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Random ramblings of a tech enthusiast
I’m going to preface this review with a pretty blunt statement: if you are looking for high end phones, stop reading now. This phone is not that, which can be seen in the current 99-cent price tag (with two-year contract). It definitely has its drawbacks, but I feel they aren’t as bad as some other Android phones in the same price range.
That said, this phone is a great starter smartphone and is much better in quality than other phones in the $0-$50 range. The Windows Phone software really makes the interface seem smooth. The hardware features two cameras, but their picture quality is somewhat lacking compared to some other phones out there.
Windows Phone keeps thing simple and running smoothly. The phone seems more mid-range even though it is at a low-end price range; it sure beats Android competitors at the free price mark. The phone has a slick design that reminds me of a more business look, which seems fitting for the phone that has Microsoft Office.
Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango)
3.7” WVGA Super AMOLED Display
1.4GHz Qualcomm processor
8 GB internal memory
768 MB RAM
GSM/HSPA+ radios for AT&T (Branded as 4G)
Everything about this device screams mid-range phone, but at a cheap price. The screen is Super AMOLED so it is really does great showcasing the default black background of the Metro UI. The touchscreen on the display is pretty normal with the keyboard being the standard Windows Phone layout. I have always found this keyboard easy to use even at the 3.7” screen size. There were some issues where the phone seemed to switch the orientation while typing, but nothing too buggy like I have seen in some Android phones.
Why might you consider this device?
If you are new to the smartphone market and want a simple, smooth device then I would suggest looking in to this phone. You can check sports scores with the ESPN app. You can check who was in that movie or TV show you just watched with IMDB. You can play Angry Birds or get XBOX Achievements from playing Sodoku. You can create, sync, and edit Office files through Microsoft SkyDrive. The user interface was always responsive and fluid, which is quite the accomplishment on cheaper phones.
If you need a phone that makes it easy to activate the camera, which has an LED flash on the back camera, consider this device. The back camera is 5MP, which means it takes decent photos for that occasion that you didn’t bring your point and shoot. In my opinion, that is all a phone should do in these days. The sensors in phones are small, so even 16MP cameras that are in some phones are a bit excessive. The phone also has a front facing camera so you can chat with someone on the phone, or check your hairdo and teeth.
The music integration really impressed me. Spotify played on this device similar to the music application. Lock screen controls and pop-up music controls were the same as those on the stock music option. With some of the development tools, applications can look integrated in the OS and have the same UI elements.
Why you might not consider this device?
If you are a media consumer, consistently watching YouTube or Netflix, please move on to another device. Maybe a larger screen device will better suit you. The 3.7” screen is fine for the quick app usage and checking for things online, but watching video on the screen could use the upgrade of a bigger screen.
I noticed that Windows Phone does not have official Dropbox app yet, so that is disappointing from a platform neutral standpoint. SkyDrive might do the job, but is locked down to only Windows Phone. There are definitely alternative apps on Windows Phone, but if you are used to other apps from iPhone or Android, or if friends suggest apps, you might not have them yet. Microsoft is working at throwing money at developers to change that, but right now it just isn’t the same.
The device itself seems a bit cheap even though it looks business class. It just doesn’t feel like a whole lot of phone, but I think most people will overcome that with the price tag associated with it. The slick, gloss finished back cover looks pretty cool like brushed metal but makes it easier to slip out of the hand.
This is the mid-range phone at a low-end price. Its size fits nicely into the pocket while still having a beautiful Super AMOLED screen that shows off the simplistic Metro UI. The hardware looks like it fits into a business environment while not being a BlackBerry device.
If you take a look into this device, remember that you will be locked in to that phone for two years. $0.99 compared to $100 of other devices can pay for over 3 months of data on AT&T.
Samsung has made the Samsung Focus Flash available to me for a period of time to evaluate the device. The views within this review remain my own.