Samsung Omnia HD i8910

Samsung Mobile Omnia, the HD i8910 is a specked-out slab of phone from Samsung, with a 3.7-inch AMOLED screen, 8MP camera, HD video recording and many useful enchanting multimedia functions.

The Samsung Omnia HD i8910 does everything fine, and a few things extremely well. Video playback is top notch and widely compatible, the camera is among the best I’ve ever seen on a cellphone, and the video recording can
actually hang with a lot of pocket cams, like the Flip or Kodak Zi series. On all other counts the phone never falls flat, but it never really shines, either.

It’s a tall device, but it’s not meaningfully larger than any of the other popular touchscreen phones on the market today—it’s just proportioned differently.

And for all the hardware crammed inside, it’s reasonably thin. It’s got HSDPA (on European bands), GPS, 8-16GB of internal storage with microSD expansion, and 8MP, 720p-recording camera sensor, a built-in flash bulb, a forward-facing video camera, USB connector and a 3.5mm jack. The lack of HDMI-out is semi-replaced by DLNA network streaming, though it’s not really an even trade. At any rate, it’s a healthy phone, hardware-wise.

The AMOLED screen is vibrant and sharp, but side by side with an iPod Touch, it isn’t strikingly better. The benefits of the OLED, such as they are, seem to manifest themselves more in the mobiles phone long-ish battery life than anything else. In terms of touch, it’s a capacitive panel, and it’s extremely responsive. Any lag or difficulties with  touch controls or soft keyboard are entirely down to the software.

Cellphone camera of the the Omnia HD is a rare treat. It’ll match a low-end point-and-shoot in most situations, barring low-light—the sensor can’t really handle darker situations too well, and the flash is pretty wimpy—and fast-motion scenes. Video, on the other hand, is at least pocket-cam quality. In daylight it’s razor-sharp at 720p, while in low light it’s passable. Novel-but-not-terribly-useful slow-motion and high-speed modes are thrown in for good measure. The Omnia HD doesn’t quite match up to the best-of-the-bunch Kodak Zi8, for example, but it’s amazingly close, especially for a phone.The camera interface and media playback interfaces, music and video,are never distracting.

Samsung’s thrown the old Omnia’s TouchWiz widget User-interface, originally designed for Windows Mobile, onto the Symbian-powered HD. This in itself is fine, since TouchWiz has always been a decent, finger-friendly homescreen, wherever it shows up.

The onscreen keyboard seems to be a Samsung special too. It’s fine—it’s spacious and rarely lags—but it’s set on a perfect grid, doesn’t come with any autocorrect and generally feels like it was designed in about an hour.

Outside of the core multimedia and homescreen areas, the phone is a fairly raw take on Symbian’s S60 5th Edition shell, which means the UI is inconsistent and difficult to tackle with fingers. Everything—even basic calling, contact management and OS navigation—is overcomplicated and disorganized, beyond the point of a “learning curve.”

Functionally, though, it holds up fine. The browser could be easier to navigate with, but renders with WebKit, supports Flash and generally does its job. Same goes for pretty much everything else.

Pros
Vivid, responsive, generously proportioned touchscreen

Camera shoots nice stills, surprisingly great 720p video

Powerful HD video playback, wide default codec compatibility

3.5mm jack!

Cons
DLNA, but no HDMI

Aging, overcomplicated Symbian/S60 software

UI is extremely inconsistent, occasionally unresponsive

No carrier availability yet, tiffy US 3G support

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