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Samsung Omnia II (Verizon Wireless)

>> Monday, December 7, 2009

Like many of the touch screen smartphones available today, Samsung Omnia II (Verizon Wireless) has a candy bar design but it is slightly on the bulkier side at 4.69 inches tall by 2.35 inches wide by 0.52 inch thick and weighing 4.76 ounces. However, there's good reason for the extra size and that's the gorgeous 3.7 inch WVGA (800x480 pixels) AMOLED touch screen. When compared with the first Omnia and other touch screen smartphones, videos and photos look amazing on Samsung Omnia II (Verizon Wireless).

It has a smoother picture, wider viewing angles, and higher contrast. Also, a built-in accelerometer changes the screen orientation when you rotate the phone for certain applications like the Web browser, messages, photos, and video. Also, while the smartphone's touch screen is resistive and requires a bit more pressure than a capacitive touch screen to move among various home screen panes, we found it quite responsive and didn't require the precision of a stylus to select items.

We should note that the touch screen was a bit temperamental when we first used it, but after realigning the screen with the stylus, everything was fine. Below the display, you get Talk and End or Power keys and a Main Menu key (more on this later). There is an OK button, but it's on the left side of the phone along with the 3.5 mm headphone jack and volume rocker. The microSD expansion slot is also located on this side but you'll have to remove the stylish red battery door to access it.

On the right spine, you'll find the stylus, a Micro-USB port, a lock key, and a camera activation or capture button. Last but not least, the camera and flash are located on the back. The only thing we missed was having a back button for returning to the previous screen, since an on screen option wasn't always available. While the physical aspects of Samsung Omnia II (Verizon Wireless) aren't radically different from the competition, the smartphone's does have some unique "design" features are beneath the surface.

For one thing, it offers an on screen portrait and landscape QWERTY keyboard with Swype technology, which Webware previewed a while back. Instead of pecking at individual keys, Swype lets spell out a word by dragging your finger on the keyboard from letter to letter. Swype's algorithm then does its best to figure out what word you're trying to input it also automatically enters a space after you complete a word and includes certain tricks, such as circling a key to input a letter twice. Admittedly, we were very skeptical of Swype.

However, to our surprise, it worked and was mostly accurate. We ran into some problems when entering terms that weren't true words, such as an IM handle, though Swype will try to come up a list of possible results. It also takes some adjustment to enter long words since you have keep your finger on the screen the whole time. Still, we were always amazed when it came up with the correct word. Samsung also completely redid the main menu page. Pressing the menu key below the display will bring up a grid view of all your phone's apps. There 12 icons per page and each page is customizable so you can rearrange the apps in the order you want.

All you have to do is press the Edit button on the bottom of the screen and at that point you can move the icons to any position on any menu page. Pages will be added as you add more applications to your phone, and you can move among pages by swiping your finger left to right or vice versa. Right next to the Edit button is one of our favorite additions the new Task Switcher function. This feature shows you all your running applications in thumbnail visuals and lets you easily switch between tasks, exit out of an app, or end all running programs. It alleviates one of the biggest problems of Windows Mobile, which was multitasking. In fact, TouchWiz 2.0 in general does a good job making the OS more easy to use, so much so you can hardly tell it's a Windows Mobile smartphone.

Finally, like the Samsung Behold II, Samsung Omnia II (Verizon Wireless) offers the 3D cube interface for the phone's various multimedia capabilities. However, unlike the Behold II, there is also a toolbar on the where you can launch the same entertainment apps with a simple tap, which is much more functional than the gimmicky cube. Overall, TouchWiz 2.0 makes much more sense and is more useful on Samsung Omnia II (Verizon Wireless) than the Behold II, as it provides the customization abilities that Windows Mobile lacks and offers a much more intuitive user interface.


Rash December 8, 2009 at 10:27 AM  

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