Samsung OmniaPRO B7610 Preview


The standard Windows Mobile 6.1 interface looks quite boring and dated. This is why manufacturers have been falling over backwards to come up with modifications and customization packs that lend some color and make the interface upbeat and friendly. HTC´s TouchFLO interface is an illustrative example. Samsung has adopted a similar practice and equips devices with the widget-full TouchWiz interface. The Samsung OmniaPRO B7610 utilizes version 2.0 that is the chief culprit for the vastly penetrating personalization.  Unlike the first TouchWiz, this particular version permeates the operating system in depth and managed to leave us with open mouths in just a few minutes. WOW! It´s so heavily personalized that you wouldn’t even notice you are using a Windows Mobile 6.1 device. Honest to goodness, we can say the TouchWiz 2.0 has done away with all shortcomings of the standard Windows Mobile 6.1 interface. Almost every single menu is either changed or features an alternative, is comfy to use with your bare fingers and so designed that shows it´s made by Samsung. Even pressing the Start button at the top of the home screen takes you in an entirely different menu, both in terms of overall look and available options. The Task Manager is virtually the same as on the Samsung Jet S8000 and similarly to the Palm Pre, you can see active icons for all applications running in the background.

The home screen looks completely in character of Samsung and you have three separate areas to place widgets. There isn’t an option to download more on the prototype, but still, one of the apps allows you to create shortcuts to every single program installed on the phone. If you think the motley widgets simply don’t go with your conservative business style, just press the W&L button on the left hand side of the handset. It allows you to fast switch between both available modes – one to fit your daily, out of office routine and another, better suited for work (similarly to Nokia E series devices). The second shows info boxes that notify you of new emails, messages, meetings, snapshots or lead to shortcuts, settings, airplane mode, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi etc. As it might be expected of a smart phone, this is easy to change and interface elements can be rearranged or hidden. Mode Mananger allows you to place more functions on the home screen, set another wallpaper, background, ringtone, applications (say, you can get rid of widgets in Life mode), connectivity options or set the mode switcher to automatic.

Opening the slider switches the phone to landscape and makes the Composer menu pop up on screen. It features shortcuts to messages, emails, calendar, notes and search function. The phone contacts menu is pleasingly customized and allows filtering by first letters using the slider on the right. New contact entries are added through a personalized screen with large info fields. There are different versions of the calendar, alarm clock (appearing together with the annually recurring events, world clock and stop watch), messages and the phone file manager that are all quite comfier to use than the standard ones that come with the operating system. As a whole, the personalization doesn’t add functionality, but changes the background (so that is goes with the overall interface) and makes icons larger, so they are more comfortable. We like it a lot, because it creates the impression that you are using a handset that doesn’t utilize Windows Mobile. Congrats, Samsung, way to go!

The main menu hosts up to ten pages, where no more than 12 applications of your own choice can be placed. Non-personalized versions of the apps are available in “Other programs”.

While rummaging through the phone menus, we ran into something that might be of great interest to high-tech buffs – an app to overclock the phone processor that delivers four different CPU frequency settings – High, Normal, Low and Auto, be we decided not to experiment with the prototype.

Similarly to the Samsung OMNIA i900, HTC Touch Diamond2 and others, the Samsung OmniaPRO B7610 comes preloaded with Opera Mobile browser and allows for fast internet connectivity over 3G and Wi-Fi. All told, there are no major improvements or nasty surprises here.

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