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Samsung Omnia Software Hands On Review

Here's our hands-on with most of the software customizations found on the Samsung Omnia i900. You'll also want to check out our hardware hands-on with the Omnia. Our final verdict on the device: good stuff, but it could use just a few more ROM tweaks before it's ready for prime-time.

Stuff we love and stuff we'd like fixed, after the break!

Stuff we love

Battery Life. No complaints here, though to be fair we weren't rocking it on 3G, so it's tough to say whether or not our experience is standard.

Hardware. The Omnia looks and feels solid. We're big big fans of the 16gb of onboard storage, the 5mp camera (seriously, it's excellent), and the general build quality of the device. The touchscreen isn't perfect, but it's good enough (and flush!). Speaking of...

800x240 screen. We were initially pretty dubious about this screen size, it's awfully non-standard and awfully weird. In practice, though, it works great. Most WM apps scale just fine these days to multiple resolutions. Having a full 800 pixels of height makes going over large swaths of email a breeze -- not to mention web pages. Actually, speaking of...

Opera Mobile 9.5. As you can see in the video above, there are still some quirks in speed and rendering with 9.5, but once you get it on a decent connection it really does perform pretty well. Kudos for device-wide accelerometer rotation support, too, browsing with 800 pixels of either width or height is nice. Hey, speaking of...

Accelerometer. Yep, it's nice to be able to rotate the screen on the fly. There were a few times that the thing would rotate on us when we didn't want it to, but generally it performed quite well. It would be nice if Microsoft would coordinate with both HTC and Samsung to create standard accelerometer APIs for all of Windows Mobile. In the meantime, at least you can quickly toggle the accelerometer's auto-rotate feature on the Samsung Custom Today Screen. Actually, speaking of....

Custom Today Screen. You can see our favorite of the three today screens in the video above. The “widget” today screen is a nice gimmick, but generally they take up too much space and don't offer enough functionality. If the Omnia were to gain widespread appeal, we could see ourselves changing our mind if 3rd party widgets became a real possibility. For now we're very happy with the quick-toggle options on the Samsung Today 2 screen, the speed dials, and access to the quick menu. Well now, speaking of....

Short cut Menu / Task Manager. It's tough to say exactly why Samsung's one-touch access to their shortcut menu and hold-down-the-button access to a task manager is so much nicer than the default WM one-button to their Start Menu and various options for launching their task manager. Something about it just feels cleaner -- knowing that your top apps and top shortcuts are never more than 2 button pushes away helps, as does knowing that you won't have to go scrolling through a giant list and poking through subfolders.

Stuff That Bugs Us

Scrolling. We hear tell that there's an updated ROM out there that supports flick-scrolling across the device, but ours did not. This meant that in some places you could flick-scroll and in some places you had to grab the scroll bar. Actually, there were places where there was a sort of quick-scroll by flicking that mini-mouse-pad on the bottom -- it would move up or down more than 'one tick' sometimes. Not all the time, though, and sometime it would do it when we didn't want it to. Actually, while we're on that topic...

No standard d-pad. Samsung: listen. It was a bold experiment, providing a little miniature trackpad and an on-screen mouse pointer. Adding in the ability to turn it into a sort-of-5-way by flicking your finger over it helps, but there's downsides to that (see above). Bottom line: Windows Mobile needs a standard d-pad or a trackball. Please, please give this little square up. Now, while we're on the topic of bold experiments...

No Stylus Silo. Most of us here at WMExperts (but not all) are famously anti-stylus. So the decision to forego an on-board stylus ought to make us happy. Unfortunately, Windows Mobile Pro still needs a stylus from time to time, and turning it into a charm that hangs off the side of the device just ain't gonna hack it for power users. There's another thing power users need, while we're on that topic...

Default Keyboard. The default QWERTY keyboard isn't all that great. We're sure that a big part of this is that 240 pixels just isn't wide enough for a decent QWERTY pad. Now, the landscape keyboard and the other suretype keyboards were pretty good, to be sure, but power users need to power through email like crazy and a decent keyboard is a must. You know what else is a must, while we're on that subject?

US Release. Yes, we want to see the Omnia on AT&T in the US just as soon as you can polish up the ROM just a bit more. That means full support for 3G bands, by the way, and hopefully a decent price point. This device would be a relatively popular option for a lot of folks, even with the coming of the HTC Diamond.

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Reader comments

Samsung Omnia Software Hands On Review

5 Comments

Yep its definately 240x400 pixels
i think you guys gots it a bit mixed up =)

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This new Omnia phone II is undoubtedly the most impressive I have ever used. It is so dramatic progress since the last Complete Works and all other phones I tried, Palm and Blackberry. The screen resolution is awesome and my SPB Mobile Shell and Spb Diary is my whole hand. I love this phone, and I advise my colleague to the heart of business.