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Samsung Focus S Review

Samsung Focus S

Posted: , posted by John V.


Samsung Focus S Review

Showing their full support for Microsoft’s mobile platform, AT&T has been the most vigilant carrier domestically to take hold of Windows Phone so openly. Following through in a similar manner to what we saw last year when the platform exploded onto the scene, there has been nothing short of top-notch Mango filled devices of late for AT&T. Already, we’ve been tantalized by the compact Samsung Focus Flash and impressed with the mighty HTC Titan, but the Samsung Focus S seemingly fits the bill as being a premier offering that’s sure to melt the hearts of many with its Super AMOLED Plus display, slim figure, and HSPA+ connectivity. Can this possibly make the A grade and become the Windows Phone to own right now?

Samsung Focus S Review
The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Stereo Headset
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Health & Safety and Warranty Guide


Unequivocally, the handset is literally the Windows Phone version of the Samsung Galaxy S II – it bears many of the design characteristics that are prevalent with the beloved smartphone. Granted that it’s not necessarily a fresh look, we’re humble to the fact that it works out very well for the Focus S, as it clearly maintains a light figure (3.9 oz) and streamlined body (0.33” thick). However, seeing that it’s nothing more than the typical plastic construction we tend to see from Samsung, it doesn’t entirely come off as sturdy feeling compared to the metallic casing of the HTC Titan.

The Samsung Focus S maintains a light figure and streamlined body - Samsung Focus S Review
The Samsung Focus S maintains a light figure and streamlined body - Samsung Focus S Review
The Samsung Focus S maintains a light figure and streamlined body - Samsung Focus S Review

The Samsung Focus S maintains a light figure and streamlined body

Samsung Focus S Review

You can compare the Samsung Focus S with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

On one hand, the HTC Titan presented our eyes with a ginormous display, but despite its smaller size, the 4.3” WVGA (480 x 800) Super AMOLED Plus display of the Samsung Focus S stands equally on the same pedestal. Well, that’s partly due to  the saturated color tones and wide viewing angles we’re presented with, which of course, combine together to enthrall anyone to its glistening glow. Moreover, its resolution is hardly flattering in this day and age, but it’s undoubtedly sufficient enough to keep our eyes content.

The 4.3” WVGA Super AMOLED Plus display of the Samsung Focus S - Samsung Focus S Review
The 4.3” WVGA Super AMOLED Plus display of the Samsung Focus S - Samsung Focus S Review

The 4.3” WVGA Super AMOLED Plus display of the Samsung Focus S

Unlike most of the Android phones out there, we’re hardly ever finding ourselves accidentally pressing any of the three capacitive buttons on the Focus S. Meanwhile, there’s a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera above the display to provide video chat functionality with the Tango app.

Capacitive buttons - Samsung Focus S Review
Front-facing camera - Samsung Focus S Review

Capacitive buttons

Front-facing camera

Looking around the body of the handset, it employs all the usuals we tend to see with Windows Phones – like a volume rocker, power button, two-level shutter key, 3.5mm headset jack, noise-cancellation microphone, standard microphone, and a microUSB port for charging/data connectivity.

microUSB port (bottom) - Samsung Focus S Review
Volume rocker (left) - Samsung Focus S Review
3.5mm jack (top) - Samsung Focus S Review
Power and camera keys (right) - Samsung Focus S Review

microUSB port (bottom)

Volume rocker (left)

3.5mm jack (top)

Power and camera keys (right)

In the rear, it’s sporting an 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash towards the top middle, while a couple of notches near the bottom right are used for its speakerphone. Pulling off the plastic rear cover, we’re instantly given access to the smartphone’s 1,650 mAh battery and SIM card slot.

Back - Samsung Focus S Review
Camera - Samsung Focus S Review
Back cover removed - Samsung Focus S Review



Back cover removed

Samsung Focus S 360-degrees View:

  • Options

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 05:45

1. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)

Fair score, I would say I prefer the design of the Lumia, battery life isn't exactly bullet proof, good WP7 phone though, of that's what your looking for.

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 06:00 4

2. Birds (Posts: 1171; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)

WVGA resolution is not a bad thing. So what if it has a 217 ppi. Its not like a dnm laptop which has like 75. So its better than nothing.

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 06:18

3. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)

yet again you take away points for screen res but its super amoled? i mean also you take away points for plastic construction, they had to balance the price between construction and the super amoled plus screen didnt they?

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 06:27 3

4. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)

lol you actually put plastic as a con..plastic is the most durable material for a mobile device also if its a con here then why isnt it a con on every other plastic smartphones...talk about inconsistency's

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 18:12

17. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)

i agree.. i think 8 is a little harsh when all they did was say good things and then two cons.. at least an 8.5

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 06:46 3

5. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

WOW. Plastic construction?
S II is entirely made of plastic and I didn't see this con.

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 07:07 4

6. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)

kind of shows how good the focus s is if they are putting ridiculous cons down

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 07:21

7. snowgator (Posts: 3604; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)

I love the Focus S. And at least they took the time to review it. But my whole problem with the reviews of the second generation of WP compared to the first still holds: Better camera, better screen, more functions, great experience, and yet the original Focus, also believed to be the benchmark for WP in it's day, got an 8.5. I believe that Phone Arena compares the devices to other available at the time, so the original Focus got that score compared to the Android or iPhone offerings of 2010/2011. If you believe that this Gen of WP's are inferior when compared to other smartphones on the market, than the glowing write-ups just don't support that. I gave the Focus S a 10 overall (pure biased review, of course!!) and I gave more cons than they did.

But an 8 is not a bad rating. Just seems as though if you have no real cons, an 8.5 like in the first Gen ratings would be fair for the Focus S, Radar, and Titan. The top end Androids and iPhone 4S would still be rated higher, so who gets hurt???

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 09:41 1

8. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)

Hope you all do a Focus S vs Galaxy S II review.

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 11:17

9. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)

what would be the point. the focus S is the galaxy s2 with slightly different specs and os. they are both the flagships of their os and by same manufactuerer

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 12:51 1

12. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)

Which would be why a comparison could prove advantageous. To compare two similar devices with very different operating systems highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each. Like any other comparison.

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 11:29

10. Glim12808 (Posts: 394; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

Yes, I'm curious how close or far behind can the Focus S (with its single-core processor) hung behind the SG2 (with its dual-core processor). Of course, SG2 will win the shoot-out but still, I'm curious how the two, with their different OS platforms perform against each other. But I doubt PA will waste their time on this.

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 12:54

13. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)

Well, last year or earlier this year they compared the Samsung Focus and the Nexus S and Captivate. So there's a chance; this could be the sequel.

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 18:06 1

16. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)

i wudnt say the dual core will outpace the single core... maybe in benchmark tests but in a real world experience wp7 is lag free and android.. well.. isnt

posted on 08 Dec 2011, 04:50

18. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)

android generally isnt lag free but the gs2 is lag free and it has never lagged since i had it in may which is saying something because generally with android once you start putting lots of apps and widgets it starts to lag but not the exynos s2

posted on 09 Dec 2011, 11:44 1

20. clevername (Posts: 1436; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)

It lags for me. Very minimal but noticeable. And I just got it.

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 12:50 3

11. mikeystar (Posts: 17; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)

Im an android guy, But it seemed to me like you guys could have given this the same score as the s2. The only major difference being the processor. But Windows phones really do not seem to need dual core processors to run even smoother than android. So with that i would think PA would have given this an 8.5 or even a 9 like the s2. but either way the video review seemed really fair.

If windows phones continue to develop and become as customizable as android I may consider getting one in 2 years. I would however only jump ship if Microsoft works at providing a great gaming experience like it does with the xbox.

posted on 09 Dec 2011, 09:49

19. Phrozt (Posts: 9; Member since: 11 May 2011)

Yeah.. I think this author has a very clear bias of two subjects: Samsung and Android.

You are spot on with your comparisons of the S2/Focus S hardware, w/the clear conclusion of "well.. shouldn't the have the same score/pros/cons?" yet the author clearly shows his bias here.

On the other bias, you see his review of the titan:http://www.phonearena.com/reviews/HTC-Titan-Review_id2917

More hardware than the S, sturdier build, more perks in the OS....... Lower score??? And on top of that he openly advertises for Android in the Titan's conclusion!!!

"However, if you haven't decided on the OS yet, there are lots of competitive Android phones. For example, AT&T offers the 4.5” HTC Vivid and Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket, plus there is a bunch of 4.3” phones. And, if you are looking for a really big screen, the Galaxy Nexus has a 4.65” one with 720p resolution, and comes with the awesome Ice Cream Sandwich OS, but you'll have to wait a bit, because it's still not offered by U.S. carriers Stateside."

John V., your fanboy is showing. Even your fellow fanboys (above) can blatantly see this.

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 13:55 1

14. ReturningToNokia (Posts: 130; Member since: 09 Jul 2011)

The rating given for this device is VERY generous. VERY.

What is interesting is is that this device has been on the shelves for nearly one full month, and NOW the review? I'm kind of thinking 'why bother' at this point. But, given that this device was not reviewed by all of the major tech blogs(and the ones that did review it, reviewed it weeks after it was in stores), I guess PA is no different with regards to the Focus S.

Usually, devices are given to tech sites, by the oem, BEFORE the device hits the shelves - you know, to increase awareness and sales - but not Samsung, at least not with the Focus S. Seems Samsung had more confidence in the Focus Flash than they did the Focus S.

posted on 07 Dec 2011, 15:27 1

15. mikeystar (Posts: 17; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)

I like how you say this bold statement with absolutely no reasoning to back it up

posted on 10 Dec 2011, 11:11 1

21. henrickrw (Posts: 408; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

Applausse.... Nice Review.. This phone is sweet enough to have it for daily use. Not as good as my GS2, but I will consider adding it to my Hall of Fame in conjunction with the Nokia N9.

Nice Review...!!!!!

posted on 20 Jan 2012, 14:19

23. TheJudge (Posts: 1; Member since: 20 Jan 2012)

This phone deserves a higher rating. The review shows that. The numbers were lowered to reflect bias of the reviewer. Just look at the user reviews.

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Samsung Focus S

Samsung Focus S

OS: Windows Phone 7.5 Mango
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display4.3 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (217 ppi) Super AMOLED Plus
Camera8 megapixels
Single core, 1400 MHz
Size4.96 x 2.63 x 0.33 inches
(126 x 67 x 8 mm)
3.90 oz  (111 g)
Battery1650 mAh, 6.5 hours talk time

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