Samsung I8000 Omnia II review: A surprising experience
Even back in the days when the WinMo phonebook was one of the ugliest applications one could imagine, it still did an excellent job. Contact management has always been one of the strong points of the OS having its roots heavily in PDAs with the unlimited phonebook capacity and brilliant synchronization options - but it's all the more sweeter now that it has the looks to match.
The phonebook application of the Samsung Omnia II has a nice and simple interface and although we would have preferred a smaller font and thus more content on the screen, we have to admit that it was done with touch-operation in mind. The graphics are nice and the navigating around is intuitive enough to make sure your work with it is trouble-free.
You can opt for the Omnia II displaying either the SIM card or the phone memory contacts or both at the same time. Moving, copying and deleting contacts is available both one by one or by bulk. It goes without saying that you are practically unlimited as far as the number of contacts or fields for each contact are concerned.
You can search you contact by either dragging the really responsive slider at the right, using the kinetic scrolling of the list itself or by gradual typing though the virtual keypad. The last one, of course, was our least preferable option, with the other two having an advantage over each other depending on the size of your phonebook.
Unlike the HTC offerings, the editing of the contacts is also completely covered by the TouchWiz UI. It gives you a nice and simple interface, similar to the one found in the company's feature phones. You have a plethora of available info fields but no option to rename one in case something has been missed - not that there was ever an occasion when we felt that was the case.
When viewing a contact there is a key that takes you to your recent calls with the person in question. You can also add it to the reject list or the speed dial numbers straight from there.
Finally, if you are into grouping your contacts - the i8000 Omnia II has that covered too. The first four groups are pre-configured for you with the rest left to your imagination and particular needs.
Telephony: nothing missing
Having talked so much about the Omnia II's extra functionality (or is that main functionality already?) we are glad that Samsung also covered the i8000 Omnia's telephony capabilities perfectly.
The phone application offers Smart dialing, which means that you will hardly ever need to go to the Contacts list in order to dial a number.
The built-in accelerometer gives the Omnia II the cool mute feature where you can turn off the ringer by simply turning the phone face down on the table.
There is also a built-in proximity sensor which switches the display off when you hold the handset next to you ear. Once you take it away however it turns back on in case you need to access a keypad or the in-call options.
Basically there is hardly anything that we can think of that Samsung omitted here, so there is no reason not to give the Omnia II an excellent mark for telephony.
The Calls log on Windows Mobile devices offers practically unlimited entries. Samsung also pimped up the looks and added the nice extra sorting options. You can sort the entries alphabetically by name or by frequency of occurrence.
We also conducted our traditional speakerphone test to round off the phone part of the Omnia II review. You aren't likely to miss many calls with it, as it scored a Very good mark, ranking pretty high on our list of tested devices. .
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
|Apple iPhone 3G||66.1||62.1||71.7|
|Nokia 5800 XpressMusic||75.7||66.5||68.5||Good|
|HTC Touch Diamond2||69.1||66.6||76.7|
|Samsung I8000 Omnia II||71.0||73.5||75.7||Very good|
|HTC Touch HD||77.7||73.7||76.7||Excellent|
More info on our test can be found here.
A proper messaging tool
The Samsung i8000 Omnia II handles messaging excellently. It supports SMS, MMS and email. SMS and MMS share an inbox and a nicely intuitive message editor.
As we mentioned the email inbox is easily accesisble from the homescreen through one of the tabs. The email editor will hold no surprises for experienced WinMo users as it has not changed at all.
Setting up your email is easy as it is on most of the latest mid or high range phones. You type your email and password and all the other fiddly options are configured automatically.
We now come to the available text input options on the Omnia II. Samsung have equipped the device with a proprietary thumbable virtual keyboard. It's a commendable feature since the default Windows Mobile keyboards are fit for stylus use only (and even more so on the higher-res screen for which it is obviously unfit).
Working in both portrait and landscape mode the full QWERTY keyboard is pretty decent to use on the generously sized screen and the haptic feedback is a big help here.
All of the other three input options for the Omnia II include handwriting recognition. We have to say that the phone does a marvelous job of recognizing the letters and symbols we threw at it even when we used nothing but our fingers for the purpose. Yet we don't see this as a very convenient input option without the stylus.