Extensive review of the Samsung Omnia 7

GSMArena have published an extensive review of the Samsung Omnia 7.  They found much to be impressed with in the phone, but did run into some non-obvious limitations, more related to the new OS than the phone itself, but note “an update from Redmond will cure all those aches in the Cons section of the review. For example, reportedly copy and paste will be added in early 2011, and Microsoft is working on others as well.”

They concluded:

Final words

Windows Phone 7 left us with mixed feelings, to say the least. WP7 devices have been designed around the OS, not the other way around. So perhaps, it’s best we look at the whole picture.

The Samsung I8700 Omnia 7 is our first encounter with WP7-grade hardware and we walk away impressed. Microsoft has imposed some tough restrictions on what qualifies as WP7-ready. We’re talking top of the line processing power, large screens, powerful imaging and such.

This means that choosing between two Windows Phone 7 mobiles will be hard – they match on so many points. It will be the special perks that each manufacturer can provide that will tip the scales one way or another.

In the case of the Omnia 7, Samsung’s one-of-a-kind 4” SuperAMOLED is a major incentive – the only other phone to offer it is the Samsung Galaxy S. There are some good LCDs around but they don’t quite match the vivid picture and superior black levels of the SuperAMOLED tech.

Samsung deserves a pat on the back for the metal Wave-style body and the excellent 5MP camera too. To summarize the review in one sentence – the hardware is perfect, it’s the software that lets the phone down on occasion.

Keep one thing in mind though – Microsoft has done the hard part. They’ve gotten manufacturers excited enough about Windows Phone 7 and obviously has been convincing enough.

Just think how many Android phones and also iPhone 3G and 3GS have been given a new lease of life with an OS update. The same could (and we’re guessing will) happen to Windows Phone 7 devices like the Samsung I8700 Omnia 7 – an update from Redmond will cure all those aches in the Cons section of the review. For example, reportedly copy and paste will be added in early 2011, and Microsoft is working on others as well.

Truth be told, right now there are a few things missing. And our comment section is open for business. Just take a moment to think. Android and iOS didn’t quite have all the features they do now from day one, and yet they are doing fairly well on the market (that’s putting it mildly).

From the current crop of OSes, Windows Phone 7 is closer to iOS than Android. It takes the “just works” approach and it’s Microsoft that dictates the major decisions about the OS. Android is more decentralized, and if you know what you’re doing, can be tuned and transformed to the user’s (or maker’s) taste.

So, this is what you can expect from the Samsung I8700 Omnia 7 – it’s breaking new ground, much like the first iPhone, but lacks some features and flexibility. But unlike the first iPhone, the Omnia 7 has very few flaws in the hardware department: a large, hi-res screen, fast hardware, capable camera and so on.

Restrictions from Microsoft have another positive side too – it gives developers a common target to aim for and guarantees that each and every app they create will run trouble-free on each and every WP7 phone. Apps were critical for the iPhone’s success and are still important for every other mobile OS out there. Plus Samsung Omnia 7 and its likes will have no problems with OS fragmentation (or screen resolution) as Android does.

But going back to this specific sample in the WP7 lineup, the Omnia 7 is a premium phone with a beautiful OS. It obviously has issues that can (and must) be fixed mid-flight. And since it’s our job to rate phones for what they are, not what they can be, we have no problem saying it: there are better phones than the Samsung Omnia 7.

So, don’t be rushing to the nearest store just because it may be the next big thing. Make sure to give it a test drive instead – and see if it’s the right one for you. Then of course, you don’t need anyone’s permission to go ahead and call it crap. Just try to sound credible.

Obviously whether the list of initial limitations in Windows Phone 7 is a deal breaker to you or not depends on your needs (and GSMArena’s appear to tend to the technical), but they do call the Metro Ui beautiful, the screen fantastic, the camera good and the sound quality excellent, so if any of these housed in a smooth and responsive OS are priorities, it may be the phone for you.

Read their full 7 page review here.

Thanks Steve M for the tip.

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