Focus Flash – Windows Phone for the Masses

There is a growing misconception among the masses that Windows phones are too expensive. Thanks to Microsoft’s stringent hardware requirements and Nokia’s poor pricing strategy, the noise kept growing.

Sure, the Lumia 800 and HTC Titan are awesome but not everyone will be able to afford these overtly priced flagship phones. This is one reason why Android phones are selling like hot cakes and why Windows still trails behind.

Isn’t there any Windows equivalent to the bargain basements Android devices? That’s exactly what we are going to find out today.

Samsung Focus Flash

Focus Flash in US; Omnia W elsewhere, is a quiet successor to the hugely popular Samsung Focus. Surprisingly, for an entry level smartphone it houses some pretty high end hardware. It comes with an impressive 1.4 GHz Scorpion CPU with a Snapdragon chipset, 512 MB RAM, 8 gigs of internal space, a 3.7″ S-AMOLED display and of course, our own Windows 7.5 Mango OS.

Pretty impressive for a phone that’s tagged at a $49 price range, under contract, eh? Let’s see how it holds up in the real world.

Looks Matter

Well, if you put it that way, then your phone might not win you a free date but it’s pretty decent looking. The 3.7″ display is powered by Super AMOLED technology which means that colors are vivid and images are sharp. At 480×800, Metro UI looks quite stunning.

Flash- a 360 degree view

Flash- a 360 degree view

Being a Windows phone, we find our usual trio beneath the display. However, it boasts a physical start button with the back and search keys maintaining their capacitive form which responds even to the slightest of the touch.

The volume rocker is on the left side of the phone accompanied by a small latch to give easy access to battery. On the left side we have two buttons, a lock button and a camera shutter. As always with the Samsung phones, the camera and lock buttons are on the right side.

Despite its plastic body, it doesn’t feel cheap owing much to the metallic battery cover. Its touch is really sensitive and the scrolling performance wins your heart. Overall, the design is sleek and sturdy.

Under the Hood

The processor powered by a Snapdragon chipset and houses a 512 MB RAM, that’s still almost twice the size of my first PC, mind you. I still remember the sluggish P3…Uh?, not relevant.

The phone’s performance is better than what I expected. Thanks to Mango’s superior hardware management, I hardly experienced any slowness. In addition to Snapdragon the phone is powered with Adreno 205 GPU which just means one thing, games. Yeah, playing games with Focus flash is really exciting.

With its superior touch and powerful graphics chipset, you really do have an edge. The frame rate boost offered by the GPU is clearly visible. I was so hooked into the screen that I completed playing Gerbil Physics, Chickens can’t fly and Fruit Ninja in just under 3 days(Did I mention that, I’m a game addict?).

Enough about games, let’s jump on to video performance. With Mango in place, there is nothing specific about the video performance. Zune automatically takes care of optimal conversion. But one thing I noticed about the Focus flash is that the video playback is smooth with a powerful GPU and an awesome display.

The battery performance is highly impressive with a 1500mAH Lithium Ion battery and managed to see the night with some relatively heavy usage, perhaps it’ll survive more if you’re a moderate user. But all the same, its better to carry the charger with you.

Battery

An impressive battery

For the math geniuses among us, Focus Flash scored a whooping 92, getting 6 points ahead of Lumia 800 but falling short by 4 points against the Titan. And with graphics, Focus Flash stood at an impressive second place only next to the Samsung Focus S. The performance is on par with some of the big wigs of the market now.

Camera

At 5MP, the camera is capable of taking some decent snaps in broad daylight. The phone offers some interesting settings that helps you to record your moments. But the images are a little snappish in dark, even with a powerful LED flash. On paper, the phone is capable of shooting videos at 720p but the videos are a bit noisy and a huge let down.

Overall, there is nothing great to about the camera but still considering the target audience, I must admit, it does a decent job.

Samsung Zone

Samsung has stuck the bare minimum when compared to other HTC offerings which include a number of interesting phone and camera options. Samsung has added support for high fidelity position and sensor aiding to help with pedestrian positioning. It also sports GPS and GLONASS for better accuracy.

Samsung Zone sees the usual apps like Now, Photo Studio, Fun Shoot, Mini Diary and Tango. Nothing really exciting here, Samsung could have done a better job here.

Other thoughts

Mango looks absolutely stunning at Focus Flash’s 3.7″ display. The phone is really suitable for Metro UI and the design certainly meshes well.

On a completely different note, I find the volume rocker too accessible. In fact, I keep pressing it all the time and inadvertently moving the phone to Vibe mode. Another minor irritant is the low-end front camera which does a sub-par job.

Wrapping up

Well, there’s an interesting phone. It might not scream “buy me” among the hardcore fans but it’s definitely worth taking a look. It has a pretty powerful processor, ample memory and a decent camera. With Mango OS it’s seamlessly integrated with your emails and all the Social networks, helps you staying connected with your world.

It houses 8GB internal memory for your music and videos. Video playback isn’t bad either. If you’re looking for a decent phone that doesn’t dissolve your savings, I’d strongly recommend you check this one out.

We would be excited to know about your personal experience with your smartphone. Got anything interesting to share with our readers? Feel free to join us in the discussion below and thanks a bunch for reading.


Summary

An inexpensive, stylish, sturdy WP7 phone from Samsung

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