Right after I updated my Lumia 610 from Windows Phone 7.5 to version 7.8, I put it back on and found that the start screen looks so much better. At first, I chalked it up to the usual sentiments that come with an update, but as I used the device, I found little bits and pieces that confirmed that indeed the new start screen is significantly better.
Vertical Space On The Right is Gone
That ugly space on the right of the start screen that had an arrow at the top of it is now gone. It was a waste of space anyway, and now, the tiles on WP 7.8 are spread out across the full width of the display. Better use of space, and it looks better too.
Tiles now Resizable
Where on WP 7.5, the maximum number of tiles you could see and access on the display without scrolling was eight (8), now you can pin a maximum of 24 tiles (if you make all of them small size). But who would do that anyway? The start screen would just look boring. By choosing a combination of small, medium and large sizes for different tiles, you end up with between say 10 and 20 tiles – more shortcuts, increasing usability, and your start screen looking far more interesting.
The image above shows the old Windows Phone 7.5 start screen on the left and the new version 7.8 (and v8) version on the right. Windows Phone 7.8 doesn’t have half the new features of Windows Phone 8, but the above improvements to the start screen make for a big difference in usability and aesthetics on Windows Phone 7 smartphones that get updated to Windows version 7.8 of the OS.