Samsung Focus Review

by Jen Edwards Reads (40,081)
Editor's Rating
8.80

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Service, Warranty & Support
    • 9
    • Ease of Use
    • 9
    • Design
    • 8
    • Performance
    • 10
    • Value
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 8.80
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Almost unbelievably good AM-OLED display
    • Super fast and responsive
    • Excellent camera
  • Cons

    • Very large and barely pocketable
    • External speaker is rather tinny
    • Not much third-party software yet

Quick Take

The Samsung Focus is an excellent choice if you're on the market for a Windows Phone 7 device.


The Samsung Focus is one of the first Windows Phone 7 devices. It has a 4-inch AMOLED touchscreen display, 8 GB of storage, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking, GPS, and a 5.0 megapixel camera with 4X digital zoom and and LED flash.

It is currently available from AT&T for $200 with a new two-year voice and data service contract.

BUILD & DESIGN

The Focus is a large phone, much larger than the Motorola Defy that I recently reviewed here at Brighthand. It measures 4.84-inches tall, 2.56-inches wide, and 0.39-inches thick.

Samsung Focus Windows Phone from AT&TThe front of the Focus is black, with a chrome band that wraps around the top and both sides of the phone. The back has a striped platinum finish.

The main material is plastic, and the finishes are all very slick indeed. I have to grip the phone rather tightly to keep it from falling out of my hand. It’s also a little uncomfortable for me to try to use one-handed, so I tend to hold it in one hand and use the other hand to interact with the device.

The phone will fit in the pocket of my casual pants, though it does make a sizable bulge due to its overall size. I suspect that most ladies, especially those wearing dressy professional clothes, will find that they would rather keep the Focus in their handbag or briefcase; guys shouldn’t have the same problem.

Display
The 4-inch AMOLED display is simply amazing, and makes me want to take back all of the praise I’ve bestowed on other phones I’ve reviewed.

There isn’t the slightest hint of pixelization, no matter how closely I examine the screen. The only unevenness I can detect on the screen is at the edge of some of the active panels on the home screen, and that seems more by design than an actual limitation of the screen.

Keyboard
The Samsung Focus doesn’t have a physical keyboard, so you’ll be using a virtual one on the screen. And while the keyboard itself isn’t my all-time favorite, it isn’t bad. Even after practicing a bit I still need to look at my hands to make sure that I’m entering the right letters, but it’s OK.

That’s due mainly to the fact that the word completion utility on Windows Phone 7 works so well that I’m actually using it — and that’s a first for me, as word completion is usually the first feature that I turn off when I get a new device.

There is a separate smiley key, which pops up a list with several different smilies to choose from in order to enhance your messages and texts. They don’t animate as they do on Android phones, but I still enjoy using them and am glad to have the feature — that way I don’t have to try and remember how to make anything beyond the typical smile.

Other Buttons & Controls
At first glance you might not think that there are any buttons on the Focus, but they’re there — just tucked out of sight. The charge/sync and headphone jacks are on the top, with the Power button and camera button on the right side of the phone. The volume buttons are on the left side.

The only other buttons are three touch-sensitive areas directly below the screen. From left to right they are Back, Home, and Search.

While the device certainly looks sleeker without any obvious buttons, it would be nice to mark those buttons under the display in some fashion so they would be easier to find when you’re trying to work the phone one-handed.

Video Overview


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