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Samsung Omnia 7 Review

What Mobile
November 22, 2010

Samsung’s offering features a dazzling screen. No surprise there, but does the Omnia 7 hold any other surprises?

Key Stats:

  • 2G: Quad-Band / 3G: Dual-Band
  • 4-inch / 480×800 pixels / 16.8m colours Capacitive touchscreen
  • 5MP autofocus / Flash / 2592×21944 pixels camera
  • 720p record / Playback
  • Music player / Stereo Bluetooth / 3.5mm jack
  • 8GB internal
  • 6.2hrs talktime /330hrs standby
  • 1GHz processor, accelerometer

Grab your sunglasses: the screen of Samsung’s WinPho handset is super-bright. While it’s true that Super AMOLED (a technology which Samsung uses to greater effect than just about anyone) screens don’t thrive in bright sunshine, in anything less than full-on summer this screen is blindingly vivid.

The colourful effect is made even stronger by the fact that the phone we tested was on Orange, whose choice of ribbon colour stands out more than, say, O2’s quieter blue shade. And like the Trophy, the Omnia 7’s screen shines out all the more because at four inches but the same resolution as the larger-display HD7, those bright pixels are more concentrated.

Plus, if you favour the dark rather than light option for the Windows background, AMOLED is good at saving power where it’s not lighting up pixels. And in our tests the Omnia 7 lasted a little longer between charges than the HD7 – though you’ll still need daily charges.

Samsung has a curious relationship with power buttons: as on some of its Android machines, here the on/off switch is on the right-hand edge rather than the top. This is not a serious flaw and once you know where it is it’s fine, but it’s not in the most logical place and you could switch it off inadvertently. Up top you’ll also find a 3.5mm headphone jack and the USB charging slot.

Also, unlike the HTC phones, you can wake this phone from a button on the front instead of reaching up to the top edge. You press the Windows key which, unlike other WP7 handsets, is not a touch-sensitive element but an actual button – shaped and positioned a lot like the iPhone’s home button. While it’s a little odd that it’s a different kind of button from the surrounding back and search touch-sensitive ones, the advantage of being able to wake the screen from here is clear.

It’s true that HTC has a great pedigree with industrial design, but Samsung is no slouch either and the Omnia 7’s metal casing is attractive and feels reassuringly good in the hand. The camera is the same as every other WP7 handset other than the Mozart, that is 5-megapixels with a flash.

The phone includes a free app called Samsung Now which shows weather, news and stock information. Although the weather app lacks the HTC windscreen wipers, the cloud images shine out on the AMOLED screen, for instance.

Verdict

Nobody makes AMOLED screens like Samsung, and it really shows on this excellent phone. Look beyond the super-vivid colours and you’ll find a neatly designed, classy handset which matches a corkingly good screen with a sumptuous and pleasingly tactile metal casing. The Samsung special app may not quite live up to HTC’s Sense tile but it’s not bad. Still, since Windows Phone 7 is so strong, this doesn’t really matter. It’s let down only, perhaps, by a power button that seemed unnecessarily protuberant. Otherwise this is a nimble, snazzy handset.

Ratings (out of 5)

Performance: 5
Features: 4
Usability: 4
OVERALL: 4

The other Windows Phone 7 handsets

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