Samsung I8000 Omnia II review: A surprising experience

GSMArena team, 28 August 2009.
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Samsung's top tier of Omnia devices is populated by some seriously heavy-hitters - first the 720p video recording Omnia HD and now the Omnia II - with its best-in-the-business display, WM 6.5, zippy processor and preloaded software galore, it will certainly win the hearts and minds of Windows Mobile fans.

It's no secret that the Samsung Omnia II has the HTC Touch Diamond2 in its sights. The Omnia II has several advantages, not the least of which is the amazing 3.7" AMOLED WVGA display. For the acronym-allergic - WVGA means 480 x 800 pixels resolution, which several years ago might have been considered acceptable for a computer monitor. That resolution is not so uncommon today, the exciting part here is "AMOLED" - active matrix organic LED. Or in plain English - brilliant picture quality.

It doesn't end there - the 800MHz CPU is one of the speediest around and the available capacities of up to 16GB built-in memory and up to 32GB external storage via microSD card offer more than enough memory expansion. There's Wi-Fi and GPS, the autofocus camera shoots 5MP stills and D1 video at 30fps and has dual-LED flash, there's DivX playback out of the box and HSDPA and HSUPA push the phone to great wireless speeds.

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Samsung I8000 Omnia II official photos

We can spend a lot of time talking about the features of the Omnia II but here they are in a bullet list, which should be easier to read.

Key features:

  • 3.7-inch 65K-color resistive AMOLED touchscreen, 480 x 800 pixels
  • Windows Mobile 6.5 with TouchWiz UI 2.0 and Media Gate 3D
  • Samsung S3C6410 800MHz processor; HW Graphic Accelerator
  • 256MB RAM
  • 5 megapixel auto focus camera with LED flash, geotagging, face detection, smile shot, image stabilizer, Wide Dynamic Range (WDR)
  • Records video in D1@30fps, QVGA slow-mo video recording
  • Tri-band 3G with HSDPA (7.2Mbps) and HSUPA (5.76 Mbps) support
  • Quad-band GSM support
  • Smart dialing
  • Wi-Fi with DLNA technology
  • Built-in GPS with A-GPS functionality
  • 2/8/16GB internal memory
  • microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
  • FM radio with RDS
  • Bluetooth and USB v2.0
  • 3.5mm standard audio jack
  • TV-out functionality
  • DNSe audio technology and SRS sound effect
  • DivX/XviD video playback
  • Proximity sensor for screen auto turn-off and ambient light sensor
  • Accelerometer sensor for automatic UI rotation, turn-to-mute and motion-based gaming
  • Office document editor
  • Full Flash support in the web browser

Main disadvantages:

  • No xenon flash
  • No camera lens cover
  • 65K color limitation of display results in banding in color gradients
  • microSD slot is under the back cover
  • Browser has issues with Flash support

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Samsung I8000 Omnia II in our office

The Omnia II sample used for this review runs Windows Mobile 6.5, while the units that are currently available on the market run Windows Mobile 6.1. Those however will be eligible for a free upgrade to ver. 6.5 as soon as Micorsoft release the final build of the new OS (rumored late September or early October). All Omnia II units that will ship after that will run the Windows Mobile 6.5 out of the box.

UPDATE 29 Aug: There seems to be a lot of commotion in various forums, our comments section included, about the actual CPU speed of the Omnia II - 667MHz or 800MHz. Samsung official specs seem to deliver some contradictory information and you should rest assured we will be contacting Samsung directly to clear up the issue.

All that being said, it’s just numbers we’re talking here. If you think that calling it 667MHz makes Omnia II a worse performer, you’re wrong. The clock rate of a processor is only useful for providing comparisons between computer chips in the same processor family and generation and is hardly useful for direct comparison between competing mobile platforms. But we digress.

Our point here is that no matter what the actual MHz number is, at no point did we judge the Samsung Omnia II by its pure clock rate. Instead we quite more value the real-life impressions of our experienced reviewers and we’ve hardly drawn any conclusions based on the pure processor spec sheet. And neither should you – no matter if it is 667MHz or 800MHz we’re talking about in this particular case, the Omnia II remains a leading performer among smartphones this year.

Now that we've taken that off our chest, jump to the next page while you catch your breath after reading that long specs list. We continue with the Omnia II doing a 360 pirouette and then look at the hardware side of this multimedia Goliath.

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Reviews > Samsung I8000 Omnia II review: A surprising experience