A beautiful 3.7-inch AMOLED screen is the focus of the Omnia II, and it certainly upstages its predecessor in the looks department.
Samsung’s TouchWiz interface is easy to navigate and the cube menu is a fun alternative to moving around the menus. The resistive touch-screen does make it slightly harder to always hit the Windows Mobile app you’re aiming for without a stylus.
A five-megapixel camera, HSDPA, Wi-Fi and A-GPS place the Omnia II firmly in the high spec smartphone category.
The touch-screen lags a little when opening applications, and the Windows Mobile interface is notoriously difficult to navigate, which make the phone feel a little sluggish.
Battery life was above average.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:56:51 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
A gorgeous looking screen with a body to match.
A lag occurs between pressing an icon and the application actually firing up.
It’s been over a year since the first Samsung Omnia arrived on these shores. Twelve months can be a long time and now a device that we billed as being one of the most powerful smartphones available looks somewhat dated. So when news reached of the Samsung Omnia II, we hoped for a device that had kept up with the times.
The original Omnia was no ugly duckling, but its younger sibling certainly upstages it in the looks department. The centrepiece is the 3.7-inch AMOLED screen that’s sparkle is enriched by the jet-black bodywork. It’s tall without being clunky and sits well in both the hand and pocket. Below the screen is the call and call end buttons, which sit either side of a 3D cube like key that symbolises the menu option. At first, we assumed that the back key must appear virtually on the display as and when it’s needed. However, on closer inspection, we discovered that it actually sat on the right-hand side of the phone, conjoined to the dedicated camera key. The back key is slightly less prominent so you can differentiate between the two, but it’s a strange positioning nonetheless.Above this key is the lock button. Somewhat annoyingly, this is the only button that can be pressed to resurrect the phone from a state of standby. What griped us even more was that it didn’t always recognise our firm press. When it does, you have two choices for unlocking the phone; either hold your finger on the button or swipe the virtual padlock icon that appears on the screen.
The screen itself is resistive, which means you can use a stylus to hit those intricate icons found on Windows Mobiles devices – though there isn’t one included with the Omnia II. While the display was responsive enough in terms of finger swipes et al, there was a lag from pressing an icon to that application firing up. While the Omnia II runs on Windows Mobile 6.5, as does the HTC HD2 (see page 14), Samsung has used its own TouchWiz user interface. It means the familiar multi home screens are present as is the widget and shortcut bar down the left-hand side of the screen. These icons can be dragged and dropped to customise each page, though you’ll only be able to allocate them to one of the pages. For example, you couldn’t drag and drop the Facebook icon onto two of your home screens.Fire up your menu and you have two viewing options; grid form, which is the more efficient format, or as a cube. Although this option is fun and looks great, spinning the menu 360º offers far less choice in terms of access to your applications.
Being a smartphone, it’s good to find both HSDPA and Wi-Fi on board, and with the excellent Opera Browser embedded on the device we expected a slick internet experience. Unfortunately, when navigating around content heavy sites we found the screen failed to keep up with the scrolling.
We don’t want to sound über-critical of the Samsung Omnia II, as there’s much to like about it. If you’re a fan of Windows Mobile then you’ll find this a pleasing affair, plus the ability to send, read and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents is always a welcome addition. Feature wise, it falls into the high spec category with a decent five-megapixel camera, accurate on-board GPS and access to the Windows Marketplace all bundled in. It’s just that in the last 12 months the mobile industry has progressed to such a point that we expected a little more from the next-generation Omnia.
Reviewed by Danny Brogan