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Samsung Focus Flash review

Small, cheap, and full of surprises

Internet

Even with its lower price tag, the Samsung Focus Flash is still a 4G HSPA+ device, meaning it's capable of up to 21Mbps download speeds; however, our main complaint is against AT&T's network.

Samsung Focus Flash

As with all of AT&T's HSPA+ devices, 4G speeds just aren't realistically achievable where we've been testing – which is throughout most of the San Francisco Bay Area.

In all of our speed tests, we had only one result in excess of 4Mbps, and an average of 1.8Mbps.

1.8Mbps is still a decent result when it comes to basic web browsing, but don't expect to do much video streaming.

Samsung Focus Flash

Web browsing, search, and navigation are exactly as they are in the Focus S.

We're still very happy with the Internet Explorer browser, the integrated Bing search features are just as effective, and navigation still has a lot of room for improvement.

Camera

Apart from the screen size, the camera is one of the biggest differences between the Samsung Focus Flash and the Focus S.

Compared to the Focus S' top tier 8MP camera module, the 5MP sensor found in the Flash may seem a little dinky.

Despite the weaker specs, the Focus Flash can still take a decent picture, high enough quality for use as a text message or uploading to your Facebook account, which is the primary use for a smartphone camera anyway.

Samsung Focus Flash

Side-by-side, the Flash's photos do pale a bit in comparison to the Focus S' photos. Overall, the Flash's photos don't come out quite as crisp and the color temperature tends to lean on the cooler side.
Going into the camera settings reveals even more differences between the two models. The Focus S has a handful of extra options, such as additional Image Effects, Anti-shaking, and Wide Dynamic Range.

Both cameras have trouble performing well in low light, but where the Focus S would seem to wash out details with its flash, the Focus Flash doesn't quite flash bright enough to adequately light the scene.

Samsung Focus Flash

Like all WP7 devices, the Focus Flash has a two-stage dedicated camera button – half press for focus, full press to snap a photo. Holding the camera button also acts as a shortcut to the camera app.
The front facing camera is also a step down from what the Focus S has to offer.

The Focus Flash is only capable of VGA resolution photos (about 0.3MP), while the S has a 1.3MP sensor, though the actual quality difference between the two is hard to distinguish – both being pretty low quality.

Samsung Focus Flash

Without Wide Dynamic Range, you have no manual control over details in shots like this.

Samsung Focus Flash

The Focus Flash's macro shots don't seem to show as much depth as the Focus S.

Samsung Focus Flash

Even with good lighting, images come out slightly grainy.

Samsung Focus Flash

Using the flash helps in low light, but it won't fill the entire scene.

Video

Even though the image sensor is significantly lower resolution, the Samsung Focus Flash is just as capable at shooting 720p video as the Focus S.

Samsung Focus Flash

As long as you have adequate natural lighting, the Focus Flash has no trouble keeping up with its high-end brother in terms of quality. Its only real fault is a slightly cold shifted color production.

Once lighting starts to fade, you'll find that the Focus Flash starts to get a bit grainy. The same happens with the Focus S, but it's slightly more tolerant of low light.

The Flash also suffers from the same oddities in that it doesn't allow zooming while recording and it defaults to VGA resolution instead of 720p. This behavior seems to be standard amongst WP7 devices.

As an entry-level smartphone with 720p recording, the Focus Flash stands out as a solid contender against other WP7 phones.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Service ProviderAT&T
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Built-in Memory8 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value0.35 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyFocus Flash
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
ColourDark Grey
Operating SystemWindows Mobile
Brand NameSamsung
Battery Talk Time6.50 Hour
Screen Size9.4 cm (3.7")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)116.2 g
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionWindows Phone 7.5
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density252 ppi
Height116.1 mm
Width58.7 mm
Depth10.9 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time250 Hour
ManufacturerSamsung
Product NameFocus Flash Smartphone
Processor Speed1.40 GHz
Product LineFocus Flash
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberSGH-I677DAAATT
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

The new Windows Phone is made to be social.

The Samsung Focus Flash comes pre-loaded with the latest Windows Phone 7.5 Mango OS, and everything that goes with it. You'll have, among other things, built-in Twitter and LinkedIn, a handy Linked inbox to see all your email messages in one place and Local Scout, powered by Bing. You'll also have a 1.4GHz processor to make sure all that sending, receiving and updating happens as quickly as possible.