Samsung i8910 Omnia HD review: Going to the movies

GSMArena team, 30 July 2009.
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HD videos - a step away from perfection

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 promised frame rate is also pretty sweet at 24 fps. Now we are not saying that D1 is not good enough to be usable - it's just that 720p HD videos are about triple the resolution.

In fact video recording was probably one of the main reasons for Samsung to delay the start of the Omnia HD. The audio codec used in the first produced devices was of incredibly poor quality and it had to be fixed. Now with the final unit we are getting AAC audio, which is just as good as the users hoped.

Samsung i8910 Omnia HD Samsung i8910 Omnia HD Samsung i8910 Omnia HD Samsung i8910 Omnia HD
The camcorder UI

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.

Unfortunately, now that we have a retail unit, we're not as impressed with the video quality as we were when we previewed the pre-release version. The Samsung Omnia HD video recording is still miles ahead of the competition but the results in our preview were definitely better. Perhaps the improvement of the audio quality has resulted in lowering of the video quality as a compromise.

The video resolution is no longer stunning as it was and when you add the excessive camera shake, the impression that you're looking at something taken by a dedicated HD digital camcorder is all gone.

In almost all the cases the framerate was variable and went below the promised 24fps giving the videos somewhat choppy looks. We aren't talking disastrously many dropped frames but there are about one every second in some videos. You might not even notice that if shooting slower moving objects but more rapid movements looks bad. The Samsung Omnia HD is not really the soccer mom's dream.

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.

Strangely enough image stabilization isn't available when shooting video and that is precisely where we would have needed it the most. The camera shake is seriously plaguing most of our samples.

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 and we cannot see anyone needing much more.

When you are done recording a video clip, the Omnia HD displays the viewfinder but doesn't let you start another recording straight away. Instead you have to wait for a while, as the handset saves the video in its memory. Now this is to be expected with such large files but a status indicator would have been nice so you can tell when you are ready to start another recording.

Here go the sample videos we captured with the Samsung i8910 Omnia HD. We have uploaded them to YouTube, so you can check them out straight from your browser. Even when recompressed they still look rather good.

Here are several more camera samples we uploaded at YouTube but that we didn't embed here.

Video 1
Video 2
Video 3
Video 4

Here is also an untouched HD video that you can download and enjoy in its full shine - taken straight from the device.

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