Samsung Omnia 7

20th Oct 2010 | 23:01

Samsung Omnia 7

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

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

The screen will be what sells the Samsung Omnia 7, but given the company's heritage in this arena we expected slightly more

Like:

High quality screen; Slick and reponsive interface; Comfortable design; Passable camera quality; Cool gaming experience

Dislike:

Cheap-feeling rear; Slow internet browser with no Flash; Mega-bright LED flash; No worthwhile Samsung-added software on board; Lack of microSD expansion

Samsung Omnia 7: Overview, design and feel

Samsung's take on Windows Phone 7 was always going to be tech-heavy – and that's proved to be the case.

Featuring a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen and a cool industrial design, the Samsung Omnia 7 is a slightly different take from the LG and HTC crowd.

It hasn't gone big on the camera side of things like the HTC 7 Mozart, packing only a 5-megapixel camera and a single LED flash.

But it's that screen that really makes things pop on this phone – it's almost like the feeling you get when you first see a Blu-ray on a proper HD telly: everything looks more real than reality itself.

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Yes, we've seen the same things on the Samsung Galaxy S, but for some reason the angular design of Windows Phone 7 interface really brings out the deep contrast and vivid colours more than on the Android version.

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The Samsung Omnia 7 is actually very similar in layout to the Galaxy S: the power/lock key is located on the right-hand side of the phone, where it's easy to access without having to jiggle the phone around in your hand too much. This is the same side as the small but easy to press camera button, which is staggered to help activate the autofocus, and is easy to use.

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The top of the phone houses the ports – we're looking at a pretty basic 3.5mm headphone jack and a slider switch with small piece of plastic to uncover the micro-USB slot.

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The uninspiring-looking camera is in the same place, although with the Omnia 7 the plastic back has been replaced with a Samsung Wave-a-like metallic option that we really like. You release this with a small switch at the bottom, and the cover simply pops up with no hassle.

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The right-hand side of the phone has the volume keys, or up and down navigation, which is good if you're right-handed and use the phone for sports applications in the future, but feels less intuitive for volume adjustment during calls.

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The Windows Phone 7 range has placed a real premium on the high-end feel of the handsets, and the Samsung Omnia is one of the best examples of this in our opinion.

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The front keys are the most impressive – there's an iPhone 4-like main home key, which is circular and concave, and the two touch sensitive buttons surrounding it are very responsive.

However, they're hard to see when they're not lit up and in action, and can be hard to hit without looking.

We'd rather they were also slightly indented, because it would continue the premium feel across the front of the phone and stop the Samsung Omnia 7 looking like every other Windows Phone 7 handset.

Samsung Omnia 7: Interface

We're getting into some very familiar territory here, and if you're not familiar with it yet, then you soon will be.

The Windows Phone 7 interface on the Samsung Omnia 7 is mimicked at Microsoft's behest across all the phones running the OS, so will quickly become as instantly recognisable as the iPhone's Home screen.

The first thing you'll notice on the Samsung Omnia 7 is that the screen is so clear and bright it almost hurts your eyes – but then you'll see the reaction under the finger is just brilliant.

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Large, easy to hit icons and a tactile feel make it a joy to swipe around the interface, and encourage you to play with your phone even when you don't really need to pick it up, which Samsung must love.

The main area of interaction is the Home screen, activated by hitting the main Windows button. This takes you to a selection of tiles, most of which show constantly updating information such as pictures, songs listened to or emails unread.

You can manipulate these by long-pressing on one and moving it around the screen, or clicking the small 'unpin' icon in the corner to delete it.

You can pin pretty much anything to the Start menu, from albums to contacts to bookmarks to applications, and there's seemingly no limit to the amount you can have.

Swiping right from the Home screen throws up a full list of applications, which is where your downloaded items will appear. It's could get annoying when you have loads of apps, but the focus here is on simplicity and it's been achieved.

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The nice thing about Windows Phone 7 is it's a pretty replicable experience across the phone – that is to say most things work in a similar way to each other.

For instance, long-pressing most items will call up a menu with options such as deleting, editing or pinning to the Start menu. Wherever there are option icons at the bottom of the screen, you just swipe upwards to get more options.

We'd prefer a contextual menu key at times, like on the Android interface, because there are instances where you have to drop out the main settings menu to perform easy functions like altering the contacts you see in your phone book.

Other tweaks include landscape viewing of screens – you can enter something like the Zune media player and see a list of options, like Music, Video or Podcasts. But when the title fills more of the screen than can be seen, or more options can ever-so-slightly be seen at the side, you can swipe along to see other lists.

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It can look a bit untidy to some people, while to others it can be a neat way of alerting you to see more options. We're slightly in the former camp, but even with this system it sometimes took a while to notice more options.

Another little tweak is the notifications pane at the top of the screen – tap the first centimetre of the phone from the top edge and the signal and battery meter will appear.

It's all part of Microsoft's attempt to keep the screen clear from clutter and we think it works - although it can be annoying when you just want to glance and see what's going on.

But overall the Windows Phone 7 interface on the Samsung Omnia 7 is excellent – and the vibrant OLED display really shows up the sharp, angular designs with aplomb.

Samsung Omnia 7: Contacts

The Samsung Omnia 7 is like other top-end smartphones around at the moment in that it puts social networking at the fore with Windows Phone 7.

You can choose to import contacts from a number of sources: SIM, Windows Live, Google, Corporate and Facebook and then have the laborious process of linking them all together to get things like Facebook pictures and statuses when looking up a friend.

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The linking is pretty intuitive, offering a suggested contact when you're trying to link up based on name, phone number or emails stored. Most of the time it's at a loss to present the right option though, and it's nowhere near as good as the HTC Desire at psychically working out which person you're after.

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It also has an annoying habit of syncing all contacts with Windows Live, and using the most boring name as the contact when you want the fun one. For instance, our friend Andy Honey is listed as such in Windows Live for some reason, but we want to call him Mr Sweatband. The only way to do so is to delete his Windows Live name, which means it's not stored on that cloud.

There's also no option to not see Windows Live contacts either because Microsoft has hard-wired these into the system. You can choose to not see Facebook friends (except the ones you link to phone numbers) but this option is hidden in the options menu and is a swipe to the right away.

The contacts navigation is relatively easy, though, since you get two options for finding the person you're looking for.

You can either use the search button (or hit the search icon on the contacts menu) and enter the person's name, with the results showing up in real time.

Alternatively, you can hit the letter at the start of each set of contacts (arranged by alphabet) to show a list of available letters to jump to a certain set.

It's a little counter-intuitive to Microsoft's plans to reduce the amount of clicks you need to operate the phone, but overall it works well.

Another option with contacts is the chance to see what's new, which means looking at new Facebook photos and the like posted up in a single list.

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Call quality is an area that we can only call average on the Samsung Omnia 7, since on more than one occasion we found ourselves jiggling the phone around on the ear to get the best volume.

We also needed to turn the volume up on a number of occasions in a (fruitless) bid to hear more of the conversation we were having.

Samsung Omnia 7: Messaging

Microsoft's Windows Mobile eco-system was built on a rich amount of email options, and that's been continued on Windows Phone 7 on the Samsung Omnia 7.

Firstly, you can interact with any number of accounts, be it Yahoo, Google, Hotmail or others, with only a simple username and password needed to get set up.

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Even more impressively, the same can be said for Outlook setup, with Exchange email taking only an email user name and password to get all the necessary settings, which makes turning on the phone ridiculously easy first time out.

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One of the most impressive things on the Samsung Omnia 7 is the keyboard, which is probably up there with the options on the iPhone 4[LINK] and the HTC Desire in its intuition.

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You can type and type and type from the outset and get about 90% accuracy, with that increasing rapidly as you get used to both portrait and landscape modes.

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Microsoft has managed this by working out the letters you'll be needing when beginning a word and making these more touch sensitive than others, making it easy to get up a good speed.

The word correction is ace too, making it a cinch to get the right word when you accidentally/drunkenly mash your hand at the phone. It's not got the same levels of insight as the Desire, but it's still great.

The messaging interface, specifically in the email section, is great. It's open, easy to read and has a number of options, such as only seeing urgent or unread emails.

Within the emails, there's the option for smart linking, which means the Omnia 7 will search through the mail to see if there are any phone numbers, emails addresses or physical locations present, and will offer them up as a tappable link.

However, for the UK (and that means the Omnia 7) there's no smart linking for addresses, which is sad because this looked like the coolest feature, enabling you to tap the address and see it in Bing Maps.

You can also access multiple email checking (for easy organisation or deleting) by touching to the left of each message and calling up the checkboxes – something we found ourselves using regularly.

Samsung Omnia 7: Internet

The Samsung Omnia 7 uses the default Windows Phone 7 browser, which is Internet Explorer. Microsoft tells us that this is a combination of IE 7 and IE 8, taking good bits from both (but also some less than impressive bits too).

The plus points are easy to see – reactive pinch to zoom, double-tap to zoom to into columns and a large and easy to read screen thanks to the WVGA resolution.

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However, there are other things that are missing: text wrap for closer zooming would have been a lovely touch, and the lack of Flash and Silverlight in the browser is a confusing omission indeed. We were often greeted with an 'upgrade your browser' command on a number of occasions, which was annoying and looks, well, looks like an iPhone interface.

There are other plus points though: tabbed browsing is enabled, with up to six open at once, and the bookmarks are also in the same place as the history, making it easy to find where you've been or where you want to go.

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The real problem is the overall speed of the browser though: it's just not up there with the likes of the WebKit-enabled Samsung Galaxy S, iPhone 4or HTC Desire.

Some sites, with the framework already enabled, would be as fast as those phones, but often we found that we were left hanging even on simple sites, which grated a bit when Microsoft promised this would be a lot faster.

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It's not the Samsung Omnia 7's fault though, because we checked it out with other WP7 handsets from other manufacturers.

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The internet experience on the Omnia 7 could be a lot better in our opinion – it's good, solid and will get the information you need, but still needs a bit of upgrading. Copy and paste integration would be a start.

Samsung Omnia 7: Camera

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We'd have bet good money that Samsung would have wanted to bring out the Windows Phone 7 handset that had the best camera, but that's not the case here.

Instead of the 8MP camera with Xenon flash on the HTC Mozart, the Samsung Omnia 7 comes with a pretty basic 5MP option with only a single LED flash.

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The camera interface is pretty basic too, but it's easily accessed from the phone's screen, and enables you to change the focus mode, ISO levels and a constant option to change the flash, which we're glad Microsoft has realised is among the most often used features.

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The same can be said for video where, like the camera mode, the light can be toggled on and off for easy use and there is a basic range of options to mess with resolution and the like.

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The flash can be used to good effect in brighter situations

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However in darker scenes it completely washes out the subject; this was the third attempt from progressively further away

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Despite the hilarity of a dental fitness centre, the background light still bleeds into this quick snap

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A mixed scene will show up better however, with some nice detail captured

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Despite the super-fast camera loading, the Samsung Omnia 7 still has problems capturing a quick snap

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The Omnia 7 does its best in bright light - a good portion of detail is captured here although the contrast isn't the greatest

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Again a brightly lit scene works well on the Omnia 7

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Macro mode took a couple of tries to get correctly in focus, but the results are quite detailed

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Captured with the standard auto mode

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With high contrast

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With low contrast

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Zooming in loses most of the detail in the picture

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It's possible to take some stunning shots with the camera - it's perfectly passable for the odd point and shoot but it's not enough to label the snapper on the Omnia 7 as a killer feature

Samsung Omnia 7 review: Video

The Samsung Omnia 7 can record in HD video, at 720p, and does so at 25fps depending on the conditions.

You get a variety of options to play with, as mentioned above, although not all of them are strictly relevant or useful.

Samsung Omnia 7: Media

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Samsung Omnia 7: Xbox Live

The Xbox Live integration on the Samsung Omnia 7 is excellent, as you'd expect, and we think this could be one of the killer features of this handset thanks to the sheer range of things you can do with the Xbox Live hub.

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The least important (but among the most fun) features on there is the ability to play with the avatar from your Xbox Live account – you can dress him/her (depending on your taste) as you'd like, buying new clothes and accessories for it and interacting with it on a regular basis.

For instance, you can shake the phone and see your avatar fall over – it doesn't seem like much, but its one of those things that makes the phone seem cool and something fun to show off to your friends, especially when you've clearly made it a lot thinner than you are in real life…

The Xbox Live portal is clearly set up to defeat the oncoming might of Apple's Game Center, and will do so using the power of the Xbox brand to lure in gamers.

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To that end you can set up your Xbox live account on the Samsung Omnia 7 and use that to record achievements, talk to friends or even challenge them to a game.

However, Microsoft has yet to put its multiplayer offerings live as yet, waiting until after the launch to do so.


And although it has built its strategy over the years on online multiplayer gaming, no such luck on the Samsung Omnia 7 because only turn-based games are on offer from the outset, so you can't see another person's moves in real-time, which would have been awesome.

Some of the best games on the Marketplace when we first used the phone ranged from the innovative and powerful (like Rocket Riot) to the old school classic (like Frogger) and what's more you can try them in a basic mode (with limited options/gameplay) before buying them, a model that will surely entice more people to purchase a game or two more than usual.

Gameplay is more than adequately handled by the Omnia 7's internal GPU, and you can see the slickness in play – during our tests we noticed very little, if any, slow down.

We reckon this could be a serious contender to the iPhone as a gaming platform in your pocket – it just depends if Microsoft manages to get a decent enough gaming portfolio together and manages to bring cool things in the future like real time Xbox compatibility across titles.

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Samsung Omnia 7: Apps and Maps

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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

Samsung Omnia 7: Office

Microsoft's heritage in the mobile phone space (and one of the key things than kept Windows Mobile alive for so long) was the ability to work on documents and projects on the go, and that functionality is back with a vengeance on the Samsung Omnia 7.

Be it simply looking at a document from an email without needing to switch between multiple applications, or doing some deep editing of a PowerPoint presentation, it's all on offer through Windows Phone 7.

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The front-facing application is OneNote – this is basically a really advanced note taking application that can be synchronised with the SkyDrive on your Windows account, or on a Microsoft SharePoint if you have one set up for your company.

You can add in text, pictures from the camera, sound you've recorded – basically if you're after a complete way to record a meeting, this is an excellent way to do it.

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Word and Excel support is similarly excellent – for instance, in Word you can look at the whole document in overview, or press a button to simply see the starting phrase of each paragraph, which can make shooting through a 90-page document on your handset that much easier.

You can obviously edit said documents with ease too, by tapping the edit key. You can also track changes on collaborative docs with a specified user name to make it easy to show what you think. Or swear at people in real-time, which is hilarious in all work-based instances.


PowerPoint is also ridiculously good too; simply open it up and you can alter a project, add text, move the slide around with a slick drag and drop principle, basically all the things you can think of in a really nice manner.

You can also subscribe to web-based PowerPoint presentations and follow them real time on your phone – we didn't get the chance to try out this functionality but it sounds ace.

What's hard to describe here is how it works – the foibles, the weaknesses, the things that don't impress you as much – and the reason is there is none.

The Windows Phone 7 platform on the Samsung Omnia 7 is almost perfect in the way it operates the tasks you ask it to, and that's never more apparent than in the intensive Office Suite.

Samsung Omnia 7: Battery and Connectivity

The Samsung Omnia 7 is based on a number of principles supplied by Microsoft – namely that the battery life is tailored to the power levels of the OS.

The lack of third-party multitasking, the 1GHz processor specified by Microsoft and the dedicated GPU all mean battery life is pretty well mandated by the Redmond group – and it's relatively impressive here.

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In practice, we managed to get around one and a third days' use out of the phone before it died completely – although we found if you switch things off towards the end of its life, the battery will manage almost half a day more for emergencies.

The Samsung Omnia 7 also benefits from having the Super AMOLED screen. We didn't have a chance to test it minute by minute or use any battery graph applications, but it felt like it managed to hold on just a little longer than the LCD-powered HTC HD7 and its brethren.

The battery is also user-replaceable, which is another plus should the phone freeze and crash, although we never saw any hint of that happening in our tests.

Connectivity

As you can imagine, the Samsung Omnia 7 is filled to the eyes with connectivity options – although not all of them work as well as we would have hoped.

Coverage is good, because it enables you to make and receive calls nearly all the time. However, we found the data coverage was a little more suspect at times, with the bars dropping down low. The data rarely dropped, but the speeds weren't as fast as we would have liked.

The Samsung Omnia 7 also really struggled with Wi-Fi connections at times too – especially when coming out of sleep mode to reconnect. There were times when we were waiting many seconds to get our Wi-Fi on, and if you were in the middle of downloading something, then it would pause and sometimes fail as the phone got confused over where to get its data from.

Bluetooth worked fairly well – transferring between Windows Phone 7 devices seemed okay but for some reason our handset didn't want to communicate with Android phones, which makes very little sense.

GPS was also an issue for us at times – even when out and about and trying to get a decent map fix, the time to find us from cold wasn't that impressive. It invariably did manage it eventually, but it's not in the same league as the likes of the iPhone 4 at working out where you are almost as soon as you turn on the application.

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The digital compass didn't really come into play that often either, which is likely due to its API not being available for developers to put in their apps – it seems that's something that could really benefit some, although LG has managed to utilise it in the Optimus 7.

We mentioned it before, but the Zune software is both a blessing and a curse for the Samsung Omnia 7. It's just great for finding your media, siphoning off photos and videos and just generally messing around with your phone.

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One feature we adored was the ability to sync wirelessly – simply turn on your phone and your PC together and you'll find that in a few minutes you'll be looking at all the updated stuff from either device.

However, you do have to use it when the phone is plugged into the wall, which ruins the trick somewhat… when are you going to have a phone plugged in and your laptop on in another room? It seems like more a niche trick than anything else to us.

There's no internet tethering, which means your phone's data is going to be safe, and we've already mentioned how annoying it is that some videos have to be converted.

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Audio and the like will sync over easily enough – but why aren't we allowed to drag and drop files for easy management? Syncing four films on the Samsung Galaxy S[LINK] takes around 10 minutes or so when simply copied across in known friendly file formats – it takes over an hour on the Samsung Omnia 7.

Connectivity therefore has to get a 'could do better' despite the wide range of options on offer and the excellent implementation of the Zune Media interface otherwise.

Samsung Omnia 7: Hands on gallery

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Samsung Omnia 7: Verdict

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The Samsung Omnia 7 is phone that uses its screen to mark itself out, especially when it has a bog-standard 5MP camera bolted on the back.


It has a sharp and angular design, and the 4-inch screen isn't too large to dominate your hand.

The 8GB of internal memory is ample-ish (the technical term) and the general layout of buttons and functions pretty simplistic and easy to use.

We liked

A year ago we wouldn't have believed we were saying it, but we love Windows Mobile. Well, what Windows Mobile has become: Windows Phone 7.


From the industrial and simple-to-use tiles to the brilliant way the screen responds to the finger, it's a top notch interface for the first time user from start to finish.

The Super AMOLED screen on the Samsung Omnia 7 also really fizzes with colour and is great to watch movies on – it may have a little trouble with artefacting with some videos, but overall it's great.

Bing Maps is a relatively good implementation of mapping software too, certainly enough for most people to get from A to B, and the contact linking is pretty good, too (although not at the levels other smartphones manage).

The media interface is like a gadget in itself (well, it did come from the Zune) and the gaming portal has a whole truckload of potential waiting to be tipped into the open canyon of expectation (or something. We may have got lost in that metaphor).

We disliked

We're not massive fans of the way Windows Phone 7 is so locked down at the moment, since it means there's no genius tinkering from the brilliant developers that can go on yet in the same way as on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S or BlackBerry range.


At launch, the Samsung Omnia 7 has very few applications to play with from the store – there's not even a YouTube or Twitter client to mess around with as yet.


The Internet Explorer is a bit slow for our tastes, especially because we thought it was going to be really, really fast, and the lack of Flash, Silverlight and HTML5 is ridiculous when you think about the heritage Microsoft has in those areas.

The back looks premium but feels a little flimsy too – we'd have hoped for a more weighty and expensive-feeling device to be honest.

Verdict

The Samsung Omnia 7 is a pretty decent phone indeed – it especially impresses when you pick it up for the first time.

The screen is pin-sharp, and the operating system just blows your socks off the first time you use it – this is Windows Mobile in opposite land.


The industrial look and feel of the phone might not be for everyone, but it still feels nice and fits in the hand well – whether it's different enough from the rest of the Windows Phone 7 clan, we don't know.

Samsung Omnia 7 Microsoft Windows Phone 7 smartphone AMOLED mobile phone
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