If you've ever heard of the Microsoft Zune, you probably have a pretty good idea how the Samsung Focus S deals with multimedia. Fortunately, WP7 builds on the original Zune platform considerably.
The only really terrible thing about the way WP7 handles multimedia is the fact that in order to copy anything to or from your phone, you'll need to use the Zune software. Anyone used to Android will likely hate this fact, but iPhone users should be partially used to it thanks to iTunes.
The Zune software isn't necessarily bad. We just wish we could have a choice when it comes to copying songs, videos, or even photos.
Storage space is our only other major gripe. The approximately 12GB of space can be a bit limiting, especially for HD videos.
12 gigs is still a decent amount of space for music, though our current music collection far exceeds that. Fortunately, you don't need a ton of space to have a wide selection of songs with the Focus S.
With the Zune Music+Videos tile, you can make use of the Zune Music Pass to download and stream songs right to the Focus S. As an AT&T device, it also comes with AT&T Radio and AT&T U-verse Mobile, if you're signed up for those services.
If you'd rather not have to pay for any streaming music services, the Focus S is one of the rare smartphones with a built in FM tuner. As long as you have a set of headphones plugged in to act as an antenna, you have free local radio.
Then there's the Smart DJ feature that was added to WP7 with the Mango update. It can be used to create a playlist (either from the songs on the handset, or from the Zune Marketplace if you have the Music Pass) based on a seed song of your selection.
Unfortunately, we couldn't get Smart DJ to work quite right. It seemed to have trouble identifying the songs we selected.
Despite that, one of our favorite features is the ability to identify songs through the search button. Similar to Shazam and Soundhound, the Focus S can listen to a portion of a song and find it for you.
The success rate here isn't quite as high as Shazam, but it integrates perfectly into the Zune marketplace. It makes it easy to add new songs to your collection.
Watching videos isn't quite as nice of an experience as listening to music on the Focus S. This is mostly because of the Zune software requirement.
WP7 seems to support a very limited list of video formats, and the Zune software sort of lets you know this. Unsupported videos still show up in Zune on your computer, and you can even drag them to the phone to be copied…except they don't actually copy over.
As long as you have the right format, videos look great on the super AMOLED plus display. HD resolutions up to 720p playback just fine.
We're a little disappointed with the lack of streaming video options, but that's mostly due to the still maturing Windows Phone Marketplace.