The Samsung B7610 OmniaPRO dimensions of 112.6 x 57.8 x 16.2 mm are just a tad easier to swallow than the heft of the HTC Touch Pro2. The Samsung is also almost 20 grams lighter, but frankly, both are massive handsets indeed so the differences aren't that obvious.
The retail package of the B7610 OmniaPRO is a solid offer even if not among the most impressive we've seen. Anyway, a spare stylus and an 8GB microSD card make a good enough set. The rest in the retail box is the compulsory charger, USB cable, 3.5mm wired stereo headset, quick user guide, manual and a CD.
Massive body and all, the B7610 OmniaPRO is not much of a charmer. Even the coolest finish wouldn't hide the beer belly and we've seen some of the competition do way better. XPERIA, anyone? Even the HTC Touch Pro2 is carrying its weight with a lot more dignity and grace. It's heavier and thicker but has a tilting screen and a brilliant 5-row QWERTY keyboard.
Samsung tried to be more creative on the rear with the red battery cover. Decent though it is, it doesn't quite match the rest of the handset's exterior and does feel a bit out of place with this Pro here.
The large 3.5" AMOLED touchscreen of WVGA resolution dominates the front panel. The high resolution and the AMOLED technology guarantee excellent image quality but only just. The 65K-color limitation of the WinMo OS results in occasional banding. It's mostly visible in single color gradients and the large high-res screen makes it more prominent.
The performance under direct sunlight is not on par with most of the HTC devices. Worse yet, the HTC's top PocketPC has beaten everyone to the debut of capacitive touchscreen on the Windows platform.
Sensitivity is decent for a resistive screen but nowhere near the experience of the capacitive-like units in Samsung S8000 Jet and the Samsung M8910 Pixon12. Samsung claim the OmniaPRO display is advanced R-type but, under whatever name, it can't beat the precision and response of a nice and simple capacitive screen.
But leaving that aside, the main issue of the display is sunlight legibility. On a bright sunny day the Samsung B7610 OmniaPRO is quite difficult to work with.
Starting our tour of the Samsung OmniaPRO controls, first off are the three hardware controls below the screen - the Call and End buttons, and the menu key. All the Menu key does is toggle the main menu on and off (the custom Samsung variety - not the honeycomb). In our humble opinion, the HTC approach with dedicated Home and Back keys is better. The controls are prominent enough for comfortable handling and have solid press.
On top of the front panel are the ambient light sensor, the proximity sensor and the video-call camera. The proximity sensor makes sure you won't press anything on the display by accident when you're in a call. Unfortunately, the OmniaPRO doesn't have the active stylus of the HTC Diamond2 and Touch Pro2.
The left side features the volume rocker and the Business & Leisure mode switch. The Mode switch is a handy control that lets you to toggle between two different sets of setups on your B7610 OmniaPRO. You can assign different user interface settings each and alternate them with a single click. A nifty little feature that we like - even if it's nothing new - Nokia Eseries have it too.
The right side of Samsung B7610 hosts the screen lock button and the dedicated camera key. Those are both large and tactile enough to allow trouble-free operation.
The bottom is perfectly plain with no controls whatsoever.
The top of the B7610, in contrast, is rather crowded. This is where you can find the 3.5mm standard audio jack, microUSB port and the stylus compartment. Both connection ports are covered with plastic lids.
Sliding the phone open reveals the four-row QWERTY keyboard. We are pretty fond of the sliding mechanism as it locks firmly in both positions and slides in and out very smoothly. The spring-assisted slide responds readily to a gentle flick.
The QWERTY keyboard itself is a real treat. The keys are large and quite solid to press so you can type at enviable speed. Numbers are placed on the top row of keys - instead of using a numpad layout.
The back of Samsung B7610 OmniaPRO accommodates the 5 megapixel camera lens, dual LED flash and the loudspeaker grill. There is a slightly protruding frame around the camera lens to shield it from scratches but there is no actual lens protection so you still need to be careful with it.
The microSD card slot is hot-swappable but is located under the rear cover, which you will have to remove every time you change cards.
The 1500 mAh battery is the other noteworthy thing below the back panel. It's rated at up to 480 h of standby time and up to 6 h of talk time on a 3G network.
Update: We put the Samsung B7610 OmniaPRO to some real-world usage for a few days to see how it performs in terms of battery life. We used it on a 3G network, with the screen set to comfortable brightness level - about 25% of the maximum but on an AMOLED screen that's plenty.
From fully charged, the battery went to 40% after good 4 days of standby, which included 15 minutes of calls, an hour of music listening, 45 minutes of XviD video watching and finally, 30 minutes of web browsing over Wi-Fi.
The most stressing for the battery was the XviD video playback. Simply staying with the screen lit seemed quite sparing on the battery. That's a good news to e-book readers and bad news to video watchers.
All in all, the B7610 OmniaPRO will definitely last you several days of regular usage, or at least a full day if you're in a traffic jam and have a lot of 30 Rock episodes on the memory card.
So the Samsung B7610 OmniaPRO fares pretty well in terms of ergonomics but we're less than impressed with its styling. Size is not that much of an issue but it feels the handset - so unlike Samsung - doesn't meet the dress code.
The HTC TouchPro2 and Nokia N97 simply have have a more powerful presence. And we don't mean the tilting screens only.