People Hub is the best phone/social book to date. The first tab shows you a list of all your contacts (phone contacts, social network friends, email contacts - everything), with a search shortcut and an Add Contact button.
Contacts are ordered alphabetically, indexed with colored letter tiles. You can tap any one of those letter boxes and the screen shows you the entire alphabet highlighting the letters actually in use. You can tap a letter to scroll to that part of the list.
Contacts can be sorted by either first name or last, and they can be displayed as "First Last" or "Last, First" (the two settings are separate). You can also filter contacts by choosing which services are used to build the list of your contacts (so you can hide Twitter contacts, for example).
Rooms is similar but more advanced - it's a private social network of sorts. Rooms allows group chats, but also sharing a private calendar, notes (including to-do lists), photos and videos. The default Room is the Family room and you can easily invite your relatives.
The Me card is your own profile. From here you can post status updates, set chat status, check into locations. You can also change your profile picture.
Another tab in the Me card lets you view notifications (e.g. Twitter mentions) and, finally, What's new lets you view your own status updates.
Swiping to the side brings out the What's new tab, which shows the latest updates and events just from that contact. Pictures is where the contact's Facebook albums are.
The History tab has the complete history of exchange with a contact in one place, displayed chronologically. Everything but status updates is listed here: calls, texts (actually threads from the Messaging hub) and emails.
When editing a contact, you can add multiple phone numbers and email addresses of different types (home, work, etc.), a custom ringtone, a note or a variety of different fields (like birthday, website, office location and so on).
The Samsung Ativ SE offered loud and clear in-call sound. Signal reception was problem-free as well - hardly a surprise considering the quality of the Verizon network.
The phone application shows you the call history, with shortcuts to voice mail, dialer and phonebook. A live tile will show the number of missed calls, as will the lock screen.
The dialer itself is as simple as it gets - a phone keypad with a Call and a Save button. The lack of smart dialing is an annoyance, but the People hub is good at finding contacts.
Upon an incoming call, the contact's photo will appear full screen for you to slide up and reveal the call buttons. This will prevent any calls from being accidentally answered or rejected.
The quality of the loudspeaker was good. Missed calls are certainly not going to be a problem.
The Messaging department is excellent in Windows Phone. Threads are the building blocks of all non-email messaging. Although a sort of conversation view, threads mash together SMS, Facebook and Windows Live messages.
Threads is where this hub's impressive features kick in. A new thread is created for each person you start a chat with. Messages are displayed as speech bubbles and a label on the left shows the type of message - text, Facebook or Live Messenger.
The visual voicemail functionality is also part of the OS (but its availability is dependent on your plan and the carrier). It works as expected, letting you read your voicemail messages instead of listening to them.
Windows Phone 8 offers a unified inbox for email, a feature introduced with 7.5. You can link multiple inboxes (and unlink them individually later), so that you have a single place to check for new messages.
You can mark individual emails as read/unread, flag and unflag, etc. Finally, you can search your entire mail for individual emails - it's a very useful feature, especially for those with busy inboxes.
The WP QWERTY keyboard is very comfortable to use and offers sound feedback. There's no haptic feedback and there's no way of enabling it.