Windows Phone 7 as an OS has become mighty delicious after the Mango update. I would go on to say Microsoft has managed to offer a better user experience than what Android offers, making WP 7.5 second best only to the iOS. The Omnia W performs very well. Add an excellent battery life and a good display, and the dish is ready to be served, hot.
I must admit – the rise of Windows Phone as a solid smartphone OS has been a surprise, and a huge relief as well. Frankly, the iOS vs. Android battle was beginning to become a bit boring. Thankfully, Microsoft silently got its house in order and got down to tweaking WP into a competent smartphone OS. And the results are quite impressive.
Look & Feel
The Omnia W looks like a compact smartphone, with the 3.7-inch display ensuring it isn't very big to hold, a problem that some 4-inch smartphones face. The front has the display, and the hardware button for Home, with the Windows logo on it. There are two touch sensitive keys – return and Bing search. The power key is on the right side panel, and not on the top where it is usually on most phones. The volume rocker is on the left side. Flip the Omnia W over and we felt a bit disappointed to find that annoying prise out using nails method, something we felt was reserved for the less expensive and lesser thought out phones.
Overall, the Omnia W does feel very sleek and light, and fits well in the hand. Comfortable for one-handed use, with even weight distribution ensuring it doesn’t rock about unnecessarily.
The big one has to be the updated avatar of the Windows Phone OS – the Mango update. We weren’t very impressed with WP that we had experienced earlier in 2011 (Dell Venue Pro etc.), but this has surprised us quite a bit. The UI has received a considerable overhaul, and the tiles seem to have been resized for more comfortable use. Interestingly, the People tile is an active one as well, and will keep changing the pictures of your contacts, even social networking ones. Looks visually appealing, and seems to blend well into the entire experience WP7 is trying to bring.
Moving on to the hardware bit, the Omnia W is powered by a 1.4GHz processor, and 512MB of RAM. Had this been an Android phone, we would’ve criticized the low amount of RAM, but WP7 does very well in this regard. The 3.7-inch display is the Super AMOLED type with a resolution of 480x800 pixels. The phone comes with 8GB internal storage but no slot for memory expansion. The 5MP camera can take 720p HD videos.
Delightful! It is a relief to see how well Windows Phone OS performs, and the user experience it offers. We would go on to say as much that the WP7 is second only to Apple’s iOS in terms of offering a smooth experience and working well straight out of the box. Android fanboys will be up in arms, but the point is, how many Android phones haven’t slowed down after a while of usage? Remember Advanced Task Manager? It is an essential install, and the reason why most people don’t have it is because they don’t know how to use it!
Coming back to the Omnia W, the Super AMOLED display is a delight to use. The high resolution means the text is crisp, and the brightness levels are extremely good as well. Indoors, you won’t feel the need to move higher than the Low setting. Colour depth is very good, and we didn’t really find any gradation in any of the images we tested with.
The call quality is surprisingly good. Even in the lift for my apartment, where the bars are down to 2, the call didn’t drop. Earpiece volume is quite loud, yet remains clear for the most part. I didn’t feel the need to set the volume beyond 40% at most times.
Signing up for social networking sites and configuring emails is a simple process. On the home screen, the People tile will keep changing the display to rotate the pictures of all your contacts. The email tile will show the number of unread emails the moment something new comes, or remains unread. Within the applications, I like the sideways scrolling method, to get access to deeper divisions of the content. For example, in mails, you can scroll sideways to switch between All Mails, Unread and Urgent. Quite handy in the marketplace when you are browsing for apps, sorted by featured, popular, paid and free.
The only niggle I felt was that the on-screen keypad in the portrait mode is a little cramped, leading to wrong key presses and spelling mistakes. But then again, someone buying a smartphone with a 3.7-inch display may just be looking for that comfort of using with one hand factor.
Battery life was an absolute delight. The Omnia W lasted 2 days, with a few calls and messages and was connected to either the Wi-Fi or EDGE throughout for Facebook and mails.
For a price of just under Rs 20k, the Omnia W is a very good smartphone to consider, if you want to experience Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango). We would strongly urge that you did, if you have been using an Android (or even an iPhone) all this while. The cocktail of brilliance – excellent performance, good display, WP7 is now brilliant and a battery life that exceeds expectations.
Price: Rs. 19,990
Specs: 1.4GHz processor, 512MB RAM, 3.7-inch display with 480x800 resolution, 8GB storage, 5MP camera with 720p HD videos, 1,500 mAh battery
Overall Ratings: 7.5