OK, well I got my first real solid experience with the windows phone on my flight back today. SO here goes:
The Windows experience on the phone is much more like Android and iOS than the Windows we are used to on the desktop. Whatever that means to you, to me it's a little on the sour side, but also no big deal as of yet. As I mentioned earlier, I'm curious how Windows is going to be dealing with basic file/folder management on the phone. That's a big deal to me, but I'm also open to new ways of doing it on a small touch device...but right now, there isn't anything special I can tell that's different from any other mobile OS where files get locked to their apps (if no hacking occurs). It seems as though Sky Drive linking may be the solution, which is not bad actually. Skydrive is good, especially if you use the Office suite. But for just basic file management, people like us will miss a lot of functionality. Still better than android and ios on that front.
Secondly, the interface is, i think, nicer than android and ios. Cleaner, less cute and for kids, more for adults. There is a lot of potential, but currently it's just potential...nothing is happening. Even basic apps like Dropbox aren't ready for primetime (again, sky drive competition). The tiles are very cool in that you can resize the boxes, and supposedly convenient information can be shown there. The only app i have doing it well is facebook, which makes good use of a bunch of tiles to show what's going on. The other apps stink right now. The email/text/etc apps you'd expect to make excellent use of tiles and show the last couple emails or notification, etc. But now, it's minimal. It'll let you know if you have a new text, it will show the first line of your latest gmail. I'd like something more flexible. Hopefully, apps willl start having user options of what to show on the tiles. Right now, it's dictatorship...the app developers choose what to show, if anything.
I was also expecting more customizeability with the tile colors and sizes. You can choose from 30 or so colors, and it will only color non-colored apps (which is most of them). Some apps, like the att apps, are aready colored, you can't change those. And it's not like you can tweak the appearance like in desktop windows, where we are used to messing around with fonts, font sizes, title bar, background color, etc. Nope, just one color. All the tiles will have that color, and the accents in various programs will have that color. not much tweaking available.
the speed is on par with ios, definitely faster than android, or just better. I think it actually beats ios in terms of touch response, but I'm not terribly confident of that statement. android sucks balls here, even the s3 with all it's specs is lame with touch response...which indicates it's an android issue, not a phone issue.
So far, I like the phone much better than any iphone or android phone. It's a good phone, and windows is not bad on the phone. The things to keep an eye out for for those considering the purchase of a windows phone:
--wait for a healthy FREE apps market. Only then will you be able to judge this versus the other phones. Good free apps are the sign of a healthy app market.
--keep an eye on on news about tile features; this is the best and most unique feature of the phone, being able to glance a lot of detailed info right on the home screen.
--hopefully future updates of the phone will bring more hardcore system options, control-panel type stuff. This phone hardly has anything. It has an option for "theme" and there are just two things you can do: change accent color, change overall look between "light" and "dark". very lame.
--i'd also be interested in alternative keyboard options, like swype. My professional friends LOVE swype. but I'd like a keyboard that has cursor keys (up-down-left-right) which for some reason ALL mobile OSs avoid. it sucks trying to highlight accurately with your finger. By the way, Windows phone also has (by a slight margin) the best copy/paste tools of the mobile OSs. it sucks on iOS, it sucks on Android, and it sucks a little less on Windows. that's how i'd put it.