Not so many moons ago, when the cellphone first made its presence felt on African shores, no one could have predicted the extent to which it would truly penetrate the continent. Being a lover of gadgets, the explosion of the cellphone industry has meant that there is always something new for me to play with. And over the last two years, I’ve been fortunate enough to frequently access different ones to review.OMNIA HD Blog

The one challenge when reviewing phones is that, with the technological advancements, the playing field has changed and what was once unique is now standard. Across the cellphone / smartphone manufacturers, there are many features that are common. The implication is then that preference for one phone over another goes way beyond merely what the phone offers. The decision to purchase one over another is often subjective and speaks more to the image of the brand and the relationship it has with its customers.

OMNIA%20HD%20(1)[1]I have never actually used a Samsung cellphone / smartphone and I jumped at the opportunity to fiddle with one for a couple of days. Interestingly enough, while I was still caught up in the image of Samsung as an electronics company so you can also imagine my surprise when I discovered that they are second in market share in South Africa and have built a solid following with some very nice phones.

Anyway, my hook-up pitches up with the Samsung i8910HD for me to play with and the first thing I discover is that it is touch screen. I’ve never really been into touch screen. I have thick thumbs and I like buttons. Aesthetically, the phone is nice! Its Symbian Full Touch Screen is a decent size (3.7” AMOLED 16m 640×360 Display) and the phone is thin, light, looks cool (or as they say these days “it’s got swag”) yet is packed with all the features one needs and more. These include: Advanced TouchWiz UI with Widget; Mobile Widget; Share Pix; Document Viewer; E-Dictionary; Biz Card Recognition; Podcasting; 3D Games (I downloaded Asphalt); Application Download; Push Email (MS Exchange); Real-time video uploading; and Smart Search. Also the GPS navigation for SA will come with a 2-year license.

Let’s be honest, very few of us actually use even 50% of what our phones have to offer and I’m one of those who tries out most features when I get the phone, then never use them again. To determine how a phone works for you, I say just use it. Don’t change your habits; let the phone slot into your lifestyle. Plus, not being an expert means I’d probably fall short if I tried to explain technical intricacies.

The i8910HDfitted perfectly into my normal routine, especially once I’d figured out how to lock the screen. First day, I had to carry it in my hand because it kept dialling people from my pocket (but that’s more me than the phone). The touch screen is comfortable and relatively responsive – each ‘key’ vibrates as you hit it so you know something happened.New Image

You can switch from Qwerty (landscape), alphanumeric to handwriting (using your finger). Handwriting didn’t work for me. Qwerty was cool when chilling while I used alphanumeric when driving (yes, I know, I shouldn’t). I did have to constantly check whether I hit the right button because of my fat fingers and the fact that it is hard to differentiate letters by sliding fingers over buttons.

The Display does auto-rotate from portrait to landscape but I did struggle to tweet comfortably and, for those who know me, I spend enough time on Twitter. I couldn’t get it right. Twitter in the browser looked small and when I zoomed in, I struggled to scroll, so it was uncomfortable. That may speaks more to my lack of ability and patience than the phone.

The thing that attracted me most to the Samsung was, very simply, this. It can show and record video in High-Definition! I went straight into the sample videos and they blew me away. I could comfortably sit and watch a movie of this device. The quality of image on that display is something else. I am a relatively new parent and I use my mobile to film my son ad nauseum. In his two years of existence, I literally have over 100 video clips – and photos – of him taken with my phone. And now I have some shot in HD. It also helps that it comes in 8GB or 16GB to which you can add up to 32GB with a microSD card giving you enough space for music and movies. I have a friend who wants the phone after having seen just that.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed when I had to return phone and switched my sim card back to my normal phone while in the parking lot. Still not a big touch screen person but I definitely enjoyed using it.

6 Comments

  1. notmecharles

    very good. what other features does it have? did you try using it with a headset or a bluetooth stereo for stereo music playback? what format does it save the videos into how big are they? (makes the difference when trying to upload it with your phone online (larger more $$/Mb)

    liked the more geek-free information on how it actually worked for YOU!
    keep it up.

  2. Lay men forward

    When one been introduce to a new world explore it like it will never comes again. I’m proud of you. You decided to undertake a journey that gave us a good review. Continue with your choice of find meaning through everything that is around you.

  3. Khosi

    Quite tempting. Nka e dirisa. Also enjoy playing with buttons more than touch screen. Does it come with a scroller pen, if dats what u call da thingy ma jiggy? I’d enjoy da picture quality and memory 2 store music. Might have a problem touching da screen even with my middle size thumb.

  4. Kojo Baffoe

    Hey Khosi, it doesn’t come with a stylus.

  5. palesa

    The screen is 3.7″ and the on-screen keyboard makes good use of this space. Even the biggest of thumbs shouldn’t have much of a problem with character input.

    A stylus isn’t required as the phone has a capacitive screen. Read more about these at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touchscreen#Capacitive

  6. palesa

    There’s a list of features on the official SA Samsung page (http://za.samsungmobile.com/mobile/SamsungI8910HD).

    One of the HD videos I’d taken with the phone produced a .MP4 file (at 1280×720 resolution) that is 130.3MB for a 1min 48 sec clip. Yes, it’s huge. To save my phone bill, I transferred it to my Mac then uploaded it to YouTube. The phone naturally has other recording presets if you’re not be too keen on the huge HD vid sizes but I must say that after you record in HD it’s not too easy to go back. Plus there’s that lovely ‘HD’ tag on your YT videos.

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About Kojo Baffoe

Of Ghanaian/German heritage, raised in Lesotho and currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Kojo is the proverbial slashie, the professional ‘jack of all trades.’ He is an entrepreneur, writer, facilitator, content architect, former men’s magazine editor and speaker. He has a Bachelor of Commerce (1994) with majors in Economics, Marketing and Business Administration from the former the University of Natal (Durban), now University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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