Omnia 7

Samsung Omnia 7 review

The Samsung Omnia 7 is one of many Windows Phone 7 smartphones to hit the market in the last few months. Does the handset beat off the competitors for your Windows 7 needs? What makes it stand out, especially considering that the original Samsung Omnia was a terrible, terrible phone? Having trialled it over Christmas (courtesy of Three Mobile) we’ve worked out the killer feature: the display.

Omnia 7

The Super AMOLED screen is super impressive. The colour reproduction is extremely vivid – as it is on all AMOLED phones. The quality takes on a whole new life on the Omnia, however, by using the excellent contrast ratio to provide blacks that seemlessly blend with the handset’s design.

To the touch, it feels like you’re physically interacting with the display, rather than just using an everyday touchscreen.

Unfortunately, the 480 x 800 resolution of the 4-inch screen means that the display doesn’t quite live up to the smoothness of the iPhone. If you read a lot, the iPhone will provide a more pleasurable experience. Watch a lot of videos? Then the Omnia is definitely for you.

Aside from the display, the phone is pretty attractive coppery-granite colour with a great feel. The metal case feels solid to the touch, as if not a millimetre of space has been wasted. Buttons feel tactile and responsive. There’s definitely a level of Apple-quality here.

In fact, the whole experience is very Apple-esque. Windows Phone 7 really flies, there’s not a touch of lag to be found. Whatever magic Samsung has done with the Qualcomm 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 512MB RAM, it shows.

Unfortunately, despite Samsung delivery a smooth experience elsewhere, the Internet Explorer browser is still not as good as Safari mobile. Expect slightly slower loading times and more blank spaces as you navigate pages. And unlike Android, there’s no Flash support.

The camera’s also pretty average. It’s not bad at taking pictures; it just does nothing ground breaking. The five megapixel sensor takes good daylight photos, but the LED flash doesn’t match a proper Xenon offering, while non-flash low-light photos are dark and noisy.

The dedicated camera button is great though, especially as it controls the autofocus like a typical compact camera. By holding it down when the phone is locked, it’ll jump straight into the camera option, so you’ll never miss the moment. We’d have loved the option to touch-to-focus, but it’s a minor complaint.

So far, it’s our favourite Windows 7 Phone. For consuming video media, it pips even the mighty iPhone 4. As an overall phone, however, it’s just a little behind. The camera isn’t as good as top quality Android and Apple offerings, while the incredible AMOLED can be found on numerous Android handsets. If you’re looking for a solid, media-heavy Windows phone, however, then you’ve certainly found it.