back to article Samsung Omnia 16GB smartphone

Samsung's attempts at touchscreen mobiles have been lacklustre to date. The F700 and F490 work, but they don't make the case for touchscreen control in the way that the iPhone and HTC Diamond do. The first thing that strikes you about the Omnia is the specification, which is nothing if not comprehensive. Quad-band GSM/GPRS/ …


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  1. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Another typical WM handset

    Full of hacks, OEM extensions and clueless bad design patterns that ruin the user experience.

    WM is dead, by the time Microsoft get the modernised WM8 on the market (2012) Google android and iPhone will own the smartphone sector.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've got one.

    I really like it. With SPB's home screen thing installed, I've got everything I could want spread across 4 tabs on my home screen, and barely use winmo's innards.

    I don't see any criticism of the incredibly awful GPS setup the omnia has that A) is not actually configured when you get it out of the box, and B) takes forever to get a fix, even with AGPS enabled.

    Other than that, its pretty solid device.

  3. M

    "More Fail, Vicar?"

    Honestly. WM is awful no matter how you dress it up.

  4. Stuza

    Gota love fanboi's ... and what about Today plugins?

    Whats wrong with hacks? Oh wait, you can't do anything like that on a Jesus phone can you, so you wouldn't know how great they are. When was the last time you flashed your JesusPhone and removed loads of apps you don't need, making it faster and giving you more ram? Clueless bad designs? Fancy backing that up or just like making random statements.

    Gota love Apple fanbois eh?

    Dear Mr Reviewer,

    why do you, like so many others to be fair, not actually explore phones properly? Yes, I think we can all agree Touchwiz sucks however, what you seem to have missed completley is the Today screen plugins Samsung offer as well. These are by far superior to Touchwiz gadgets. Try them out ... you will be suprised!

    As I currently own a Touch Diamond (Anyone wana buy it?) I can say that I 100% prefer the Omnia to the TD. The TD sucks on battery life, can be laggy (even after mine had Swiftblade 7.5 ROM) and skips/lags on music playback - known issue HTC refuse to admit. I do like the "in your small pocket" design of the TD but with an extended 1800mah (and just about usefull charge) battery it then becomes bulky. The Omnia is just about the right size for me and slips into pockets easy. I have to say as well, sitting here in the deepest parts of T5, the Omnia gets a much better signal than the TD as well on 3g.

    As for storage, I think I have some 2000+ songs on mine and ALL of Europe and Florida maps for TomTom .... and thats without a memory card. Do that with your Iphone or TD!!!

    There is one word of caution though with the Omnia's, device.exe service (links to all the device drivers) keeps grabbing all the CPU and appears to create "black screen of death". This is a known issue by Samsung and should be patched out next week in the UK.

    Only wish they'd put a hardened glass touchscreen on this device, you don't need a stylus anyway.

  5. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    getting to grips with it

    There are a couple of things that are really pissing me off about this phone, and there doesn't appear to be any way of solving them (as far as I can find).

    1) If you use an app and then shut it, it is still running in the background. You have to use the task manager to get rid of it. This isn't so bad if it's just a game or an xcel spreadsheet, but if you just had google maps open then you are still logged in and burning minutes+battery.

    This is my main gripe. It is really effing annoying.

    The other thing

    2) If you dial a service that requires you to input numbers from the keypad in order to navigate the menu system, then expect to have to press the 'finger mouse' button *every time*. As soon as you stick the phone back to your ear to listen to the next menu the thing has gone and locked itself again.

    Sort these two things out and I won't be getting rid of it and could actually recommend it. Pictures are fine and the phone is clear to use.

  6. Al Taylor

    Re GPS

    Have to say the GPS rig works just fine on our test handset. Straight out of the box we fired up Google Maps and selected "Use GPS" - 45 odd seconds later we had an indicated 7 satellite lock on our position. We have just hard re-set the device and repeated the test with the same result.

  7. Stuza


    Sorry fanboi comments aimed at Giles not Alun.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is an absolute horror

    I've been trialling a pair of these at work.

    The battery life is abysmal, the UI is terrible, and I can think of not a single reason to keep these on.

    I am, in my home life, a happy samsung user, though, with my last three phones (currently a tocco/f490) all being good buys.

    The Omnia is going back, though. WM is a poor choice for an OS- I can honestly say that I'm looking forward to using S60 on the E71's we've ordered to replace the omnia.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm really not seeing the basis for this constant slating of WM. Having used winmo phones for the past couple of years, I'm not seeing what the fuss is about. Or is it the usual "DURHUR IT ISN'T OPEN SOURCE/DOESN'T HAVE A SHINY APPLE ON IT" whining the pervades the tech sector of late?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Al

    Maybe I should return mine then, because I've never had a GPS lock on mine.

    Faulty hardware maybe.

    @Sir Spoon.

    Too see your list of minimised apps, and close them, swipe briefly up from the softbar at the bottom of the screen. Alternatively, hold down the softkey on the right hand side, at the top until the list appears

    I'm pretty sure your second issue can be sorted out from the power settings menu.

  11. darkmooink
    Gates Halo

    re:getting to grips with it

    ive had my 8gb omnia for 2 weeks now. i have found a solution to some of your problems

    1) some applications like google maps and opera have a exit option in the menu that closes the program, it takes some time to do it without thinking though.

    2) there is an option in power -> calling that stops the screen from turning off during a call, you will still have to press the little black button but you wont have to wait for the screen to turn back on


    i have tomtom 7 on my omnia but had to install gpsgate to get it working , did you have to do this with yours?

  12. Pete Slater
    Thumb Up

    You forgot to mention one of the main reason for buying it

    The one overriding factor in my decision to buy the Omnia was simply that it supports Ogg Vorbis out of the box. This is about the only decent phone recently that does so and for someone like myself with around 800 Gb of music in Vorbis format, makes the phone a great media player.

    It is not without its problems but then which phone isn't.

    The one thing I would like is for the implementation of JavaME to include JSR-256 and JSR-258 so that I can actually write some interesting Java code for it.

    Oh and the A2DP stereo bluetooth works a treat on the Omnia - really good quality and nice large reception area.

  13. Stuza


    Yes mate, every Omnia has to but according to Samsung this may also change with the new firmware this (next?) week.

  14. Wonderkid

    @This is an absolute horror

    Good choice on the E71. I have been using one to literally run the business for the last month or two. It has replaced my laptop. I use the photo viewer (in conjunction with an iPod Touch thanks to it's nice multitouch screen) to present to customers (iPhone battery life not good enough for those long days!), the (editable!) spreadsheet to calculate our pricing etc, the camera to record installations of our product (for training purposes), the radio to monitor the collapse of the banks while I trade in real money :-), the MP3 player (that is a LOT more convenient to use when jogging than the iPod Touch - I cannot comment on the Omnia's as I have not used it) for relaxing on the train/tube, the email client to monitor and respond to my gmail, yahoo and corporate email. (Not push, but you can configure the E71 to check the email automatically every 15 mins for one account, and every 30 mins for one other.) I understand that Nokia or a 3rd party are to announce a nice corporate friendly email client for S60 soon anyway. In summary, the Omnia is really a consumer device while the E71 is VERY robust, the battery life is awesome and it is in my view, a far more business like device than even the Blackberry - and a lot slimmer too. I just wish the camera took decent low light pictures, but that is my only real gripe.

  15. Andrew Katz
    Thumb Down

    It's dreadful

    I get one of these recently from Orange, and after battling with it for a day or so I gave up and sent it back. I've got an iphone now, and while that's infuriating in its own way, it's in a different league to the Omnia.

    To be fair, the thing feels relatively well made, and it syncs effectively with Outlook. The camera is surprisingly good. The ability to add memory using micro SD cards is great.

    However, Windows mobile is a nightmare. This is the the third incarnation of a windows mobile device I've had. Never again.

    Connecting to my access point at work and home is very unreliable (I have no other problems with any mobile device, and my iPhone is fine). Battery life is pretty dreadful. Getting a GPS lock is difficult. The accelerometer doesn't work too well. Trying to get the thing to switch from WiFi to cellular data when you are out of range of your access point is a real trial. And in common wth all windows things, it crashes frequently, necessitating a "battery out" reboot three times during the less-than-24-hours I had it.

    It won't pair with my car bluetooth system reliably (Pioneer Avic X1-BT).

    There really is no comparison between the Omnia and the iPhone. On paper, the Omnia's functionality is streets ahead, but in the real word the iPhone is significantly better in just about every way. The interface is a work of genius, and while it's still pretty frustrating at times (limited bluetooth functionality, annoying lack of compatibility with previously purchased ipod accessories) its good points prevent you from being frustrated with it. I'm far from an Apple fanatic, but I have to say, Apple has got it right and Microsoft fundamentally misses the point.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't believe you've ever had an omnia. Not only are all your criticisms taken either directly from the review, or the comments, you failed to notice the soft reset button in plain view atop the device, and then you proceeded to evangelise for the iPhone.

  17. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Who's the fanboy?

    Just for the record I have owned two Windows Mobile touch screen phones and one Windows Mobile PDA. There's only so many years you can keep buying and using the same badly designed rubbish (the desktop design paradigm doesn't work on a mobile device, ie. Start menus, close buttons etc).

    It gets tiresome using those silly little stylus pens on the move.

    I have also owned two non-touchscreen Windows Mobile smartphones. These were much nicer to use than the touch screen version.

    I've also owned a Symbian phone which was ok, dull like Windows Mobile too.

    I also had an OpenMoko development handset.

    So just because I like the iPhone and think some thought has gone into its interface (which Google and Microsoft are copying) does not make me a fanboy.

    It's entirely possible to never need to connect your iPhone to a computer (except for activation of course). I can't say that is true for Windows Mobile, installing applications often requires connecting it to a PC (and yes, it has to be Windows most of the time). At least the iPhone works with Windows and Mac OSX.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ wonderkid

    Thanks for that (I was the "horror" poster, BTW)- it's good to know that the E71 has the legs for proper enterprise use.

    Some inherent, unconscious bias has made me (for no obvious reason) view s60 as a neither fish nor fowl OS for phones, and I never gave it much thought until a procurement bod suggested one as our organisation's blackberry-equivalent. I'll look forward to getting them in now.

    Oh and "I'm really not seeing the basis for this constant slating of WM."- I'll add that I really wanted to love WM6- I was just disappointed to see it's come on not at all since my first CE device many moons ago. Why Samsung chose it for a consumer device, I'll never know....

  19. hexacet
    Thumb Up

    O2 are scared of the omnia!

    when i was out phone shopping for a new phone last month i was talkng to the store manager of our o2 shop and asked him when they were getting the omnia, i was expecting the usual "in the next 2 weeks or so" but instead got a rather sheepish "never - if we sold it we'd never shift the iphone 3g" - can't get a better reccomendation than that!

    when i got my omnia the battery life was shite but then realised it had hsdpa set to enabled - as none of our cell transmitters come close to maxing out 3g having 3g+ enabled was pointless, end result was about 3x longer battery life

    incase anyone hasn't worked out how to kill the vista-esq sidebar its:

    start - settings - today - items - untick samsung widget

    it seems to be the samsung widet thats responsible for most cases of the long press on the end call key to keylock not working

    finally, am i the only one that reularly manages to twat myself with the stylus dongle trying to unrotate the screen when the omnias desided to screen rotate during a call?

    final question.... does the omnia hold the record for the longest hands free kit bundled with any phone? the one that came with mine tops out at just under 7 feet!

  20. Robert Hill
    Gates Horns


    "I'm really not seeing the basis for this constant slating of WM. Having used winmo phones for the past couple of years,"

    Well, I had three HTC WM phones in a row, and even spent a boatload of money to buy one of the first HTC Touch units shipped to the UK from Expansys. I know and have used WM more than I care to admit - and for comparison, my FIRST mobile was the original Motorola brick back in 1991. So I have had more than a few mobiles...

    With all that as background, I CAN and WILL slag WM for a) requiring a stylus to do so many common UI tasks, and b) having NESTED MENUS on what should be a finger-driven interface.

    Everything else is really inconsequential to me: these two things are legacies from the Windows GUI-based upon mouse-on-desktop, and should NEVER have been engineered into a touch-screen interface. PERIOD.

    I don't care whether anyone prefers iPhone, Android, or even Palm OS - ANY OS that lacks these two shortcomings is preferable to WM for a hand-held touchscreen designed to be used on the is a fatal flaw that MS has had years to address, but is so wedded to the Windows desktop experience (and the branding that it represents) that they cannot address it successfully. And so they fail, and deserve to be criticised until it is addressed.

  21. darkmooink
    Gates Halo

    @robert hill

    "With all that as background, I CAN and WILL slag WM for a) requiring a stylus to do so many common UI tasks, and b) having NESTED MENUS on what should be a finger-driven interface."

    ok a) i have done a fair bit with my fingers on this phone and i dont know what your complaining about, the few things that ive had problems with is due to myown settings or haveing a cheep case on it (and fat fingers)

    b) where are the nested menus? i can only think of them in programs not developed by microsoft.

  22. Anonymous Coward


    Here here!

    I do own and use a Touch Diamond, my third WM device. WM had worked (or kludged along) faithfully and solidly albeit for me despite my tinkering, which probably the best thing going for it. (and possibly the software selection). WM is lousy for its unnecessarily nested menus metaphor. Still miss the snappiness, simplicity and cleanliness of Palm. sadly iphone is too crippled to be useful, at least for me.

  23. andy

    Media Player scroll problems

    I have put quiet a lot of music on my Omnia and when I want to find an artist that begins with R for example, I have to sit there scrolling for ages to get to it. Does anyone know if there's a way of selecting a letter or anything?

    Any help would be much appreciated as this is driving me crazy!


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