Samsung Focus Review
Like we witness on many occasions, AT&T manages to pack in a healthy amount of carrier branded apps with the Samsung Focus. Although we love seeing AT&T Navigator on board, which offers the striking figure of voice guided turn-by-turn directions, it's hard to say the same for some of the others. Some of them include AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T myWireless, AT&T Radio, and AT&T U-verse Mobile – the latter of which allows subscribers to browse U-verse TV content on the handset. So if you're big on watching television, AT&T U-verse mobile will provide you that satisfaction of scheduling and managing DVR recordings. Aside from that, all of the other AT&T branded apps are just like the what you find on other handsets.
AT&T U-verse mobile
Not as close close to the level of innovation seen with mature map applications like Ovi Maps or Google Maps, Bing Maps for Windows Phone 7 offers the most basic of functions – which can be seen as a turn off for some that are used to the intricate dealings with the competition. There's no arguing that browsing the map is a quick and responsive experience; and we especially like the cloud-like animation as it renders the map to reveal more detail. You'll have the ability to find your exact location, search for points of interests, and even get some directions. Naturally, you'll also be treated to things like aerial and traffic view, but it still pales in comparison to the wealth of features found with rival map applications – like street view. As we've noted earlier, Bing Maps does not offer voice guided turn-by-turn directions, so that means you'll have to rely on a third party source like AT&T Navigator for that. Directions though, you're only limited to driving and walking – so that means no mass transit or bicycle directions just yet. When you perform a search on the map, the result will enable you to obtain pertinent information regarding it, reviews (if applicable), and also some nearby businesses to it. Yes, Bing Maps does show off its relatively new offering, but as with most things, it will most likely be refined with each installment.
Upon clicking the "me" icon, the map instantly pans out to a zoomed out view and eventually zooms into our general location which is displayed as a yellow dot on the map surrounded by a larger gray circle. It surely didn't take long for it to get a fix onto our location; like 5 seconds which is surprisingly good since it was the first thing we did after doing a cold boot with the handset. Mind you that when we did this indoors, it inevitably obtained our exact coordinates in a matter of less than 15 seconds.
One brand value proposition that Windows Phone 7 clearly has riding on its back is the fact that it integrates with XBOX Live – providing that missing link when you're not tearing it up on the console side. Since the Samsung Focus is one armed handset with some strong hardware under its hood, it didn't flinch one bit as we downloaded and played a game. With the “Games” hub, it'll enable you to sign in with your XBOX Live account and see your very own avatar on the phone, see any friend requests, and view all the latest collection of games. Now the great thing about downloading games is that you'll have the option of “trying” it out before making that sometimes difficult purchase – which can lead to buyers remorse. Although a majority of the titles right off the bat might not exude the high flying action games seen with the standalone console, we'll slowly begin to see some games fitting for both platforms which will allow you to start playing it on the XBOX 360, and then continue the fun on the go with the Samsung Focus.
When you press on the search button, it'll launch Bing Search which acts as it should in obtaining relevant searches. The background with it will change occasionally and will add some insightful concepts to the mix. Specifically, there are some squares that you can see which will provide a relevant search to the associated background image with Bing Search. So if you're ever bored and wanted to read about something random, you can tap on any of the boxes for some time killing. Meanwhile, specific search queries are broken down to the web, local, and news.
What's a smartphone without a centralized area for apps? Well, the Windows Phone 7 powered Samsung Focus has the “Marketplace” hub which will provide owners the opportunity to download apps onto the handset. General to all Windows Phone 7 devices, the categories are broken down to apps, games, and music. However, there is a section specific to the Focus aptly named the “Samsung Zone” which will allow you to download apps exclusive to Samsung. The main panel within the “Marketplace” hub will also display any updates required for existing apps on the handset – most of which are downloaded over the air, while larger sized ones require a Wi-Fi connection. The general Marketplace categorizes apps into specific things like games, entertainment, music & video, lifestyle, news & weather, sports, health & fitness, finance, travel, navigation, social, productivity, tools, business, and books & reference. When you select a specific title, it'll provide details regarding it – like screenshots, overview, and reviews.
The “Marketplace” hub gives you the opportunity to download apps,
Without any question, it's only fitting to find Microsoft Office integration with the Samsung Focus. It's not something new, especially when it's the a common staple among Windows Mobile Professional devices, but of course will be looked on more intently now that it's making an appearance on a new platform. You'll be able to read Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files on the go, plus the added benefit of editing them as well (except for PowerPoint). Seeing that it's always a nice feature to quickly write up a new Word document or Excel workbook, there are some basic formatting options you can enable. But when you compare them to the offering seen with Windows Mobile, it doesn't exactly include all of the formatting options you'd expect. Sure you can highlight, bold, italicize, and change the font color, but it's missing things like bulleting and manual indentation alignment. However, it still retains some of those basic elements that will allow users to start off a new document – while saving the rest for later use with a desktop. If you happen to use SharePoint Workspace, you can even have the ability to view, edit, and download stored documents on Microsoft SharePoint Sever 2010.
1. Random (unregistered)
Its a good review, I am excited for Windows 7 platform but sometimes I wonder if you put Cons just so its not empty. How can you list a "Not fully mature platform" as a Con when it is brand new, just seems odd to me. anywho I cant wait to see the phone in person!
3. oddmanout (Posts: 434; Member since: 22 May 2009)
I wouldn't say its a con but its something that some might find worth noting. A new OS means they'll be taking somewhat of a risk with the platform. I actually thought it was good to acknowledge it but like I said... I wouldn't call it a con for the device itself. Then again, its not exactly a pro.either.
2. oddmanout (Posts: 434; Member since: 22 May 2009)
Excellent review! PA has been catching my attention as of late. I just might stick around with site for my news.
4. KoldKore (Posts: 7; Member since: 21 Oct 2010)
Very nice review. Much better than Engadget's. I'll be sticking around on this site!
5. Xman (unregistered)
Engadget is Fully biased. Anything except iPhone is downgraded in their reviews. What baffles me is that they don't test the phone as the PHONE itself (antenna, call quality, display quality during daylight time). Phonearena is much better in terms of information of a review
6. Eingild (unregistered)
Nice review Phonearena. I hope the reviewer in this video gets promoted for he reviewed the handset very well. It's nice to know that Phonearena is trying its best to improve their site especially the reviews section. By the way, I saw the twitter account following Noah who recently left Phonedog. I guess Phonearena is also a fan of Noah. ^_^
7. jovel16 (Posts: 53; Member since: 05 Oct 2008)
Actually, I always have to be in the loop with our fellow friends about the latest news in the mobile world. Hope you like the other Windows Phone 7 reviews too. But let me say, I try to encompass everything without getting too in-depth in the videos. But in this case, it's fitting for a brand spanking new platform.
8. drewsadik (unregistered)
does it have a front-facing camera?
9. lallolu (unregistered)
Please can one change the language like in iphone and android phones without installing another ROM
10. kawatwo (unregistered)
My contract with AT&T runs out Nov 15th. Can't wait. I hope the battery life is true that would make it perfect. My Fuze has been awesome but is starting to feel a little slow after watching all these videos. I'm sure copy and paste will come in the first update. IE looks decent. Thinnest Win7 phone so far with probably the best battery life and best screen. Can't go wrong.
11. iphone2 (unregistered)
12. uui (unregistered)
come on wp7 we need u to make 480 x 854 (widescreen) display phones.
13. lalaland (unregistered)
ohh i love it!
the european one[omnia 7] is so mpliax hahaha
i want to ask something...
will this phone come to europe and especialy in greece or cyprus?
14. lalaland (unregistered)
15. Kate (unregistered)
I love this phone - thanks Samsung.
And I got unbelievable deals [just $0.01 for connections, and cheapest on the phone only option too] fromhttp://samsung-focus.co.cc
i love it!
16. Kyle Plante (unregistered)
first paragraph of page 2 ..."without no problems" should drop the no. thanks for your website ;)
18. Misdaminer (Posts: 1; Member since: 18 Aug 2012)
I have owned this phone for over a year now, its a bit like getting dog sht on your shoe, you can still walk but it really stinks! Not the fault of the phone but MicroSoft really sucks. Next phone ... Android for sure.