back to article Samsung Omnia 7

Samsung's Omnia 7 is one of a handful of Windows Phone 7 devices that have gone on sale this month, and is certainly one of the largest owing to its impressive 4in touchscreen. Yet, there's something about the 1980s to the look of this phone. Samsung Omnia 7 Quite a handful: Samsung's Omnia 7 Maybe it’s the bevelled edges …

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FAIL

Not only antiquated looks

Antiquated features too.

No flash

No Copy and Paste

No Multitasking

Seems like a poor iPhone from 2007.

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Gates Halo

@AC

So many ill-informed haters.

Flash is coming - http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/25/adobe-confirms-flash-player-10-1-is-coming-to-blackberry-window/ (And since the iPhone will never have it at all, and it doesn't appear to have harmed Apple's sales, it seems like a pretty petty point.)

Copy and paste is coming - http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/11/copy-and-paste-coming-to-windows-phone-7-in-early-2011/ (And what on earth are you doing on your phone that requires frequent use of copy-and-paste anyway?)

The "no multitasking" line is nonsense - I am able to listen to music while playing 3d games like "The Harvest" with no trouble at all (it milks the battery, but it's easily doable). What else do you want multitasking for? The only possible use I would have for multitasking on a phone would be having Spotify/LastFM run in the background - but on WP7 it makes next to no difference because ZunePass gives you free* access to all the music you can shake a stick at anyway...

(*obviously you pay a subscription, but the annual pass works out at only around £7.50 per month, and you get to keep 10 songs a month, which works out at about the same price as buying those 10 songs on iTunes in the first place...)

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FAIL

Lots of Coming Soons in there.

as it's Microsoft, they will of course be providing those features on next years phones...

I went into Oxford St and had a look at the Win7Mobile phones, as they were a total joke. Came away with a HTC Desire. Fantastic phone, and no limitations.

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Joke

@Carol Orlowski - "Lots of Coming Soons in there"

Thanks. I'll notify the OED that "lots" now means "two".

On a more serious note, if openness is your top priority then of course WP7 was never going to be your thing - so calling these phones "a joke" because they don't meet a spec that you already knew they weren't designed to meet is a little disingenuous (Fandroid much?). The Desire is a good phone (I'll admit I like HTC's products - they have made my last 5 phones) but, like all Android phones, it falls short in some key areas when compared to WP7:

First, WP7 + Zune Pass = all-you-can-eat music at a very reasonable price (£7.50 per month). It means I can see an album I like, and just drag-and-drop the whole thing to phone icon in the Zune software and hey presto - it downloads for no extra price and plays on my phone for as long as I have Zune Pass. If I want to keep it forever, I can buy it for the same amount as it would cost on iTunes, or I can use up the 10 free songs each month (and those same 10 songs would cost £7.90 on iTunes - which is more than the price of the ZunePass subscription). Alternatively, if I get bored of the album in a week, no big deal, since it didn't cost me anything extra anyway. This is the future of music consumption - and no Android phone (or iOS device, for that matter) offers anything that can compete with this.

Second, when Google releases Android updates, you could be waiting months for your manufacturer to mess about with its own customisations before it's finally ready to release that update for your phone (or, if you have a Sony Ericsson, probably never); whereas with WP7, all OS updates come direct from MS, with zero manufacturer interference. As soon as it's ready, your WP7 gets it.

Third, the Xbox live tie-in is superb - you say you went into a store; you should have asked to play a demo of "The Harvest". It's a really excellent implementation of smooth, detailed 3D graphics on a phone (a friend who does advertising work for Nokia was blown away by it). In addition, if you're a developer, the XNA/Silverlight SDK means you can use almost all of the same code for a game on the Xbox that you would use on WP7 (and a PC if you like).

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FAIL

No SD Slot is an epic fail

Apple just about get away with it, but Microsoft most certainly won't. Unfathomable.

I wonder how long the guy who made this bizarre decision will stay employed.

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Pint

Not quite true...

You can have removable storage... a couple of the HTC's have it. Samsung have choosen not to specify one... I thought they had before I got mine... tut. Shame really because otherwise it is a great phone, the screen is lovely!

The caveat with the SD cards is that WP7 blends all available memory into one, so MS specifies it to be located underneath the battery (if provided). Now when you want to change your SD, you need to run through a master reset, akin to changing your hard drive on a PC, but should be much quicker with everything synced via Zune/Skydrive etc.

I personally think it's probably a better way to handle it than in the past, where the memory was all siloed off so you had some for apps, some for storage... all manner of things would break when you changed your SD anyway. What they do need is a way to image your SD so you dont need the reset at all.

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Yep

"I personally think it's probably a better way to handle it than in the past, where the memory was all siloed off so you had some for apps, some for storage..."

Agreed. I have an Android phone and messing about with installing apps onto main memory then transferring them to SD is a huge, huge pain in the ass. And I haven't removed my SD card since buying the phone.

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Silver badge

Zune is the payload/problem

SD card is a minor irritation, I haven't removed the one in my phone for nearly a year. Haven't come near running out of space either. No, the killer is not allowing USB mounting, which is how most people transfer stuff.

Having neither option is an Applesque attempt to lockin their shitty Zune platform. Not something I'd want or be able to install on a borrowed PC away from home, probably not something I can install on most of my house PC's either unless Microsoft have developed a much better attitude to Linux.

It's bad enough Microsoft have imposed this DRM friendly gateway for uploads, having to use to download your own photo's is taking the piss.

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Thumb Up

The Omnia 7 looks great but...

I went into the Orange store on Oxford Street on WP7 launch day intending to buy this phone, but before laying down the cash, I thought I might as well take a look at the competition. I played with the Omnia 7 and the HTC Mozart and within 5 minutes I had changed my mind, ignored the Omnia 7 and bought the Mozart (even though it worked out to be a bit more expensive). That's not to say that the Omnia 7 is a bad phone (it isn't - and that screen is gorgeous) but the Mozart feels so much nicer in the hand, and has a pretty excellent 8mp camera with Xenon flash to boot. Also, in the flesh, the SLCD on the Mozart really isn't that far behind the AMOLED on the Omnia 7.

I've now owned the Mozart for about 5 days and I'd have to say I'm a pretty happy user. Killer feature: Zune Pass (obviously you'd get that on the Omnia 7 too though...). It's an all-you-can-eat model, it's fast, and it beats the heck out of iTunes (at this point I am struggling to think of a compelling reason not to sell my two iPods on ebay)... Just my 2p.

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Gates Horns

standarised

Im confused; with Microsoft imposing a strict feature set on their partners, how any of them are going to differentiate themselves - as effectively they are all now competing for the same niche in the market.

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Headmaster

@Mafoo

Yeah, lots of people misunderstood this one - MS only required the manufacturers to meet a *minimum* set of standards. If the manufacturers want to exceed those standards, they are free to do so (so, for example, the minimum camera spec is 5MP with an LED flash, but HTC put an 8MP Xenon flash camera on the Mozart; the minimum storage spec is 8Gb, but some WP7 phones have 16Gb; You don't have to have a physical keyboard, but some do).

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Gold badge

Problem for OEMs not the customer (largely)

That's part of the problem for OEMs. But for the end user it is good news. At least the OS and hardware will gel together nicely.

You can at least then choose the best hardware and not have to worry what abomination of a UI the OEM has stuck on the front of it.

It also stops Vodaphone and others screwing up the user experience.

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Silver badge
Gates Horns

Standard MS business practice

Commoditize the hardware and make your OEMs compete on price. If you have a working monopoly this is great because you can charge what the market will bear for the OS and let your OEMs battle it out to reduce purchase costs to the consumer while all the time you let the unknowing consumer believe that they are getting your overpriced and under performing product for free because they aren't aware of (and are not offered) whatever alternatives that may exist.

This is exactly how the PC industry works today.

It won't work here of course as MS don't have anything *like* a monopoly in the mobile market.

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Paris Hilton

Outlook

Hi,

Anyone tried to sync with Outlook over the USB connector ?

This is our main problem with the modern smartphones, they do not sync with our company Outlook at all by the USB connector.

And no, we do not allow wifi, nor do we publish our Exchange on internet connection, thus only approved way to sync is by usb wire.

I know about the HTC software for their phones, but I had hopes that this process would be easier on the windows phone.

However, all reviews I have read only speaks about ActiveSync, and that has a requirement that the unencrypted, unprotected phone has access to our internal nets. An access we are loath to grant such devices.

Regards,

Tommy

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Silver badge

Re: Outlook

If you don't want to publish Exchange on the internet, then what's the point of having smartphones? You aren't going to have a USB cable going back to the office, and being able to access things on the move is the whole point of a smartphone, whether it is Windows Phone, Windows Mobile, Android, iPhone, Blackberry etc.

You will be using Microsoft software to sync the phone to Outlook, not Samsung or HTC etc software, and I think the answer is that what you are trying to do won't work.

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Anonymous Coward

Gentlemen

Tommy,

You guys need PDA's not $500 smart phones. Take it from someone who knows... manual sync is about as useless as an asshole right here *points at elbow*. Through a horrible chain of bureaucratic dysfunction, my company provided WinMob phone is not allowed by policy to sync with our Exchange. It's ok for contacts and calendar, but other than that my "smartphone" is really just a big cell phone.

Jonathan,

We've pushed pretty much all our users (ActiveSync and Blackberry) over the air, but with ActiveSync the problem has always been (and maybe this is consistent with other devices, I don't know) that you still need to install the software just to charge the damn thing over USB. At the end of the day I don't really care if I need the Zune software to transfer my pictures... but if I need it just to charge that's a deal breaker for me and, I'd imagine, a good number of other corporate users.

Does anyone know what software is required to USB charge one of these devices?

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Anonymous Coward

One more thing Tommy

...a properly configured Exchange environment doesn't present any significant network security risk. The concern (and reason some of my clients use Blackberry exclusively) usually has more to do with the security/manageability of the devices and, to a lesser extent, data transmissions.

Maybe your security/network/messaging guys have never heard of ISA.... but with ISA running at the edge, the connections secured with SSL, and appropriate firewalling this is commonly accepted as secure. Of course, it does represent an exposure of your messaging environment - which could be a concern - but that is different than saying, more or less, that you have to open up your network.

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New test framework?

I could be wrong - it's not unheard of - but I'd say that the Reg's audience is likely to use some of the more powerful aspects of this (or any) smartphone: the email capability, the internet, texts and so on. Rather than having a page of sample photos, could you tell us how useful (or otherwise) it is for more power users; and whether for lighter users it has sufficiently low-brow things like Facebook and Twitter covered well enough? (All IMHO, of course, and reflecting what aspects I'd tend to look for in a smartphone)

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Thumb Up

@Dibbles

I can answer some (but probably not all) of your questions.

The OS itself is a breath of fresh air. It's a lot more fluid and "alive" (for want of a better word) than either iOS or Android. When considering whether you like how it looks, you really need to use it, rather than looking at internet pics/videos. It's very responsive and really rather intuitive. After a day I felt like I knew how to do everything.

The email client is (as you would expect from MS) excellent for functionality. The internal search function is a good example (updates results in real time as you type, which saves you typing a long string of words if there are going to be no results). What is surprising (for MS) is that it is very easy to set up and very slick (smoother and quicker than my wife's iPhone 3GS by some margin). Same goes for texting - and the soft keyboard is on a par with the iPhone. Minor bugbear is that you need to treat each email account separately - no idea if they will fix that.

Office is also pretty good (SharePoint is one obvious benefit) but it's not going to be a phone that you use for creating complex documents (at least, not in the short term). SkyDrive integration is obviously good for users like me with lots of documents.

The browser, (despite being IE-based) is actually pretty good. Smooth pinch & zoom, short load times and nice scrolling. The "rotate to landscape" function is also very similar to the iPhone. On the whole, I would say the browser experience is easily on a par with the iPhone. Downsides: no flash yet (Adobe say it's coming) and AFAIK, it remains to be seen whether MS will allow rival browsers.

Just my 2p.

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Flash?

Flash is coming? you would think that Adobe would have had it ready form the get go, after what happened with iOS yes we can wait and wait and if it happends well how long before you have to download another update, after update etc. Apple was right about being held by the balls by a third party.

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FAIL

FYI

For the information of the reviewer, Microsoft DOES allow SD cards and some phones such as the Focus and Dell Venue Pro do indeed have SD card slots supporting up to 32GB, which, combined with the 8GB internal storage, yields a mammoth 40GB in total.

The Omnia 7 does not have an SD card slot, but that was Samsung's decision, not Microsoft's. Please get your facts right. You're the professional, I'm just a punter. If I can get it right, so can you.

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JDX
Gold badge

re:Antiquated features

Though it's true lots of these are going to be fixed, _right now_ they are an issue. A bit bizarre to release without them, but then it's a rule of software development that you either meet features, or schedule... rarely both.

DirectX imposes a similar set of requirements... but this doesn't limit hardware people from innovating. These first devices are all presumably going to be the same, best to wait 6 months and see IMO

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Silver badge
Gates Horns

Would you like a slightly nicer camera or a little more built-in memory?

http://www.reghardware.com/2010/10/21/review_smartphone_htc_hd7_o2/

The WP7 phone reviews seem oddly similar, like the phones themselves.

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Happy

There's a reason for that

Could the reason all WP7 phone reviews are similar possibly be because they all run the same OS? And because that OS cannot be heavily customized? So really, all there is to review is the hardware itself, and possibly any pre-installed apps/hubs.

You're pretty much in the same position as when reviewing an iPhone 4 16GB and an iPhone 4 32GB. Same OS, different hardware spec.

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@whiteafrican

"And what on earth are you doing on your phone that requires frequent use of copy-and-paste anyway?"

smart phone can do much more than talking to mother on it, you should really try it

seriously ... come on !

Viewing an email, want to take a paragraph to text it to someone

picking up a phone number to paste in a mail or a note

taking a picture to compose a nice little blog entry

picking up a url to add to a twitt message

swapping text in general between several apps

Don't bother using a smart phone if you never needed once to copy and paste.

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@A31

I'm not saying I would never use it - but for most people it's a very minor issue. I use my phone to play games, listen to music, surf the net, send emails & texts (and yes, call people). It's been almost a week since I got my WP7 phone and I have yet to feel the need for copy & paste (but, as you say, there are examples of when it would be nice to have, and I'm sure it would be irritating not to have it when you need it). It's by no means a perfect phone OS, but copy & paste is hardly the determining factor in the success of an OS, because most people who buy this kind of phone don't need it so frequently that it affects their choice of smartphone - it really didn't hurt Apple at all to not have that feature in the first 3 (?) iterations of the iPhone, and MS is fixing it waaay faster than that.

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Bronze badge

Lots of bad information, plenty to go around!

Why would you want multi-tasking on a phone? Did you really ask that? How about so apps like Twitter can update in the background? That's the basic example of one that relies on being able to run in the background in some form. Microsoft apps are able to do it so playing music and a game or other standard features such as text messaging, browsing and maybe calling doesn't count as multi-tasking. The same could be done on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

There are two main things putting me off being an early adopter with a third lesser annoyance.

1. Cost. For a new OS, even from MS, the phones and plans are exceptionally high.

2. Old hardware used. The Omnia here is a good example, the CPU is a first generation Snapdragon. Their Samsung Galaxy S uses their own Hummingbird CPU, why not the Omnia too?

3. Earlier mentioned issues like multi-tasking for third party apps and missing features that will come later.

As a platform it looks to have a good future and the smoothness of operation in videos is quite fantastic but I'm well and truly on the Android train. Got myself an HTC Desire HD and I'm loving it.

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@whiteafrican

Point taken, I had iphones without it, it only became irritating when i started using it for work with exchange.

not sure who downvoted you for your answer though, your point on the update is a valid one as well.

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Silver badge

@A31 Agree with most........

...........your reasons in your earlier post as to why one would want copy and paste - fortunately I am not in the market at the moment and by the time I am "SP 1" should have fixed that issue. As to who downvoted "Whiteafrican", well he wrote something about MS that did not involve howling about what a bunch of drinks waiters the company are.... etc etc. If you take a look at the pattern of downvoting in this thread you will see what I mean.

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