Samsung i8910 Omnia HD preview: Getting closer
Samsung i8910 Omnia HD packs a 8 megapixel camera unit and given the promising results the Omnia HD achieved in our first preview, we were eager to find out how much progress has been made.
The LED flash might be a disappointment to some but the reason is LED can also be used as a video light. And video is certainly what the phone is really about. We'll get to it in a little while.
The camera key is comfortable enough to work with and the UI has been altered to provide better touch experience. Unlike the first samples, the camera interface is now very comfortable with the most frequently used shortcuts only a tap away.
The range of settings offered by the Samsung i8910 Omnia HD is immense: from manual white balance and ISO to exposure compensation, sharpness and contrast. Various effects are also at hand as well as face and smile detection.
The smile shutter is trying to make sure the person you are photographing is going to be smiling on the photo. You just press the shutter and the camera will automatically detect when your subject is smiling and take the shot. We tried it several times and it worked pretty well, although if there are several faces in the frame the camera doesn't wait for all of them to smile.
Blink detection is also available but it only alerts you that the person on the photo you just took has blinked. This one certainly is more of a marketing gimmick than anything else. It would have been more useful if the camera delayed taking the shot instead. In other words - it's better to help you avoid making a crappy photo than yelling at you for doing so.
The geotagging of images is also enabled this time around and this is certainly good news. The Samsung i8910 Omnia HD puts the built-in GPS receiver to use, recording the location of each photo in the EXIF.
The image quality of the Samsung i8910 Omnia HD is pretty much as good as we have seen on a mobile phone. The color rendering is spot-on, contrast and dynamic range are also great. Fine detail is also very good although if anything could be improved - that's exactly it.
The best part about the camera is there are no visible defects of any kind. No traces of oversharpening, no lack of contrast and no excessive noise. Plus, getting the exposure right at all times makes sure most of the photos are keepers.
We have prepared quite a large number of samples for you to enjoy and appreciate the fine quality of the images taken with the Samsung i8910 Omnia HD.
Here's also a bunch of samples that demonstrate what can you achieve with the Samsung Omnia and some basic knowledge of image editing. Worth a cheer, right?
HD videos - they don't get any better
We already told you that the Omnia HD (as the name suggests) is mostly about video. 720p HD video recording appears for the first time on a GSM handset and the excitement is quite worth it. The frame rate is also pretty sweet at 24 fps. WVGA will have to bow its respects - 720p HD videos are about triple the resolution.
Back in the day the first VGA videos on a mobile phone were a disaster - merely a fat spec rather than a usable feature. So, what's even more impressive about the Omnia HD is getting the stunning video resolution right the first try.
The quality of the video clips taken with the Samsung i8910 Omnia HD lives up to the high expectations. The videos have splendid resolution and good frame rate and look almost as if taken with a mid-range camcorder. Long range optical zoom and optical image stabilization however are still a major asset of digital camcorders, so the Omnia HD is more suited to competing pocket digicams instead.
The Omnia camcorder interface is identical to the one of the still camera and allows the user to choose between fixed and auto focus for the video. Effects are also available and a gridline can be applied to the viewfinder for easier framing.
Recording time is not exactly limited, the real limit is imposed on the maximum file size for each recording. In this case videos don't get any bigger than 2GB. With 720p recording that means 30-40 minutes of footage.
Here go the sample videos we captured with the Samsung i8910 Omnia HD. We have uploaded the first four videos to Vimeo and YouTube, so you can check them out straight from your browser. The reason for this is that the YouTube encoding tends to preserve the quality of the videos, but reduces the frame rate, thus resulting in recordings that look choppier. Vimeo on the other hand keeps the good frame rate of the original video but compresses it more and so the quality degrades more.
Just don't forget to click the HD button for the YouTube videos once you start watching.
Video sample 1
Follow this link for the Video sample 1 on Vimeo
Video sample 2
Follow this link for the Video sample 2 on Vimeo
Video sample 3
Follow this link for the Video sample 3 on Vimeo
Video sample 4
Follow this link for the Video sample 4 on Vimeo
Here is also an HD sample video that you can download and enjoy in its full shine, without any recompression.
Finally, here go two samples in the lower D1 resolution, which you can also download and enjoy.
For some unknown reason the audio in those video clips is pretty bad, but we are pretty certain Samsung will take care of it before the handset hits the shelves (it was actually quite better on the earlier versions).
The Samsung i8910 Omnia HD did make an excellent first impression and the commitment to excellence is even stronger now so close to the market introduction. The handset successfully delivers on the promises of the spec sheet and has a few nice surprises in store too.
The multimedia skills are obviously in focus and the Omnia HD is clearly the standard setter here. Samsung have also done a great job of transforming the Symbian OS with their TouchWiz approach to touch handsets and adding a bunch of proprietary applications.
Video fanatics seem to have no other option but to start saving as the Samsung i8910 Omnia HD sets to storm the shelves. One thing we know is this baby will hardly come cheap. Price is in fact the key question but we doubt budget will be an issue for those who want to get themselves a winner.
Samsung i8910 Omnia HD is expected to head for the stores in the second half of this month and the price will probably be somewhere along the lines of 500 euro. Expensive it most definitely is, but it’s a high tech gadget that you can take wherever you go. You can easily buy yourselves an HD-recording DSLR digital camera for that kind of money, but you can hardly use that to make calls or surf the web.