When Microsoft lifted the curtain on their debut Windows Phone 7 handset range, it quickly became apparent that there wasn’t a lot of difference between them all. While Microsoft’s minimum spec requirement may have sounded like a great idea at first, it seems to have slightly backfired on them with analysts believing that the similarities between the phones caused too much confusion among potential customers.
Windows Phone 7 may not have had the same impact on the smartphone market as Android and iOS so far however, the first handset running the brand new OS bought in the UK was the Samsung Omnia 7. It was the manufacturer’s only Windows Phone 7 offering but even so, something must have stood out about this particular smartphone for the first WP7 buyer to choose it over four HTC handsets and the LG Optimus 7. We think we know why…
The Samsung Omnia 7 is certainly a handsome looking thing and has an enticing glossy black front panel surrounded by a lovely premium metal body which is soft to the touch. The volume controls and headphone jack are neatly arranged around the sides of the shell, and we have to give the battery cover top marks for practicality as this popped out with little fuss thanks to the small hinge. The standard Windows ‘home’ button plus the search and back touch sensitive icons were neatly arranged on the front of the device.
Turning the Omnia 7 on is when the magic really starts to happen as it has a glorious 4 inch Super AMOLED display, blowing the HTC HD7′s 4.3 inch LCD monster right out of the water. It sounds good enough on its own, but the beauty that lies within gives this stunning display a further boost.
Power and Operating System
Microsoft’s minimum spec list does come up trumps in some departments and the 1GHz Snapdragon processor shows off the AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display in the best possible way, giving the Samsung Omnia 7 one up over the rest of the Windows Phone 7 family.
The Windows interface works like a charm and the AMOLED display really does justice to the colourful tiles. While it’s the same old story in terms of features and hubs, the Omnia 7 makes Microsoft’s OS very pleasant to use, which is no doubt due to the high quality picture combined with the zippy processor. Pictures and videos just seem so much nicer in AMOLED and gamers will also be well matched to this handset, not just for its specs but for the free Xbox Live service too.
Internet: The Samsung Omnia 7, just like its Windows Phone 7 buddies has Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Mobile browser, which brings tabbed browsing to the party. The lack of Flash support instantly knocks the internet experience
down a few pegs, but luckily for the Omnia 7, the 4 inch display saves it from the browsing sin bin. As you would expect from its 1GHz beast, pinching, zooming and scrolling won’t have you complaining.
Connectivity won’t be a problem either as there’s a 3G connection via HSDPA and HSUPA plus Wi-Fi b/g/n on offer.
Camera: You’ll have 5 megapixels to play with on the Omnia 7 which come with an LED flash, autofocus and a handful of shooting options. The camera can also record video footage at 720p.
Media: Windows Phone 7 handsets have Microsoft’s music and videos hub. It can sync wirelessly with your computer to play your music collection and you can also stream and download new tracks and videos from the Zune Marketplace. There’s no DivX or XviD video support, although Zune can automatically transcode these files into MP4 format.
The Samsung Omnia 7 is no exception to the Windows Phone 7 ‘lack of expandable memory card slot’ rule, which audio and videophiles alike should bear in mind when considering this handset. It’s available in 8GB and 16GB models so memory isn’t completely restricted, but it could be a lot better. We hope Microsoft are kicking themselves over this!
Other tech specs:
- GPS with aGPS support plus digital compass
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Bluetooth 2.1
- microUSB 2.0 port
- Ambient light and proximity sensor
- 6 hours 10 minutes talk time
The Samsung Omnia 7 has the potential to be an excellent handset, except Microsoft has let it down by not including some of the little features that many of us take for granted on smartphones. The lack of a microSD card slot, Flash support, multitasking and no Bluetooth file transfers may not be a big issue by themselves, but together they cause a bigger problem than they are really worth.
As Windows Phone 7 handsets go, the Samsung Omnia 7 is a decent piece of kit. If you’ve got your heart set on getting a Windows Phone 7 device, and can see past the downsides which quite frankly are purely the fault of the operating system rather than the Omnia 7, then this particular handset is seriously worth considering.