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Samsung Omnia 7 review

We review Samsung's first Windows Phone 7 smartphone to see if it can meet the demands of business users.

Formatting in our Word document was retained including bullet points, live web links, tables, font size and font colours. Our Excel spreadsheet also retained colour and formatting, summing of data and an embedded graph, but the graph's format was changed from a 3D pie chart to a flat pie chart.

Editing on the Samsung Omnia 7 was not very rewarding. Although the screen's high resolution is great for most other uses, such as web browsing and viewing photos, it's still not enough for editing most documents. While we could add new data to our spreadsheet table we couldn't get our pie chart to incorporate it.

When it came to saving our Word and Excel documents, we were told that some content and formatting couldn't be saved. However, both made it back through the round trip safely so perhaps this is a failsafe rather than a statement of fact. The pie chart got back to our PC in the flat format rather than its original 3D format, though. Our original documents were in the older doc and xls formats, and were also saved in these formats.

Battery life seems on a par with what we'd expect from most smartphones. You will need to charge daily and may be able to get through a working day without recourse to mains power depending how heavily you use power-sapping features such as 3G and GPS.

The Samsung Omnia 7 is one of the better designed Windows Phone 7 smartphones and its large, vibrant screen is a real plus. Those who have the very latest Microsoft back office tools, most notably SharePoint Server 2010, will find document, contact and calendar sharing to be seamless, but those who do not will have to jump through some extra hoops.

The problem therefore isn't with Samsung's hardware, but with Microsoft's software. Although generally well-designed, Windows Phone 7 is missing several essential features, so we look forward to the update which is due early next year which will add more features such as copy and paste and improved spreadsheet round tripping. If you can't wait until then to purchase a business smartphone, there are plenty of alternatives to choose from.

Verdict

The Samsung Omnia 7 is a well-built Windows Phone 7 smartphone. Its Super AMOLED screen shines with its bright, sharp and vibrant images and text. However, the Windows Phone 7 operating itself leaves us a little nonplussed. You need a SharePoint server to get the very best from it for document creation and editing on the move, while those office based professionals who make do without Exchange will find the contacts and calendar synchronisation process a slightly convoluted one. With both Android and the iPhone currently having more mature synchronisation options, smaller businesses in particular may be tempted to give Windows Phone 7 a miss for now.

Connectivity: GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/1900/2100 Display: 800 x 480 pixels, 4in OS: Windows Phone 7 Camera: 5 megapixels GPS: A-GPS Processor: Qualcomm QSD8250, 1GHz Bluetooth: 2.1 + EDR Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n Memory: 8GB internal, no user expansion Dimensions: 122.4 x 64.2 x 10.99 mm Weight: 138g Battery: Li-Ion 1500 mAh Part code: GT-i8700

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