Samsung Omnia 7 smartphone

Samsung Omnia 7 review: The Windows Phone 7-powered Omnia 7 smartphone includes an impressive 4in Super AMOLED display

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Samsung Omnia 7
  • Samsung Omnia 7
  • Samsung Omnia 7
  • Samsung Omnia 7
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • 4in Super AMOLED display, excellent fit and finish, attractive industrial-style design

Cons

  • Only 8GB of internal memory, no camera lens cover, Now hub offers nothing compelling, hard to record steady video footage

Bottom Line

Windows Phone 7 smartphones may be extremely similar, but the Samsung Omnia 7 manages to stick its head above the pack thanks to its gorgeous Super AMOLED display and an excellent design. If you're in the market for a Windows Phone 7 smartphone, the Omnia 7 should be at the top of your list.

Would you buy this?

Samsung's Omnia 7 is one of five new smartphones launched in Australia that runs Microsoft's new mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7. Featuring an impressive 4in Super AMOLED display, the Omnia 7's screen and excellent industrial design makes it the most attractive Windows Phone 7 device at launch, but the limited 8GB of internal memory is a disappointment.

For a full verdict on the Windows Phone 7 platform, read our in-depth Windows Phone 7 review.

Check out our guide to the Best Windows Phone 7 mobiles.

Unlike previous Windows Mobile devices, all new Windows Phone 7 smartphones are forced to meet strict hardware requirements. These include a capacitive, multitouch display with a minimum 800x480 resolution, a 1GHz or better processor, at least 256MB of RAM, a minimum of 8GB of internal storage, and a GPS receiver. All Windows Phone 7 devices must also have an accelerometer and digital compass, an ambient light sensor, a 5-megapixel camera or better, an FM radio and seven physical buttons (back, Start, search, camera, power/lock, volume up/down).

These requirements make all Windows Phone 7 devices eerily similar to use and means that physical design is the main differentiator between models. The Samsung Omnia 7 is an excellent example of a phone that sets itself apart from competitors thanks to a thin and stylish design. Its brushed metallic body borrows aspects of the Samsung Wave's design. The phone feels like a premium product: it's sturdy and well constructed.

We were impressed with some of the small touches, including the super-responsive, touch-sensitive back and search keys, while the physical Start button has a more reassuring click than Apple's iPhone 4, even if it is slightly smaller. We also liked the sliding micro-USB port cover and the chrome ring surrounding the headphone jack, though the lack of camera lens cover could be an issue in the long run, as the lens sits almost flush with the back of the phone. The rear battery cover snaps on and off with ease, clicks firmly into place when closed and does not rattle or creak when pressed.

Even more impressive than the Omnia 7's design is the 4in Super AMOLED display. The same technology used on the popular Samsung Galaxy S, the Omnia 7's display is one of the best on the market and without doubt the best screen on any first-generation Windows Phone 7 handset. Like the display on Galaxy S, it is bright, crisp and clear, and its performance in direct sunlight is exceptionally good. It also does a great job rendering text, with no visible aberrations even when zoomed in. Viewing angles are also excellent; the screen can clearly be viewed even if you're at an almost 90-degree angle from it, and there is no colour shift when viewing the display from off-centre. The large display is especially welcome for Web browsing and messaging; the extra screen real estate makes it easy to zoom in and out of Web pages, and it means the on-screen keyboard is slightly roomier.

Apart from different designs, the other main differences between Windows Phone 7 handsets are the quality of the camera and any extra software that's included. The Omnia 7 comes with Samsung's "Now" hub, providing basic weather, news and stocks information. Strangely, the weather isn't location-based, so it won't automatically update as you move, and there is no option to add Australian news. Much more useful is Samsung's photo-sharing application, allowing you to upload snaps to a number of social-networking sites including Facebook, Flickr, Friendster, MySpace, Photobucket and Picasa. You can save log-ins to all of these sources and quickly upload photos, though you can only upload a single image at a time.

The Samsung Omnia 7 only meets the minimum specifications required for a Windows Phone 7 camera: 5-megapixels, a single LED flash, 720p video recording and a physical camera button. The neat UI is the same one used across all Windows Phone 7 devices. The Omnia 7 produces still photos with good colour reproduction, excellent detail and minimal noise. Video recording is a little disappointing; it's hard to keep things steady and footage did appear choppy on occasion.

The Samsung Omnia 7 includes a disappointing 8GB of internal memory, and there is no microSD card slot for extra storage. We expected at least 16GB of storage on a device without a memory card slot. Battery life is about what we have come to expect from a smartphone — the Omnia 7 will quickly run out of juice if you use it frequently but should last a full day. For better battery life, we recommend turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use, keeping the screen brightness down and setting push e-mail and account updates (Facebook, Google, Windows Live, Outlook) to manual.

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