Samsung Focus Flash review: Flashing around
The gallery looks beautiful
The Pictures hub has been polished up a bit in Windows Phone Mango. There's a new People tab, which lets you browse photo albums by individual contacts or groups.
Photos can be shared via MMS, email or on a social network. You can pick one network to be available for quick sharing, which requires one tap less.
You can set a single photo as a background for the hub (it used to be the last photo viewed) or you can set it to shuffle different photos.
Viewing an individual photo supports pinch zooming and you can easily upload the photo to Facebook or share it on some other service. There’s an option to automatically strip geo-tagging information before uploading it to online services – that way your offline album will still be geo-tagged, but you won’t have to worry about privacy.
Also, the “Pictures” hub will automatically pull photos from your SkyDrive, Windows Live and Facebook accounts.
Zune handles the music and video playback
The media players reside together in the Music & Videos hub, which bears the Zune logo. When you start it, it shows the History, which gives you quick access to the last two things played, or you can go to the full menu and start the music or video player, listen/watch podcasts (both audio and video podcasts are supported), start the FM radio or go to the Marketplace.
The music and video players are simple and have straightforward interfaces. You won’t have any difficulties using them. Oddly enough, the equalizer, along with SRS sound effects can be found in the settings menu under the “Sound effects” option. You cannot access them directly from the player.
The player can of course work in the background and there’s another nice shortcut – when you press a volume key, the name of the currently playing track also appears along with play/pause, next and previous buttons (they can also scrub through the song).
It’s interesting (and useful) that you can pin individual items to the homescreen – like a song or video, even an FM radio frequency.
The video player doesn’t recognize .AVI files – in other words, don’t expect DivX or XviD support. However, the Zune software on your computer will automatically convert such files to .MP4 – so, you can watch those formats on the Focus Flash. The transcoding and transferring to the device however, can take quite a while (depending on your computer configuration).
FM radio with RDS is on board
The Samsung Focus Flash has an FM radio with a minimalistic interface. You have the current frequency in very large digits – swiping left and right changes the frequency and a swipe and release automatically searches for the next available station in that direction.
You can mark some stations as favorites, which will allow you to pin them to the homescreen. RDS is on board and you can switch between headphones and loudspeaker.
Overall, we found nothing to complain about the stereo quality of the Samsung Focus Flash. The audio output was clean and distortion free.