Samsung Focus 2 hands-on: A fast, affordable Windows phone

Before CTIA 2012 kicks off, AT&T displays its third 4G LTE-enabled Windows Phone device, the Samsung Focus 2.

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NEW ORLEANS--AT&T's Samsung Focus 2 made an appearance today at an AT&T event before CTIA 2012 officially kicks off on May 8.

Like the carrier's other low-cost Windows Phone, the Samsung Focus Flash, the Focus 2 is also priced at $49.99 after a two-year contract. Unlike the Focus Flash, the Focus 2 runs on the carrier's 4G LTE network.

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Here in New Orleans, AT&T's LTE network has been a solid performer so far, so we have high hopes for the Focus 2's speed.

It satisfies aesthetically as well. Samsung will start shipping the device in white. It's still got the plastic sheen of most Samsung phones, but the body looks good and the silver accents add a little extra something.

With its 4-inch Super AMOLED display and somewhat rounded body, the Focus 2 is definitely reminiscent of the original Focus, but it also has its own unique touches.

We didn't have much time to scrutinize the 5-megapixel camera that can shoot 720p HD video, or the front-facing VGA camera fit for vanity shots and web chatting, but Samsung's 5-megapixel Windows Phone cameras tend to produce satisfying shots that also look great on the Super AMOLED screen.

Like all Windows Phones, the Focus 2 has a hardware shutter button, which we always like. Inside are AT&T's usual crop of apps, including AT&T Navigator and a U-Verse Mobile app. Microsoft doesn't offer a lot of customization for carriers and manufacturers, so the Windows Phone 7.5 OS is pretty standard.

It isn't surprising to see a $50 LTE Focus, but it does crowd AT&T's Windows Phone line, which is already filled with Samsung devices. Nevertheless, the Focus 2 goes on sale May 20. The camera quality, call quality, processing speed, and of course data speed will be the real testament to how well this phone performs.

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