The Good The Samsung Omnia features a nice touch screen and customizable interface that makes the Windows Mobile smartphone easier to use. It also has a 5-megapixel camera and a boatload of other multimedia features.
The Bad You can't add additional widgets to the TouchWiz interface, and there are some nagging design quirks. The unlocked version does not offer U.S. 3G support, and it's expensive.
The Bottom Line While there are some design quirks, and we're still waiting for a U.S. release, the Samsung Omnia promises to be a solid alternative to the Apple iPhone.
Along with the RIM BlackBerry Bold and Sony Ericsson Xperia X1, the Samsung Omnia is one of the most requested and sought after smartphones of 2008. Why all the buzz? It's not so much the Omnia's touch screen that's drawing attention (after all, we've seen it in the Samsung Instinct), but rather Samsung's TouchWiz interface. It brings drag-and-drop widgets for the Today screen (a la LG Dare) and provides an extra level of device customization. Truthfully, it's not as slick as the Apple iPhone, but it does wonders to make the notoriously unintuitive Windows Mobile easier to use. Plus, the smartphone is loaded with productivity and multimedia features that truly make it an all-in-one device that will satisfy both consumers and mobile professionals.
There's still no official confirmation that the Omnia will be offered by a U.S. carrier, though we think the chances are good it will land on U.S. shores. In the meantime, Samsung was kind enough to loan us an unlocked version of the model that is available in Europe, so we could give you a preview of the smartphone. Keep in mind, we reviewed the European model, so it has some functionality that might not be available in our version (e.g., 3G support, video conferencing). Still, we think there's a lot of potential in the Samsung Omnia. If you simply can't wait, you can purchase an unlocked Omnia, but you'll dish out a steep $600 to $700 for the privilege.