Samsung Omnia HD preview


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Samsung is one of the leaders in world debuts, launching the first 8-megapixel cameraphone last year, followed by the Omnia HD this year that records and plays back video in HD resolution.

We weren’t particularly impressed by Samsung’s previous Omnia – the Windows Mobile interface was clunky, the touchscreen was unresponsive and the software just felt unfinished.

Here, things couldn’t be more different.

The Omnia HD, also known as the i8910, may be a hefty device at 123x58x12.9mm and 144g, but most of that is down to its massive 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreen.

The Symbian S60 v.5 interface is smooth and simple to use. In fact, it’s probably better than Nokia’s implementation on the 5800 XpressMusic.

You can swipe your finger across to access different features, including the main menu, homescreen and photo contacts to view your favourite photos, much like you can on the LG Arena and Viewty Smart.

Samsung’s widget interface is also present, with updated icons to customise the homescreen and a ‘lock’ feature so you can’t move the icons around when you’re on a call.

The touchscreen is responsive, with no pressure needed to operate the phone, and it’s heavily based on finger operation, without a stylus in sight.

The camera improves on the original Omnia’s and even the M8800 Pixon’s, which uses the same 8-megapixel sensor. Finding the shot is smooth, with speedy image saving too.

It’s the HD video functionality that has really got us excited though. There’s not a huge need for HD recording – it’s more of a gimmick to sell the device rather than a feature that will be used often, but what we can’t get over is the quality of the video.

A five second video created a file size of 3.2MB, which isn’t particularly handy for uploading to YouTube, even using HSDPA, but Wi-Fi will help this along.

Videos are crisp, as you’d expect from HD, although we haven’t yet had the opportunity to test it out on an HD TV. Colours are well-balanced, and it certainly beats many consumer standalone camcorders in dark environments.

The Samsung Omnia HD i8910 is a vast improvement over its Windows Mobile-based counterpart, mostly down to the implementation of Symbian rather than Windows Mobile.

It’s chunkier, but heavyweight in size also means heavyweight in features on this device.

We’ll have a full review of the Samsung Omnia HD i8910 next week.

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