Here it is. After frolicking with Samsung’s new OMNIA HD, I can summarize the experience in one phrase: the Samsung OMNIA HD is essentially a slightly improved Nokia 5800 XpressMusic phone built within Samsung’s elegant exterior with a bright 3.7 inch screen.
Below is a comparison in size with the iPod touch and Nokia E71. The OMNIA HD is the biggest of the lot, and it also is the bulkiest. I guess there are some compromises to a 3.7 inch screen. Truth be told, I don’t mind.
The new smartphone is essentially is a Nokia 5800 under Samsung clothing, and if you’re familiar with how the former works, you will not have any problems adopting to the OMNIA HD’s user interface. With the huge success of the first OMNIA that ran Windows Mobile 6.1, Samsung took a different approach with their second OMNIA, choosing S60 as the UI of choice. What this basically means is that they took the new S60 touch screen UI (found in the Nokia 5800 and other future devices) and added the widget-enabled home screen. I noticed a few new widgets which were essentially links to web 2.0 apps and social networks: Facebook, Friendster, YouTube as seen below.
The OMNIA HD comes with a 8.0MP camera, 3.5mm audio and miniUSB charging. A small addendum on unit charging — you will have to use Samsung’s proprietary miniUSB charger (just like the one found in the Emporio Armani Phone). It comes with HSPA, Bluetooth, WLAN, 16GB (there is a 8GB option) of internal memory and microSDHC expansion.
You also might be wondering why the device is being referred to as a “high def” unit and this only means that the smartphone can record 720p video at 24 frames per second. You can also link it up to your HDTV through an external connector.
Above is a sample image taken without the flash. Due to time constraints I was not able to extensively test the video and camera but I will say that the built in camera is up to par with today’s camera phones: they perform well in well lit areas but not in dimly lit places. The LED flash still has a problem with saturation.
The OMNIA HD has several modes to input text — handwriting recognition, numerical keypad input (with T9 predictive text) and full landscape keyboard mode. Entering information, sending messages and browsing the phone is really easy if you’re used to handling a touch screen phone. Like the 5800, it is one of the easier touch screen phones to use to date.
The OMNIA HD adds a few surprises to the already robust device — touch scrolling for instance allows you to navigate though the main menu, photo contacts and widget screen. Then, there’s the accelerometer which tilts the phone horizontally or vertically: it’s primarily used to scroll through photos by tilting the phone to the right or to the left to go forward or backward through a photo album!
The Samsung OMNIA HD is a sure winner because it makes use of a solid and familiar user interface from Nokia! There are industry machinations that explain how the Finns get about $8.00 (??) for every OMNIA HD sold, but in truth I am not aware of how these revenue share models work for phones.
Now all we need from them is a price. Here’s hoping that they match the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.