Samsung Omnia (SGH-i900) mobile phone - First Look

Samsung has thrown its oar in the mixing pot with its iPhone wannabe, but can the device match the power of Apple’s consumer centric device? We were given a chance to play with the handset before the official announcement.

The Samsung Omnia - it means everything in Latin - is according to Samsung a phone that will be "everything to everyone".

Promising full touchscreen functionality with a business rather than consumer focus, the Omnia sports a 3.2-inch screen, comes with HSDPA 7.2Mbps and Wi-Fi connectivity, a 5 megapixel camera, accelerometer and will come with two memory options 8 or 16GB.

The design is simple, although not as simple as the iPhone. The 3.2-inch touchscreen dominates the design, and there are a three buttons underneath this for those not completely ready to go full touch.

Getting around the need for a stylus with any small on-screen buttons the d-pad also doubles as a trackpad to control an on-screen mouse pointer.

Haptic feedback makes the phone vibrate when you touch the screen and like other Samsung or LG handsets this is either something you love or hate. Personally I think it’s akin to getting an electric shock from a stair rail or door knob.

Running Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system, Samsung has left the OS unfettered on its new "Flagship" model and unlike HTC who seem keen to customise the OS as much as possible, this is pure Windows for the pure Windows Mobile fan.

Of course that’s either a really good thing or a really bad thing depending on your view point of Windows Mobile, but for us it's a bit of a shame. While the IT department will embrace you with open arms, in day-to-day use it is just a bit clunky really and certainly no where near as graphically nice to use as the HTC Diamond or the iPhone.

Luckily when it comes to internet browsing Samsung has realised that IE just isn’t up to the job and so you’ll also find Opera Mobile on-board as well. The browser is incredibly easy to use and thanks to the inclusion of the accelerometer, viewing pages in landscape mode is as easy as turning the device.

On a performance front, in our brief play the phone performed well coping with the requests we asked for. The touchscreen also seemed more responsive than previous consumer Samsung mobile phones we’ve tested and overall Windows users should be happy.

Verdict

It might feature a large touchscreen, but an iPhone competitor this isn’t; nor is the i900 likely to stand up to any Android handset prototype we’ve seen to date down to the unimaginative user interface.

However, as a Windows Mobile 6.1 device, this will please the Windows crowd.

If you miss your iPAQ, and are looking for a business "iPhone"-styled device this looks to be your answer, just don’t expect to get excited about the interface.

The Samsung Omnia i900 is due out in August.



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