The Samsung Focus Flash runs Windows Phone 7.5 Mango out of the box. The latest mobile OS to come from Microsoft is an incremental upgrade, compared with its predecessor, and brings a slew of new features.
The Focus Flash look more upscale than its bigger brother – the Focus S. On the inside, the two Windows Phone siblings from Samsung have a lot in common. Both devices are featuring a 1.4GHz Scorpion CPU, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset. This can be attributed to the stringent hardware requirements which Microsoft has toward the devices, running its mobile OS.
In terms of design, the Samsung Focus S is one of the most elegant and understated devices we’ve seen in quite a while. With a black color scheme and a Super AMOLED screen on board, there is practically no telling where the borders of the display are when it is on. Ok, here lets see the advantages and disadvantages of Samsung Focus Flash.
Key Features and Advantages of Samsung Focus Flash:
- Windows Phone 7.5 operating system
- 3.7" 16M-color Super AMOLED screen with WVGA resolution (480 x 800 pixels):
Super AMOLED screen technology on the 3.7” WVGA unit of the Samsung Focus Flash is easily the best screen in its class. With its deep blacks, high contrast, and superb viewing angles, the display enjoys a perfect relationship with the sleek Metro UI of the Windows Phone 7.5 OS. As a matter of fact, the Microsoft mobile OS is easily the best way to showcase the capabilities of the Super AMOLED technology.
- 3G with HSDPA (14.4 Mbps) and HSUPA (5.76Mbps)
- Ability to uninstall wireless provider’s proprietary apps out of the box
- 1.4 GHz Scorpion CPU, 512MB RAM, Snapdragon chipset
- 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash and geo-tagging; 1.3MP front unit
- 720p video recording
- A number of Samsung proprietary apps, including a capable photo editor
- Bing Maps with free navigation
- 8GB of built-in storage
- Standard microUSB port (charging)
- Wi-Fi b/g/n; DLNA support; Wi-Fi hotspot capable
- Accelerometer for screen auto rotation
- Landscape on-screen QWERTY keyboard
- Office document editor
- Voice-to-text functionality
- For a modern day smartphone, the device is extremely pocketable.
- Reasonable Battery Backup:
The 1500mAh battery of the Focus Flash did a great job in our experience with it. It easily made it through a full day of heavy use. This is as good as most smartphones get these days.
- Multitasking can be disabled from the settings to save battery. There you'll also find a list of all installed apps that support multitasking.
- Impressive People Hub: The People hub takes on the responsibilities of the phonebook, but calling it a “phonebook” is not very accurate. Instead of contacts, you have people with profiles – a term borrowed right out of Social Networking.
- When there’s an incoming call, the contact’s photo will appear full screen and you can slide up to reveal the answer and reject call buttons. This will prevent any accidentally answered or rejected calls.
- The keyboard is a traditional virtual QWERTY with not too many surprises. It can suggest words as you type and correct spelling and also auto-capitalize letters after a full stop.
- Deeper social networking support makes things even better. When viewing a contact's profile, you get everything from call, text, send email, write on wall, mention on Twitter and so on. The contact photo, along with the latest status update, is visible on top.
The responsiveness was great and the spell correction turned out to be very accurate – we were able to type very fast with very little practice. The overall experience was very positive and even heavy texters will be satisfied.
Samsung has been going easy on the use of metal even in its top devices. The Focus Flash however, has a metal back cover. The rest of the materials used are Corning Gorilla Glass and high quality plastic. Judging by the build quality and design alone, we can hardly call the smartphone budget oriented.
The Samsung Focus Flash is a US-only phone, so it will probably never get to the shores of the Old Continent. While Windows Phone 7 was clearly a work in progress when released, the latest Mango update has firmly put the OS on the path of credibility. App support is still quite limited, but Microsoft is working really hard in this direction by courting the top developers from the other OS ecosystems.
No system-wide file manager
- Only 5.5GB of built-in memory available to the user and no option to expand it
- No Bluetooth file transfers
- No USB mass storage mode.
- Don’t look for a microSD card as the device does not have one. In its latest mobile OS, Microsoft don’t seem too keen on having this ubiquitous for all smartphones feature.
- Limited third-party apps availability
- No Flash (nor Silverlight) support in the browser
- Too dependent on Zune software for file management and syncing
- No DivX/XviD video support (automatic transcoding provided by Zune software, but lowers quality)
- The bundled stereo headset is definitely on the cheap side (we’ve seen great earbuds in Samsung retail boxes before).
- What’s missing is the ability to set any song from your collection as a ringtone – a feature some of you might miss. You can download new ringtones from the Marketplace though (possibly at some cost though).
- Windows Phone 7.5 can be controlled through voice only - you can dictate a text, have the phone read out the reply, you can initiate searches and so on. Other OSes are doing it too but voice commands are a big part of iOS (and a loudly touted one at that), so WP7.5 can brag about it too.
- The “What's New” tab works like its namesake in the People hub, but only shows updates from the specific contact.
The only major complaint about the device is its serious lack of built-in storage. Microsoft however, has partially offset this issue by giving you access to 25GB of cloud goodness with SkyDrive. You can help yourself in this department even further by opening a Dropbox account. We found a nice and free client for it in the Marketplace.
The Samsung Focus Flash is currently available exclusively at AT&T Wireless for the highly acceptable $49.99 with a two year contract. It is now time to see what else you can get for the same kind of money.
The most notable alternative comes from no other but Samsung itself. The Infuse 4G brings a lot more to the table than the Focus Flash. We begin with the massive 4.5” Super AMOLED Plus screen and an 8MP snapper. The list continues with 16GB of internal storage and microSD card slot. With the same price tag as the newcomer, the Infuse 4G simply has more to offer. In case you opt for it, we can guarantee you that Samsung won’t mind at all.
If you look within the AT&T smartphone, you will notice that the original Samsung Focus is still on sale with a fresh Mango update on board. It will cost you the same as the Focus Flash. The year-old Samsung offering will entice you with a bigger Super AMOLED screen and a microSD card slot on board. Its CPU however is slower at 1GHz, and the device is not as compact as the Focus Flash.
There are plenty of Alternatives to the Samsung Focus Flash. Samsung Focus Flash however, is easily the most credible Windows Phone alternative for its price point. The Samsung Focus Flash will erase the gap between high and low end devices, which pack its latest mobile OS.
As far as first time smartphone users go, they won’t be disappointed either.