Samsung Focus S review

Thin, light, with a nice display. Does this Windows Phone have all the right stuff?

Samsung Focus S
Focus on this beautiful Windows phone

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Samsung focus s

The Samsung Focus S' 4.3-inch display makes for a very spacious web browsing experience, and HSPA+ 4G can keep things speeding along – assuming AT&T's network isn't bogged down.

Web browsing is done using the WP7 version Internet Explorer. While it runs using the same engine as its desktop counterpart, It's really nothing like Internet Explorer at all, though. It has a nice, clean interface (no annoying toolbars) and basically integrates everything into the multifunction address bar at the bottom of the screen.

The only real complaint we have would be against the navigation buttons. For starters, there is no forward button, and if you happen to leave IE, such as to answer a phone call, it forgets all of your previously browsed pages in which case pressing the back button simply exits the browser.

Punching in a URL works just as you'd expect, bringing you to a webpage where you have the usual pinch-to-zoom and delightfully smooth scrolling, though there is no Adobe Flash. Things really get interesting when you try a search.

Samsung focus s

WP7 gets its own search results page where you have three tabs: web, local, and images. Web, of course, brings up your typical Bing search results, but also some WP7 specifics, such as Marketplace apps.

The local tab shows nearby results; however, we've found that it often misses things. The images tab displays Bing images results, fitting thumbnails on the screen in an effective 4x5 grid.

You don't have to fire up IE every time you want to do a search. Hitting the search button will pull up Bing no matter what you're doing on the phone. The Bing search engine is perfectly integrated into the phone, but it's also your only choice.

For those who don't care for Bing, this may be a deal breaker, but in the case of WP7, it's worth giving a shot. It can search the web, search locally, identify music, search by image, and also search by voice.

Samsung focus s

Local Scout is the Bing local search engine. It brings up nearby stores, restaurants, and even events and attractions.

Music search is very cool. It listens to a song, identifies it for you, and then gives you a link to it in the Zune Marketplace. It's not quite as accurate as Shazam or SoundHound, but it is very convenient.
Seaching by image uses the camera to scan barcodes and find books, albums and movies from cover art. It can also scan and translate text very effectively.

Samsung focus s

Holding down the Windows button brings up voice recognition similar to the iPhone 4S' Siri minus the advanced language engine. It uses key phrases like text, call, find, and e-mail. Anything that doesn't start with a recognized key phrase simply gets turned into a search query.