and Microsoft Tags, plus bar codes for US books, DVDs and CDs.

Windows phone 7.5 mango

There's also a Shazam-style search for recognising music that's playing and buying it from Zune Marketplace.

Windows phone 7.5 mango

Windows phone 7.5 mango

The Marketplace is finally easier to search, with results divided between music, games and apps, so that you can actually find what you're looking for.


Windows phone 7.5 mango

You can find apps on the new Web Marketplace and send them directly to your phone as well.

Windows phone 7.5 mango

On our test handset, what we got was a Hotmail message with a link that downloaded and installed apps (very like BlackBerry AppWorld). On some other phones we've seen, hidden text messages trigger the install directly. Either way, it's convenient.

Windows phone 7.5 mango

Installing apps and games is also much clearer too. Click Install and you see a list of your existing apps with the icon for the app you're downloading and a progress bar, so you're not left wondering where the app will end up.

Windows phone 7.5 mango