I was quite fortunate enough to be able to get a first-hand experience on Samsung’s latest touchscreen phone, Omnia (SGH i900). Slated to be released today here in the Philippines, the timing was perfect to give potential iPhone 3G buyers another phone to consider.
Before I proceed, I’m not really a phone freak. I’m a bit of a newbie when it comes to PDA phones, Blackberries, business phones, etc. so don’t bash me if I fail to compare the Samsung Omnia to brands like HTC, Palm, etc. I can only compare it to the iPhone albeit in a limited way.
On to Samsung Omnia’s specs:
- Network: HSDPA (7.2 Mbps), EDGE / GPRS 850/900/1800/1900
- OS: Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
- Display: 3.2″ WQVGA TFT LCD
- Camera: 5 Megapixel CMOS
- Video: MultiCodec (DivX, XviD, MP4, WMV, etc.) Supports video recording and editing.
- Audio: MP3/AAC/WMA/OGG/AMR with FM Radio
- TouchWIZ UI, Haptic Feedback
- GPS/AGPS ready
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.0 / USB 2.0 / WiFi
- Memory: 8GB / 16GB and external microSDHC up to 16GB
- Size: 112 x 56.0 x 12.5
- Battery: 1440 mAh
First thing that caught my attention when I got my hands on the demo unit was the vibrant 3.2″ WQVGA screen with its Vista-like draggable widgets. Although a bit smaller than iPhone’s 3.5″ display, the difference is barely noticeable. Just like the iPhone, it also has an accelerometer that changes the display into landscape or portrait whenever you rotate the phone.
I quickly tested its TouchWiz user interface but found it a bit difficult getting used to. Good luck to those with big fingers but I heard they would be bundling it up with a stylus even though there’s no slot on the phone for it. Scrolling is a bit unresponsive or slow to respond at times.
The 5 megapixel camera is a bit overkill for a phone since it is already comparable to entry-level digital cameras out there with its image stabilizer, 14 scene modes, face detection, etc. I really enjoyed using its Auto Sequence Panorama Shot where you just follow the indicator frame and the phone will take the next shots for you. When finished, it did a great job stitching the photos together.
Connectivity, Internet and Multimedia
Connecting to a Bluetooth or a WiFi network is so easy. I was able to connect to a WiFi network in 4 clicks… err taps. They said that it has both IE and Opera but I guess the default browser is Opera 9.5 (can’t locate IE). Unlike the iPhone, you can’t pinch the screen to zoom in or out but you have to tap it instead. Still, web sites are clear and crisp on its display.
For typing, you can choose between a QWERTY pad, phone keypad or a Transcriber where you need a stylus and a bit of practice to memorize the strokes (just like using a PDA). One thing thing that I found interesting is that text messages can be set up ala chat wherein a set of text conversation with a single person is stored and displayed on a single text entry. Just like your Gmail e-mails.
Too bad there wasn’t any video available on the demo phone but being DivX/XviD compatible will save you time from having to convert your videos. You’ll surely love the potential extra 16GB space with its expandable microSDHC slot.
It’s biggest edge over the iPhone will probably its OS and bundled mobile MS Office suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook). Having the latest Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro will allow you to easily sync your contacts, e-mails, calendar between your PC and your phone. You can even have up to 11 e-mail profiles on your phone including Gmail, Hotmail, and Windows Live accounts.
Aside from the quirky touch screen which might take a bit of getting used to, the Samsung Omnia is a very solid phone that is perfect for a person who’s always on the go but needs to be in his office at the same time.
Oh yeah, I find it irritating that the battery indicator is only displayed on the main screen. When I’m browsing the net or using the media player, I have to click on the time to check the battery. I wonder if there’s just a toggle setting for it.
How much is it?
The 8GB model is going for Php 34,000 while the 16GB model is at Php 38,000 which is still cheaper than the iPhone.
Should I forget about iPhone and buy this instead?
If I have the money, you bet! I’m a Windows user and a phone based on Windows OS will give me a smooth experience connecting it to my PC and synching my files.
Calvin is a newbie blogger who’s working as an IT consultant and blogs for a hobby. He has his own personal blog, Calvin’s Hub, where he write about his thoughts on just about everything that interests him.