Samsung Focus S review: Different kind of flagship

GSMArena team, 9 December 2011.
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The retail package has all bases covered

Inside the small, AT&T branded retail box of the Samsung Focus S, you will find everything you need. There is a charger, a USB cable, and a pair of high quality Samsung earbuds.

Samsung Focus S
The retail package of the Samsung Focus S

Obviously, we cannot expect to find a memory card in the box, as the phone does not have a slot for one.

Design and build quality

There is nothing revolutionary about the looks of the Samsung Focus S – we already mentioned this above. The phone looks almost identical to the original Galaxy S II, save for the button configuration at the front, and the slightly rounder edges. From certain angles you can easily mistake the device for its Android cousin.

As usual, Samsung has relied heavily on high quality plastic when building the Focus S. This might not be to everyone’s taste, but the end result is a light and easily pocketable phone. The front of the device is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass.

With measures of 126 x 66.8 x 8.5 mm and 110.6 grams of weight, the Samsung Focus S has almost the exact same measures as the I9100. It has even managed to shed 5 grams of its waistline – not a bad thing.

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The Samsung Focus S next to Galaxy S II Skyrocket

The all black color scheme of the phone, coupled with the Super AMOLED Plus screen, give it a pleasantly understated look.

The 4.3” Super AMOLED Plus display with WVGA resolution of the Focus S is a familiar sight. Its contrast and viewing angles are nothing short of superb. The screen is a perfect match to the Windows Phone OS. When using a dark color scheme for the OS, there is practically no telling of where the screen borders are – it is perfectly integrated with the rest of the device’s hardware.

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The Super AMOLED Plus screen is great as always

Below the screen, you will find the usual for all Windows Phone devices, three buttons. In the case of the Samsung Focus S, they are touch-sensitive.

Samsung Focus S
The trio of buttons below the screen

Above the screen, you will find the earpiece, ambient light and proximity sensors, as well as the 1.3MP front-facing camera.

Samsung Focus S
Typical view above the screen

The volume rocker is on the left side of the device. On the right, you will find the power/lock key, along with a dedicated camera button.

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The volume rocker on the left • the power/lock and camera buttons on the right

A 3.5mm audio jack, along with a secondary microphone for active noise cancelling is residing on top of the Focus S. On the bottom, you will find the microUSB port and the mouthpiece.

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The Samsung Focus S from above and below

The 8MP camera and its LED flash are on the back of the device. Just like in the Galaxy S II, there is a chin on the back, where the loudspeaker grille resides.

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The back of the Focus S holds no surprises

Below the paper-thin battery cover us business as usual. A SIM card slot and the battery itself can be found there.

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The view under the battery cover

The 1650 mAh battery of the Samsung Focus S is exactly the same as the Galaxy S II’s. It achieved a score of the respectable rate of 38 hours in our battery test. This means that if you use your device for an hour each of phone calls, web browsing, and video playback every day, you will have to recharge it every 38 hours.

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The Samsung Focus S battery scorecard

You can get the full scoop on the battery test of the Samsung Focus S here.

We found the Samsung Focus S pleasant to handle. The grippy plastic on the back prevents the thin body from accidental drops. The device feels solidly built despite its low weight.

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Handling the Samsung Focus S feels nice

We are going to continue now with the software tour of the Samsung Focus S. Things might look familiar here as the OS looks and feels the same on all devices its runs.

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