App review: SlingPlayer Mobile for Windows Phone 7

As you might have heard a little while back, Windows Phone 7 is the latest smartphone OS to have joined the SlingPlayer gang, meaning WP7 fanatics like Ballmer can be couch potatoes wherever they are. Well, assuming they have data connectivity — be it 3G or WiFi — and some battery juice on their phones. For better or for worse, the latest SlingPlayer Mobile app is very much like its other flavors — same easy preparation, a familiar interface, and a similarly tear-inducing $30 price tag. There is, however, one nice addition: a new "Zoom" button on the menu page, which actually chops away a good portion of the black border around the picture. Another noteworthy difference is the more stylish interface in comparison to the Android and iOS versions, but of course, some might think otherwise.

Also on the menu page is a "Quality" button for toggling between standard video quality and high video quality. Annoyingly, said switch is always set to standard at every launch. We can't help but to think that this is for covering up the app's shortfall — we noticed while high quality streaming does indeed have good picture quality, the frequency of buffering increased over time. Similarly, response time to our button and gesture inputs also got longer and longer — at one point it took about 20 seconds for us to change a channel on our Freeview box, and that's with our HTC 7 Mozart sitting on the same network as our Slingbox Pro HD! Needless to say, it took even longer over 3G. We then double-checked using our iPhone and Nexus One but failed to reproduce the same bugs. Thankfully, a simple restart of the app eased our frustration, but we expect Sling Media to actually deliver a fix soon. Anyhow, there's a video walkthrough after the break while you wait for the update.