Preview: Samsung I8910 Omnia HD

Samsung I8910 Omnia HD Preview

HD Mobility

Just slightly over a year back, Samsung made its definitive move into the smartphone segment with the unveiling of the Samsung Omnia. Call it what you may, the iPhone killer, the sexy Windows Mobile device, the Omnia was the Korean conglomerate's golden goose in terms of popularity amongst consumers. Its upcoming successor, the Samsung OmniaHD I8910, will definitely be worthy of the Omnia name - at least that's the impression we've had since the unit came into our labs yesterday.

Holding the unit, the first thing that came to mind was the sheer size of the Omnia HD. The device measures in at a lengthy 123 x 59 x 12.9 mm, and it felt long in our hands. Plus it weighs in at a hefty 148g. Nonetheless, from its huge 3.7-inch AMOLED capacitive touch screen and the sheer joy we get out of viewing videos and surfing web pages on it, its bulk might just be worth it. In fact, it is almost the size of a mobile internet device (MID)!

Long, big and bulky. But despite the description, the Omnia HD is much easier on the eyes for multimedia needs and general usage as well with its large 3.7-inch AMOLED screen.

The Omnia HD gets a full makeover treatment on both the hardware and software front. Hardware-wise, you get a larger screen as mentioned earlier on, a new 3.5mm audio jack for easy headphone connectivity, and a bumped up 8-megapixel imaging sensor. The device still retains its original memory capacity in two versions: 8GB and 16GB. For its software, the Omnia HD retains the TouchWiz interface, albeit it's now a skin on top of something new: the latest Symbian S60 V5.0 OS. This places the Omnia HD as the second device that utilizes the touch-screen based Symbian OS. More importantly, the interface is swifter than what we've experienced earlier on with Nokia's 5800 XpressMusic.

The new 3.5mm audio jack is protected by a cover, though we'd rather have it out of the way to access the audio jack much quicker.

Samsung users will probably find themselves more attuned with the Symbian interface, seeing as how both its proprietary interface and the Symbian OS have a lot of similarities with their interface layout. Plus, the interface is extremely speedy and responsive throughout our usage of various functions - this is a rare trait on smartphones by the way.

There are some new updates to the TouchWiz interface though. Firstly, we spotted a cube interface that resembles what we've covered in our LG Arena review . By swiping the screen to the left or the right, we were able to access separate menus such as the Photo Contact, the main TouchWiz UI or the Symbian S60 menu. Secondly, the TouchWiz UI is now split into three distinctive pages. The downside lies in accessing the separate pages as we had to go deeper into the TouchWiz settings and click on the next page to access widgets that are placed amongst the pages. Widgets are aplenty on the Omnia HD, but we noticed that most of them, such as the Lonely Planet or Facebook widgets, are basically URL links that brings you to the web page on the Omnia HD's web browser.

Make no mistake, this is the Symbian S60 V5.0 OS and not Samsung's proprietary OS, though we still have the TouchWIZ UI embedded on top. The only downside is the amount of steps required to access the other pages within the TouchWiz UI.

Taking a cue from the recent imaging powerhouses such as the Samsung PIXON and its INNOV8 series, the Omnia HD also sport a similar 8-megapixel imaging sensor. What's no longer similar, is the device's ability to record videos at resolutions up to 1280 x 720, or as normally referred to as HD recording in the 720p range.

We were pretty amazed at the bundled Smart reader application that's actually a name card scanner. The accuracy rate was near 100%, with minimal errors to the names, phone numbers and email addresses captured on a name card.