Samsung Focus 2 (AT&T) review

Will Samsung mirror its Android success with its latest Windows Phone?

Samsung Focus 2 (AT&T)
Samsung returns to Windows Phone offering a capable alternative to the Lumia

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The Windows Phone dedicated Messaging app handles all of your standard SMS/MMS text and picture messages as well as Facebook Chat.

Launching the Messaging tile opens the Threads list, showing your text and picture message history. Tapping the plus icon at the bottom opens a new message which you can type out and send to your contacts. You can attach photos to your message using the paperclip icon, or activate speech to dictate your message using the microphone icon. Speech detection is fairly accurate, though the feature works best with shorter messages, often tripping up over names and longer sentences. Sadly videos are not available to send via MMS.

Samsung Focus 2

Swiping left or right from the Threads list takes you to the Online list, displaying Facebook friends available for chat. You can also set your own chat status to let others know you are online or let them know you are away.

Windows Phone has a separate tile for managing emails, which supports multiple accounts through Windows Live, Google, Outlook, Yahoo! Mail, as well as other POP and IMAP accounts.

Email text is large and easy to read against the inbox's white background, though it would be nice if it provided the option for white text against a black background, which is an option that can be chosen in every other Windows Phone dedicated app.

Activating multiple accounts creates a new tile for each one on the home screen. The tiles can also be consolidated with the link inboxes option, allowing you to gather all accounts into a unified inbox or group specific ones together while keeping others separate. The flexibility is greatly appreciated for users who have accumulated more than their fair share of accounts.

Typing messages and emails with the virtual keyboard is quite comfortable in landscape format but can feel a little cramped in portrait if you have larger fingers. Each key provides surprisingly forceful vibration feedback and a soft, satisfying "tok" sound. Both keyboard feedbacks can be disabled in the phone's settings, though the Focus 2 is one of the few devices where I have not done so for the sound.