samsung omnia 2

The Omnia 2, by and large, is a big improvement on the first Omnia, and many of those changes are courtesy of the newly-minted Windows Mobile 6.5.

With a new focus on touchscreens, it's a more practical operating system for a phone which has only three buttons on the front.

For instance, you hardly ever see an interface which requires more precision than the tip of a finger. Unfortunately, that makes it all the more frustrating when you do, and our discovery of a stylus in the Omnia 2's box was hugely disappointing.

main menu

The other major disappointment is that the screen - which is a little bigger than the iPhone's at 3.7in - is resistive, rather than capacitive. That means multi-touch gestures - pinching to zoom and so forth - are out of the question.

The screen also suffers from the rarely-seen problem of stepping. This is where a gradient, instead of running smoothly from one colour to another, has pronounced jumps from one tone to the next. It's not a killer flaw, but it was noticeable now and again and, on a phone at the top of Samsung's roster, is surprising.

Unfortunately, the interface, which is generally quite good, suffers from frequent lag. The Omnia 2 has an 800MHz processor, which sounds impressive, but it doesn't mean this is a particularly fast phone.

The time between pressing the messaging icon on the home screen and the application actually loading was occasionally as high as three seconds, and the camera application occasionally took even longer - up to seven seconds - hardly useful for snapping a few opportunistic pics of your mates in the pub.

We also found that long menus occasionally juddered, as if animating the menu down the screen was too much to ask of the phone.

omnia 2

As with the Samsung Genio, you get Samsung's TouchWiz interface, which allows you to drag various widgets onto the home screen. These are a rather mixed bag. Some, such as the Facebook widget, are handy.

Others, such as the promising-looking YouTube icon, simply launch the web browser and send you to a pre-determined URL. You can always tap the Start button at the top right of the screen, which instead of launching the difficult to use Start menu of earlier versions of Windows Mobile, produces a large list of application options.