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Review: Samsung Omnia W

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Windows Phone is being called as the OS of the future and a number of handset manufacturers have started tilting towards the new platform. Samsung had already committed to Microsoft and had launched the Omnia 7 long back. Now there’s an upgrade, err…sort of.

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The Omnia W is the latest offering by Samsung running Windows Phone 7.5 aka Mango. While the device doesn’t look all that bad, it also falls in a decent price segment.


SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Processor
  • 3.7-inch Super AMOLED Capacitive touchscreen of WVGA resolution (480 x 800 pixels)
  • Windows Phone 7.5 Mango OS
  • 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, VGA front facing camera
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 8GB of Inbuilt Storage
  • FM Radio
  • 3G HSPA
  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • 1500mAh battery
PACKAGING

Samsung has packed in the following accessories with the Omnia W:

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  • USB Data cable
  • microUSB charger
  • Pair of in-ear headphones
  • Carrying pouch
BODY AND DESIGN

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Samsung is being touted as the ‘plastic’ handset maker. Well, this handset doesn’t disappoint us as it is all plastic. The body doesn’t feel all that bad though (yes even when it’s all plastic). The display is the best part of handset as it is a Super AMOLED offering a 480 x 800 resolution. The display is bright, crisp and offers amazing contrast and colours. There’s the usual trio of Windows buttons below the display with the search and back keys being capacitive and the main Windows key being a hardware key. There are the usual sensors above the display, and also a VGA camera, though it is useless on WP Mango. We hope it can be used once the Tango update is out.

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The left side of the handset has the volume rocker keys and the right side has the power/lock key and the camera shutter release key. The top boasts the 3.5mm audio jack and the bottom has the microUSB port for charging and data synching.

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The back has the 5MP camera with a single LED flash which captures some decent shots and the speaker right next to the camera lens. The back battery cover is all plastic and offers a brushed metal look. Under the cover are the 1500 mAh battery and the SIM card slot.

WINDOWS PHONE 7.5

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The UI is same as all the Windows Phone Mango devices out there. There isn’t anything special added by Samsung which is a letdown. The only proprietary apps you might notice are the ‘Samsung Apps’ store and the ‘AllShare’ DLNA sharing app.

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There’s the usual Metro UI including the tile layout and the app list layout carrying all your installed apps.

The various SNS integration, like all WP devices, is great if you love your social networking to be with you 24×7. The layout and UI of almost all the apps is something that I love.

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The minimalistic approach to a platform seems to be a hit. With not a lot of settings and features, Windows Phone 7.5 is great if you don’t like complicated stuff like Android or iOS. It’s something fresh and new.

IE9 BROWSER

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There isn’t much to say about the browser, only that it is pretty smooth and loads pages quickly. We did a speed test against the Galaxy SII and the Nokia 701 where the Omnia W proved to be slightly better than the other two.

The zoom in and zoom out works perfectly good and pages with HTML5 content load superbly well.

MULTIMEDIA

Probably the only drawback of Windows Phone OS is the lack of multimedia capabilities. The platform is limited on codec support and supports pretty formats including MP3/AAC/AAC+/eAAC+/WMA/AMR-NB audio support and MPEG4/H.263/H.264/WMV video support.

You can only load songs via Zune software which is a bit annoying as every time I need a new song I have to connect it to Zune and then transfer it. With wireless communication why do we have to stick to cables and softwares for data transfer?

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The camera, clicks pretty decent pictures. Backed up with auto-focus and an LED flash, pictures come out fairly well.

The handset also has FM radio with RDS support in case you like listening to your favourite stations.

CONCLUSION

I know I am jumping on the conclusion a bit too quick, but to be honest there isn’t actually much to a Windows Phone handset. I am not saying that it’s boring or anything, but it needs a bit more. Maybe more apps, a bit more functionality, etc.  And yes, I could live with a Windows Phone any day.

Coming back to the handset, the build and quality is pretty good. The responsiveness and the features offered, taking in to consideration the price segment, I think it isn’t a bad deal at all. Launched at Rs. 19,990 the handset is worth the buy if you really want to commit to Windows Phone. If you aren’t sure about Windows Phone, then don’t. There are a lot of options out there in the price segment that you can opt for.

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