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The Omnia Pro B7610 is Samsung’s latest Windows Mobile powered smartphone and it aims to impress with its slide out QWERTY keyboard, 5.0 megapixel camera and OLED screen. However, with Windows Mobile trailing far behind the likes of the iPhone and Android operating systems in terms of popularity, can this handset do enough to convince users that Microsoft is worth sticking with?
First impressions of the Omnia Pro are unfortunately not all that favourable. Handsets that sport slide out keyboards are always a bit fatter than usual, but even by these standards the Pro feels very chunky, despite its dimensions of 112.6 x 57.8 x 16.2 mm making it slightly smaller than the its largest rivals like the HTC Touch Pro2. At least Samsung has kept the front of the phone looking pretty clean as it’s graced by just two call buttons and a smile-shaped home key. There’s also an interesting wavy reflective pattern on the rear battery cover that only becomes visible when the light catches it at a certain angle. Nevertheless, we can’t help feeling that the look and feel of the phone is rather dated.
The handset’s largish 3.5inch screen initially seems quite impressive. It’s got a sharp resolution of 800 x 480 pixels and uses Organic LED technology rather than the more common LCD type. This helps it deliver really inky black levels that are much deeper than those that most LCD displays can conjure up. Colours are impressive too, as when the screen is viewed indoors they look very bright and vivid. As with all OLED displays it struggles a little bit when used outdoors, but in this department it’s not nearly as bad as some others we’ve seen.
The big problem with the screen, however, is its sluggishness when responding to touch input. It uses resistive rather than the capacitive technology found on newer handsets like the HTC Legend. And even by resistive standards the screen is rather slow to register finger presses. As a result you often find yourself poking at the display a number of times to get it to respond. There is a stylus tucked away in the top right hand corner of the device, but who wants to use a stylus in this day and age?
At least the Omnia Pro’s slide out keyboard means you don’t have to rely on the onscreen one for text entry – a thought that sends shivers down ones spine. The sliding mechanism for the keyboard is quite smooth and it feels quite sturdy too. It lacks the tilt mechanism found on HTC’s Touch Pro2, but as the keys are arranged over four rather than five rows they’re a little bit larger than those on HTC’s model. However, this does mean that you have to access numbers on the top row by pressing the Alt key first. Also there’s no space between the individual keys so it’s easy to hit an adjacent one by mistake when you’re quickly tapping out an email or text message. Overall, though, we think keyboard is actually rather good as the keys have a decent amount of travel and feel quite comfortable to type on.
As with previous Omnia handsets, this one is based around Microsoft’s Windows Phone (aka Windows Mobile 6.5) operating system. Windows Phone has a slightly better user interface than previous versions of Windows Mobile, but it’s still a long way from the slickness of the iPhone or even the latest version of Android. Perhaps because of this, Samsung has slapped it’s own Touchwiz interface over the top.