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Samsung Omnia 7 review

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

The Samsung Omnia 7 uses the Zune interface to work on the media side of things, meaning the only way to get information on and off the phone is through the Zune software.

This is a little bit of a chore, because we prefer to drag and drop files onto our phone, but sadly that's not an option here – once again showing how Microsoft wants to lock down the experience.

However, the Zune software on the Omnia 7 is just top notch, so that really helps make up for the problems. We like the way we get shown our history of tracks or videos just played, and swiping left and right to get to separate areas feels intuitive.

Samsung omnia 7

Sound output through headphones is good, if not stellar – the lack of audio tweaking on offer means that some songs seem flat where on other Windows Phone 7 devices with said audio boosting on offer (the HTC HD7, for instance) you can really make a sonic difference by having a little fiddle.

The list of audio you can connect to is adequately comprehensive, and as mentioned the Zune interface is a really nice way of navigating around. The most recently played and history items are all offered up as icons, and the background of the Zune media experience automatically changes to the artist you last listened to on the Zune marketplace.

Samsung omnia 7

Being in the UK, we've been a little bit hard done by when it comes to the Zune Pass, which had the potential to be a real game changer for the way we consume music on our mobiles.

Positioned somewhere between Nokia's Ovi Music Unlimited and Spotify for Mobile, Zune Pass offers free streaming of a ridiculous amount of tracks from the marketplace, and then 10 to keep DRM free.

Except that's only for the US, despite that territory's Pass costing the same amount as in the UK (around £26 for three months' use) and we're waiting to hear back from Microsoft on why this is.

Zune Pass also only enables you to stream songs from an album in sequence, not allowing the creation of playlists, so it's not the stellar service it could have been.

The interface for the music player is excellent though, because you get to see thumbnails of the music you're listening to, and then you can simply swipe through them to change tracks, which is a really nice way of doing things.

Samsung omnia 7

Video

Video is similarly easy to use on the Samsung Omnia 7, and thanks to that Super AMOLED screen, looks even better than on any other Windows Phone 7 device on the market at the moment.

However, it seems to lack the pop and fizziness of the Galaxy S, and we can't put our finger on why – perhaps it's just the chassis or the way the video is processed, but side by side there seemed to be a little bit of artefacting in a basic DVD rip compared to the Galaxy S.

Samsung omnia 7

People looking over your shoulder at the Samsung Omnia 7 will be rather impressed, though (as long as you're not watching anything too adult-related) because the contrast ratio and colours are still great.

Samsung omnia 7

The only problem here is the Zune PC software needed to actually sync stuff up to the phone. We'll come onto this in more depth later on, but some movies will take an age to be put onto the phone due to needing to be converted, and we don't know why.

Samsung omnia 7

The file types are listed as being compatible, but in the absence of dragging and dropping onto the Omnia 7, we've only got the Zune software to get media onto the phone. It's not terrible, but the length of time it takes to get movies on there is terrible.

Other options for the Samsung Omnia 7 include a podcast list and FM radio, as well as the opportunity to buy songs from the Zune Marketplace, with the former option only available through the Zune PC software – no searching for podcasts from the phone's screen.

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