How can you write about a phone that just plain rocks? Easily, of course! I've been using the predecessor to this phone, the Samsung Focus, since it came out in 2010. I have been nothing but pleased with that phone and so when the new Samsung Focus S was announced I wasted no time trying one out -- it was an easy sell after I used it for about 5 minutes!
If you haven't used the new Windows Phone you really don't know what you are missing. Forget everything you know about the iPhone and Android. Windows Phone has really redefined what a smart phone should be -- not a device that becomes a chore to use or a distraction to everyday life, but rather a device that let's you focus on your life and integrates your social networks and other happenings together. I challenge anyone looking to get a new smartphone to just try Windows Phone for 15 minutes -- I guarantee you will fall in love (or at least deep lust!)
Having said all that, let's talk about the new Focus S shall we?
First off, let's talk screen size -- it's huge! 4.3 AMOLED that is as vivid as the picture makes it appear. No more struggling to read text or "fat fingering". This device was built for those who have big hands in mind! You have so much screen real estate your brain may think you are actually using a tablet. It's huge! Ok, ok - so I'm going a little overboard now, but trust me, the screen is bright, vivid and large.
With this latest generation of the Focus they have also bundled a front-facing camera. This makes it easy to not only do video calls, but also makes it very convenient to take self-photos. Granted, the front camera is just a mere 1.3 megapixels compared to the 8 megapixel rear camera -- but it gets the job done and then some. Speaking of the rear camera, you are going to quickly find that with this incredible 8 megapixel rear facing camera you are going to be questioning the need to lug around a digital camera. It takes amazing pictures -- plus with the Windows Phone integrations you are just a touch away from uploading them to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or a myriad of other photo sharing sites.
Speed wise the phone is very responsive. I've had multiple background apps running and have not noticed any noticeable lag. Some folks might be concerned that it is only a single-core processor, but you know what -- Windows Phone is designed to work without the need of dual-core processors. I've yet to see the phone become bogged down, and again even my original Focus never had a problem keeping up. Remember those dual-core phones come with a price -- battery power!
With 16GB of on-board memory you get plenty of storage -- but I will say I am a bit dissapointed that there is no slot for adding additional memory cards. However, even on my original Samsung Focus I only had 10GB total of memory even with a memory card and I never was hurting for space -- even with keeping a ton of photos and a few podcasts loaded onto the phone.
Battery life wise I get a good 24-30 hours out of each charge, but I should say I am a heavy user of the phone. I constantly am taking photos, I have both my personal and work e-mail integrated into the phone, and use quite a few applications. I'd recommend you go ahead and pick up a car charger for the phone because I promise you, you are going to find it hard to put down when you start using it!
Overall, I'm very pleased and am so happy I went with the Windows Phone platform. I'd love to see them add back in a memory expansion slot for future designs, but right now I'm having a blast with the new phone -- and I even handed my old phone down to a family member who is equally as happy (wouldn't you be as well if you got a free phone?)
on November 21, 2011
I've been an iPhone user since the original and have owned 7 of those beasts. For work I've been using a Gingerbread Android phone for the past six months and found it a very poor experience compared to the iPhone. It's just not a very good mobile OS. Now I've gone down the path of trying Windows 7, and I am shocked that I like this so much. I feel weird for saying this, but the Windows Mango OS is just better than the iPhone. The Samsung Focus S appears to be the best hardware for the OS, so this is, in my mind, the best cell phone on the market today from AT&T.
How is Mango better than iOS? Email is WAY better. It's more intuitive, takes fewer clicks to get common tasks done, and it just looks better. The IE (please sit down) browser in Mango is better than Mobile Safari--it's faster and the way it handles tabs and bookmarks is better (imho). Sites render as you would expect them to look. Contact integration with Facebook is extraordinary. You think your address book is complete until you launch your Windows phone for the first time. You'l find contact information that you've never known you had access to thanks to Facebook profile information being automatically pulled in. I could go on, but in my experience, the Windows phone is just a little bit better than iOS and heads and shoulders better than Android. Finally, the entire OS integrates with social media, so it is a thing of beauty to easily share anything and everything.
One additional note: One of the frurstations with former iPhone users who move to Android is that the apps are just not as good as their iPhone counterparts. The best RSS reader in the Android marketplace wouldn't make the top five in the iPhone app store, and that pattern is repeated again and again. I was shocked again when I found that was absolutely not the case with the Windows marketplace. The apps in the Windows marketplace are just as good (although not really better) than those in the iPhone app store.
As it is, my family still clings to their iPhones, and they are grudgingly coming to see my Windows phone as "pretty good," but as a steady user of iPhone, Android, and Windows, this is the best OS.
As to the hardware, the Samsung Focus S hums along and is snappier than the iPhone 4 in launching apps and navigating them. The camera takes much better pictures than my iPhone 4, and the dedicated camera button is a life saver when you want to take a quick photo. The fact that the video player also has a lot of options, from zooming to activating the flash, is also a welcome change. The flash is so bright, however, that in very dark conditions it washes out the photo for the most part. This is generally pretty easy to fix in the Samsung Photo Studio app, but it's annoying regardless.
I live in Dallas, which is an exceptional AT&T market, so I didn't expect nor did I have any problems with calls. Dallas is also a HSPA (AT&T's 3G+ or "4G" data network), and the data speeds are noticably faster than standard 3G phones like the iPhone.
All in all, I think I've seen the OS future of mobile, and it's being produced by Microsoft. The Samsung iteration is one of the best out there, and the Focus S is the flagship. HIGHLY recommend.
on November 11, 2011
Ok I've tried and played with most of latest smartphones out there but everything about this phone is truly amazing! I seriously can't even find a single thing I don't like about this phone! Its incredibly thin, feels great in hand, amazing screen, simple to use, very reliable, fast, super smooth OS, and my favorite features and apps are all there. I heard some are complaining about phone being too plasticy but to be honest if you ever owned a iPhone 3GS this phone has very same build quality feel but even nicer since its 35% thinner and bigger screen. Battery is outstanding in its class of high-end smartphones, for all the speed and smooth experience it provides. It works great with my company's email exchange server and I love Office 2010 on the phone. I would recommend this phone to anybody. If you are completely new to smartphones this is a great place to start because how easy to use and reliable it is. If you are a professional this phone offers by far best email, Office, and messaging solution out there.
on November 10, 2011
While most people will probably be looking at the iPhone 4s or a comparable Android, this phone is a true competitor with an OS that not only beats Android but stands toe-to-toe with the iOS 5.
First off the AMOLED screen is beautiful and there's lots of it. The 8MP rear camera also impresses. The star of the show is of course the Windows Phone OS which is quick, accessible and less "appy" than iOS or Android. You need less touches and apps to get more done, as many tasks are consolidated into a few hubs. It's a highly underrated OS that really has grown to be an awesome choice to choose.
Also there's a lot of features that you may otherwise miss such as Microsoft Office, Xbox-live built-in, wi-fi, tethering, a front-facing camera, multi-tasking, really fast 4G data speeds, still a lot of apps, live tiles, nice speaker, Netflix, beautiful yet functional user interface, solid glass screen, no freezing or stuttering and a lot more.
There are a few downsides. The build quality is definately solid, but uses a bit too much plastic to shed the weight. Though in its credit it does feel very light and thin. Also this phone only has 16GB of free space for music, videos etc. The old Samsung Focus had an expandable micro-SD slot so one could have around 40GB of memory. The omission of this slot and the lack of a lot of built-in memory is unfortunate. Though 16GB is competitive and is more than all the other Windows Phones.
Overall this phone is quite good; Samsung never disapoints. I can show it off to those snotty iPhone users and it trumps the Android phones. The OS is sleek and more stylish and attractive than its competitors and the large screen shows it all off. If you're looking for a great phone with a great OS and a nice alternative to the vanilla iPhone and Android, don't miss the Samsung Focus S.
on November 11, 2011
I have wanted a Windows Phone since they first came out last year but I was stuck in my iPhone 4 contract so couldn't upgrade. Last night I finally took the plunge and purchased the Samsung Focus S and I couldn't be happier. I have spent only about 24 hours with the phone so far but wanted to post my thoughts quickly so anyone considering this purchase will have another opinion to go on.
The phone is very, very light and thin but sturdy and doesn't feel cheap at all. It has a nice textured back that makes the phone easy to grip though I do wish it had a more rubberized feeling to it as it does slide around on my desk a bit. The power/sleep button is located on the right hand side of the phone along with a dedicated camera button which is very handy. On the left side of the phone is the volume rocker. All the buttons have a great feel to them. Below the screen on the three mandatory Windows Phone buttons; back, home and search. Holding the back button down will bring up the multitasking window while the search button brings you to the integrated Bing search which is fantastic. There is only 16GB of storage and no expansion slot so what you see is what you get. It won't be an issue for me as I used a 16GB iPhone for the last year and half plus you get 25GB of cloud storage on your Skydrive if you need to offload some pics and documents.
The super amoled plus screen is spectacular. I was a bit worried that since the resolution is only 800x480 that it may not be as impressive as my iPhone 4 retina display but I can safely say that the Focus S has an equal if not superior screen to the iPhone 4. The reason I think is that the super amoled plus screen is just so vibrant and colorful that viewing it next to the iPhone just makes its screen look dull and lifeless. To be fair, the text is definitely sharper on the iPhone 4 but it was only obvious when I was looking for differences. You will have no issues at all reading the text on the Focus S.
Windows Phone OS:
I absolutely love this OS. It feels like the future. After using Windows Phone for a while and then going back to iOS 5.0 I felt like I stepped in to a time warp and landed back in 1995. Apple needs to step up its game and get a more modern OS out there because the more people experience Windows Phone OS the more people are going to fall in love with and be convinced that this is the next generation OS. The live tiles on the home screen are just so useful I can't believe I lived all these years without them. I have all family and friends at my fingertips and I can quickly peak to see what people are up to without having to dig through screens of icons looking for an app to launch. Brilliant. The Live tiles are something you need to experience for yourself as describing how cool and useful they are is a bit difficult. Rest assured you will love them. The entire home screen is fully customizable too. Whatever tiles you want in whatever order you want them. You can even change the color theme of the tiles too. Overall and outstanding OS so far.
The Focus S comes with a 1.4 GHz single core processor. Uh oh, single core? Don't all the new Android and iPhones have dual cores? Sure they do but with Windows Phone a dual core processor is just a waste of precious battery life. This OS is not a resource hog at all and the phone zips along faster than my iPhone 4. I haven't once done anything on the phone that bogged it down. This OS is a nimble champion and I am very pleased with its performance.
I havent used the camera much yet but I took a couple of pics from my balcony today that looked pretty good. The camera felt fast and didnt hesitate too long between pictures. There is a cool auto fix feature that will let the phone adjust the pic which can be quickly undone if you do not like the results. I will try and add more to this after I use it more.
I believe the marketplace now has over 30,000 apps. While that pales in comparison to Apple's and Google's app markets I have found that just about every app I used on iOS has a Windows Phone version. I would say that the Windows Phone versions of these apps are more elegant then their iOS counterparts. There is just something about the way these apps present themselves that make them very easy and intuitive to use. You will find plenty of games too and many will be XBOX Live games which will integrate perfectly with your XBOX 360 account if you have one. It is pretty cool to see my avatar and info from my 360 on my phone and it just brings all my entertainment together in to one ecosystem.
I can't think of anything else to write about at the moment but I am sure I will be back to add more to this review as I play with this phone more. Please feel free to leave any questions you may have in the comments below my review and I will try and answer them as soon as I can.
I highly recommend this phone!!
on December 28, 2011
1) The OS. I've been using this for a month now and it's simply a joy to use. I grew tired of the static grid of apps on my iPhone and gave this a shot after a ton of research between windows phone and android. It feels more personal and lively, not cold. The highlights off the top of my head are:
- Wireless automatic syncing. With zune software, any changes that I make to my photo, music, video library are automatically synced to the phone when I'm on my home wifi and plugged in to charge.
- Automatically downloads podcasts. I wasn't into podcasts before getting this phone, but it's so easy and free. When I'm bored at work I go into my podcasts and there's a few (you can specify how many) Adam Carolla podcasts there waiting for me.
- Seamless social integration. Super quick to "link" contacts, i.e. my contacts are a mess with duplicates, facebook, twitter, etc., but click a button and its organized. By going into my address book I can check out everything about what my friends are up to. Click on Steve and there's our emails, sms, phone calls, his status updates, posts, and facebook pics all right there.
- Multi-tasking works like a charm. Don't need to think about it ala Android. Recently used apps are visible in large thumbnails of how it looked last time i was there. The OS manages things well too, so no need to force-close.
- Livetiles give it life. For example, I have a contact group for my family pinned to the start page. It flips through their pictures, and when someone posts a new status, the tile flips over and shows it. flips back over to pictures, flips again to the next update. flips to pictures, then flips over to say that one of them sent me a text. its such a small detail but it makes it feel personal.
- People complain about app selection compared to ios or android. The first thing I want to say about this is that you wont need or want as many apps with windows phone because a lot of the functionality that requires separate apps on the other OS's is already built in. You don't need a facebook, twitter, barcode scanner, music identifier, etc. because the OS already has those features and they work seamlessly. The apps that you will want are for the most part already available and of a higher standard due to the existence of a unified interface language.
2) The screen. It's an OLED (organic light emitting diode) which means that each pixel is its own light source, so blacks are actually black, in contrast to LCD's which use a backlight. I bring this up because the OS theme is almost exclusively white text on black, so it just looks so sexy, especially in the dark when the text lights up and you can't even see where the screen starts or ends. Add the subtle transition animations and its just silky.
1) Slight static in between tracks while using headphones, not a deal-breaker.
2) All plastic construction, could be higher quality. It does make it really light though, whether you like that or not.
3) No Adobe flash support. A big draw in android's favor for me, but flash is being phased out on mobile anyway, with Adobe discontinuing mobile flash development. Conversely, HTML-5 on windows phone is really good.
4) Better notification system with the pull-down tray for android and the recent ios update.
on November 14, 2011
Ive owned IOS and Android. I switched last year to WP7 as both had problems. Let me tell you something, this phone doesn't lag, it doesn't freeze. It doesn't shut off unexpectedly. Windows Phone 7 is so reliable and more than 90% of the most wanted apps are here. I don't care what phone you have. This will perform better than it. Take a moment to look away from the specs on this phone and pay attention to the User Interface. That is the "Focus" of this phone. It will work for you much better than others. No lag and my battery lasts more than 16 hours.
on November 24, 2011
Excellent MS office integration
super graphics games
Well thought Mango features (I will be late to meeting button is a lifesaver!)
Excellent vibrant screen
Good battery life
Less number of Apps than Android or Apple. Skype is missing!
Hardware assumes 3.5mm pins always have mic which is a problem when connecting to car audio. Samsung acknowledges it is hardware issue specific to focus S.
Night Pictures are too dark compared to focus. (I think this is because timing issue between camera click and flash.
on November 28, 2011
For years I felt like Mel Gibson in Braveheart, waiting and waiting for the right moment. I've been wanting to get a smartphone, but never found one that was Just Right. Not the Google Nexus, not the iPhone, and not the first generation Windows Phones. Then I saw this little baby and it was love at first sight. Now three weeks later my delight with the phone has just grown. Other reviews have gone into all the details, I just wanted to add my opinion that at this moment in time this is the best phone in the known universe!
on November 18, 2011
Apple gets lots of accolades for producing really polish products. Having used the iPhone and now Windows Phone 7, this phone out-polishes the iPhone in many respects. The OS does exactly what I want a smartphone OS to do. No more, no less. WP7 understands that I use my phone 90% of the time in a certain set of tasks -- web, email, social networking, maps/local search, games, news. WP7 gives you a dead simple and amazingly fast way to use these features in a snap. Its main interface gives you a quick view of these primary smartphone uses and makes it crazy easy to get these kinds of things done fast and super easy. Even if the app selection is smaller than iOS or Androids, it doesn't matter, because for 90% of what I use my phone for, it simply outperforms the competition hands down.
On top of that this phone is sleek, lightweight, and slim. Its display is gorgeous. The great performance out of WP7 gives you amazing battery life for a 4G phone (20 hours or so with heavy use). Netflix video looks amazing, and audio sounds great.
Simply put this is the best phone I've ever seen. This might sound nuts, but I'm not sure humanity has made a better smartphone than this.