You may remember the i8000 being one of the handsets announced at the global Samsung Unpacked event back in June, where it was definately the star of the show. Now, along with several HTCs, the Windows Mobile 6.1 based Samsung Omnia II i8000 is about to get a boost from the introduction of Windows Mobile 6.5 in early October, so it’s worth us revisiting this already great mobile phone to see just how much of a benefit this will be.
First of all, here’s a reminder of the exciting i8000′s features:
- A 3.7″ AMOLED touchscreen with a resolution of 480×800.
- A 5 megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash, autofocus and the ability to shoot video at 30fps at a resolution of 720×480.
- Assisted GPS with geo-tagging.
- It’s a 3G phone with HSDPA, HSUPA and Wi-Fi.
- A 3.5mm socket compliments the music player and the video player supports DivX and XviD formats, making it a great multimedia mobile.
This next statement may come as a surprise – it doesn’t matter that the Omnia II runs 6.5, as Samsung have done such an astonishing job with TouchWiz 2 that unless you’re digging very deep into the settings, Windows Mobile is totally obscured! Forget early versions of HTC’s TouchFLO or Sony Ericsson’s Panels interface, TouchWiz 2 has three widget-enabled Today screens, its own menu grid and even converts options such as changing the volume into easy text and graphical buttons!
In addition to jazzing up the stock features, Samsung have added their own unique way of selecting applications. Pressing the ‘cube’ button below the display brings the Cube interface to life and by swiping your finger across it, anything from the media player, games and the web browser can be activated. The cube also takes you into the gallery, a beautiful cascading view of your stored pictures. The animation of the cube is great and the scrolling is super-smooth, but we would question its everyday usefulness, as it’s not the fastest way to open an app.
Samsung’s TouchWiz 2 is the zenith of Windows Mobile concealment and as such, it will be interesting to see if during general use, it benefits greatly from 6.5, as you hardly notice 6.1 at all! Of course, any performance gains would be welcome as although the 800Mhz processor is speedy, the 256MB of RAM is a little low, and the new features such as Windows Marketplace will be a nice addition too. If you’re keen to try 6.5 without TouchWiz interfering, there is the option to disable it, leaving Windows Mobile exposed.
Obviously, Windows Mobile 6.5 is an important release and can only be an improvement over 6.1, but if you’re concerned that it’s not going to be the jump you want it to be, but still require programs such as Outlook and the Office Suite, then you need to take a long, hard look at the Samsung Omnia II i8000, as it is indeed a Windows Mobile phone, but not as we know it!