The Omnia II is the latest entry from Samsung in Verizon Wireless’ smartphone lineup. Like most other Windows Mobile smartphones released since October 2009, the Omnia II comes packed with Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional. Despite having WinMo 6.5, you’ll have to look hard for it since the stock UI is skinned with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface to make the device more “touch friendly.”
The first thing you’re likely to notice is the Widget bar on the left side of the Today Screen. The Widget bar provides quick access to many of the applications installed on the phone and you can even drag and drop widgets onto the Today Screen. You can customize up to three virtual Today Screens and flip between the screens by swiping your finger left or right. All of the menus are skinned and quite frankly they all look like someone let a 5 year old loose with a box of crayons. I’m not sure if Samsung was going for a high contrast screen which would be visible in sunlight, or they just wanted to unleash their artistic talent. Either way the AMOLED screen provides a brilliant display both indoors and out.
If you’ve never used a touchscreen phone before (and even if you have), using a virtualized keyboard interface can be a chore when it comes to typing. Luckily, the Omnia II comes with Swype preloaded. Swype is a virtualized keyboard which allows you to type by swiping your finger over the letters of the word. The great thing about Swype is that you don’t even have to be exact since its word detection system is very, very good. I spent a good half hour “swyping” complicated words and time and time again Swype correctly detected the word. If nothing else, I would buy this phone for Swype alone.
In terms of hardware, the Omnia II comes with 8GB of RAM so you have plenty of room for mp3s, podcasts, videos and photos. If you use up the 8GB you can increase the device’s capacity through the available microSD slot. The 5MP camera performed very well – even in low light conditions and call quality and wireless coverage was on par with other smartphones I’ve used.
All-in-all the Omnia II is a solid device. Is it an iPhone killer? No. But it is on par with other Windows Mobile and Android devices and the only real disappointment was the fact that Samsung opted for a proprietary USB connection versus the micro USB connection which can be found on most other smartphones these days.