Samsung Omnia II I8000 Review

User Interface:

Perhaps the biggest selling point of the Samsung Omnia II I8000 is Samsung’s TouchWiz 2.0 UI.  Short of the Start button at the top left, which takes you to a non-standard menu, you’d never know you were using a Windows Mobile phone.  Samsung has outdone HTC by skinning not only the homescreen and Start Menu, but every single menu on the device!  We’re talking large, finger friendly menus here. In fact, everything is so finger friendly that there isn’t even a stylus slot on the Omnia II.

The homescreen has undergone a complete overhaul.  TouchWiz was originally built around this widget-friendly homescreen, and this time around we have three pages that can be customized with widgets.  As we’ve seen in the past the left side of the phone houses a hideable dock, from which widgets can be drug out onto the main screen.  Back with the Memoir we felt this dock was best used as a launcher, and that is still a very good idea, but the widgets work better with the Omnia II due to the multiple pages.  For example, we set the first page up with a clock and calendar, missed events bar and a launcher.  The second was set up with weather, internet search boxes from Google and Yahoo, as well as the Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and MySpace apps.  The final page was a work oriented one, with CNN headlines, stock quotes and a world clock.  Unlike the OmniaPRO, there is no option to switch between Work and Life modes.

What Samsung’s done with the menus is downright wonderful.  Windows Mobile is now a joy to use, with much better organization and implementation.  Let’s begin with the Start Menu.  There are several pages; 4 by default but the user can customize it up to 10.  Icons are large, and at most there are 12 per screen arranged in a 3x4 grid.  Each page is named, and though it is Productivity, Multimedia, Internet and Office by default the user can rename any of them.  The icons can be added, removed and ordered in any manner one chooses.  A simple swipe moves from page to page.  Along the bottom there are four non-changing buttons: Others, Cube (more on that later,) Task Switcher and Edit.  The Task Switcher is a visually overhauled task manager, allowing you to view and end running programs in either a grid or card interface similar to the Xperia X1 and Pre, respectively.

The Settings menu has also been reworked completely.  Categories are arranged in list view with text instead of the traditional icon grid layout.  This makes fingering through them much easier.  Toggling between options is done by touching an onscreen button, a welcome difference from the toggle switches of TouchFLO and Mobile OSX.  It is abundantly clear that Samsung put a lot of time into taking any traces of Windows Mobile out of these new Omnias.

When we said that the Start button was the only thing that gave away this being a Windows Mobile device we told a white lie.  Despite the beefed up processing power the spinning WinMo beach ball still pops up at times and this is most noticeable on the homescreen. Within the menus we rarely saw it, but flicking from homepage to homepage produces a 5-10 second delay while waiting for the widgets to load, which is infuriating.  The widgets are a great idea, and some of them (like AccuWeather and Google) are very helpful, but it’s just not quick enough.  Furthermore, we often found ourselves pressing options two and three times to activate them and not being able to drag widgets around unless they were pressed just right.  This problem was only in the homescreen (here we really missed HTC’s TouchFLO 3D), throughout the rest of the phone it was very responsive and accurate. 

Another small gripe is the lack of gesture use.  While there are some swipes here and there, for the most part you do not see them. Samsung’s done some great work here though, and all-in-all it’s the best overhaul of Windows Mobile on the market.

PIM Functionality:

As with everything else, Samsung has put their touch on the PIM applications.  The calendar is large and finger friendly, with tabs for Month, Week, Day and Agenda views along the top.  Smart Memo is a better version of Notes, where the user can draw notes and insert voice recordings, images or sounds.  The phonebook is easy to navigate, again completely skinned.  The Tasks application is…sadly the same old WinMo Tasks application.  In fact, the standard Contacts, Notes, Calendar, Task Manager and a few others are available as well under that dirty little More option in the Start Menu.  Why anyone would want to use it we don’t know, since the Samsung versions are superior in every way that we could tell.

The dialpad has been slightly reworked, but the functionality remains largely the same.  It will match contacts as you enter in numbers (it matches names at the same time via T9) and along the bottom you have quick access to your phonebook, call history and messaging.  Unfortunately there is no voice dialing out of the box, but software is of course available.


With no physical keyboard there is a premium on an excellent onscreen keyboard, and Samsung has delivered.  The onscreen QWERTY is quick and responsive, and when tapping out a message you can rotate the Samsung Omnia II I8000 and get a larger landscape keyboard.  The haptic feedback again works well here, allowing you to know that you’ve pressed the desired key, and with the XT9 mode enabled the error correction was nearly as flawless as it was unobtrusive.  As always, we would have liked to see an onscreen T9 keypad for easier portrait use, but Samsung only offers the full QWERTY with word prediction.  As well as it worked it’s hard to complain.

All the standards are available, including email, SMS and MMS.  Samsung has again skinned these, but the functionality remains the same.  Windows Mobile is a very robust messaging platform, but it would be great to see popular IM applications integrated into the OS instead of being stand alone apps.


The Samsung Omnia II I8000 is a quad-band GSM device with 3G on the 900, 1900 and 2100MHz bands, making it a world phone, since it supports both European 3G bands, and AT&T’s 1900MHz one.  It offers 7.2Mbps HSDPA and 5.78Mbps HSUPA, Wi-Fi b/g and GPS.  Bluetooth can be used for short distance data transfer and supports too many profiles to list (see our spec page for full details.)

Rather than use their rather horrible “full HTML” browser found on the Memoir and Instinct, Samsung has wisely chosen to stick with Opera Mobile for all of your web needs.  We’ve of course seen this browser employed on many WinMo devices such as HTC’s Touch phones and Sony’s Xperia X1. The build used here has limited support for Flash ( worked, gave us a Flash error,) one of the few drawbacks to the otherwise superior WebKit browsers found on the Pre and iPhone.  Opera Mobile is still a very good browser, and will display webpages just as you’d see them on your desktop.



1. rtimi26

Posts: 42; Member since: Mar 16, 2009

Okay you got certain things down right about the phone being a little laggy, but don't you think its because you had to re-skin windows ontop of windows. I would think that would be enough to slow any phone down, and yet according to all reviews, that I have read it seems to be doing well, so please why the 8 and not 9.5 or at least a 9. Well that's your opinion but all in all great review.

2. filteroff

Posts: 34; Member since: Feb 18, 2009

I wonder if you can disable the UI on this phone and use something like SPB Mobile Shell... SPB might just do the trick

4. hunter

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 04, 2009

Just got mine for a week, don't like the touchwiz. I disabled it and replace its with spbshell 3... And its perfect, no lag. Anyone knows how to get mapking working on this set?

5. tshow84

Posts: 65; Member since: Jun 11, 2009

where did they get 8 from? even if they're not basing it on the average (9.375)...if the everything else is so awesome, why not give it a 9.5, taking off .5 for one small flaw that im sure will be remedied in a future software release...or can they really not rate it higher than the iphone (the original iphone averaged rating: 3G: 8.5625, 3G s : 8.05625 - phonearena rating: 3G : 8.5, 3G s : 8.8)

8. drewsky

Posts: 147; Member since: Jan 04, 2009

You got it they can't rate it better than the Iphone.

10. tedkord

Posts: 17408; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

That's how my old employer used to do our annual employee ratings - you'd get above average or excellent on each individual section, then get average as your overall grade. When I asked about that, I was told it was because everyone is expected to excel, so excellence is average. Or, it's my job to do more than my job. I no longer work there, and they got NO notice when I quit.

36. Schmao

Posts: 365; Member since: Jul 05, 2009

Saying they couldn't rate it better than the iphone, makes no sense whatsoever. Obviously you are lost. Go read up on your details before making a stupid comment. Look at all the phones that have higher rating than the iphone.

3. Pure Gold

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 04, 2009

Can someone help me out with PA ratings? I don't get them. The Omnia II gets great individual scores, but gets an 8 overall compared to say the Samsung Jet which gets pretty good individual scores but a 9 overall. What am I missing? Does the overall rating depend on something different?

37. Schmao

Posts: 365; Member since: Jul 05, 2009

Go to the "HOW WE RATE" link and all your questions will be answered

6. Andrewtst

Posts: 696; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Phone arena always have overall rating issue. I have this phone, it is smooth, the only place need to tune is during new sms, landscape mode of touch player and photo browser. Beside this, it is cool. I also install SPB mobile shell, as it made the phone more coolest. ;-)

7. rtimi26

Posts: 42; Member since: Mar 16, 2009

well people you are right that is a little confusing when the jet got a 9 and O2 got an 8, lets just hope all read the full review. Like i said to a friend iphone should be a feature phone and not a smartphone while if you want full featured phone, lets see what 6.5 and 7 would look like.

9. tedkord

Posts: 17408; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Technically, resolution is quadrupled, not doubled. 384,000 pixels vs. 96,000. Or, of you're looking at ppi, it's about 252ppi vs. 146ppi., or about 1.73X more pixels per inch. I think the iPhone is something like 165 ppi, so this display should look NICE! But, I've been reading that the daylight visibility is poor. That's my number one complaint about my Omnia. It's a great phone which is virtually unuseable outdoors in daylight.

11. PhoneArena Team

Posts: 258; Member since: Jun 27, 2006

Thanks for the note! We had it fixed immediately.

12. behold--me

Posts: 679; Member since: Jun 22, 2009

like the jet better.....smaller and DOESNT have that p.o.s. winmo ui

13. mr. anderson

Posts: 92; Member since: Apr 16, 2009

do you people not actually read the reviews? everyone always gets so caught up in the numbers, averaging this and that. first off, read their link right under the ratings. secondly, if you actually read the review (or hell, even the conclusion...hell, even the cons) you'd see that the lag killed the phone, and then youd understand why it only got an 8.

14. Andrewtst

Posts: 696; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

It is not ready lag, I not sure why they mention cons as lag, lag, lag. I am using it now and I am happy with it.

15. rtimi26

Posts: 42; Member since: Mar 16, 2009

speak about lag, just for you to know, what multi-tasking phone today doesn't have lag. Any phone that has to keep the memory used due to runing apps will eventually lag. According to you can increase cpu performance and not affect battery, which means to me that it can get faster. Maybe when 6.5 comes out it would be less laggy. I am currently runing cooked rom on the original omnia and doesn't seem to be as laggy as the 6.1. Lets I remind you again that ontop of the wm applications already installed, there is also samsungs applications running. Keep that in mind folks. Just wait for a featured phone from samsung like the jet with multitasking which doesn't slow down like windows. Its all about windows, which has been clarified that wm7 won't have this problem. Windows mobile 7 is said to have certain hardware requirements which manufacturers have to stick to so therre won't be many variations of it and therefore would be easy to make things uniform and fast.

38. destardi

Posts: 4; Member since: Nov 24, 2009

My Droid is 5 weeks old..and doesn't lag between any screens at all.

16. ruggedruffian

Posts: 2; Member since: Jul 14, 2009

Honestly Phone Arena, please be more detailed about your reviews. You spend half your conclusion complaining about the lag, but the lag is mentioned in at most 1 line during your whole review. Why don't you go more into detail. The cube is choppy, the email takes 5 seconds to pop up, etc etc. You use a lot of slick salesman talk grazing over a lot of features, but please go into more detail and give us a better idea of the UI.

17. aulton85

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 11, 2009

I agree with most on this review. Its solid, to the point and shows all the greats about this new phone and the major fault it has that can be fixed with a firmware update or mobile shell. But the problem comes in the average score. Both the Hero and Iphone 3Gs received their average score. Well the Hero got rounded up, but the point is the average for the samsung, when all is added together and divided is a 9 at least. Why the 8 if you base your overall rating on average. Clarify your rating scheme please because you follow average for other devices EXCEPT this one.

18. Vandro

Posts: 17; Member since: Aug 12, 2009

Hooray for firmware updates. TouchWiz is nice, and its full integration into WinMo rather than the 70% coverage of the latest TouchFlo is excellent, but I know I would have removed it and skinned SPb Shell 3.0 or ported pieces of TouchFlo3D, especially the tabbed today screen portions. HTC's apps just have better support across the board, push internet is awesome, and performance is silky smooth with a distinctively professional UI. The 800MHz processor and AMOLED screen really do it for me, even if the camera needs a little work - but, what new phone doesn't need a few tweaks. Seriously killer battery life, one of the few readily available AMOLED screens, speedy performance, a solid base interface with full inter-operability and compatibility with the whole matured range of WinMo mods: what is there not to love? This phone shouldn't be a sequel, but more like a really killer Omnia v1.5, with the WinMo 7 variant gaining the true status - the monster that it will probably be.

19. aulton85

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 11, 2009

Damn now I really want the phone if you put it like that. I was already planning on getting it, but I was going to wait to see how everyone else felt about it. Reading your comment just fully reinforces my desire to have this phone.

20. kjack628

Posts: 49; Member since: Jul 19, 2009

I don't like touchwiz all that much so I might put spb shell 3.0 on there. Wm6.1 is the problem not the device this phone should of got a 9.5..wm6.5 is a tiny step but I bet wm7 will be really nice!!..I hope the o2 is upgradable to wm7

21. aulton85

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 11, 2009

From what I hear from my friends in Singapore, it should be. We'll just have to wait and see on that one. I will most likely use shell on it as well, but I'll give the touchwiz a shot first.

23. dlo22

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 14, 2009

From what I've read, the widgets plus is what causing most of the lag. I believe you can disable it without turning off the TouchWiz UI - which refers to the finger friendly menus and program launcher. In my opinion, I think the widgets are more flash than practical. Like what others have already said, it would be much better to install spb mobile shell or ultimate launcher for the home screen. Plus, you'll save some ram while doing it.

24. aulton85

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 11, 2009

Yes you read right then, it is the widget plus that causes most of the lag and you can disable it under the settings option. But also remember that when they did this review they had phone running on automatic cpu power. On high power you barely lose any battery life and the widgets load a lot faster. There is still some lag though that can be fixed with a firmware update. But once again I have to agree that mobile shell is probably going to be the UI of choice for this phone.. Many did it for the original Omnia and it made the phone awesome..

26. Vandro

Posts: 17; Member since: Aug 12, 2009

It would be nice if Samsung saved us all the hour or so we would need to get rid of their comical distraction of a UI and preload SPB or TouchFlo on the device as a second option. Hint, hint, Samsung. Leave the widgets to the people who buy your feature phones.

22. mmayer54

Posts: 19; Member since: Jun 15, 2009

Phone arena's grading system MAKES NO SENSE! The Touch Pro 2 had very low scores across the board (7.5 avg.) but then give it a 9 overall. They gave Samsung i8000 FOUR 10's w/ nothing lower than a single 8 score (avg. was 9.37).....But gave it an 8 OVERALL Where is the "credibility" here?

25. Maemo

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 22, 2009

Hey, does anyone know will WinMo 6.5 support 16M colours? If not the I'll forget the whole WinMo system.

27. ais250

Posts: 5; Member since: Mar 06, 2009

Inside source at Best Buy says phone to launch 09/06 per their ad-proofing this week.
Omnia II
  • Display 3.7" 480 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP
  • Storage 16 GB
  • Battery 1500 mAh(10.00h talk time)

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.