The Samsung Focus

I spent more time with the Samsung Focus than any other Windows Phone prior to launch. It was the thinnest, it had the most eye catching screen and felt the most like a modern smartphone. It should, after all it’s lineage comes from the Galaxy S sans the Hummingbird SoC. Like the rest of the WP7 devices the Focus is based on Qualcomm’s first generation 65nm Snapdragon SoC.

The Focus is very thin but by virtue of its 4-inch Super AMOLED display has a larger surface area than the iPhone 4.

A cellular sandwich: LG Optimus 7, Samsung Focus, Apple iPhone 4 (from top to bottom)

Externally the Focus is made almost entirely of plastic with very carbon-fiberesque stripes on the back. The plastic construction makes the WP7 flagship very light, although some may find it too cheap feeling. The screen and the OS are what stand out about the Focus, not the physical construction of the phone itself.

Underneath the back cover you’ve got a microSD slot to expand beyond the integrated 8GB of NAND.

Along the top edge you’ve got a micro USB port with retractable cover, similar to what we’ve seen on the Epic 4G. This is much preferred to the cheap feeling dangling cover from the Optimus 7.

The three WP7 buttons are activated via capacitive touch. The buttons are clearly etched in the plastic and light up when touched. There’s a tasteful amount of haptic feedback when you tap them as well.

One issue that I’ve always had with the Focus is that it takes a ridiculous amount of time to fully charge. Over 7 hours. A quick Google search reveals that other Focus owners have had this problem, but not all. Microsoft indicated that the problem might appear with certain USB cables or wall charger combinations, but regardless of what I tried I had the problem. Buyer beware.

The LG Optimus 7 The Screen, oh the Screen
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  • inighthawki - Friday, December 3, 2010 - link

    Any news on the Omnia 7's US release date? I'd love to get my hands on one, as it's the only WP7 phone I'm really very interested in.
  • Hrel - Friday, December 3, 2010 - link

    I think 4" is the minimum size I'd buy. When I use the Galaxy S I always feel like just
    a little extra room would make using it perfect. But hey, maybe you're right and that's
    not true for WP7; I've never used it. I still think 4" is the minimum size though. I'm 6'4"
    and an athletic 240lbs and I have very large hands.

    I think EVERY phone should have an SD slot, prefferably not micro, but if they must.
    I mean, is it really that hard to fit a full size SD card slot in there? THey're not
    very big.

    I like the brushed metal design of the LG over plastic any day on any electronic anything.

    A good screen can never be understated, good on ya Samsung. AMOLED FTW!

    I like the 3 main buttons to be physical, personal preference here.

    I really like the apps LG includes.

    I want all the camera option of LG and Samsung Standard on all WP7 phones.

    You dogs like to eat plants:) Hahaha, that one runs off with the stick so the other just keeps on
    eating grass.

    Have you guys ever looked into reviewing anything from Archos. They make a bunch of handheld
    smart phone like devices that would be great for people who don't wanna be locked into
    paying 100+ per month to use it. I've never used any of their stuff so I'd like a
    good thourough review, who else could I ask really? They also have Windows 7 Tablet
    that if it's done well could combat the ipad and galaxy tab.
  • strikeback03 - Monday, December 6, 2010 - link

    There are reviews of Archos units around, just have to look a little more. General opinion (which I agree with based on my Archos 5 IMT) is great hardware paired up with flaky software. They also have a bad habit of promising things in software and then never delivering.

    And yes, a full-size SD slot would be huge on something smartphone sized, I would much rather have the microSD slot and have she space saved over SD used for a thinner device or a larger battery or something.

    I like the ability handset makers currently have in Android to customize the OS, IMO allows it to be much better tailored toward individual markets. For example, on Windows phone I would have no interest in the Zune anything or Xbox anything, so it would suck to have a significant portion of the UI devoted to that. What I would love is if Android phones were able to (without rooting) dual-boot whatever the current vanilla flavor of Android is as well as whatever the customized version their phone maker came up with, have the choice of which experience they want. I do like that carrier programs can be easily removed in Windows phone though.
  • Voldenuit - Saturday, December 4, 2010 - link

    The lack of mountable storage on WP7 is a deal killer for me.

    Anyone who's used a phone has probably experienced times when the on board (micro or otherwise) SD card simply refused to read. On a normal phone, you can usually fix this by removing and reinserting the card, or cleaning the contacts.

    If a WP7 phone ever loses touch with its SD card storage (dust, dirt, loose contact, etc), it will corrupt your whole filesystem. This is a major failure in robust design.

    Right now, I'd go so far as to avoid any WP7 phones that have an SD slot.
  • MGSsancho - Saturday, December 4, 2010 - link

    You can remove and reinsert the same SD card no problem, the issue you are referring to is booting the phone with out the original SD card.

    I will agree with you sometimes you need to force reboot the phone but usually a simple removal works and others you need to remove/reinsert the memory card.
  • Voldenuit - Saturday, December 4, 2010 - link

    Cool, that's good to know.

    I'm still waiting for the Nokia N8 review on Anandtech. We're on AT&T, and their phone selection is rubbish, so I'm thinking of buying my own unlocked phone and adding it to the plan.
  • strikeback03 - Monday, December 6, 2010 - link

    Well, wasn't the internal card on the HTC Surround under a cover?
  • bobjones32 - Saturday, December 4, 2010 - link

    Thanks, Anand, as usual. Great reviews on WP7.

    I've owned a Samsung Focus for about two weeks now and in general agree with everything said here and elsewhere.

    I've been an iPhone user for more than 2 years, and loved it. I know iOS inside and out, and thoroughly enjoy the application ecosystem. But my contract was up, I was going to spend ~$200 either way, so I figured I'd give WP7 a shot and keep my iPhone to use as an iPod Touch so I could continue using all my games and applications.

    For all the bitching and moaning about the obvious things lacking, or how the back button behavior is "confusing", it's been nearly perfect for me. The back button always does exactly what I want it to do at a certain time, and even after using iOS for 2+ years, I don't really miss copy+past, fast app switching, or certain background processes at all.

    Here's hoping that the updates are fast and significant next year!
  • ryedizzel - Saturday, December 4, 2010 - link

    Another excellent review and the video was really helpful in understanding the navigation/ visual effects you talked about. Keep up the good work and hopefully MS adds the ability to do WiFi tethering- that's the only reason I would choose Android right now over Win7 and iOS.
  • popej_ - Saturday, December 4, 2010 - link

    "AMOLED displays are truly off when displaying black, so you technically get infinite contrast ratio."

    Well, no. You simply don't include reflected light into measurement. That way you can't measure AMOLED, transflective LCD, e-ink or compare matte with glossy screen. So what does remain? Maybe it is time to change your measurement to something more usable, that will correlate with real life?

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