Windows Phone is now firmly established as a smartphone operating system, while being well into its first major update. Hardware partners are bringing out more handsets, and Nokia has even said it will concentrate on the OS going forward. Samsung’s second Windows Phone, the Omnia W is small and attractively priced. But does it offer enough?
Small and chubby
The Samsung Omnia W is a nice size for the hand and that’s quite an important factor. If you can’t reach across a phone’s screen for one handed use, then it isn’t necessarily going to suit you. This is especially when you commute on shaking busses or trains, when you really need one hand to hold on to a rail or strap, just in order to stay upright.
We found the 3.7 inch screen was accessible, all over, one handed, and we’ve quite small hands. We also found its 800 x 480 pixels display clear, sharp and bright. The screen is just about big enough for comfortable web browsing too; the absence of Flash support in Windows Phone really rankles.
Samsung hasn’t done its best chassis design job ever. The Samsung Omnia W is thick at 10.9mm and it feels quite chunky in the hand. It is small enough to slip into a little pocket though, at 116 x 59mm. The plastic build is solid enough but not particularly exciting from an aesthetic point of view.
Fast, but lacking in memory
There’s no denying that the 1.4GHz processor in the Samsung Omnia W gives it a real lick of speed. It’s not a dual core processor, but nonetheless Windows Phone didn’t display any juddering and responses to finger presses.
What we still have trouble getting our heads around is why Microsoft doesn’t support external memory in Windows Phone. With just 8GB built in, and only 6.3GB of that accessible to the user, you’re looking at a handset that’s severely hampered as a mobile data store. 32GB microSD cards are now very affordable, where anyone interested in carrying lots of data, for example music, might look away from Windows Phone – no matter who makes the device.
Still, the Samsung Omnia W does have something not every Windows Phone smartphone can boast, and that’s a front facing camera. You can use this for video calling and with the recent launch of Skype beta, in the Windows Phone Marketplace. This is along with the rear facing 5 megapixel camera, which is backed up by a couple of pre-installed apps – Photo Studio for photo editing and Funshot for adding deformation effects to photos, before you take them.
Samsung also adds in its own DLNA app, called AllShare, and a diary app that can add weather and location details to entries automatically. Windows Phone itself remains stolidly un-skinnable, so its look and feel is no different here, to in any other Windows Phone handset.
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- Well sized for the hand; solid if uninspiring chassis design; front camera.
- No memory expansion; no Flash support in Windows Phone; nothing especially inspiring on offer.