Cell Phone Reviews

Verizon is hard at work this holiday season pumping out quality smart phones - the Samsung Omnia II is no exception. Running Windows Mobile 6.5 and featuring Samsung's TouchWiz 2.0 interface, this phone is a mobile office that's packed with multimedia features. The Omnia II is available today for Verizon and costs $199 with a two-year contract. (After a $100 rebate)

Here are some highlights:
  • Windows Mobile 6.5
  • 5.0mp camera w/ flash & autofocus
  • 3.7in WVGA AMOLED screen
  • Swype typing technology
  • Stereo Bluetooth (2.0)
  • EV-DO Rev A
  • 208mb RAM / 512mb ROM
  • Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)
  • 8gb internal memory + microSD



Unboxing
Nothing too exciting here. It does come in a sturdy 'Samsung' black box with three CD's featuring a desktop program to sync the phone, music software, and a user manual. Also included is a charger/usb chord, a wired headset adapter and a 'quick tips' booklet.




Cosmetic
The first thing you'll notice on the Samsung Omnia II is its styling. It actually has some, unlike some other recent recent releases. (cough Droid cough) The send and end buttons have a brushed texture, and the menu button (which is not a directional pad) is surrounded by a cool silver outline. An onyx color surrounds the body.


The rear of the phone has this red carbon fiber look to it:


On the right side you'll find the USB charger port, a lock button, and camera button:


On the left there is a 3.5mm headphone jack, along with volume and OK buttons:


Unlike the original Omnia, which had a full stylus, the Omnia II comes with a telescoping stylus. It lives on the top right of the phone and extends as it is pulled out.


Under the back cover you'll find the 3.7v Li-ion 1500mAh battery, and access to the microSD slot on the left side.


There are no buttons or ports on the top or bottom of the phone.

Battery
The Omnia II has a very long talk time of 6 hours with a 375 hour stand-by time - this is a great battery. Not only does this phone automatically dim after 15 seconds, it also locks itself by default after 30 seconds -a big plus for all of you pocket-dialers out there. (Myself included) These default settings certainly contribute to the long stand-by time.

Boot Up
When the phone is turned on "Samsung Omnia II" appears on the screen, then "Windows Mobile." The entire sequence takes less than a minute.


Screen
The large 3.7 inch WVGA AMOLED screen looks fantastic. It's almost the same resolution as the Motorola Droid, although it doesn't have as many colors. An added bonus is that this technology renders the screen readable in the brightest sun.

The resistive touch interface may take some time to getting used to if you've been using a capacitive screen. A resistive screen has a bit of a give, versus the hard glass of a capacitive screen. The advantage is that you can use a stylus on a resistive screen (or fingernail for that matter). However, I found the responsiveness of the screen to be a little disappointing. The haptic feedback reminds me of the sound a hard drive makes when seeking, and the screen flutters when scrolling through menus. Speaking of menus, Samsung made them "bounce" a bit, just like an iPhone, BlackBerry or Android, but somehow managed to make this feel slightly clunky.

Software
I like that Samsung added their TouchWiz 2.0 interface to go over Windows Mobile 6.5. It offers some simplification and streamlining on certain functions, like a multi-page home screen, messaging, pictures and the Samsung widget store. The Task Switcher allows you to easily see what's open and close what you need to easily. TouchWiz is a nice addition to the standard WM interface. However, when compared to HTC's TouchFlo I think HTC did a slightly better job. As the name implies, it Flos a little better.

TouchWiz is also responsible for the 3D cube. This 6 sided multi-media interface is neat for displaying different media applications to the user. From the home screen there's a link to "Cube" in the lower right opposite "My Contacts". Even though this is a neat interface, I find it a bit redundant. The same links are already in the application menus. I think this cube would've been a better addition as a widget. I can't find a way to turn off just the cube without totally disabling the TouchWiz interface.


The Windows Mobile Marketplace is included, however the interface seems a little messed up.


Other default applications are Microsoft Office Mobile, Facebook, Weather Bug, YouTube, Games, Ferrari GT Evolution, Solitaire, Bubble Breaker and Dice.

Since this is a Windows Mobile phone, Outlook is easy to sync. All your contacts, emails, calendar appointments and tasks are available without the hassle involved with some other smart phones. Setting up an Exchange server for your email is also easily accomplished.


Dialing calls is also quite easy with the Omnia II's simple interface. Thanks to a sensor, the touch screen is disabled while close to your face . Calls on the phone are crisp and clear, as expected, and you can use other functions of the phone while on a call. There is also a handy interface to add notes during a call.


Keyboard & Swype Software
The on screen keyboard is available in both vertical and landscape. The vertical keyboard may be a bit hard o use at first, but there is an added feature on this phone that you'll probably grow to love. Swype technology, from the same people that brought us the original T9, allows you to easily "type" with one finger. See the video below for a demonstration.



[VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTooBnKAdSw[/VIDEO]

I really enjoy using Swype, but if you prefer there are also other options, like a character transcriber for writing letters and gestures, and the standard Samsung keyboard with t9. Take note that the space bar has been moved off to the left in landscape mode only when using Swype.

Browser
Included is Opera 9.5. This is a great browser that works wonderfully. A simple double tap zooms in while another zooms back out. Tabs are easily accessible, pages are quick to render, and browsing feels seamless.

You have the option to use Internet Explorer if you wish. Maybe I'm missing something, but I could not get it to go into landscape mode. In my opinion, IE mobile generally isn't as easy to use or as elegant as Opera. I wish there was an option to uninstall IE here to free up some space.

Camera
The 5.0mp camera is great addition to this phone. Shots are crisp and clean, and colors are balanced without making any adjustments. It takes pictures fast too! Included are many camera options like a rapid fire continuous mode, which shoots 6 pictures in a row, a mosaic mode that allows you to take different shots for different sections of the picture, a panorama mode that allows you to take a 180 degree picture, an action mode that shoots moving objects easily, and a smile mode which focuses in on faces.

When viewing pictures you are given the option to set the picture as your wallpaper, set it as a contact picture, edit the picture; including options to crop, color balance, adjust contract, rotate/flip, and make the picture black & white, negative, or sepia.

The camera can also shoot video in a 720x480 mpeg4 format. The videos it takes are also quite good.

Overall the camera options are outstanding. This phone has a great camera package and you can tell some though was put into the interface.


Compared to the HTC Touch Pro2:




Other Thoughts
I'm slightly bothered that Samsung put the lock button on the right side of the phone. Once you press the button, you very briefly see the screen, then you are shown the unlock screen. To unlock the screen you simply touch the unlock icon. There is no gesture to do this. Furthermore, since this is a resistive screen, anything could potentially touch that unlock button. Given these flaws, I foresee a lot of pocket dialing and/or a prematurely drained battery.

I find myself wishing that Samsung would've included a "Back" button somewhere. The big button in the middle functions as the Windows button. The End button always brings you back to the home screen. Most of the time if you want to go back, you'll have to close the window that is open, which means using the X in the top right.

The 8gb of internal memory is great! However, this is only used for media. I wish more than 186mb was used for programs.

It seems that Verizon intensionally delayed the release of the Omnia II. The phone community has known about it for months, and it's like it was just sitting on deck waiting to bat. This no doubt is because they wanted to release the Droid with a bang and follow it with a steady flow of smartphones for the holiday season.

Conclusion
I think the Omnia II is a great improvement over the original Omnia. The addition of TouchWiz was a wise decision and it functions well with WM 6.5. I feel like some more attention could've gone into the layout of buttons and the way the menus 'feel', but overall Samsung did a wonderful job on this phone. The camera, web browsing, and easy integration with Exchange and Outlook make it a great phone. Enterprise users will appreciate its features.

This phone may not be for you if you want a hardware QWERTY keyboard. Don't immediately dismiss the Omnia II because of the on-screen keyboard though. Try out the Swype feature. If you're a fan of windows mobile, then this is your phone.

Be sure to take a look at the BlackBerry Storm2 and the Motorola Droid, as they may be viable alternatives.

If you need a world phone (GSM/CDMA), don't need a 5mp camera, don't mind using WM 6.1, but still want a hardware keyboard, check out the HTC Touch Pro2 (or the tilt on other networks).
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Comments 4 Comments
  1. AnnA!'s Avatar
    AnnA! -
    Text automatically translated from: German to: English
    Hi,.

    I had therefore made a great experiance with this cellphone. But some days ago I got the Samsung Galaxy S2 and I have to say, that this cellphone is much much better than the other one. I amm totally content with my new mobile!

    regards, Anna



    See More: Article: Samsung Omnia II SCH-i920 (Verizon) Review
  1. jacob11's Avatar
    jacob11 -
    If the Samsung Omnia II was a movie, it would be a cult classic, not a box-office blockbuster. This super-powered Windows Mobile 6.5 phone is laden with so much software, it practically requires exegesis. You could write books about the software on this phone. But much of it is frustrating, opaque, and difficult to use. One key feature even forces you to rewire your brain.
  1. nkbgoz's Avatar
    nkbgoz -
    Text automatically translated from: Spanish to: English
    They excuse somebody knows like putting the Spanish language in the samsung since my my samsung omnia 2 commanded it to me of USES! And it comes in groins!! And @n0 pued0 pasarl0 to Spanish!! As l0 do!
    The model is the SCH-I920 by fa ayúdenmeeeeeeee
  1. nkbgoz's Avatar
    nkbgoz -
    Text automatically translated from: Spanish to: English
    They excuse somebody knows like putting the Spanish language in the samsung since my my samsung omnia 2 commanded it to me of USES! And it comes in groins!! And @n0 pued0 pasarl0 to Spanish!! As l0 do! The model is the SCH-I920 by fa ayúdenmeeeeeeee
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