Typing out messages on the Omnia isn't too bad using the bespoke on-screen keypad that Samsung has added -- it's no BlackBerry, but you will be able to type a message out using just your hands, which is more than you can say for most touchscreen Windows Mobile phones.
If all of the above isn't enough to get you excited, you'll be pleased to know that there's GPS, so you can navigate around town using a free third-party mapping app such as Google Maps. It works pretty well, with no major faults to report. If you want voice navigation -- like a sat-nav -- you'll have to pay.
As expected, Samsung managed to cram in an impressive sounding 5-megapixel camera, but we're frankly disappointed with the picture quality. It wasn't as sharp as we expected. In low light it was even more disappointing, as there's only an LED photo light, not a xenon flash. We were impressed with the auto-panorama mode that, similar to the i8510, lets you take panoramic shots very easily. The smile-detection feature, which takes a picture as soon as someone smiles, is a fun gimmick too.
As for the media-playing capabilities, the Omnia comes fully loaded with support for all major audio formats -- even our beloved OGG -- and a finger-friendly music player so you don't need to spend to much time fiddling around. The video player supports MPEG-4, DivX and Xvid, impressively. There's also 8GB of on-board memory, which is plenty of space to store your music or a few movies -- and you can add an extra 8GB via the microSDHC slot. Alas, there's no standard headphone jack, so you're stuck having to use the bundled 3.5mm adaptor.
Battery life is quoted at up to 10 hours talk time and 450 hours standby time. We found that with moderate use we got around two days out of it, but this will differ depending on which features you use thorughtout the day. Audio quality is loud and clear during calls, as is the speakerphone.
Many bloggers who have briefly used the Samsung Omnia immediately protested that it's not an iPhone killer. That's a fair point, but having said that, it's not a bad smart phone at all. In fact, we'd go as far as saying that it's one of our favourite touchscreen Windows Mobile devices so far. We'd like it even more if it had a slide-out Qwerty keyboard, but no doubt that version is around the corner.
If you don't mind not being able to send MMS, shoot video or edit Microsoft documents, among other things, get an iPhone 3G. But if your heart is set on a Windows Mobile touchscreen phone with similar features to the iPhone, the Omnia should certainly be on your short list.
Edited by Nick Hide