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Samsung Omnia 7 review

Does the best screen make this the best Windows Phone 7 handset?

The Samsung Omnia 7 comes complete with a number of applications at launch, some from the manufacturer itself but many from Microsoft as well.

The option to put on applications (especially ones that act as live tiles on the home screen) is the main way to differentiate the phones from one another in the Windows Phone 7 portfolio.

LG has gone with DLNA and augmented reality and HTC has decided to put on a Sense-like hub that offers weather, notes, a flashlight and similar.

To that end, it seems odd that Samsung should decide to only put on the 'Daily Briefing' application, which offers up a few extra bits of functionality, none of which are visible from the Home screen.

You can get weather updates, news from Reuters in your chosen category, and stock information too – it hardly adds a huge amount and we're left talking about the Super AMOLED screen as the main differentiator of the Omnia 7.

Samsung omnia 7

But thankfully Microsoft has come to the rescue, by putting in a number of fairly useful options to help you through your smartphone day.

Following the 'making the simple things simple' mantra, elements like an Alarm Clock tile that show whether an alarm is on and what time it's set for really make a difference to the way you use your phone.

The calendar is great as well, interacting with all other online calendars that support Exchange severs (which includes Outlook and Google).

Samsung omnia 7

You can see easily which days you're most busy on, look at different calendars in different colours and also accept meeting invites directly from your Samsung Omnia 7.

What is cool, though, is when you're in a meeting option within the calendar you can see attendees, message them directly, and even send a message telling them that you'll be late with the little 'running man' icon in the corner – Microsoft has been talking up this feature and it is very neat.

The Windows Phone Marketplace is still very under-stocked as we move into the launch phase, but it has the same clean interface that lives throughout the Samsung Omnia 7 and is therefore very easy to use.

Samsung omnia 7

You get access to the top applications, free and new, featured and sorted by category. Games are also listed separately, and although it can take a little while to get your head around the way everything is laid out in the Marketplace, downloading is easy, multiple apps can be bought at once, and there's even a list of ongoing downloads to see what you're actually getting your hands on.

However the main problem with applications on the Samsung Omnia 7 is the lack of multitasking, which means opening up the same applications time and again to do the simplest things.

It's a major oversight and makes it feel just like the iPhone – but the bad bits, not the super smart elements. We hope Microsoft fixes this soon, because without it this is going to remain an incomplete phone in our book.

Maps

Bing Maps is included out of the box for the Samsung Omnia 7, and it's one of the better mobile mapping applications we've seen on a mobile phone.

The main view is a simple drawn view of the roads where you are, and using multi-touch to pinch in (or double tapping) you can get closer to the action. A really cool feature is the way the screen will change to satellite view when you get close enough and actually want to start looking for landmarks.

Samsung omnia 7

Long pressing on an area of the map will open up a label, and from the address you can search for information on it, and then navigate there from your current location, if you want.

The amount of information on some places appears to be a bit limited on the Bing search, but it's very functional and enables you to find where you're going most of the time with ease.

What does set it below the likes of Nokia's Ovi Maps and Google Maps for Mobile is the lack of extra information and free sat nav.

We're used to elements like being able to see the transit lines of London's Underground on Android phones, or being given Lonely Planet advice by Nokia when we're checking out a new place on our mobile, and there's not much of that here with Bing Maps (although you can search for it if you like).

Samsung omnia 7

Another annoying thing for the UK: smart linking in emails enables the Samsung Omnia 7 to register addresses and take you to the relevant Bing Map with a single click. Except that setting is disabled for now for us Brits, which really irks when we don't have copy and paste yet.

Bing Maps is nice to look at and functional, but we hope it gets rapidly upgraded to put it up there with best on the market at the moment.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory6.97 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value0.65 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100, WCDMA 1900
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemWindows Mobile
Brand NameSamsung
Battery Talk Time8.60 Hour
Product ModelI8700 Omnia 7
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution800 x 480
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)138.5 g
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, WEEE
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionWindows Phone 7
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height122.4 mm
Width64.2 mm
Depth11 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time390 Hour
ManufacturerSamsung
Product NameI8700 Omnia 7 Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part NumberGT-I8700YKAXEU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

A true breakthrough in mobility and Samsung first mobile powered by Windows Phone OS 7, Samsung OMNIA 7 combines cutting-edge hardware with quality multimedia experiences and user-friendly interface. From Xbox Live gaming to Zune music enjoyment, from advanced camera functions to comprehensive media sharing options, Samsung OMNIA 7 offers a slim, unique design with enhanced usability.

SUPER AMOLED Display

The brilliantly large 4.0" SUPER AMOLED display is the zenith of mobile viewing. Brighter, less reflective and slimmer than general AMOLED display, SUPER AMOLED provides you with unmatched luminescence, vivid eye-catching colours and super fast response.

Fun Entertainment

Always be in the game with the phone that lets you take Xbox LIVE mobile. Through the Music and Video hub, Zune transforms music and video on a phone to be a beautiful immersive experience.

Limited Warranty2 Year