Hands On with the Samsung i900 Omnia

One of the most exciting handsets to arrive from Samsung in recent months, the i900 Omnia is one of the few completely touch screen devices released by Samsung.

As per Samsungs usual trick the i900 Omnia is well specified handset in a surprisingly slim body. The i900 Omnia includes quite a few top notch features including:

3G (HSDPA)

Bluetooth

Wi-Fi

5 MP camera

GPS

Holding the i900 Omnia in the hand has a pleasantly substantial feel without being too heavy, the front is glossy and like most glossy surfaces, it suffer from being a finger print magnet. It does feel nice and solid though, it manages to feel substantial enough without feeling too heavy which is a neat trick.

Being a completely touch screen device and using Windows Mobile Samsung decided to carry over many of the the interface elements from the Tocca over to the i900 Omnia.

This makes its a lot more finger friendly then Windows Mobile, large easy to press icons, and buttons, you can scroll and zoom with finger based gestures. They've also made existing Windows icons larger and easier to press.

In line with the finger friendly theme, Samsung provide an alternative Today screen, with the "Samsung Today". This replaces the normal desktop with a widget bar, similar to the one found on the Samsung Tocca. Widgets are tiny single use applications, like an MP3 player, clock, radio, email, etc.

You can drag and drop them anywhere onto the desktop, place them as you like. In practice is works quite well, and makes the Omnia more friendly as you can quickly access all the information you need. It means common tasks or information is easy to access.

Samsung also provide their own menu application, again its similar to the one found on the Tocca, with large easy to press icons styled around Samsungs other handsets. You have on for settings, one for call records, etc, etc.

A separate button for programs brings up all the installed apps in a easy to scroll list which lets you access your own installed apps.

If your a long times Windows Mobile user, you may find the TouchWiz UI strange, and Samsung thoughtfully let you disable it should you wish and opt for the standard Windows Mobile interface. However unfortunately you'll also loose the widget applications, which is a little bit of a letdown.

When it comes to media, the Omnia really excels. The 5 mega-pixel camera gives an impressive set of options, auto focus, face detection, smile shutter, anti-shake, with a host of image controls, it can give most budget compacts a run for their money.

Added to the Omnia is the DivX playback, large bright display and the huge 8GB or 16GB of memory, along with the microSDHC memory card slot and the supplied 3.5mm adapter it doubles up quite well as a media device.

It does however share the same flaw as Apples iPhone/Touch, using touch screen devices as a MP3 player when out and about isn't the easiest thing in the world. You have to unlock the device to use it, and it doesn't quite make it intuitive as pressing buttons.

But thats a small quibble, if your after media play and phone in one, and want the flexibility of Windows Mobile, the i900 Omnia is a stunning device.

This post was contributed by eXpansys plc, the owner of the eXpansys brand, the largest wireless technology online retail business in Europe and the USA.