The Mango update for Windows 7 phones has been long awaited for anyone who took the leap of faith and moved from an iPhone or Droid to test out the Windows 7 platform. I will admit as a former iPhone user that the Windows 7 phone had been lacking in features and speed. I had faith Microsoft wasn’t going to let the competition stay ahead long and eventually might have better features than its competitors. The Mango update has been out a few months and has brought about some awesome advances in the capability of this phone as well as some much needed hype and enthusiasm from its users.
1. Text To Chat
This feature allows on the fly conversion from texting to Facebook chats so you have the ability to text and chat at the same time! Talk about multitasking! Go to either the “me” tile or go to the “people” tile. Select your picture then “set chat status“, which is where you can change your chat availability. To see if someone is online to chat with, select the “message” tile then select the person you want to chat with. Tap on the “double arrow icon” on the bottom of the screen and you will see a display with a text option and their Facebook chat availability.
2. Link Inboxes
If you have more than one email service linked to your phone, they each take up a tile space on the start screen. Now there is a cool feature where you can link your inboxes together into one tile and see all your messages in one place. The really cool thing about it is you don’t have to link ALL of the email accounts together. You can leave a work email tile only, with two other generic email accounts linked or any combination that works for you. To do this, open an “email” tile and tap on the … icon at the bottom of the screen. Select the “link inboxes” option and it will open a list of your email accounts. Tap each one that you want to link together and like magic, they merge into one tile! Additional side features to that is the ability to rename the tile or pin individual folders to your start screen so you can see only what you want.
3. Camera Features
The update features to the camera include automatic detecting of faces when you’re uploading pictures to Facebook or Windows Live – just tap, tag, and post. It also now allows you to pin whole albums to your start screen including albums from Facebook and your camera roll with an option to also delete all contents of the album if you “long press” on it.
4. Interrupted Task
I can’t tell you how many times I have been in the middle of an email or text and I flip over to something else for a second and I have lost everything I was typing. I was used to the iPhone which allowed you to switch between tasks without losing what you were doing so that was a pet peeve of the Windows 7 phone for me. With the update, you can now get back to what you were doing by simply “long pressing” the “back button” and slide the screen until you find the task you were last on.
5. Voice Texting
This is by far one of my favorite new features because I am constantly on the go and communicate with most people by text. I don’t like the Bluetooth ear piece or have the hands-free option in my car so this has been very handy. If you go into “settings” then “speech“, you can select how you want to receive your incoming texts. If you use Bluetooth or wear a headset, there is an option for that or simply select the “always on” option. When a message comes in, it will tell you who the message is from and give you the option to read it aloud or ignore. After it is read, it will give you the option to reply or be done. If you chose to reply, speak your message and say send. Simple hands free texting is faster and safer!
6. Bing Features
I have always been a Google user but since getting this phone, I have embraced Bing. Some neat features include the ability to not only search for a shopping mall but go even further and view an indoor map of the mall! No more wandering around looking for a directory only to find that it is now an advertisement for a store you don’t shop at! You can also be listening to a song on the radio that you want to know more about. Hit the Bing “music icon” and it will recognize the song, produce the album art, song title and link to the Zune Marketplace so you can purchase it.
The only problem I had with the music feature, was having to unlock the phone every time I wanted to forward past a song or pause it. If you want to have a new music experience, follow these steps! Go to “settings -> lock -> wallpaper” and select “show artist when playing music” to ON. Now when you play music, the artist appears as your wallpaper and all the controls are right there as well. No need to unlock anything and it gives a nice user experience with the changing screen.
8. Copy & Paste
In all the reviews about the Mango update, nobody mentioned copy and paste! This was the main feature I missed from the iPhone and I am so happy to have it back! You can copy and paste about anything you want. I mostly use it to copy a text I sent someone and send it to someone else or copy into email. Simply “long press” on the message and select “copy“. Go to the application you want to paste it to and tap the little “clipboard icon” to paste it.