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However, when it comes to touch input it lags behind Apple’s handset as it uses resistive rather than capacitive technology, so doesn't respond to the lightest of touches and requires a bit of pressure to be sensed. It also lacks the multi touch capabilities of phones like the Hero and iPhone.
Samsung has used an 800MHz ARM processor on the phone so we were expecting it to be quite speedy, but unfortunately this isn’t really the case. It’s fine for browsing the web or watching video clips, but it can be alarmingly slow when moving though the menus or homescreen panels. For example, when swiping between panels it takes a second or two to redraw any widgets that you’ve got resting on them. It certainly makes us think that Samsung should have opted for a faster chip, like the 1GHz Snapdragon processor that’s appearing on more and more Windows Phone handsets, or perhaps toned down its TouchWiz interface.
On the plus side, multimedia support is good. There’s a standard headphone jack positioned on the top edge of the phone and the supplied headphones are a cut above those you usually get with these types of handsets. The phone’s 5.0megapixel camera is also impressive. It’s got autofocus and a twin LED flash and captured shots look sharp and have pretty accurate looking colours. The camera application also has a range of neat features including face and smile detection. It shoots impressive video too, managing to capture 720 x 480 pixel clips at an impressive 30 frames a second.
Samsung has also done a good job on its media playing app. It makes it a cinch to navigate around your music library and supports a decent range of video formats. For example, it easily handles standard definition Dixv files, so you don’t have to re-encoded them to a lower res to make them playable. There’s also a few games preloaded including the Asphalt 4 HD racing game. However, the 3D graphics in this are quite blocky and a long way of the fluidity of Real Racing on the iPhone for example. Another interesting software addition is the Connect Home application that lets you stream music, video or pictures over Wi-Fi from a PC or NAS that’s running a UPnP media server. This is surprisingly easy to use, as it found both our PC and NAS without needing any configuration and happily streamed standard definition DivX files across our network without any stuttering or elongated buffering.
In fact connectivity is one of the handset strong points as it has HSDPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS onboard. The GPS worked great with Googlemaps and the phone’s camera software also support geotagging, which is pretty neat. The phone’s call quality was also excellent as the ear piece delivers loud and crisp audio while the microphone also isn’t overly directional so you don’t have to consciously position your mouth next to it as you do with the iPhone. And like the iPhone it has a proximity sensor so it turns off the display when you’re holding it to your ear on a call and turns it on again as you move it away from your head. Another neat feature is that if the handset is lying flat on a desk and you get an incoming call, simply flipping it over will set the phone to mute and flipping it back will unmute it again.
Unfortunately if you were expecting that OLED screen to add significantly to this phone’s battery life you’ll be sorely disappointed. The battery life isn’t exactly bad - we got around a day and half’s usage from it - but it’s just not any different to most other Windows Mobile devices on the market right now.
Overall, the Omnia II impresses with its neat design, bright screen, good multimedia features and well rounded connectivity options. However, its sluggish processor lets the side down and with more and more speedy Snapdragon based phones appearing on the market, that’s quite a major issue in our book.
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