First and foremost, this is not a review of the WIndows Phone 7 Operating System- a separate review for this can be found here: http://www.ciao.co.uk/Microsoft_Windows_Mobile_7__Review_5992654
On contract, this phone is available on many carriers. In the UK it is available on T Mobile, Orange and 3, but can also be purchased Sim Free for exisiting mobile customers.I believe that the handsets from UK carriers are all 8GB versions. This storage capacity was too low for me, so the model I bought (and am reviewing) is the 16GB version, imported from Germany (it is an unlocked Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile Germany) model.)
Size- 122.4 x 64.2 x 11 mm
Weight- 138.2 g
2G- GSM 850/900/1800/1900
3G- HSDPA -900/2100
The phone features a 4" "Super AMOLED" capacitive touchscreen. Super AMOLED (which stands for Super Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) is a techmology developed by Samsung that improves on the existing AMOLED specification. One of the main features of it is that it allows for thinner devices, has a much higher colour contrast with deeper blacks (as any pixels that display as pure black will just turn themselves off) and hgiher brightness which also greatly improves visibility in strong light conditions. The phone has a very high viewing angle too.
It's a shame that the phone's resolution remains 400 x 800- the same pixel density as all the other WP7 models- so clearly the screen is not going to be as defined as, say, Apple's Retina Display, but this really doesn't matter, as it's perfectly sufficient and the Super AMOLED display easily makes up for it's mediocre resolution.
There's little point describing what pictures look like on it when I can just add a photo- in the photo section there's a picture (of my cat- aww :D ) taken in daylight conditions with the camera resolution set to 5MP (2560x1920) and the quality set to 'Fine'. The picture's fairly clear and sharp, and looks great on the phone's screen, and I think it's not a bad camera at all (and I'm not the best photographer).Similarly, though I can't show an image, the video quality is very good. It taken 720p video at 25fps, and it's all very sharp and clear. Like all phones and compact cameras the mic leaves a little to be desired, but fine for general use. You can also set it to have the LED flash on while the camera is shooting video, a useful feature (though I only really use it a torch to navigate home with!) that was lacking in my previous phone.
There is, however one quite large disadvantage. It's the flash. IT'S FAR TOO BRIGHT! Seriously, I have to turn the flash off for every picture I take regardless of light conditions. It either completely whitewashes the image or is just white. Dunno how this compares with other phones, all I know is to stay away from the flash at all costs...
Buttons, ports, earplugs and the like
The phone connects to a PC and into the mains via a Mini-USB connector, which is handy as it's not propriatory and so easy to find low-cost replacement cables. It has a standard headphones jack, and comes with a pair of in-ear earplugs.
None of those nasty cheap things you get with iPods that fall out at every oppertunity and that I have every reason to believe were manufactured bu Satan himself- these are good-quality in-ear plugs with a variety of size adaptors. A little weak on the bass, but I think that's partly down to the OS not providing an equaliser.But back to the phone. On the left hand side you'll find a volume rocker, and on the right a 2-stage camera button (a press of which will launch the camera regardless of what you're doing) and a power button.
It's a bit odd that the power button is on the side, as if you're in a call the way most people grip the phone will surely at some point result in them accidently pressing it. While most manufacturers put it out of harm's way at the top, Samsung have chosen rather an odd place, particularly as pressing in down for too long even while it's locked'll turn it off (Watch out, pockets, I'm warning you...)
And on the bottom you'll just find the mic.
Overall, the built quality is very good, the phone feels sturdy, has a fair bit of weight to it, and has a very nice metal back (although perfectly contoured to slip out of your hands...)
On the front you'll find a two touch buttons on the bottom- a 'back' button and a 'search' button, and between them a mechanical 'Start' button (or Windows button or Flag button or whatever your naming preference is- we'll call it Start).
The buttons work fine ( though I don't really like touch buttons, as accidently pressinf the Search button will immediatly close the app you're using, though this is a problem that will be solved in the September update with multitasking, so I can't complain)
Overall I think that this is a great phone. I paid £240 for the 16GB model (about $390 in US Dollars), which I understand to be a very good price for it (I've seen them advertised online for in excess of £400/$650).
As a smartphone, whether you buy it rests quite heavily on your choice of Operating System, but if you're looking for a Windows Phone (an OS I can heartily recommend), then this is well worth a look.