Samsung Omnia

In terms of features the Omnia stands out as one of the best smartphones to date. It's a shame this doesn't translate into a phone we'd enjoy using from day to day.


7.0
CNET Rating
6.3
User Rating

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In Latin Omnia means everything and from the spec sheet in front of us it seems Samsung is intent on keeping this promise. Could this also be the Omnia's downfall? After all, being everything to everyone is a dangerous road to walk and tends to stretch you thin.

Design
With the knowledge of just how much technology is inside the Omnia, the most astounding feature is how light this handset is. At only 122 grams including the battery, the Omnia feels positively featherweight in our hands and its slim proportions — measuring a lithe 12.5mm in thickness — makes the Omnia very pants-portable.

In line with this design, the 5-megapixel camera module and flash on the back of the Omnia lays flush with the battery cover, as do all soft-keys on the front and around the sides of the handset. Strangely, Samsung has not included a slot for storing the stylus which comes with the phone, instead including a lanyard hook leaving the stylus dangling awkwardly to the side.

A 3.2-inch WQVGA (240x400) resolution touchscreen display is the Omnia's main input, although between the call and end keys below the screen Samsung has included a clickable touch-sensitive optical mouse for selecting menu items. While it is not set on by default there is an option to activate a mouse pointer that is controlled by this small black square.

In regards to the touchscreen interface the Omnia is about halfway there. The Samsung skin on Windows Mobile (WM) is great, but you all-too-often find yourself facing the impossible task of trying to interact with a standard WM menu and its ridiculously small on-screen buttons. The Omnia also employs Samsung's new-ish TouchWiz home-screen interface, displaying a panel of widgets along the edge of the screen. Users drag the widget they need to the main area of the screen to make the widget active. We like this system, but so far the selection and customisation of these widgets is minimal, basically rendering the panel useless. Still, we look forward to seeing where Samsung takes this concept in future releases.

Features
Samsung has really gone out trying to pack as much as possible into the Omnia. Firstly, we should note that the Omnia runs on Windows Mobile 6.1, giving users access to a wealth of business functionality including MS Exchange server compatibility for syncing contacts, email and calendar entries from your business Outlook mail account, plus MS Office document editing. There's even a business card scanner which uses the phone's camera and interprets what it sees into a new contact entry.

The Omnia supports HSDPA data transfers and is compatible with 2,100MHz UMTS networks as well as 850/900/1800/1900 GSM networks when you are travelling outside of the range of 3G coverage. Those looking to avoid carrier data charges can make use of Wi-Fi, and it sports a built-in GPS receiver as well. Our review unit didn't include any dedicated navigation software with turn-by-turn directions; however, we expect Australian carriers to include this option, particularly Vodafone with its Compass software.

While the Omnia is business capable it seems to us to be geared better for media playback. With 16GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot, the Omnia is able to carry large playlists of music and full size video files, plus it supports a wide range of audio and video codecs including DivX, XviD, WMV, MPEG4, MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA and OGG. It is a shame that the Omnia doesn't feature a 3.5mm headphone built-in the handset. It does come with a hands-free adapter in the box but this adds an awkward extra length of cable to your favourite headphones.

A new feature worth noting is the Omnia's compatibility with DLNA servers and clients. DLNA is an open networking standard being used by major electronics manufacturers to simplify the process of networking devices, which is especially useful for media sharing. The Omnia is able to stream audio, video and images to DLNA compatible devices, such as a PC or a Sony PlayStation 3, and can also have "pull" information to it. This may not seem like a big deal now, but we predict DLNA networking on mobile phones will become a very hot topic in the months to come.

Performance
Samsung hasn't taken any chances with the processing in the Omnia, packing in one of the most powerful mobile phone processors available at this time — a 624MHz Marvell processor and matching it with 128MB RAM. For the most part, this is sufficient — certain graphics that heavily process like photo gallery browsing work like a charm, and web browsing is excellent with the pre-installed Opera browser.

We did find we had to keep an eye on processes running in the background. As with many Windows Mobile handsets, hitting the "x" in the top corner of the active window will often close the window but not exit the program, and very soon you are losing significant performance as the handset ploughs on with 10 processes active. Samsung has put a menu key on the right-hand side of the Omnia and when this button is held in for several seconds it opens the task manager. This is a button you will turn to frequently.

Making calls with the Omnia is great, although messaging is clunky with the on-screen QWERTY keyboard. The Omnia does have a range of input alternatives to choose from including dual-QWERTY (two letters to a key) and T9 numeric keypad options, but even these only made composing messages on the Omnia slightly easier. The touchscreen is very sensitive and it's easy to hit the wrong button as you move your finger close to the screen.

The 5-megapixel camera is reasonably good, but it doesn't stand out from the growing list of similar specced cameras in other phones. We managed to take some good photos; photos that showed sharp focus and decent colours, but for every good photo we shot three or four duds. For best results you must be prepared to hold the handset very still while taking the shot or risk your shaky hands ruining your pics during slow image processing.

Perhaps more problematic than troublesome input and slow processing is the Omnia's battery cycles. With light to modrate use of calling, messaging and web browsing, the Omnia was always completely out of juice within 24 hours. If you use the Wi-Fi or GPS receiver expect this figure to shorten further.

Overall
Samsung's Omnia is overflowing with features, but lacks the usability that would make it a great phone for everyday use. Owners of Omnias will no doubt find situations to make use of all the technology built into the handset, especially media sharing with DLNA networking; however, using the Omnia for common tasks, like messaging, feels cumbersome. Most of the fault here lies with Windows Mobile and if Samsung intends to continue with Microsoft's OS for a next-generation Omnia we can only hope the company intends to modify even more of the platform so that users rarely face the frustrating interface.

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haunted
1
Rating
 

haunted posted a review   

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:Everything

Please don't waste your time purchasing this phone. The interface is the worst I've ever seen, not user friendly at all! Functions are complex and require time and patience to work them out, not a phone for a busy work/lifestyle. Simple little thigs such as trying to save sender details from a text message to my knowledge cannot be done unless you physically write their number down! I often miss calls as slider function tends to freeze/malfunction even the answer button fails to work most of the time. I often have to power off as windows tends to freeze everything and have had trouble ending calls, having to turn phone off to hang up! Scrolling through your contacts list is hit and miss, you'll end up dialling 3 people before you can slow the scroll down enough to make the call you want, it's way to sensitive!! The only thing I enjoy about this phone is Crayon Physics, otherwise it is a total piece of crap!

 

dontbuydisfone posted a comment   

The Good:nothing

The Bad:the phone itself

my dad bought me this phone for my birthday, not even 2 months later and im sick of it. i lost the stylus, super-sensitive touchscreeen, and texting is so slow my friends think ive gone offline. trust me i was very dissapointed and it was the worst b-day present ever( sorry dad but its true)

 

"lost smalest sim card"

frinton13 posted a reply   
Australia

The Good:do not know yet

The Bad:do not know yet

i have one of these phones but have lost the smalest of the two sim cards where can i buy another card

luke
3
Rating
 

luke posted a review   

The Good:screen

The Bad:everything else

Very slow, complex navigation, Email is very time intensive to attach files. the screen is very pretty but the camera is crappy after owning a nokia n95. its heavy and bulky but its tough, i have dropped it countless times and it is the same old crappy phone after picking it back up.

 

f**** posted a comment   

The Good:nothing

The Bad:touch screen, complexity

Omnia is awkwardly designed phone without any synergy of its feature. First of all it looks like a cheap phone with no sharpness of gravity. Its touch screen is difficult to user (try scrolling down an excel sheet), no pre-installed useful application or any interesting games. I will definitely not recommend.

Mark
1
Rating
 

Mark posted a review   

The Good:camera

The Bad:everything else

Possibly...no definitely, the worst touchscreen I have ever experienced. Stylus is useless, that was even before I lost the damn thing. Really disappointed with Samsung on this one and it has turned me away from any of their phones in the future.

Sleepy
1
Rating
 

Sleepy posted a review   

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:Everything

I really dislike this phone. Every function is fiddly and takes twice as long to do. I know how to use technology, and have compared this phone with other similar models. They all outstrip this piece of junk. I feel ripped off at the price I paid and I don't see myself buying Samsung again

 

Nana posted a comment   

The Good:some good

The Bad:bad with bettery life

can somebody help me?
i have problem with the screen power. say, when the phone haven't use few hours, and the screen turn to off mode. it doesn't turn on by just presses buttons, i have to turn the phone off and on in order to get the screen power back. can someone help me with that?
thankss

Paully
4
Rating
 

Paully posted a review   

The Good:In some ways

The Bad:In all the rest

I agree. Screen Alignment, hmm, watch out, if you reset. Screen Alignment sends you dizzy and doesn't go away. The screen looks perfect, so does the alignment, but doesn't go to the phone anymore. I'm still trying to find out wht the problem is. Samsung tells you to put the phone on a hard, flat surface, and use the the scribe for 5 or so minutes , HUH !?* Should take 3 times as usual !

Paully
4
Rating
 

Paully posted a review   

The Good:In some ways

The Bad:In all the rest

I agree. Screen Alignment, hmm, watch out, if you reset. Screen Alignment sends you dizzy and doesn't go away. The screen looks perfect, so does the alignment, but doesn't go to the phone anymore. I'm still trying to find out wht the problem is. Samsung tells you to put the phone on a hard, flat surface, and use the the scribe for 5 or so minutes , HUH !?* Should take 3 times as usual !

sophie
4
Rating
 

sophie posted a review   

The Good:bright screen, strong screen, easy to connect with a computer, memory

The Bad:touch, screen scratch, text, battery, camera is terrible at night, touchplayer

the excessive functions on this phone are hard to use and it's hard to justify their importance. Texting is impossible on the go - you have to sit down and concentrate otherwise you'll get incoherent jibberish because the touch screen is so bad. I drop my phone on hard surfaces all the time and the phone is still working as new (except for scratches)


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User Reviews / Comments  Samsung Omnia

  • haunted

    haunted

    Rating1

    "Please don't waste your time purchasing this phone. The interface is the worst I've ever seen, not user friendly at all! Functions are complex and require time and patience to work them out, not a ..."

  • dontbuydisfone

    dontbuydisfone

    "my dad bought me this phone for my birthday, not even 2 months later and im sick of it. i lost the stylus, super-sensitive touchscreeen, and texting is so slow my friends think ive gone offline. tr..."

  • luke

    luke

    Rating3

    "Very slow, complex navigation, Email is very time intensive to attach files. the screen is very pretty but the camera is crappy after owning a nokia n95. its heavy and bulky but its tough, i have..."

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