Samsung Omnia II
Watching video is a joy, with its bright, sharp rendering of a good variety of movie formats, including MPEG4, WMV, H.263, H.264, DivX and XviD. There are a couple of audio playback options for video too, including 'Wow HD', though this just seemed to make the sound a little louder.
A few rough edges, but pretty good overall
For music it will play MP3, AAC, AAC+ and WMA files, which covers the basics, and the sound quality with the supplied headphones isn't bad at all. It's also easy to upgrade using the 3.5mm headphone jack or A2DP Bluetooth. Usefully, the headphone lead includes an adaptor so you can still have inline control of your phone while you're listening and there's an FM radio with automatic scanning and room for half a dozen preset channels.
There's also Connected Home, an option that allows you to stream audio or video from other devices on your home network. It sounds like a great idea in theory, but we couldn't get it to work on our system. There are a couple of apps options on board, with Windows Marketplace and Samsung's own Application Store, which features a couple of hundred apps, many of them free, yet around a third of them are games. Office Mobile comes as standard too, allowing you to create and edit Word and Excel files, as well as view PowerPoint and PDF files.
Battery life proved to be decent rather than spectacular, giving us a good day and a half of fairly heavy use and though we didn't measure it directly against its predecessor, the specs promise an extra couple of hours of talk time.
The Omnia II is a jump ahead of its predecessor and very definitely in the Premier League of Windows Mobile devices. Although the Connected Home option needs work, the media playing facilities are all very good with browsing and camera also scoring well. Messaging and social networking are OK, but perhaps not in the very first rank, and if only that gorgeous OLED screen was just a tad more sensitive, we might have been able to love this phone. As it is, we just like it an awful lot. ®
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