We've been sitting on the lovely Samsung Omnia i910, biting our tongues until we could share the joy with you. The Omnia will be offered Nov. 26th on Verizon Wireless through business sales channels and Dec. 8th through Verizon stores for $249 with contract after rebate. Remarkably and happily just about nothing has changed from the import GSM Omnia i900 we reviewed back in August. Of course, there is one major difference, the Verizon version of the Omnia is not GSM but CDMA. The good news is that means 3G in the form of EVDO for fast data, something we missed on the GSM version that lacked US 3G.
For those new to the Omnia, it's an attractive and not terribly large slate design touch screen phone that runs Samsung's TouchWiz UI on top of Windows Mobile 6.1. Read our GSM Omnia review for in-depth coverage of TouchWiz-- that is until we publish our full Verizon Omnia review. It features widgets, or little shortcuts on a sidebar that you can use to access common tasks, and you can drag them to the phone's virtual desktop (for example there's a mini media player widget).
While not as fast and responsive as Samsung's feature phones running TouchWiz (feature phones are always faster than smartphones and PDA phones), it's quite usable and makes using the Omnia fun. The TouchWiz today screen, program launcher, menus and on-screen keyboards have been re-worked to make them finger-friendly. The screen requires a firmer touch than the iPhone but is similar to HTC's TouchFLO 3D Windows Mobile phones (Touch Pro, Diamond, Fuze). For you Windows Mobile purists, yes you can disable all these features if you prefer the standard Windows Mobile interface.
If you do need that stylus, be warned that it doesn't live in a silo on-board. Instead it attaches to a grommet on the phone's side via a short lanyard.
The Samsung Omnia i910 features a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus lens. The camera takes very good images and the camera software is top notch in terms of features and speed. Really exiting feature!
The Omnia has a GPS that works with VZ Navigator, WiFi, Bluetooth with a full compliment of profiles including A2DP stereo. The GPS does not work with Google Maps or other mapping solutions. The Omnia has a 3" touch screen running at 240 x 400 resolution, and it uses resistive technology (pressure sensitive) rather than capacitive like the iPhone. The Omnia has an accelerometer that rotates the display when you turn the phone on its side and haptic (vibration) feedback.
In terms of horsepower, the Omnia is no slouch with a 624MHz PXA312 processor, an 8 gig flash drive, 128 megs of RAM and 256 megs of flash storage with approx. 50 megs free. If that 8 gigs of storage isn't enough for you, there's also an SDHC microSD card slot!
Stay tuned for our full review and in the meantime, I'll say that the original Omnia was one of my favorite smartphones of 2008, and Verizon has squeaked under the wire with their version of a very sexy looking, powerful and enjoyable Windows Mobile phone.
The phone comes with a good selection of custom Samsung software as well as the excellent Opera 9.5 web browser, an FM radio, VZappZone, Visual Voice Mail and IM. Alas, the phone lacks a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack, so you'll have to use the included Samsung blade connector stereo headset.
As always, please feel free to post questions while we work on our full review!
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview