We'd heard the rumours, we'd seen the pictures and finally we had a chance to play with Samsung's flagship phone Omnia for ourselves.
At a pre-CommnuicAsia launch event, Samsung executives managed to launch the Omnia without a single reference to the iPhone 3G (nor would we have expected them to), but all in attendance were silently making their own comparisons. For our money the Omnia is the iPhone killer; it's a case of simple mathematics. Side-by-side, personal preferences aside, the Omnia matches every feature and spec the iPhone 3G offers, and often betters them.
Joseph Hanlon travelled to CommunicAsia as a guest of Samsung.
A weighty proposition
When we finally had the Omnia in our hands, the biggest surprise was how light the handset was. With the tech under the hood and the stainless steel components, the Omnia weighed much less than we anticipated.
Using the same TouchWiz interface as the F480 means the Omnia features the funky drag and drop widget panel on the home screen. Samsung has ensured that all of its customised interface elements are accessible by your fingers alone — unlike most of the Windows Mobile experience lurking under this UI.
Samsung doesn't call it an accelerometer (in fact we have a sneaking suspicion Apple own the title), but it's the name we best know automatic screen orientation by. Omnia's accelerometer features in many more menus and applications than any other device which use this technology, including the Home screen as pictured.
You better say "Cheese"
Omnia's smile detection software not only pinpoints smiles in the photographs you take, but recognises when your subject refuses to smile and fires a charged taser bolt at them to "encourage" future grins (or grimaces).
Take that Microsoft! — p.s: thanks for your OS
One of the surprise discoveries on launch night was discovering Opera Mobile 9.5 browser installed on Omnia. We were obviously glad about this decision — Opera has had Internet Explorer beat for yonks — but Microsoft reps were in the crowd which made things, let's say, a tad awkward.
What looks like a button, but isn't a button?
An optical trackpad of coarse! Similar to Samsung's i780, Omnia features alternative input crammed between the call buttons under the screen.
Omnia to iPhone: "That's not a camera, this is a camera"
When Samsung says everything it means everything. On top of the fastest data speeds, GPS and 16GB, Omnia also packs a mean 5-megapixel camera with a flash and autofocus.