Monday, January 16, 2012
Posted by Don Tolson in "Samsung Windows Phones" @ 08:00 AM
Product Category: Windows Phone 7 Smartphone
Where to Buy: Expansys [affiliate]
Price: $775 USD (unlocked, no contract)
System Requirements: Comes with Windows Phone 7 Mango (7720) installed.
Specifications: 1.4Ghz single core CPU, 16Gb internal storage, 1Gb RAM; 4.3in WVGA (480 x 800) Super AMOLED screen; Quad band (850/900/1800/1900) GPRS, Tri band UTMS (900/1700/2100), HSPA+; GPS; 8mp colour camera w/autofocus + LED flash, 720p HD video recording; BT 2.1 EDR & A2DP; 802.11b/g/n; 3.5mm stereo audio jack; microUSB 2.0; G-Sensor; 124mm (4.96in) x 66mm (2.6in) x 8.4mm (0.33in); 110g (3.9oz). Full specs are available at the Samsung site.
- Large, bright screen with amazing contrast;
- Light weight, but solidly built;
- All round, an amazing phone!
- Positioning of the power button makes it easy to 'accidentally' hit and turn it on/off when not intended;
- A keyboard slider version of this phone would be a big bonus;
- Sorry, it only comes in black :-).
Summary: The original Samsung Focus, despite some niggling flaws, multiple versions, and difficulties with upgrades, has been the Windows Phone 7 'phone to beat' almost from the day it arrived. While the HTC Titan and HD7 have been making inroads, the Focus still holds a significant portion of the Windows Phone 7 user community. Now, Samsung has issued the successor in two slightly different models - the Focus S with better specs and screen, and the more budget-minded Focus Flash. While not quite the massiveness of the HTC Titan, Samsung has again shown that it can 'lead the pack' in design and features with the Focus S.
I was introduced to the Samsung Focus S by a friend of mine who had secured on through a friend who got it from the Microsoft Store in Seattle. Normally, I wouldn't even have considered the Focues S since I'd convinced myself that I had to have a hardware keyboard to handle all the emails, etc during my day. But, after seeing and playing with the Focus S for about half an hour, I was hooked. The screen was much bigger than I had on the LG Quantum and it was just plain gorgeous. I immediately started trolling eBay for an unlocked version, since they aren't available from any of the cellular providers here in Canada.
I had to spend a little bit more than I usually do on new phones, but I eventually found an unlocked one from AT&T still in its original box.
What Comes in the Package
The contents of most phone packages are getting pretty standard these days, with just the basics needed. There was, however, a nice surprise here when it came to the earphones.
Figure 1: Here's what came in the box. As mentioned, this particular unit was pretty well direct from AT&T. I suspect the only reason the box was opened was to unlock the unit.
The box is the typical AT&T colour scheme but is good and sturdy. To the right of the box is the Focus S itself and just below that is the USB to microUSB charge/sync cable. It was a very nice surprise to find that the cable was almost 1m (39in) long -- almost twice the length normally provided. Below that is the wall charger with USB output, and to the left is the stereo earphones. This set is of significantly better quality than is normally seen included in most phone packages, both in terms of comfort and sound quality. Also included (in the little plastic bag below them) are alternate rubber tips to provide a more comfortable/snug fit in the ears. Nice touch, ATT & Samsung!
Figure 2: A closeup shot of the wall charger (North American), showing the standard USB port in the side of the unit. This is the first time I've seen a charger with this particular configuration. By having the cable come out sideways from the unit (instead of the back), it does cut down a bit on the extrusion from the wall, and protects against the cable being bent by furniture, etc.
Microsoft has been pretty prescriptive about the physical specifications for Windows Phones, so there's not a lot of variation when it comes to button and port locations.
Figure 3: Here's the front of the Focus S. Almost the entire front is taken up with the 4.3in (109 mm) screen. The 'buttons' on the bottom are 'soft' keys (specific dedicated areas of the touchscreen) rather than actual hardware buttons, as we've seen on earlier units.
Figure 4: The bottom of the Focus S basically sports the microUSB port for charging and sync. Just to the right is the small hole for the microphone.
Figure 5: The only button on the left side of the unit (as you look from the front) is the volume rocker near the top (just visible on the left side of this picture).