With so many Windows Phone 7 handsets on the market from day one (21 October), trying to work out which is the best one to choose is a tough job. The Samsung Omnia 7 brings to the table a number of unique features it hopes will sway you over and above the other smartphones available - but is it enough? We were able to have a play with the new handset at the Windows Phone 7 launch in London, ahead of getting a full review sample nearer to launch.
The most striking feature of the Samsung Omnia 7 is the screen. Like the Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung is treating Windows Phone 7 users who opt to go with them to a 4-inch super AMOLED display, that is bright and crisp in whatever environment you place it. While you won't see much difference inside, outside it shines through - as our pictures show. Disappointingly the phone's specs show that the resolution doesn't take advantage of the screen, it's still only 480 x 800 pixels, as are all the other Windows Phone 7 handsets.
But the screen is just one element to it of course. Like other Windows Phone 7 handsets there are tight guidelines as to what it can and can't offer, and so that means you get three buttons (back/Start/search) underneath the screen and a series of dedicated camera and volume buttons around the sides. There is also a 3.5mm stereo jack at the top of the handset.
The rear shows off the 5-megapixel camera, not in an overt way, and you'll get a LED flash to light up those dark moments. Our test shot (above) wasn't great, but until we see final software we can't make any firm judgements.
The battery case is removable, allowing you to swap out the battery and access your SIM card. Overall the design is squarer than the LG Optimus, and not as bulbous or detailed as the HTC 7 Mozart. It is also the lightest Windows Phone 7 handset on the market and akin to the Samsung Galaxy S in its general feel - although the casing is metal rather than plastic.
Inside, and you get a 1GHz processor and 8GB of storage for your files. Memory hasn't been detailed officially so we can't comment on the memory, but we suspect it will be 512MB in line with other handsets available (we will confirm in our full review). Connectivity wise you get Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, Wi-Fi (b/g/n) and GSM, 3G, and HSDPA.
Other features specific to the Samsung Omnia 7 are an, "enhanced camera experience with simple and quick sharing to multiple social networking sites". Either this feature wasn't implemented yet, or it was so well implemented that we didn't see it, but you'll have to wait for our full review to see what we think of this feature.
We were able to easily send a picture we took on the phone back to ourselves via email and MMS - so at least that is confirmed and supported.
Both operators. Three and Orange. have had their go at adding extra features in an attempt to lure consumers to Samsung rather than HTC, LG or Dell.
At the launch Three showed us its plans for the Samsung Omnia 7. It will provide quick access to account management with something the operator calls My3, as well as links - yes just links - to the mobile internet via Planet Three and a couple of bookmarks to key apps to get you started. Not that amazing you'll probably agree.
Orange on the other hand is going all out with a dedicated Orange Wednesdays app, a similar offering to its iPhone app. It will let you read film reviews, watch trailers, as well as redeem the all important 2-4-1 vouchers when you're at the cinema. Other apps bundled on the handset to start with are Orange Maps (in addition to the native Maps application), Your Orange, and Orange Daily - a news and weather app.
Aside from the attempts by the UK operators involved to give you extra, the Samsung Omnia 7 appears, based on our play with all the handsets, to be the most straight-forward. While LG offers extras in the guise of DLNA support and Augmented Reality apps, and HTC brings Dolby Mobile and photo enhanced features, aside from the screen there is nothing here above and beyond all the other handsets.
The Samsung Omnia 7 will be available in the UK on Three, Orange and T-Mobile on the 21 October.
We will be bringing you a more in-depth review of the phone nearer the time, once we have a review handset and have given it a good going over in the field.
UPDATE: You can now read our full and final Samsung Omnia 7 review to see how the phone rates.