Yesterday I wrote about how my first impressions of Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7. It is early days, and I like what I am seeing. Unfortunately I came away disappointed by what's (not) underneath the pretty Metro UI - namely the lack of copy and paste, file manager, tethering, video calling, hot swappable card storage and USB mass storage support - all common features found in competing smartphone OS like Symbian and Android.
The device I've been spending time with is the Samsung i8700 Omnia 7 courtesy of the awesome people from Three UK. This is one of the first Windows Phone 7 devices on the market and is available to buy now. It is sleek, powerful and conforms to Microsoft's strict Windows Phone 7 'chassis one' design - minimum of 1Ghz processor (Snapdragon), graphic processor, 480x800 resolution display, 5MP camera and 8GB storage.
So basically a typical smartphone spec for 2010. The Omnia 7 ticks all of this but doesn't go beyond them. It has the same gorgeous 4" Super AMOLED screen from the Galaxy S, 1Ghz Snapdragon QSD8250 processor, 5MP camera with autofocus and LED flash with 720p with 25fps video recording, WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, Accelerometer, GPS receiver with digital compass, 1500mAh battery and 7.2 Mbps HSDPA support. The Omnia 7 is available in both 8GB and 16GB flavors.
The front of the Omnia 7 is dominated by by a Super AMOLED screen. Apart for the plastic Windows start key and earpiece, front is covered in glass from edge to edge. The back and search keys are touch sensitive capacitive. I've accidentally toggled Bing unintentionally a couple of times, so that is one area I hope Samsung can improve on with the next version of the Omnia 7. On the top by the earpiece are the ambient light sensor and proximity sensor.
The volume rocker keys are on the left side and can be used to bring up the music control app when in used. Sitting on the right side of the Omnia 7 are the power button and camera shutter. The 3.5mm headphone slot and micro USB port (with a lid) sits on the top. The bottom is bare bar from the microphone.
On the backside you will find the 5MP camera lens and LED flash, a loud speaker and battery door. The SIM card slot is behind the door and the battery has to be removed to access it. In an age of powerful smartphones it is nice to see a large 1500mAh battery there, something HTC has continuously failed to realise is needed (just have a look at the Desire HD's battery spec). What you won't find is an external card slot. A bit of a bummer, but hardly a fault of Samsung.
With the brushed aluminium back and clean looks of the front, the Samsung Omnia 7 looks and feels reassuringly premium. It feels solid and heavy (in a good way) and looks well made. The design is clean, has a professional look to it - conservative and yet stylish. It is quite a departure from curvy Samsung of past. Personally, I like the Omnia 7 design much more than the Galaxy S and Wave. In fact remove the Samsung logo and you could easily mistaken this for a HTC HD 7. Despite its width, it is comfortable to hold and its slimness meant that it could fit inside a jeans pocket.
The 4 inches Super AMOLED screen is lovely. Colours are saturated. In fact, perhaps too over saturated. Pictures looks awesome on it, but are not accurate. On the other hand the use of PenTile subpixel matrix technology meant that small texts looks blurry. For a screen that supposedly have 480x800 resolution, it is rather unusual that I can actually see dots on it. Unfortunately I can't comment on the display's legibility under sunlight - the weather hasn't been great lately.
I will be using the Samsung Omnia 7 for two weeks before the big review. If you have any questions about the Omnia 7 or Windows Phone 7, just ask away in the comments section or on twitter.