Samsung Omnia W Preview
Windows Phone Mango update is a vast improvement over the first WP edition, and not only via the first things you see – the more functional Live Tiles and the social networking integration with Twitter and LinkedIn joining Facebook in WP.
There is multitasking, and the apps currently running can be called when you long-press the back key (long press the home key calls the voice command service), and you can flip horizontally between their snapshots.
Besides all recent Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn updates from a specific contact with the respective photos, in the People hub you now have the History tab. It puts together all your communication venues with a contact – calls, text conversations, emails, and so on.
The Calendar app also unifies your accounts in sub-calendars, which you can paint in different colors to tell them apart easily. And one of the greatest updates with Mango is better work with SkyDrive, the 25GB free cloud service by Microsoft – documents, photos and other media now sync seamlessly with SkyDrive. Speaking of documents, there are numerous improvements to Microsoft’s Office Mobile on the phone. For example, you can now mark several cells in Excel by dragging your finger down, plus you can now use the famed Autosum function afterward.
Bing, but there you also have two new modes – a song recognition button, and QR code scanner, which also serves as OCR software to scan a page, and then translate it in different languages. The OCR is hit-or-miss, but they all are on mobile phones, you need a really good source of light and contrast on the page to recognize the text correctly.
The point is that all these little helpers are native for Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, and you don’t have to hit the app markets right away to pimp up your WP phone. This, along with the social networking integration are very good differentiators for a mobile OS that aims to become the third player in the Android-iOS race, since it can’t fight with the number of apps available, just with their native integration.
The simple-looking, but effective virtual keyboard on the 3.7” display is easy to use both in portrait and in landscape modes, making messaging a piece of cake. There is built-in spell checker, and nice little perks like a cursor popping up above the text box so you can easily drag it to where you want to make a correction. The minimalistic fashion of moving the cursor, marking and copying text make Android Gingerbread look downright crude in that respect.
The Messaging Hub now puts together in a conversation thread your texts, along with Facebook and Windows Live messages with a contact. The same thread view now goes on in the Email app, which also adds a common inbox for having all your accounts at one place.
Internet and Connectivity:
The connectivity options on the Samsung Omnia W are plenty – 14.4Mbps HSDPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, A-GPS, and FM Radio with RDS. There is no DLNA option or HDMI port for displaying photos and videos directly on a bigger screen, however. A big annoyance is that the phone doesn't have mass storage mode and you have to install Zune software for communicating with the device..
The GPS software is Bing Maps, and the chip located us for 2-3 minutes on cold start. Bing Maps has been updated to cover much more countries with detailed maps, and we liked the way it automatically switches to satellite view when you zoom onto the streets. Microsoft promised that it will offer users ways to opt out of location tracking on Windows Phone, and it delivered – you can turn off tracking completely or selectively in different apps like Bing Maps.
2. fleanote (Posts: 50; Member since: 14 Jan 2011)
If anyone who works for MS reads this, just know I am a huge fan of WinMo, but I really don't like teh 10% loss in home screen space to put the ARROW movement in. Make a capacitive button, or a swiping gesture to get there, but dont give me a 3.5/4" screen and then rob me of 10% of the usable space when I look down at it. Its a major detractor in a new world of big bold screens from other makers.
3. Axial (unregistered)
You can swipe to get to apps already...
4. Shohid (unregistered)
Great phone for first dabble in wp7. Seems better specked than the htc radar
5. Hi (unregistered)
Am i the only person that dislike Windows Phone 'retro' style ?
6. gragonHDfones (unregistered)
RETRO STYLE??? wtf? i don't think so. samsung is the one that designed the phone
9. Zeroadhesion (unregistered)
Пич, от къде докопа телефона? :D Това Варна ли е?
10. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
PhoneArena! I keep checking your website everyday for a HTC Titan review! Please review it soon, thanks!
11. Axial (unregistered)
I prefer the square-bodied, mostly aluminum with some polycarbonate construction on the Omnia 7. Very business-like. Honestly, I think sometimes they should save a little on R&D by just refreshing old phones. All they need to do is upgrade the SoC (for 1.4GHz and HSDPA 14.4+) and slap a front-facing camera on the Omnia 7 and I'd buy it again. Oh, and give me a 10% grey tile colour option.
In my unprofessional opinion, the Omnia 7 was in a league apart from the other first generation WP7 devices, and I've messed with them all before making my purchase. The closest phone to doing so was the HTC Trophy, because 3.8" to 4.0" is the perfect size for WP7, because it had a superbly sturdy build, because it wasn't overly huge (like the Surround), and because of the SRS sound enhancements. Camera was a let-down, however. You might call me an Omnia 7 fanboy, but I am for good reason. I want all of the WP7 devices to have the fit and finish of the Omnia 7. Nokia is looking like it will able to top it.
Oh, and the Omnia W is not tri-band like its predecessor. That means it is no-go for 3G in the USA on any network.