First look: Samsung Focus Windows Phone on AT&T

First look: Samsung Focus Windows Phone on AT&T

Summary: This is a first look review of the Samsung Focus running Windows Phone 7. This review concentrates on the hardware, as a totally new platform such as Windows Phone requires proper time to form valid opinions.

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Microsoft is valiantly pushing the Windows Phone platform, and the new OS receives largely positive reviews. I just received a Samsung Focus on AT&T running WP7, and am impressed with the handset. This first look review concentrates on the phone hardware, as a totally new platform such as Windows Phone requires proper time to form valid opinions.

The Focus is as thin as any smartphone on the market, and fits perfectly in the hand. The only complaint I have about the hardware, and it is minor, is that the plastic construction makes the Focus so light it doesn't feel "substantial" in the hand. I have almost dropped it a couple of times already due to the light weight. Otherwise, it is a really nice handset with a great screen, which is typical for Samsung devices.

Check out the photo gallery of the Samsung Focus Windows Phone.


Image Gallery: Check out the Samsung Focus Windows Phone from ATT. Image Gallery: Samsung Focus Image Gallery: Samsung Focus browser

Specifications (as reviewed):

  • Carrier: AT&T
  • Communications: GPRS Class 10, EDGE Class 10, HSDPA, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, FM Radio
  • Display: 4-inch Super AMOLED (480x800), multitouch
  • Processor: Snapdragon 1GHz
  • OS: Windows Phone 7
  • Camera: 5MP, autofocus, flash, 4x digital zoom
  • Memory: 512MB/1GB (RAM/ROM)
  • Storage: 8GB onboard
  • Battery: 1500 mAh
  • Size: 4.84” x 2.56” x 0.39"
  • Weight: 4.07 ounces
  • AT&T software: AT&T U-verse® Mobile, AT&T NavigatorSM, AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Radio, AT&T myWireless

The brilliant display is the first thing that impresses when the Focus is turned on. The Super AMOLED is gorgeous, and the Snapdragon processor drives it snappily through its paces. The entire screen refresh is fluid and graceful, something WP7 shows off to good effect with the live tiles.

The 5MP camera works well and takes reasonable photos, although it won't replace your dedicated "point and shoot". The video camera takes 720p video which is of decent quality, as is par for Samsung phones. The autofocus works as expected, and the LED flash comes in handy in low lighting conditions.

Battery life on the Samsung Focus is not bad, and lasts all day with normal usage. The charging is done through the microUSB port on the top of the phone, which is an inconvenient placement for it. The USB cable supplied with the Focus is only 2 feet long, making it impossible to plug into an outlet on a power strip on the floor and set the Focus on a table. This is a major pet peeve of mine, supplying ridiculously short charging cables with devices.

I will be testing the Samsung Focus for a while, and will spend some quality time with Windows Phone 7 to review it later. I am finding it enjoyable to use the new OS; the word "refreshing" keeps coming to mind while I use it.

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Samsung, Software, Telcos, AT&T, Windows

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14 comments
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  • RE: First look: Samsung Focus Windows Phone on AT&T

    I agree with your comment regarding not feeling "substantial". However, I solved that problem along with adding some additional protection (since I'm a klutz by nature) by purchasing the Body Glove case/skin AT&T had in the store when I bought the phone. I like this case as it didn't add a lot of bulk and it is not the usual silcone case that seems to attract every hair within a 1-mile radius ;-)

    With regards to the camera, what I found that made a big difference was going into settings and turning on the anti-shake option. Once I did that, I've loved the pictures it takes and no longer carry the older Canon Powershot in my bag. The only problem is the setting doesn't hold. Once you leave the camera app it resets. My understanding (and no facts to back it up) is this is one of the fixes that will hopefully be coming with the first set of updates.
    bleeman
    • RE: First look: Samsung Focus Windows Phone on AT&T

      @bleeman hope they fix it as well. tho the default settings seems to work ok i found that reducing saturation and tweeking some other options make photos look so much nicer in general use.

      i really like focus. wp7 make other OSes look old (plz dont flame me) =)
      bnlf
      • RE: First look: Samsung Focus Windows Phone on AT&T

        @bnlf "plz dont flame me =)" LOL :-)
        statuskwo5
      • RE: First look: Samsung Focus Windows Phone on AT&T

        @bnlf Thanks for the tips bnif. I'll check out some of the other settings and see what they do. I agree regarding wp7. I love how "fluid" it seems and overall think it's a great O/S. Now I just wish Barnes & Noble would realize this too and release their Nook app for it so I can read my books on it when I don't have my Nook with me. Amazon did a great job with their Kindle app so I know it can be done.
        bleeman
    • RE: First look: Samsung Focus Windows Phone on AT&T

      @bleeman I damaged the screen on my focus about 2 weeks after I purchased the phone and it was not repairable...only dropped 3-4 feet. I now have a case-mate case (black, no clue why ATT only carries red).<br><br>The camera annoys me at times too. I have no clue how to take a decent picture using the flash without the pic being blurry or washed out. Anyone have any suggestions?
      mosammey
      • RE: First look: Samsung Focus Windows Phone on AT&amp;T

        @mosammey My case from AT&T is a black one with light gray stripes. I purchased my Focus on launch day (Nov 8) so maybe I got the only black one ;-)

        I'm not sure what to tell you about the washed out part, but my blurry issues have almost completely disappeared when I remember to turn on anti-shake b4 taking pictures
        bleeman
    • RE: First look: Samsung Focus Windows Phone on AT&amp;T

      @bleeman
      Thanx for the tips..I also have a focus and absolutely love it...Lets see what Mr. Kendricks thinks after he uses it for awhile. Glad his initial impressions are very favorable.

      Take Care
      patchman
  • RE: First look: Samsung Focus Windows Phone on AT&amp;T

    I'm a current iPhone 3GS user and the next phone in mind is a Windows Phone 7 device from Samsung, HTC or even Nokia.
    erichmercado
    • RE: First look: Samsung Focus Windows Phone on AT&amp;T

      @erichmercado
      Don't DO it,, You'll never be satisfied with the quality. The apps are not up to speed yet so you'll only regret stepping down to MS. I don't use Apple other then the iPhone I last had and Miss it, so I'm waiting on the next iPhone to switch back over. If you like the famous "Reset" to continue then Win7phone lives up to it.
      rwelton@...
  • RE: First look: Samsung Focus Windows Phone on AT&amp;T

    The Focus Windows Phone is amazing. I decided to get this phone and use my iPhone 3GS as an iPod Touch. This might be the best decision I have ever made (at least with phones). This is easily the best phone i have ever owned or even seen.
    vanlandingham
  • It will last days...

    James, the battery will last 5-6 days idle btw. I use mine mainly as a Zune and twitter checker right now. It sits on my desk with a WiFi connection and I have to charge it every 5-6 days. Just an FYI.
    Chris Leckness
    • RE: First look: Samsung Focus Windows Phone on AT&amp;T

      @Chris Leckness <br><br>I would check you don't use Yahoo Mail or that your provider is not waking up your phone all the time. Had the same trouble myself on my HTC Mozart and it turned out to be my provider. Phone battery now lasts for 5-6 days.

      The HTC Mozart is also very light and thin and I frankly prefer it to the heavy, clunky and slippery iPhone - which I have dropped ;-)
      tonymcs@...
  • RE: First look: Samsung Focus Windows Phone on AT&amp;T

    I've had the Focus for over a month and love it. It's large and light but it still feels sturdy. I would have liked to see at least some metal on the phone (perhaps the battery cover) but it doesn't feel like cheap construction (like the AT&T pure...).

    The display is so awesome, I literally cannot use the brightest display settings otherwise it actually hurts my eyes in dimly-light areas.

    The camera and video options need to be saved but I'll say this much, I've had a lot of people (iPhone owners included) say how great pictures come out on the Focus.
    EP23
  • RE: First look: Samsung Focus Windows Phone on AT&amp;T

    After 3 weeks intensive use I'm thoroughly pleased with the Focus. The only problem is that with its light weight my spouse wants one to replace a years old basic Nokia, but at $99 its not much of a problem!

    BTW, charger cord that came with my unit is 4' 8" long.

    DataPilot Teather program lets me use my Focus at my second home in Chicago instead of paying for a seperate ISP account.
    ThriceRetired