This year, we highly anticipated the release of a mobile phone, it has 3G, it has GPS and a lot more… The iPhone!
Before the 2008 WWDC, there were a lot of rumors of what the 3G iPhone would look like, there were even pictures of it having a Front Camera. Then came two men carrying a locked case and at the end of the TV ad came the new iPhone… With no front camera!
After the launch of the iPhone, came a lot of disappointments among bloggers and developers, it still cannot record video, still no flash and still the same memory (either 8 or 16gigs).
A couple of weeks later (before the iPhone hits the retail outlets, it will be available July 2008 something) came the Samsung Omnia (a.k.a. i900). You have to say that this phone looks like an iPhone. It almost has the same size and feel (The first time I saw it, I honestly thought it was the HiPhone from China).
(had to do the oil painting effect)
I was able to play with this phone for a couple of minutes only since it was only on display in the Samsung store at Vivo City (Singapore). Here’s my mini-review…
I won’t go too much of the things we already know. Just a fast refresher, we know its Windows Mobile 6.1, its got FM, GPS, 3.5G, video call and the other stuff you expect from a WM Device.
I actually liked the fact that every time you tap an icon on the screen (or the on-screen keypad/thumb board), the phone vibrates, Samsung’s UI is clean but I have to say that its too clean making it look like an iPhone’s UI (I honestly feel they wanted to achieve that).
You can assign icons on the “today” screen and it will look like Vista’s Widgets.
One thing that surprised me with the Omnia is that the famous “stop all running programs” is not available. Yes, I pressed Start (I had to open File Manager just to see the start button on top), settings, system then memory. Inside that tab are only two memory tabs, no stop all running programs. I was actually surprised with this and I’m not sure if this option was removed only in the Omnia or in all WM6.1 devices.
Pressing start then programs does not look like the normal WM device. It will go back to the programs menu of Samsung’s UI which I found to be surprising too since my wife’s LG KS-20 will show the regular programs list of a WM Device.
As for the external buttons, you will see that it has three (3) buttons in front, call, end and the one in the center. That button in the center works like the i780’s track pad and I think this feature is a very good addition to PDAs.
There are even more buttons on the side which I did not care to press since I do not have the luxury of time.
Compared to the iPhone (which only responds to your finger), you can use a stylus with the Omnia, but the phone will not come with a Stylus. Even person selling it is not sure if the box will come with a stylus but there’s no hole in the Omnia’s body where you can have the stylus inserted.
One drawback I found with the Omnia is that it uses a “Samsung” cable to connect to a PC and Charger. The people from Samsung actually told me that I was the first person who made that comment but I explained to them that maybe I am the only person interested on their phone who travels a lot. I cannot imagine carrying an additional cable in my luggage just to be able to charge this phone. I have too many cables already and a Samsung Cable will give me enough cables to make my own Suspension Bridge.
*****the people from Samsung actually told me that I will also carry another cable for the iPhone but the thing is we will already carry an iPhone’s cable since we will surely travel with our iPods. Imagine this in your bag… Cable #1. Laptop Cables, 2. USB – mini USB (it will connect to my Mobile Internet, charge my P525, Motorola Headset, Jabra BT Adaptor, 4. Nokia Chargers (company phone), 5. Digital Camera Charger, 6. iPod Cable. A Samsung Cable will required me to carry SEVEN (7) cables.*****
As a conclusion, the Omnia is a great alternative to the iPhone, LG KS-20 and HTC Diamond. Looks, Functionality and Entertainment. Each and every model has its own pros and cons. The only thing I did not like about this phone is that it looks like an iPhone! The person right beside me was holding it beside an iPod Touch and even the person from Samsung thought that he was holding two (2) Omnias side by side.
Here’s a picture of the Samsung Omnia beside my trusty old ASUS P525… look at the size of this thing!