We’ve been waiting patiently for the Samsung Omnia 2 ever since we first played with it in June. Sammy opted to hold its super smartphone with a palatial screen until Windows Mobile 6.5 arrived on the scene, but now it’s here, ready to take on the HTC HD2 with its beefy spec list and swizzed up skin on Microsoft’s OS. Has it been worth the wait? Read on for our Samsung Omnia 2 review and find out.
Grabbing a Samsung Omnia 2 for the first time, you’ll be met with an eery sense of déjà vu. The AMOLED screen, 3G, Wi-Fi, black plastic shell, agreeable five megapixel camera and “Cube” centre button have all been cribbed straight over the Samsung Jet‘s shoulder. But the Samsung Omnia 2 does away with our main Jet gripe, the dumbphone software, and bolts in the latest edition of Windows Mobile, so you can stock up on third party apps and multitask like a juggler hosting a dinner party.
The South Korean mobile giant’s also seen fit to up the specs, with the stunning display now stretching across 3.7-inches of pixel perfect joy. Pictures and flicks have never looked better on a handset – the only downside to it is its lack of response. It’s still too easy to bash an icon and wait as nothing happens, and typing isn’t the fluid process it is on the iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy, even if you can now slide across keys where you couldn’t on the Jet.
Samsung’s also ported its TouchWhiz 2.0 UI across from the Jet on to the Samsung Omnia 2, for better or worse. On the plus side, there are plenty of widgets you can embed on the homepage, from clocks to Google app quick launchers, and smart features the Jet introduced, like one finger zoom, letting you slide in and out of web pages and piccies with a single digit. It also means a much more colourful affair than we’re used to with Windows Mobile: all the evil grey boxes and settings menus have been banished and replaced with an easy to use rainbow UI.
On the downside, it also means Samsung’s carried across its “Cube” interface for browsing all your media by twisting the sides of a cube. It’s more time consuming to bring up than the individual folders, making it about as useful as a chocolate fireguard. We can live with that simply by not using it, but there’s no getting around the slowdown that plagues the Samsung Omnia 2: every screen tap takes an age to register, and scrolling through menus is a jerky affair. Strangely, the only thing that isn’t dragged down is the nippy Opera browser.
But, minor quibbles: the Samsung Omnia 2 is still a masterfully crafted handset which almost goes toe to toe with the iPhone for multimedia prowess. As WinMo blowers go, the HTC HD2 is better for typing, but if you’re looking for something smaller and more sturdy, the Samsung Omnia 2 is it.