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Samsung’s decision to describe this phone as ‘Lite’ is somewhat confusing, as it seems to suggest that the handset is a rather basic offering. However, it turns out that it’s actually quite a feature-rich model that runs Microsoft’s new Windows Phone operating system and has plenty of advanced features like GPS, HSDPA and Wi-Fi.
That said, the handset doesn’t have the standard look of a Windows Phone. It’s rather tall and thin and so looks more like a normal mobile than a smartphone – something that will no doubt appeal to many people. The taller design also means it feels quite comfortable to hold, which certainly isn’t true of some recent smartphones, like the chunky Motorola Dext. Design-wise the phone is also much more angular than recent curvy models from Samsung like the youth-orientated Genio Touch, but this does at least give it a more grown up feel.
The narrower profile of the phone means the screen is a little bit smaller than those that have graced most other Windows handsets. It measures 3in diagonally and has a slightly non-standard resolution of 240 x 400 pixels. This lower resolution means text and graphics don’t look quite as sharp as they should, but at least the display isn’t found wanting in the brightness department.
Like the screen, the phone’s stylus is also a break from the norm. Instead of a standard pen-shaped stylus that can be tucked away in the body of the handset, Samsung supplies the phone with a short, triangular two-piece stylus that’s designed to be strung onto the side of the Omnia via the small metal loop at the top of the phone. It’s a rather inelegant solution, but Samsung obviously thinks most people won’t actually bother with the stylus at all. However, having used the phone for a few days, we’re not sure that’s going to be the case.
As we’ve already seen, the handset is built around the latest version of Windows Mobile, or Windows Phone as Microsoft now likes to call it. Obviously Microsoft has given the user interface the once over, updating key parts of it such as the Lock screen, Today screen and Start menu so they’re much more finger-friendly. We’re quite fond of the Lock screen as it makes it easy to quickly check for new messages or missed phone calls, and the updated Start menu is also a vast improvement on what’s gone before.
However, there are still too many occasions when you find yourself in fiddly settings screens that have obviously been designed for stylus rather than finger input and this makes the whole experience come across as a bit disjointed, especially in comparison with the Android or iPhone operating systems.