Metro UI. The sleek, simple, and live-tiled interface for Windows Phone 7. While many Android users shoot it down for lack of customization, I have to say I like it. While I love the customization Android has to offer, Metro UI is very pretty. While it may not have deep integration with the OS, like WP7, it does its best to deliver a look and feel, with a few extra tools for customization. Let’s dig into this!
As for looks, this application pulls off mimicking the WP7 look very well. It offers the tiles with customizable icons, and list of applications on the right. The notification bar can be hidden, and you can use the built in bar. It shows basic stats like if wifi is on, 3g service, time, and battery. I personally think it looks silly, and am fine with the Gingerbread notification bar; but for those who have white notifications bars, this would be a good alternative. As an added bonus, when launching apps, there is a nifty tile animation. The animation also plays when returning home. Though, sometimes it messes up a little bit. The transitions either don’t happen, or they play and it kind of stalls.
Performance wise, it’s mostly awesome. I get a few hiccups with animations and the application list randomly refreshing. Other than that, everything runs smoothly. When I first installed the application, I got a few force closes; after that, things ran fine.
Notification are also supported. Some of the tiles (messaging, gmail, gtalk, phone) will show a number displaying the amount of notifications for the application. Now I, personally, want a Google Voice notification tile, because I don’t use standard SMS. I think it would be nice if the developer could add a little more. A nice bonus is “live tiles”. Now, they obviously aren’t going to be as feature-rich as WP7, but it does add a nice touch. As of now, the only live tile is for contacts. Every ten seconds (default) it picks a contact at random and puts their picture on the contacts tile. It looks pretty and adds some pizazz, spicing things up.
Customization in this application gets as custom as it can get. You can set wallpapers (live wallpapers and all) or just disable them, making your wallpaper only visible on the lockscreen. You can change the tile colors to preset or custom colors. The light and dark “themes” from WP7 are also present, though I personally think it looks funny white. (And you can also save power if you have an AMOLED screen with the black) Moving tiles around is fairly simple, you just hold down on it and move it around. If you want to edit it, you can drag it to the top and do so, You can also delete it from the top.
- It’s pretty. REALLY pretty.
- Runs smoothly.
- Live tile concept brought to Android.
- The customization keeps it from going stale.
- (Not sure on this one) I have noticed some battery life straining.
- Animation hiccups.
- Lack of notification support for Gvoice.
- Application list randomly refreshes, but doesn’t show the applications after refresh. It lies!
Overall, I think this is a nifty homecreen replacement. I know what people say, “If you want to feel like you’re using WP7, just use it.” but people still want choices. If we think like this, we’ll cut ourselves short. This application comes in two flavors, lite and paid. The paid version is $2.99. I highly recommend getting the paid version. It has more features than the lite version; it also felt like it ran better. Could just be me. I give it a 4.6/5. The few hiccups I get with animations is a minor thing. The application list refreshing randomly and not loading anything when it does refresh, that’s a problem. I also hate the lack of Google Voice notification tile.