Well with Mark informing me that Microsoft have rolled out a beta version of MSN Messenger 7, I thought it was time a give my opinions on it after using it for a couple of hours. It is only the beta version so of course all of these things could be rendered obsolete with the arrival of the final version.

Things I like:

MSN Messenger 7 (beta) signin

Very snazzy, now displaying the users image file along with it!

MSN Messenger 7 (beta) main window

Nice new look!

MSN Messenger 7 (beta) hand writing

Handwriting support, or "mousewriting", you can go ahead and draw with the mouse all in the message box, something that was only previously found on things like a Windows XP Tablet PC, or graphics tablets.

MSN Messenger 7 (beta) contact card

Very cool idea, however far too limited at the moment - see below.

Things that are bothering me:

I've got "Click here to customize MSN Messenger" on the bottom of my windows, no thanks, get rid of that please.

"Winks" silly full window animations and sounds that pop up every time someone sends you one (you can disable them automatically playing within options). Worse still is having MSN sound disabled doesn't effect these. Something Microsoft need to address in the next build in my opinion.

The contact cards. Too limited, yeah it's really cool that you can see what's happening on someone's MSN Spaces page, their pictures and music etc. But why not make it more customizable? Being able to specify my own RSS feed or something similar would be great. I've got my blog here, I don't really want to setup one at MSN Spaces just to take advantage of this feature. Making this feature more customizable would turn it into not just a feature, but a killer feature, but I can't see it realistically happening unfortunately.

Overall it's a good improvement over 6.2. Perhaps a bit heavy with gimmicky features like the "winks" and custom emote packs, but definitely a worthy successor to previous versions.