Review: Samsung Omnia W

Our score: 2/5
Reviewed: December 15, 2011 1:51 PM
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Published: December 15, 2011 1:51 PM
By Florence Legrand
The Omnia W is Samsung's follow-up to the sizeable Omnia 7, its first phone to run Microsoft's new OS which was released last year.  That also makes it the company's first handset to run Mango, the latest Windows Phone release.  The Omnia W has a 3.7'' display, 8 GB of internal memory (though there's no room for more) and a 1.4 GHz processor which should keep it ticking along nicely.  It also has a 5 Megapixel camera which can 'only' film at 720p.  As a mid-market Windows Phone, how does it do?  Let's take a closer look.

Design

The Omnia W has borrowed heavily from its older, bigger brother's style, so the overall effect is relatively unsurprising and didn't wow us.  It has the same brushed aluminium at the back and a totally standard glossy black plastic exterior at the front, and seems rather understated.  The build quality is acceptable, and we enjoy the lightweight 115 g frame and the unusual shape which is easy to grip.

Samsung Omnia W review


Like other manufacturers, Samsung has to stick to a spec set by Microsoft, meaning there's no memory card slot—and just 8 GB of internal memory!—and just one camera at the back.  We're also beginning to miss an alert LED to warn us of incoming messages and mails.

Samsung Omnia W review - back


The 3.7'', 480 x 800 pixel display bears all the hallmarks of Super AMOLED technology, with deep blacks, infinitely high contrast ratios and colour reproduction that leaves a lot to be desired; the average deltaE is 6.  The colours are bright and likely to please ordinary users, even if they're so flashy as to be annoying.  It's also excellently responsive.

Interface

Microsoft tweaked several aspects of its Windows Phone platform ahead of the launch of version 7.5, codenamed Mango, and we covered the biggest changes in our reviews of the HTC Titan and the Nokia Lumia 800.  The user interface is based on an entirely different paradigm to its rivals, Apple iOS and Android which ultimately seem rather similar to one another by comparison.
 

Samsung Omnia W review - interface


It's intuitive and fun to use, with a well thought-out interface.  The only exception is the list of app which just keeps on getting longer.  The more apps you have, the further you have to scroll, and if you've downloaded a lot, then it can take a long time.

Samsung Omnia W review - slim


Compared to the Lumia 800, Samsung hasn't customised the Omnia W as extensively, meaning it misses out on some of the quality apps that Nokia included like MixRadio, Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive.

Samsung Omnia W review - contacts


Samsung's latest smartphone wasn't ever sluggish during our tests, whether downloading apps, surfing the web or just browsing through the menus.

Samsung Omnia W review - keyboard

Multimedia

Like most other 'mid-range' smartphones, the Omnia W has a 5 Megapixel camera which can't which can't really work wonders.  Using it is easy, and the autofocus is fast, but we weren't really impressed by the results.  You should stick with well-lit environments because the flash tends to over-expose subjects.  There's generally not enough detail in the photos.  The camera might not be one of the best, but it's generally good enough for taking everyday snaps for sharing on Facebook.

The video mode is capable of filming in 720p, not quite the Full HD offered by the best performers.  The image stabilisation is pretty average and videos suffer from some jerkiness.

Samsung Omnia W review - camera
Samsung Omnia W review - camera












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Samsung Omnia W review - web browser
 

The web browsing experience is nothing out of the ordinary.  Pages are rendered pretty quickly and favourites are easy to organise.  Like with other Windows Phone handsets, you have to use Microsoft Bing for search and it isn't as good as Google.  There's no support for Flash.

We'll skip over the dreadful quality headphones and look at the Omnia W's audio performance elsewhere.  It's fair to say that the loudspeaker is (almost) acceptable, but the signal from the headphone jack is powerful but not really very accurate.  We've definitely heard better than that.

Finally, the battery life isn't dramatically different to other recent smartphones but still manages to last a day.  If your battery is about to give up the ghost, you can turn on the energy-saving mode which will give you a little extra time to find a charger.

2/5 Samsung Omnia W DigitalVersus 2011-12-15 14:51:00

Pros

  • Size and weight
  • Attractive Windows Phone interface
  • Responsive

Cons

  • Display: colours are too garish
  • Camera isn't up to the competition
  • Mediocre audio
  • Fewer apps available than on the AppStore or from Android Market

Conclusion

The Samsung Omnia W is a solid Windows Phone, as long you don't want to make use of its multimedia features, which aren't up to the same standard.

OUR SCORE 2/5
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