Samsung Omnia 7 GT-i8700 review: Samsung Omnia 7 GT-i8700

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The Good Amazing Super AMOLED screen;. Appealing design;. Super-fast performance;. Excellent connectivity;. Zune software is wonderful;. Xbox Live integration has promise.

The Bad Awkwardly located power button;. No expandable memory;. Very few apps and games currently available.

The Bottom Line Samsung's opening salvo in the Windows Phone war is just as confident and assured as you'd expect. Although a few minor issues prevent the Samsung Omnia 7 from grasping victory over its direct rivals, it certainly represents one of the most promising phones to utilise Microsoft's game-changing new OS.

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8.3 Overall

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Boasting Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7 operating system and a vibrant AMOLED screen nabbed rather cheekily from the Galaxy S, the Samsung Omnia 7 means business. That said, some curious hardware design choices and the emptiness of the Windows Phone Marketplace slightly undermine what is otherwise a highly favourable debut for the Korean manufacturer.

The Samsung Omnia 7 is available on contract from approximately £35 per month and SIM-free for around £500.

Looks to kill

Following months of hype and expectation, the Windows Phone onslaught has begun in earnest. We've already seen the LG Optimus 7 and HTC HD7, and now it's Samsung's turn to dip its toes into the rippling waters of this new and exciting OS. The Omnia 7 is unmistakably a high-level device, intended to dazzle users with its combination of cutting-edge hardware and sleek design.

Like its Android-packing stablemate the Galaxy S, the Omnia 7's front display is absolutely dominated by its whopping 4-inch Super AMOLED screen, with a pin-sharp pixel resolution of 800x480. Although it's a phrase that is bandied about a little too readily these days, we have to say, this display has to be seen to be believed. Granted, it's a smidgen smaller than the HTC HD7's muscular 4.3-inch screen, but in terms of quality, the difference between LCD and Super AMOLED is like night and day.

In fact, much of the visual impact made by the Omnia 7 is down to its brilliant display. It really makes the intuitive Windows Phone user interface come to life, with bold colours, stunning contrast and striking brightness. Images are crystal-clear, and viewing photos you've taken is a genuinely enjoyable experience. Unlike the HD7, the screen dimensions may not tiptoe dangerously close to tablet territory, but we'd gladly take quality over size in this particular scenario.

A real handful

Naturally, a large screen begets an equally imposing frame, and the Omnia 7 follows the trend set by the Galaxy S and HTC Desire HD for hand-crampingly large handsets. Although the bodywork is surprisingly thin at just 11mm, it fills your palm with its massive footprint.

It's not the most comfortable phone to use, however. When you're holding the device with one hand and attempting to interact with items at the top of the screen with your thumb, things can become rather awkward. It's not a massive issue -- and to be fair, the days of one-handed phone use are well and truly over thanks to this incoming wave of pocket behemoths -- but we've certainly cradled more accommodating devices in our eager palms.

We're losing power

Another design concern is thrown up by the puzzlingly illogical placement of the Omnia 7's power button. Rather than put it on the top of the phone, Samsung has opted to shove it on the right-hand side, directly above the camera button.

A similar arrangement can be found on the Galaxy S, but the key difference between the two Samsung siblings is that the Omnia 7's power button is more pronounced, and sticks out from the casing, making it far too easy to inadvertently press.

The placement of the phone's power button can cause unwanted power-downs, but the microUSB cover is a neat touch.

This wouldn't be an issue if Samsung ensured the power button was deactivated whenever the phone was locked and in your pocket, but, sadly, this isn't the case. Even when the phone is idling and the screen is blank, holding down the power key for a prolonged period switches the whole device off. During our review period, we experienced several unintentional in-pocket power-downs. The location of the button could just as easily result in accidental shut-downs during normal use or -- even worse -- amid a phone conversation.

Looking past this design-related blunder, there's no denying that the Omnia 7 is an attractive slab of technology. The glossy, iPhone 3G-like exterior of the Galaxy S has been forsaken for a reassuring matte finish, which should ensure your expensive new toy doesn't slip out of your sweaty palm and fall onto cold, unsympathetic concrete during vigorous use.

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