After reading several reviews and first impressions of the retail Windows Phone 7 handsets I decided that I wanted to get my hands of a couple of the devices before shelling out $500 for a new phone.
Yesterday (being the last day of December) I decided to check in again with Future Shop, Best Buy and a Rogers Wireless retail store to see if anyone had any stock of the Samsung focus in Vancouver - still nothing. I did notice that Futureshop is now selling the LG Quantum with a slide out keyboard for Bell customers. Its a start but it still doesn't help me.
Today I took a trip down to Redmond to see if could get my hands on a phone south of the border. The Microsoft retail store in Bellevue Square is currently selling 5 phones for various carriers - and all of them are turned on and setup for display.
Samsung Focus: Thin, light and responsive. The color accuracy and brightness seems a little off but that could have been from the overly bright lights in the MS Store
LG Quantum: Looks like a good device but I'd like a larger screen and I'd prefer a thinner phone without a slide out keyboard. The display and responsiveness seemed good.
HTC Surround: I've used one of these devices before and its good (although a little thick) but I do notice just a bit of ghosting when scrolling through menus.
HTC HD7: A beautiful and thin device but substantially heavier than the Focus (its closest competitor feature-wise). I also has VERY vi sable ghosting on scrolling text, so much that I wouldn't buy the device which is unfortunate because it was my favorite of the phones on paper.
Dell Venue Pro: Another good phone but the weight and thickness make it uninteresting and I personally don't like the bottom slide out keyboard. The keys are smaller than the onscreen keyboard so I don't see the need for it.
After deciding that the phone I wanted to buy was the Samsung Focus I quickly discovered that the Microsoft store doesn't sell any phones unlocked nor will they provide any assistance with unlocking the phone. I was told that if I used AT&T service for 3 months they would then provide an unlock code.
I walked over to the AT&T retail store to see if I could get a different answer and they claimed complete ignorance and simply stated they don't sell unlocked phones.
It also looks like expansys.ca is no longer selling the Samsung Focus so I think my next step is to try ordering one online from Rogers.com for the inflated price of $599.99 Canadian ...