Impressions on Windows Mobile 6.5 and the AT&T Pure Windows Phone

Impressions on Windows Mobile 6.5 and the AT&T Pure Windows Phone

judie_snapThis is a joint review between Wayne and me. Wayne is primarily a Blackberry and iPhone user, and he has also dabbled in Android, Palm, Windows Mobile and WebOS. I am primarily an iPhone and Nokia / Vertu user, with an extensive background in Palm and Windows Mobile.

We were recently sent the new HTC Pure Windows Phone to review, because it is one of the first of several new Windows Phones to use the new Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system. Wayne’s comments will be the ones in black; mine will be in blue italics.

wayne Microsoft unleashed an upgrade to Windows Mobile on Tuesday, and along with it came a new phone  from AT&T.

The HTC Pure is a compact, “touch screen” based device, and it is one of the first to run Windows Mobile 6.5. There’s no keyboard with the Pure – and I’ve put the words “touch” into quotes for reasons that we’ll cover later.

My first impressions when un-boxing the phone? Solid build, fast startup, cool looking start screen (Touch Flow 3D).  No creaks or obvious build issue that I could spot. Right out of the box I was impressed.

This was my first experience with a Windows Mobile phone since my Sprint Mogul days. Over the course of a few days worth of testing I found the battery life to be about average for smartphones that I’ve used with about a work day’s worth of charge (my day starts at 4:30).


The phone is also skinned throughout with what HTC calls Touch Flo 3D. At first glance you won’t necessarily be able to tell that it’s running a Windows Mobile interface. Essentially what TouchFlo 3D adds is a much prettier graphical menu and lots of touch friendly features to an operating system that historically has been stylus driven.


I found the battery life to be better than adequate as well, and I agree that only people who pay attention to such matters would even necessarily take notice this is a Windows Phone much less care about the operating system version when they see this phone at their AT&T store. This may account for the reason why I don’t think that some of the things we will touch upon in this review will even matter to the general public, but they are causing a huge brouhaha in the reviewing community.

wayne If you’re looking for a full featured smartphone to run  a lot of applications and do serious web browsing – one that takes advantage of the pricey data plan the carriers force you into – keep reading because there’s a lot more to consider before making any purchasing decision on the Pure.

The TouchFlo 3D interface is SLICK. It reminds me a lot of what HTC have done with their Android Hero Sense UI. I love the big flip clock which changes time by moving the digits just like the older mechanical style clocks.

There’s also a weather gadget on the front screen. If your primary needs in a phone are a slick opening screen that shows your daily schedule, the time and weather – this is a great phone that I’d recommend.

Unfortunately most of us want to do more with our smartphones and that’s where I started to see problems.

The saying about looks only being skin deep really starts to ring true with this device.


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wayne With Windows Mobile hidden beneath a mask, the phone’s  a looker. Great build quality (no creaking or battery wiggles like I’ve seen on my BlackBerry devices), excellent screen with good visibility in direct sun, an awesome 5 megapixel camera, no lags when navigating. I took a few photos inside (normally a smartphone “camera killer”) and they came out surprisingly well. The camera switches on very quickly. I was able to move between video and still photography without problems.

I’ll admit that my main computer is a Mac – and one of the great things about this phone is you can use Microsoft’s My Phone service to synchronize all the content on your phone (including pictures and video) to the web. This means you don’t need to mess with connecting the phone to a cable and then to a Windows computer in order to get off your pictures. It’s awesome, built into Windows Mobile 6.5 – and free. There are however a few pay features ($4.99 for 7 days of use) like wiping data off your phone, enabling the ringer and making it ring and using the phones GPS to tell you where you’ve left it.


Hold up a second Wayne! You are worse than me, getting ahead of yourself! Let’s dig a little deeper into the hardware. The Pure measures approximately 4.3″ tall x 2.1″ wide x o.6″ thick, and it weighs 4.2 ounces. Composed of shiny black plastic, the case is a natural fingerprint and lint magnet. The brushed metal strip housing the camera on the back provides a welcome distraction to all that black shininess. In hand, the Pure feels solid; it doesn’t flex or creak when torqued, and even though it has hard edges, it feels very smooth.



  • Talk Time: Up to 5 hours
  • Standby Time: Up to 15 days
  • Battery: 1100 mAh Li-Ion
  • Technology: GSM/GPRS/EDGE/HSPA/UMTS*
  • Frequency: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz (GSM/GPRS/EDGE); 850/1900 MHz (HSPA/UMTS)*
  • Operating System: Windows Mobile® 6.5 Professional
  • Memory: 512 MB ROM, 288 MB RAM
  • Display: 3.2 inches Color TFT LCD, flat touch-sensitive screen with WVGA (480 x 800) resolution
  • microSD™ up to 32 GB (card sold separately)
  • TYY compatible


On the left hand side, there is a black plastic volume rocker. I’m going to refrain from my usual request that HTC start building devices with scroll or thumbwheels again, especially on devices without a D-pad…oh, wait; too late.


On the bottom there is a cover for the HTC ExtUSB port, which serves for syncing and charging, as well as HTC’s proprietary headphones; the slot to the right is the microphone. On the bottom edge of the Pure’s face, you can see the magnifying glasses on either side and the graduated swipe bar, which is used to magnify or reduce items in certain programs or the browser. There are just four buttons on the phone’s front: Call, Start, Back and End Call.


wayne Whoops – wait a minute Ms. Lipsett — let’s be sure to emphasize that there’s NO 3.5mm headphone jack.

You’re going to be stuck for the l-i-f-e of that two year contract using some dopey dongle to convert every pair of earphones on earth for use with this phone. How long are you typically able to find these dongles in your house? I know the shelf life of mine seem are about a month before I lose them or leave them somewhere.

I know HTC has a habit of using off-sized headphone jacks and I wish they’d stop.

judie_snap Oh, it’s Ms Lipsett now? Well Mr. Schulz, you are absolutely correct; there is no 3.5mm jack, and there it is yet again, an obnoxious feature that I have pointed out in past HTC reviews, and which obviously needs to be pointed out again. Yes, it’s great that HTC has managed to cram a bunch of features into a small package, but not at the expense of being able to use your favorite headphones when listening to music or watching a movie. If the Pure is being marketed as a multimedia phone to the general public – a duty it certainly has the features to fulfill, then the lack of 3.5mm jack is a big FAIL.

wayne Why does HTC insist on shipping the Pure without a 3.5mm jack? Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. The absence of a universally compatible headset jack  is a huge negative and I can’t believe phone manufacturers don’t realize this.

I absolutely could not see myself recommending this phone to anyone as a music player with this glaring omission. Half the time I’ve ever used my phones for music or video it’s as an impromptu player on the phone or train — and to not be able to connect a normal pair of cheap headphones is a massive problem.


You are preaching to the choir, Wayne, believe me. :deep breath:

On the bottom right edge is the stylus silo, and then further down the side is a mesh covered speaker.



The top of the Pure has a matte silver ear speaker, and on the top left – the power button, which will also dim the screen when pressed.



It would be a bit deceptive to call the Pure a touch device, because even though that is largely the goal that Microsoft and HTC have gone for, there is a still a stylus present; I think that should serve as a warning for anyone who is expecting something truly revolutionary from Windows Mobile 6.5. Although renaming this Windows Phone the AT&T Pure isn’t quite the same as calling it the HTC Touch Diamond2, these two are basically one and the same device.  But whatever you call them, both devices are still, at their very core, running a stylus based operating system.


wayne Uh-oh – wait up here for a minute (and you accuse ME of going too fast?) — Judie, Judie, Judie — how many phones have you bought lately (Windows Mobile doesn’t count) that had a stylus?

Didn’t we say this was a touch phone?

If the phone is designed for touch –  why is there a stylus?

judie_snapAre you channeling Cary Grant now? In any case, I haven’t bought or reviewed a single phone with stylus in ages – other than these latest touchscreen Windows Phones, and before that the Palm Treo/Centro line. I think we can both agree that this is a phone with a GUI designed with touch in mind – but I also think that we’ll agree that it’s a touch based interface lying on top of a stylus based operating system, which is going to create clumsy moments necessitating the use of a stylus. Windows 6.5 wants to be touch based down to its core so badly, but it is just not there yet.

wayne As soon as I saw the stylus poking out the side of the phone (at first I didn’t know what it was or why it was there)  I wanted to put this phone back in the box.

Ever try walking the streets of New York City while using a smartphone in one hand and a stylus to tap, tap, tap in the other? I have and it’s awkward, nearly impossible to be accurate and embarrassing. As soon as I tried using the keyboard with my finger I knew I was in trouble. It’s just plain painful with lots of mis-typed keys. And I’m use to painful keyboard use with both my iPhone 3GS and T-Mobile MyTouch 3G.

Honestly, using the HTC Pure touch screen  was very similar to passing the scene of a horrific auto accident. It makes you want to go home and hug your loved ones. That’s exactly what I did with my T-Mobile MyTouch 3G which until this experience I thought had an awkward keyboard. The awful experience with the Pure touchpad is making the MyTouch3G seem like the Cadillac of touch interfaces.


Since when have you cared what other people thought? But I totally agree that seeing the stylus was a buzzkill.

I wasn’t quite as traumatized by the Pure’s screen (and keyboard) as you were, because for the most part I did find its resistive screen to be fairly quick and responsive for its type. But here’s the caveat: if you are used to the immediate response you get on devices like the iPhone, iPod touch, HTC G1 & Hero, Palm Pre, and I think even the Zune HD with even the lightest touch, then the Pure’s screen may seem sluggish to you. You have to bear in mind that resistive screens have some negatives – like the fact that you have to press a bit harder, but their positives do include that they can be operated when wearing gloves, by fingernail tapping, and yes – by using a stylus. With that said, I can handle giving up those abilities for the better responsiveness of a capacitive screen.

wayneYes, I know that Windows Mobile has always had this love affair with the stylus – but I was truthfully expecting the Touch Flo 3D to completely eliminate the need for a stylus. Big incorrect assumption. While Touch Flo 3D reduces the need for a stylus – it sure doesn’t eliminate it.

The biggest problem is that not all Windows Mobile 6.5 screens are touch friendly. Especially not the setup and configuration screens – some of which I was unable to use without resorting to a stylus.

judie_snap No, the need for the stylus is definitely not eliminated, unless you are the type of user who does only the most superficial things with your phone. I think the very presence of the stylus shows a lack of confidence on someone’s part (HTC’s? Microsofts?) that the Pure could ever operate as a touch only device. With that said, part of the reason I think the stylus is necessary more than anything else is the smaller size of the screen. Although the Pure has a higher resolution screen than the iPhones [480 x 800 on the Pure vs. 480 x 320 on the iPhone], it is also a smaller screen [the iPhone’s screen measures 3″ x 2″, the Pure’s is 2.75″ x 1.6″].

While a smaller screen does lend itself to a smaller device build and better pocketability, it does not make for easier finger maneuvering on the screen. I think that is one of the reasons I am beginning to appreciate the non-touchscreen version of Windows Mobile [formerly known as Smartphone and then Windows Mobile Standard] better than the touchscreen versions. Oddly enough, those devices feel less compromised to me, because they do not come with an inherent touch promise that isn’t quite met.

OK…let’s stop beating that dead horse and agree that the touch system is not ideal, is only skin deep, and is seriously lacking – especially on these smaller-screened devices.

Moving right along… There is no LED flash or lens cover on the rear 5.0 megapixel camera.


Here’s a sample photo taken with the HTC Pure.

htc pure sample

judie_snap That indoor photo looks pretty good, actually – and not just because of the cartoon bubble’s caption you added. Because there is no LED flash, lighting must be close to optimal to get great photos. In low light or other less than ideal situations, the picture quality will be meh at best – which means grainy and dark!

Unlike the iPhone, the Pure’s 1100 mAh battery is user removable and replaceable. Up to a 32GB microUSB card can be inserted in the slot located just under the stylus tip, and it is only accessible when the battery cover is removed. So if you are willing to shell out an additional ~$40, you will have a 16GB Windows Mobile Phone, perfect for loading with applications, music and movies. Hmmm…now you would definitely be getting into 16GB iPhone 3GS pricing territory [$199]. When they are available, 32GB microSD cards will likely be priced around ~$120 (taking a wild guess), and for that you would be in 32GB iPhone 3GS territory [$299]. It’s just something to keep in mind.





Here is the Pure next to its obvious competition, the iPhone 3GS, which is slightly taller and slightly wider.


Wayne will likely want to expand upon this a bit, but I say that the iPhone is the obvious competition because both devices are advertised as touch based, both are listed in the “smartphones” category on AT&T’s site, and here’s the kicker: you can get an iPhone 3G 8GB for $99, or you can get the 16GB iPhone 3GS for $199; the Pure sits squarely in the middle of these two at $149.99. Hmm. Going with the 3GS, the iPhone gives you ~16GB, larger screen, the Apple App store (lots of apps priced between $0.00 and $5.00), a truly touch-based interface – just to start. The Pure gives you 235.39MB storage out of the box, a smaller yet higher resolution screen, the new Windows Marketplace (not too many apps yet, but priced between $0.00 and $20 – just in the “Most Poopular” section), and a touch GUI laid over a stylus based operating system.


The iPhone 3GS is also slightly thinner…and it has a 3.5mm headphone jack.


wayne I’d actually be fine with using the HTC Pure versus the iPhone if there was similar functionality in both smartphones. I like the size of the Pure and it seems as sturdy as the iPhone. Unfortunately this little thing called a user interface gets in the way –  the iPhone just wins handily.

Plus the iPhone has a 3.5mm headphone jack.

You know the one thing that I think might have won me over a little more to Windows Mobile 6.5 was if Zune Pass capabilities were built into the operating system. Call me crazy but I actually like renting music and find the Zune store to be a fun experience.

Sadly there’s no trace of fun in the multi-media area of this Windows 6.5 device.

Windows Mobile 6.5

judie_snap So let’s jump right in and talk about Windows Mobile 6.5. Wayne mentioned liking what Windows Phone users have grown used to, the HTC Home Screen with Touch Flo 3D, but I decided to turn that off and take a look at the new Windows Default screen in one of five designer patterns/colors included on the Pure – the Isaac Mizrahi purple plaid, which Wayne called “rainbow watermarked” and “a nasty theme.” 😆

Other than the fact that it looks like the same pattern cummerbund that my date wore to senior prom back in 1985, the layout is absolutely Zune-esque. I really like this interface, and I like the notification numbers next to the appropriate items. I just wish that they would have carried the Zune styling a bit deeper, and really gone for the gusto!


wayne I used the HTC Touchflo 3D exclusively and loved the interface. I’ve experienced the Zune interface on my Zune HD, and given the right menu layouts I think a Zune interface works for future versions of Windows Mobile.

The problem with Windows 6.5 is that it took me forever to figure how to change my Windows Mobile color theme. I was searching everywhere to find one stinkin’ option. Some of the programs are buried 3 or 4 levels deep in Windows. It took me a lot of searching just to find the music player which on my device was buried in a folder labeled AT&T.

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judie_snap You’re right Wayne, the menus are not exactly intuitive. Since this was an AT&T branded device that we reviewed, I am going to give Windows Mobile a tiny bit of leeway here – especially in the case of the music player, because I know that things may have been labeled less clearly in order to get the AT&T equivalents listed (poor move on Microsoft’s part, by the way). Regarding themes, however – it is nutty. In order to change one, you have to hit Start, then Settings, then Today (the icon with the gear on it, not the Today menu icon without a gear), then you can select the theme. This is not intuitive, and the only reason I know exactly how to do this any time I pick up a Windows Mobile Phone is because it is basically the same way it’s been done since my first Pocket PC in…2000. Ack.

Okay Redmond, seriously?! There have been at least five major upgrades to the Pocket PC/ Windows Mobile Professional/Windows Mobile Phone platform since the PPC’s introduction. Why is it that it was never deemed a necessity to make customizing ones PDA or phone a more intuitive and user friendly experience? I mean, it shouldn’t have ever been assumed that every user would have the same long history with it that some of us have! But I digress.

Tapping the Start button at the top right (or the Start hardware button) brings up the new very finger-friendly “honeycomb” launcher, which is quite different from the old Start Menu Windows Mobile users were used to seeing. Tapping icons in the launcher for items that usually contain sub-menus, like Settings or Apps, will open another similarly styled finger-friendly launcher window. You can arrange the icons somewhat, by pressing and holding and then tapping the “Move to Top” command that appears. There is no “Hide from View” option, though, and there is no way to drag the icons to a preferred location, like there is on an iPhone.


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[Sidenote: It does look a bit like a rainbow puked all over this Windows Phone’s screen. Hmm.]

But here’s where things get troublesome; tapping launcher icons for Windows Mobile utilities will bring up only slightly updated versions the utilities. Yes, the slightly larger radio buttons and tap bars are nice, as are the enlarged touch menus, but see the itty-bitty X in the upper right hand corner? That is still how you minimize a window. FAIL. When there is a slider bar on the right side of the screen, it is still a bit too thin for easy finger use. FAIL. The haptic feedback when you are tapping out letters on the keyboard is NOT a fail. Not having autocomplete words suggested as you type without turning on the thoroughly obnoxious XT9? FAIL.


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Tapping programs will bring up applications that are only as touch-centric as the developer deemed necessary; you should be aware that this can be a very wide curve, since there really is no oversight on what can or can’t be a Windows Mobile application. In other words, it is up to the developer whether or not they will take advantage of the touchscreen APIs. I want to think that applications which make it into the Marketplace will have passed some sort of certification process, but since the Marketplace is not the only place to get applications, and since there are already thousands and thousands of PPC/WM apps available, chances are that you may very well download a total clunker with absolutely no touch features. At least Marketplace offers a money back guarantee on applications, something Apple has never done.


I was able to connect all the standard applications to my Google Apps account and receive emails, contacts and calendar entries. The one odd thing I noticed is that any of my contacts that did not have a name but only a company showed with a blank entry under contacts. I still could click on the entry and eventually view the contact but it would get old quickly to have to go through contact by contact looking for the entry you need.

judie_snap Next, I think we need to talk about the “updated” Internet Explorer 6 experience. I’m not sure exactly where to start, so I will just jump in. Good things include the fact that the Pure’s screen is such a high resolution, because it does allow you to zoom in or out using the finger-swipe bar under the screen, which is great for rendering full web pages legibly. I like the Nokia-esque screen location viewer on the bottom right that shows you where you can jump to, and overall the feel is better than it’s ever been. The bad news is that in my opinion it still falls way short of the Safari browser experience on the iPhone. Sorry Microsoft, but that is the new standard, and you haven’t really done much of anything to raise the bar.


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wayne I was actually okay with the browser. Once I got the hang of using the zoom bar underneath the screen I was able to be reasonably proficient with the browser, and the images seemed very clear (albeit slow to render). I think part of my lack of disappointment here is that I’m used to an absolutely terrible browser on the BlackBerry platform, which makes just about any browser a better experience. There was an Opera browser on my device which I used and was reasonably happy with.

Would this browser be my first choice? No. But it’s lots better than BlackBerry that’s for sure. I guess I’d rate it between passable and good (I’d rate BlackBerry’s browser in the awful category).

Well there’s a ringing endorsement if I’ve ever heard one: “It’s lots better than the BlackBerry, which is absolutely terrible, and makes just about any browser a better experience.” :eyeroll:


Microsoft MyPhone – backups and more

wayne “My Phone” is a service included with Windows Mobile 6.5. It offers the ability to totally synchronize your phone data (and also upload digital music).  In testing this worked reasonably well on Internet Explorer.

The synchronization is not real time though, and according to the site it connects once daily.

What’s synchronized? Contacts, calendar items, tasks, text messages, browser favorites, photos, videos, music, and documents. If you already sync your contacts, calendar appointments, or tasks with an Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) account, you can’t sync them with My Phone to avoid conflicts with your Exchange account.

microsoft myphone

I tested uploading an MP3 (Upload size is limited to 15 MB per file – and you can upload songs in the following file formats: mp3, wav, aif, mid, amr, aac, au, awb, dm, m4a, midi, mp1, mp2, mpa, ogg, ram, rng, wma, wve) from my computer, which I thought was a cool way to get music to my phone.  Unfortunately It seemed not to work on my Google Chrome web browser. There’s also no way to upload a group of MP3 files – this is strictly a one at a time project.

At best the loading of music via the myPhone services appears destined for casual use .  I was able to access MyPhone from Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. I had some problems with Chrome accepting the upload, but that may have been operator error on my part.

The TouchFlo 3D interface keeps the music player right on the main screen Just hope you don’t try to look for the player without the use of TouchFlo, because another oddity on this phone is that the music player (Windows Media) is hidden away in a non-intuitive place named “AT&T Music” — at first I thought that was just going to be another place to buy music, but after searching everywhere I’ve found that it holds the Windows Media 6.5 music player.

It drives me crazy not to be able to find simple menu options. If I have to wade through lots of menus, I start to lose interest.

judie_snap I agree that was a poor place to put it, but I am partly ready to chalk that up to the heavy handed way in which AT&T was able to leave their mark all over the Pure, including loading their usual crApplications on the launcher. Honestly, I don’t understand how Apple was able to get the iPhone on AT&T without it being loaded with crapware, and yet Microsoft can’t do the same for a single Windows Phone.And since they have allowed such a strong precedent to stand, I doubt we will ever see a Windows Phone that isn’t loaded with extra carrier crApplications.

wayne Now that I’ve found the music player — all I need to do is find the music that the myPhone service claims to have downloaded to the phone.

You’d think a reasonable first place to look would be “My Library” — but I don’t see any music there despite the MyPhone Sync log claiming to have downloaded the MP3 that I sent via the MyPhone web interface.

Upon closer inspection I found that I had to navigate deep into another menu and select “update library” before my MP3 files that I’d wirelessly downloaded were displayed. This has got to be some type of joke. Does anyone find this intuitive? This is a “Smart”phone – right? What’s so smart about forcing a user to manually update an mp3 library to find their song that was downloaded from Microsoft’s very own service?


Wayne, this is straight out of PocketPC Phone 2002, or perhaps even 2000. Unintuitive and clumsy sub-menus and the hoops you have to jump through to get basic services is why I am starting to think that Windows Mobile is the new “feature phone”.  I don’t believe that Windows Mobile is necessarily stupid, as it is loaded with features – assuming that you can find them to use them, but it is certainly not smart, because you have to dig to figure anything out past what’s displayed on the basic Home Screen.


wayne While MyPhone allows you to share with social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook – it lacks some connections that I think would be amazing. For example how about a way to connect podcasts to the MyPhone service so that they’re automatically downloaded?

Also how about creating a sync folder on my desktop instead of requiring me to log in and upload MP3 files one by one? An email address that I could email MP3 files and have the upload to the service would be cool too.

Or better yet – how about if I can favorite a song on my Zune HD and the My Phone service picks that up and sends a limited time copy over to my friend’s Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphone? Now THAT would be cool.

judie_snap Okay, I’ve been thinking about this a bit more. You know what my biggest problem with the AT&T Pure is? It does feels like a feature phone – like an S60 phone in a way, but definitely not like a smart phone or even a very capable business tool. I am not sure that there is any specific reason why I feel this way, because Windows Mobile 6.5 is certainly capable of doing all of the business functions that Windows Mobile versions did before, and then some.

It’s just…something has changed, and the magic is no longer there. I picked the Pure up, explored the new interface, and I think that it is a visually pleasing experience but it just doesn’t “speak to me.” Windows Mobile 6.5 sparked no excitement, it didn’t scratch my imagination, and there was no sense of wonder. In other words, I didn’t pick up the Pure and go “this is amazing because now I can ____! I can’t wait to write about this”

It’s more like “what can I do with this that I can’t do already with my iPhone? Not much.


wayne I have the exact same thoughts. If I were ok with just using this phone with the TouchFlo 3D interface that HTC loads, then I really think that I’d be okay with the phone. The problem that I think the Pure suffers from is that phones like iPhone and the Palm Pre (which has amazingly simple and effective sync) just raised our expectations so high, that in order to really get excited about a new phone and platform there’s got to be a WOW factor.

Except for the flip clock on the HTC Pure, there’s really no “wow”. Instead I wound up downloading HTC like themes for my BlackBerry and MyTouch 3D, which provided much the same interface as the HTC pure.


The HTC Pure is available from AT&T.

Both phones were provided to Gear Diary on loan for review.

Both will be returned within the 2 week review period.

wayne I wouldn’t have kept mine even if they offered.

But if there were some added Zune features in Windows Mobile 6.5, a slightly more polished interface and 100% touch capabilities (without the awkward missed characters that I experienced consistently), then I would have been a lot sadder to see the Pure go home.

As it stands now I just couldn’t see myself using this phone as a regular smartphone. However if I were in the market for a feature phone (weather, calendar, appointments) I think that I definitely would consider this – especially given that AT&T is only charging $149 after contract which means that retailers like Amazon will likely offer it in the $49 range.

judie_snap Right, but if you need a feature phone that does all that, why not just buy an iPhone 3G for 99? For $50 less you get all of the things you mentioned, plus a phone that does media right – along with that 3.5mm jack we keep harping about.  And for $50 more, you’re into 2009 with the 16GB 3GS.

But to the point, if we had been allowed to keep these, I would have probably given mine away or kept it solely as a Windows Mobile software testing device.

Which obviously means that the AT&T Pure is a device that neither of us would be willing to buy and use as our daily driver.


MSRP: $149.99 with two-year contract and rebates, $349.99 without contract

What We Liked:

– Camera and video were excellent in my testing. I agree; they perform well.
– Nice build quality – solid feel and the screen doesn’t wash out in direct sunlight; I also agree with this
– TouchFlo 3D = Awesome – if your primarily check weather, time and upcoming appointments with no apps or web browsing – buy this phone!
I like the new 6.5 Home screen; the hint-of-Zune interface is nicely done, and using touch for the first few layers is lovely
– Battery life seemed decent – I only tested this for a few days but I never had any of those 2pm re-charge problems like I’ve seen on both the iPhone and BlackBerry

What Needs Improvement:

Microsoft’s Windows Phone has lost its mojo! Where is Austin Powers when you need him?
– Replace the proprietary USB headphone jack with an industry standard 3.5mm jack. Yes, please!
– Windows Mobile 6.5 needs a better UI – something more along the lines of the Zune HD
– Integration with Microsoft’s Zune music service  – especially the  Zune Pass music rental portion
– In all seriousness, I just really wanted to be wowed by Windows Mobile again…and I wasn’t. 🙁

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.

13 Comments on "Impressions on Windows Mobile 6.5 and the AT&T Pure Windows Phone"

  1. Have to say that we are a bit disappointed as well.

  2. Impressions on Windows Mobile 6.5 and the AT from @iNewsApp

  3. Sad to hear the Pure was uninspiring.

    I did stumble across one very positive aspect of windows marketplace this weekend. I installed the cab on my propel pro last week, but had some unrelated issues after a borked Sprite backup/restore. I hard reset my phone, then reinstalled marketplace…when I signed in with my ID, it gave me a list of the programs I’d installed through marketplace and offered to reinstall them all.

    It was very handy to have it essentially restore my (marketplace) programs for me; in the future I’ll probably think about purchasing through the marketplace over mobihand or something similar, just for that feature alone.

  4. People like you have helped make it much better. RT @webis_mobile: Have to say that we are a bit disappointed as well.

  5. Impressions on Windows Mobile 6.5 and the AT&T Pure Windows Phone …

  6. Sorry to hear that guys 🙁 Sign of the times I guess… I’ve been using a Touch Diamond2 for about 6 weeks (work enforced). As a consequence, I have had to give up my Curve and iPhone (to willing family members!)

    Initially, I was pretty appalled too. Resistive to capacitive is a one-way street in my opinion. Over time, however, this device has really grown on me. That and the installation of cooked ROMs. The later builds, such as 23064, are actually really stable and bring what should have been in 6.5 natively, although these are apparently “6.5.1” – whatever that means…

  7. Impressions on Windows Mobile 6.5 and the AT&T Pure Windows Phone …: This was my first experience with a ..

  8. RT @ukmobilephone: Impressions on Windows Mobile 6.5 and the AT&T Pure Windows Phone …

  9. Impressions on Windows Mobile 6.5 and the AT&T Pure Windows Phone …

  10. I must be really strange, because most of the gripes in above article doesn’t really bother me.
    I for one don’t really care about capacitive stuff.
    Maybe it is much better experience than resistive – I don’t know, my iPhone and G1 experience was too short to make such claim, but since capacitive screen doesn’t give me ability to draw on the screen it’s not all that great.
    I like the fact that I can use stylus and draw/write a handwritten note or a picture – it’s faster, easier and more intuitive that typing. I use my phone to make notes on meetings, I use Evernote to jot down quick handwritten notes/reminders and even my kids like to draw on a device.

    I don’t really care about 3,5mm jack. I have BT stereo headset for listening to the music, and I rarely do it anyway. I’m not an audiophile so quality is OK for me and for what is worth I doubt that expensive headset connected to a phone for listening an MP3 file would give me great experience. And HTC allready confirmed that they will include 3.5mm jack in their future models as standard.

    Finding stuff is also not that difficult for me, maybe because I use WM/PocketPC devices since 2000, but really – I doubt that changing a theme is that difficult to find and do, even for an ordinary user and stuff like music player is anyway accessible directly from main, TF3D or native WM6.5 screen.

    But I do agree that WM needs a complete UI overhaul and that it looks both dated and clumsy, WM6.5 didn’t change much here.

  11. I laughed reading about finding stuff … for quite a while I used my HP iPaq 4355 (the one with the physical keyboard) running WiMo 2003, then earlier this year went full time to my Axim x51v and recently upped that to WiMo 6.1 – and am amazed at how similar it is back to the original PPC devices. I have my kids set up on the iPaq 4355 and HP Jornada 548 (original launch-era device) … and changing themes and that was so quick for me, but they were like ‘WHA?!?!’

  12. I registered with this forum just to ask, are the reviewers on drugs? In the predictable fashion of todays media outlets, this is a biased review that focused on what the reviewers perceive to be cons of the pure. The stylus is included as an available option. IF you want to use it you can. Something apple is not into….. Choices. If you dont have an issue with having proprietary crap crammed down your throat, then go for the i-phone. Ohh and this is a review of a product, not a whining sesion. Quit complaining about the lack of a 3.5 jack. Dont get me wrong, this is annoying and i HATE proprietary anything. However, it does come with an adapter. Im sorry that you are irresponsible and will lose it, but if you can manage to keep those head phones, then keep the adapter with them and you wont lose it. Seriously, one of your gripes is based on your own possible foul up. This makes me seriously question the credibility of this site and the reviewers. This is based on the biased and/or misinformation blogged on these pages, not because we included an optional stylus with a touch screen phone. Also, the latest blue tooth profile (2.1) supports stereo audio via blue tooth. This is a mood point however, being that the Wi-Fi Alliance will have a standard for the new peer to peer Wi-Fi. The throughput speeds are true Wi-Fi and should eliminate blue tooth and wired headsets starting in 2010. As far as the UI and cover flow complaints are concerned, do your research before you demo and review a product. If you did this maybe the readers would understand that Windows 7 mobile has been in development for quite sometime. 6.5 is an intermediate step from 6.1 to 7. You would also know that build 6.5.1 was finished around the time of this review and can be found on the web. This build addresses cover flow lag, UI issues (more sensitive keyboard, better response time and better OS integration. FYI, you can zoom in and out on the UI giving the option to make the keyboard larger or smaller. Id keep going but i have to get to class…. But please follow “common sense 101” and know about the product you are review so you can give a fair unbiased review, that is if you care about the truth.

  13. Hello sirwink, and welcome to Gear Diary, where I can assure you that the reviewers are not on drugs, but they do think it’s funny you asked.

    To address your points in no particular order:

    -“You would also know that build 6.5.1 was finished around the time of this review and can be found on the web.”

    Windows 6.5.1 may be available on the web, but not through official channels. The site doesn’t review Warez which in the truest sense, non-carrier or non-vendor builds are…(wait for it)…warez.

    -“If you did this maybe the readers would understand that Windows 7 mobile has been in development for quite sometime. 6.5 is an intermediate step from 6.1 to 7.”

    Windows Mobile 7 is announced, but nothing official is out on it. I don’t care HOW much you have seen on the web regarding it, nothing is official. How WM7 behaves or looks in mock-ups is not necessarily what the finished product will look like.

    -“Choices. If you dont have an issue with having proprietary crap crammed down your throat, then go for the i-phone.”

    Uh, the HTC dongle is proprietary, and we will complain about it as long as we find it annoying – or until things become uniform.

    -“Quit complaining about the lack of a 3.5 jack. Dont get me wrong, this is annoying and i HATE proprietary anything. However, it does come with an adapter. Im sorry that you are irresponsible and will lose it, but if you can manage to keep those head phones, then keep the adapter with them and you wont lose it.”

    Why would we want to carry around a proprietary dongle when other devices have a 3.5mm jack built into them? It is one more thing to lose…and it is easy to lose stylus’ by the way.

    – “This is based on the biased and/or misinformation blogged on these pages, not because we included an optional stylus with a touch screen phone.”

    You stated “we included a stylus”… do you work for AT&T or HTC? Who is this magical “we”?

    – “This is based on the biased and/or misinformation blogged on these pages” and “But please follow “common sense 101? and know about the product you are review so you can give a fair unbiased review, that is if you care about the truth.”

    One of the reviewers (me) is a Windows Phone user and has been for a long time. I think that of anyone, I want to see Windows Mobile / Windows Phones succeed. But that doesn’t mean I am going to give kudos when they are not deserved.

    ” The throughput speeds are true Wi-Fi and should eliminate blue tooth and wired headsets starting in 2010.”

    I don’t care about WiFi Alliances in 2010 on this 2009 model phone. YOUR point, sir, is moot (not mood)

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