Thursday, November 13, 2008

Samsung Omnia

Samsung is too fast. I bought the 16 Gb Omnia around Oct 2008 and now they are coming up with their new Omnia HD making mine seems so outdated. I can't keep up with changes fast enough with the dough I am earning right now. So I have given it a thought, and will write about gadgets that I can afford and I personally owned. This seems more rational anyway. I can just pick up a products in the market and evaluate [drool] about them without having first hand experience off them. So this post will mark my new resolution to keep this blog updated at least once a week, with toys/gadget that I got. The first step will be re-branding the blog. And then, I'll get started.

So I have been playing with my Omnia for say, half a year already. I have never once bored with this gadget. I got it from a store in Singapore. I was really happy when I first unboxed it. I have read about it few month before making the decision to purchase it. It was meant to replace my old trusted 3 years old Nokia N73. I chose the phone because I wanted a sleek looking touch screen phone, with a huge screen, good multimedia feature, huge storage, reasonably good camera with flash, GPS navigation, 3G and wifi. And I have never regret choosig Omnia.

Back to the first days with my phone. I read that there are firmware updates on the net. I always have my phones software updated every once a while since my old Motorola E398 days. At that time having those 'monsterpacks' that update the phone with new functions and possibility really fills my time. My phone was turned into the first iTune phone or the so called first generation 'ROKR' at that time. There is no fun than to show off the MOD to a friend or two. Once I used my N73, I do update it through Nokia official releases. Nowadays, for my Omnia, Samsung do have several updates on their official web sites at The current updated firmware for Singaporean Omnia is DZIA5. There happens to be a naming scheme, i.e the I is for the year, and A is suppose tell that it is a January built. You can find out all about this from certain websites like modaco i.e If you look at right places there are also custom ROM for your Omnia phone. ROM is technically the place where the firmware and software sits in your phone. When we download them off the internet, we 'flash' them, so that the ROM will be updated with the latest package that you have downloaded. Sounds simple, but if you do it wrongly you'll end up 'brick'ing your phone. 'Brick' means that your phone will be only as useful as a brick i.e use a paper weight etc :). In fact, I bricked my Omnia the second day I bought it while trying to update to latest firmware downloaded from Samsungs Official website. It is not to say it is easily bricken.. or broken. But it is like driving, there's a risk of getting into fatal accident, but almost always, you'll get to your destination. So, my phone was in Samsung Service Centre for almost 2 month. But I'm happily updating the firmware every now-and-then since.

Now about the phone. It is a sleek thin phone with a large 3.4' screen that is so stylish. Apparently the screen is a little smaller compared to iPhone or iPhone 3G, but I still don't understand why people keep saying it is an iPhone killer or keep comparing both gadgets. I had few friends who owned iPhone 3G and I personally had touch it and tried it. I felt that both devices is in two different class. I would have bought an iPhone if I don't need to use video call or don't need a reasonably good camera. Back then iPhone don't even have cut & paste or MMS. On the other hand iPhone has better screen quality that may only be compared to Omnia HD's AMOLED screen. Omnia's LCD is way too washed-out under direct sunlight. As long as I'm indoor, I have no problems with my Omnia. 

Omnia runs on a Windows Mobile 6.1. There are heaps of readily built applications that can run on Omnia. But be aware, the 240x400(wqvga) screen size could be sometimes troubling. Anyway, most new software will work nicely on this screen so when you buy new software for it, make sure this resolution is supported. There is a bundled MS-Office Mobile, which I don't really use. There are application to connect the phone as HSDPA/3G modem through USB. Opera and IE can be used for internet browsing. There are media album, touch player and picture frame for my multimedia needs. This device is also Divx compatible out of the box. So my existing Divx movies collections plays directly without any re-encoding. There are 2 choices for USB connections, 1 is activesync - the standard windows/outlook sync program and 2 as a mass drive - it behave like a usb thumbdrive/harddrive having to select either to use the built in 16G or the additional microSD/Transflash card. I got myself a 8Gb microSD and most of the time I use it on the usb mass drive mode. Theres a plenty of space to install stuffs on Omnia. I have MSDict with at least 4 types of dictionaries. A Garmin XT 5.20 works well with my Omnia with free Malfreemaps. I have Fring, newer GoogleMaps with Latitude, Facebook, YouTube viewer, Modacos NoData, Omniano and few games. The latest ROM includes Asphalt 4 with accelerometer control - now you can just tilt your Omnia to control the race car!.

I wouldn't brag about Samsung's Touchwiz interface that Omnia has. It is just not for me. But I rather use Samsung's today 2. But hey, it's Windows Mobile, there are more than few ways to change the GUI. I have even tried HTC's touchflo on my Omnia, which is really good but I kinda in the favor of Samsung's today 2 paired with cLaunch for my today screen. I am just not using the built-in a bit laggy Samsung's main menu. I have almost never touch the default WM6 windows start button. Most of the time, I am using my fingers. The included stylus have been sitting in my wallet untouched for quite a while now.  Camera interface looks like a Samsung camera. There is a face detection, flash control, ample scene modes and the like. I love snapping pictures with my Omnia. Never compare it to a real camera though, but I reckon it has one of the best camera a WM phone can have. The 5Mp camera is good enough for me to snap some nice casual pictures. 
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