Externally, then, the Samsung Omnia 7 is a bit of a mixed bag but is mostly a nice device. However, the real test comes when you actually start using it.
As mentioned, we’ve already extensively covered the ins and outs of Windows Phone 7 so we won’t dwell on most of the basics here. Essentially the big picture is that it’s a pretty slick experience thanks to smooth and speedy operation and a really stylish UI. Extras like integrated social networking for keeping your contacts updated with Facebook and Windows Live information makes keeping in contact with your friends very easy while all the essentials like email, web browsing, and navigation are well catered for. Exclusive tie-ins with Xbox gaming and the Zune music portal also help it stand out from the crowd. What’s more Microsoft has recently announced that its fledgling operating system has already had 3,000 apps developed for it, and you can expect that number to grow rapidly.
However, it still lacks basics like multi-tasking, Adobe Flash support in the web browser, and most ludicrously of all, copy and paste. As such we feel it’s not the first choice smartphone OS of the moment, though will still be an impressive step up for those used to more basic phones who value or more simple interface than Android.
Thanks to Microsoft’s restrictions on tweaking the Windows Phone 7 software, Samsung has added very little to the Omnia 7 with just a few custom apps. The first is Now, which is a simple news, stocks and weather reader, which is okay but bizarrely you can’t change the news feed to anything other than Reuters.
Photo Sharing is the other app, and it’s actually rather neat, giving you a quick way to upload photos to Facebook, Flickr, Friendster, MySpace, Photobucket, and Picasa. You can upload photos straight to Facebook from the standard camera app but this simple uploader makes it really easy to update a whole variety of sites, with you even able to manage which folder the picture goes into.
Making a few test calls threw up no causes for concern with clear audio at both ends. Battery life seemed about on- and possibly slightly above- par with at least two days of average use being easily obtainable. This extra life is probably a direct result of the lack of features like multi-tasking, though, so you pays your money and your takes your choice.
One final consideration is that this phone is exclusive to Orange (most Windows Phone 7 devices are exclusive at launch), though you do seem to be able to get it from HandTec for £481. On contract you’ll be paying £199.99 up front on a £20pm, 24month, contract or you can get it for free on a £35 contract.
The Samsung Omnia 7 is mostly a very nice handset. It’s largely glass and metal construction looks good and feels sturdy, while it packs in plenty of features and has a stunning screen for viewing video and playing games. However, the hardware lacks a certain something in design and is incredibly slippery. Moreover, while Windows Phone 7 is a slick operating system that will feel like a nice upgrade for users used to normal phones, for those used to the full gamut of capabilities available on alternative smartphones, it will feel too limiting.
Score in detail