The Omnia HD i8910 is Samsung’s third 8-megapixel smartphone to reach our shelves here in Blighty, with the others being the M8800 Pixon and the i8510/INNOV8. But with no less than four other 8-megapixel handsets available, can the Omnia i8910 run with the pack?
The Omnia HD i8910 is a direct upgrade of the Omnia i900 that we reviewed back in December last year, and whilst it shares some physical resemblances of its Omnia namesake, it’s a different kettle of fish entirely.
The i8910 maintains the sleek black and silver colour scheme of the original Omnia and is certainly demanding of attention; not least of which is as a result of the 123x59mm dimensions, although it does manage to keep the ‘pocket factor’ in check with a depth of just 12.9mm.
Well, with such generous dimensions, comes serious screen real-estate; and at 3.7-inches, the Omnia HD’s 360×640 pixel, 16 million colour High Definition AMOLED touchscreen display is one of the brightest and most captivating that we’ve seen so far, particularly for widescreen movie playback.
Even better, it’s a capacitive touchscreen, which makes navigating the Symbian S60 5th Edition OS a doddle – and we must say, a far more pleasant experience than on the i900. The screen’s response is very good, so we very rarely found our self needing to multi-tap to perform an action.
We were pleased when we learnt that the Omnia HD would be ditching Windows Mobile 6.1 in favour of the S60 5th Edition operating system and thankfully the switch has done wonders in improving the usability of the device, although we were at first still a little lost in the menus. Fortunately the somewhat laggy nature of the original i900 handset seems to have been lost in translation here, with hardly any delay in opening apps.
The Samsung TouchWiz UI is present once again and provides the usual quick-access to widgets natively nested in the sidebar of the home screen, but Samsung has added a couple of other little flourishes to the repertoire. For example, when the handset boots up, the default display is the home/widget screen, but with a quick flick of your finger to the left you can access the main menu, or to the right to view photos stored on the device – it’s hardly revolutionary, but it is a kind of neat and a useful shortcut.
Naturally, with an 8-megapixel camera on board we had high hopes for the picture quality of the i8910, but we know that megapixels aren’t the be all and end all of taking good quality photos. There’s also an LED flash, autofocus, face/smile/blink detection, panoramic and geo-tagging features too.
Thankfully we had no problems here either, with the picture quality very good indeed and the camera options easy to operate and navigate. Although we do think it’s a shame that there is no lens cover on board, because that lens will get scratched pretty easily.
The other ‘HD’ part to this handset, besides it’s HD resolution display, is the 720×480 pixel at 30 frames per second video recording capability – and again we have to say, it’s easily some of the best, if not the best camera footage that we’ve seen from a mobile.
Connectivity wise the Samsung Omnia i8910 HD packs the full load, with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 3G HSDPA all an option. The i8910 picked up our office Wi-Fi with no problem and likewise there was no hitch in getting online with the up to 7.2Mbps 3G+ connection.
If you’re a heavy surfer you’ll want to know that the pre-installed browser is the S60 OSS (Safari Core) browser, and that whilst YouTube works just fine, there’s no full-fat Flash support.
To aid navigation, online and otherwise, there are three different input options; the standard alphanumeric keypad, a landscape Qwerty keyboard or handwriting recognition. We were actually quite impressed by just how accurately the keypad picked up our prods, particularly with the full Qwerty; it looked like we were ham-fistedly mashing two or three buttons at once a lot of the time yet it mostly got it right. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the handwriting recognition, and we found ourself quickly switching back to the other more reliable inputs.
There’s also A-GPS here too, and whilst we didn’t have a chance to push it to the limits, it had no problems whatsoever in navigating us to our favourite hideaway for a well deserved drink. We would have liked to see some sort of mapping software pre-installed, but ultimately grabbing a copy of Google Maps is easy enough to achieve.
Our time with the Omnia HD wasn’t all sweetness-and-light though, we particularly didn’t like the overall feel of the handset with the all plastic casing (aside of the metal trim and buttons) adding a slight cheapness to the proceedings.
Similarly, whilst we found call quality through the handset and headphones was very good, the actual handset began to weigh-heavy several minutes into a conversation and positively ache by the conclusion at the 40 minute mark.
So, what do we think of the Samsung Omnia i8910 HD? Well, it’s about as fully featured as any smartphone comes, with excellent connectivity, an amazing screen and great still and video, camera functionality. Samsung has even done away with the proprietary headphone connector of the previous Omnia in favour of the standard 3.5mm option.
If you are willing to spend some time acclimatising yourself with the OS, and setting your preferences on the home screen, you’ll get on just fine with the somewhat-quirky location of some options; and likewise, if you can forgive the bulky form factor, the result is quite a package indeed.
Samsung Omnia HD Info
Typical price: Free on contract
High quality camera
Verdict: An exceptional device, with stunning screen and responsive screen
User manual: Download Samsung Omnia HD software and user manuals
More info: Samsung website
Recycle your phone: Sell Samsung i8910 Omnia HD