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Windows Phone 6.5 review: first look

Microsoft only took the wraps of the final version of the operating system today, but here's our first look review of what Windows Phone 6.5 (formerly Windows Mobile 6.5) has to offer.

Windows Mobile is back, but has it returned along with the frustrations of old or can a leopard change its spots?

Let's cut to the chase. Historically, we haven't been the biggest fans of Windows Mobile. In fact, when we reviewed the Toshiba TG01, we nearly threw it out of the window. However, times have changed - for the better.

On the day of the new operating system's launch, we got to spend some time up close and personal with to see just how much it has changed.

Windows Phone 6.5, or Windows Mobile 6.5 as it is also known - was demoed to us using an HTC Touch Pro 2, a device already popular with business users. But for this first look, we shall focus solely on what the operating system has to offer as it will be available in many shells in the not-too-distant future.

The first thing that strikes you is the new lock icon. A small padlock sits at the top of the screen, doing exactly what its name suggests. If you have unread text messages, emails, missed calls, outstanding tasks and so on, the padlock will also display a number alerting you to that fact.

Press it and it will detail what that number means. If, say, you've got an unread text at the top, you just click and it takes you straight to that message, enabling you to quickly and easily read it and reply without having to visit the home screen.

If you've got no outstanding alerts, just slide the lock to the right and you'll arrive at the home screen. The home screen is customisable, meaning you can put the tools and apps that matter to you most at the front of the queue.

The HTC Touch Pro 2's screen is resistive, but that said it's still responsive. Microsoft confirmed that devices with capacitive screens will soon be available that will move the touchscreen experience up a notch for users.

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