Samsung Omnia 7 Review

The Samsung Omnia 7 is Samsung’s first Windows Phone 7 handset in South Africa. Does it hold their name high or does it fly the flag at half mast?

By - June 11, 2011
Samsung Omnia 7 - Windows Phone 7
Overall score70%
9 Design and build quality
9 Screen and responsiveness
7 Camera
9 Battery life
7 Software

Spec-wise, the Omnia 7 is no slouch, though the 1GHz Qualcomm QSD8250 CPU – the same one as seen in the HTC HD2 and Nexus One – is starting to look a bit dated, on paper at least.

In terms of storage, the non-expandable 8GB also seems a bit limiting.

The Omnia 7 supports the usual set of wireless communications including: WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 and HSPA on 900/1900/2100 MHz networks.

The screen is 4” of Samsung’s much coveted Super AMOLED, coming at a resolution of 800×480.

For taking photos and 720p video, you have a 5 megapixel camera with a single LED flash on the back.

This is all powered by a 1500 mAh battery and weighs as little as 138g.

Design and build quality

The Samsung Omnia 7 does away with the plastic constructions of the Galaxy and Nexus S phones and instead opts for a some good quality metal.

On the back, at the top, you’ll find the 5 megapixel camera with an LED flash just above it. To the right of that you’ll find a speaker.

Another notable feature is a switch at the bottom of the back that pops the backplate off and allows access to the battery and sim card. We like it and we wish more phones did something like this rather than push, pop, and pull designs that make us sweat blood every time we need to get to the battery or sim.

On the left side you’ll find the volume rocker while the right side holds the power and camera buttons at the top and bottom respectively. The buttons don’t protrude too much or too little and we think Samsung may have actually found a sweet spot here. It’s also nice to see that they’ve remained consistent with the power button placing on their different smartphones.

At the top of the phone you’ll find the 3.5mm headphone jack with the microUSB port to the right of it covered by a sliding flap, while the bottom only holds the microphone.

Up front, from top to bottom, you have the earpiece, screen and the three buttons – back, home and search. The home button is a hardware button while the other two are capacitive touch buttons.

The capacitive buttons are a little confusing. They only light up when you touch them and they don’t stay lit for very long, so you’ll have to guess where they are.

Samsung omnia 7 angle view

Screen and responsiveness

Little can be said about Samsung’s Super AMOLED displays that hasn’t already been said.

The Omnia 7’s display is clear, vibrant and the Windows Phone UI looks gorgeous on it. Side-by-side with the Nexus S (The Super AMOLED version), the Omnia 7 actually looked better to us – crisper and brighter.

The screen is also very responsive – browsing, typing and gaming was buttery-smooth.

Camera

The camera was a bit of a mixed bag. In daylight it took excellent shots and video. However, when the sun went down so did the quality.

It’s not that photos become grainy. To us it appears that the flash is too focused, which means that the part of the image you’re trying to focus on is overly lit, while the surrounding area is left in relative darkness.

Sound and call quality

The rear speaker is nothing special, but it’s competent enough to play a sound clip when you need to. Call quality was excellent and both parties could hear each other clearly.

Software

Shortly after switching the Omnia 7 on we received a notification for a software update. Unfortunately, to update the phone’s software you have to install Zune on your computer which was a chunky 120MB download.

The update brought copy & paste functionality as well as a handful of other improvements.

Copy & paste worked mostly well, though the handles used to select text could be jumpy at times.

The only other notable piece of software is the new “Now” hub which has a news, weather and stocks services. It’s a nice idea, but we didn’t find ourselves using it very often.

Battery life

We’re happy to report that, unlike our experience with the HTC 7 Pro, the battery life was excellent.

With some browsing, social networking, gaming, e-mailing, music and one or two calls and texts, the Omnia 7 made it well into the second day of use. When on standby, the phone seems to consume very little power.

It will be interesting to see what happens to battery life when Microsoft adds multitasking capabilities with the Mango update.

Conclusion

Windows Phone 7 may only be in its infancy, but it’s clear that Microsoft won’t go quietly into the night.

The Samsung Omnia 7 is an excellent piece of hardware. If you’re going with a Windows Phone for your next upgrade, we’d say that the Omnia 7 should be one of your top considerations.

Related Articles

Samsung Omnia 7 gallery

Samsung Omnia 7 launched in SA

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