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Samsung Omnia (SGH-i900)

 Samsung Omnia Discontinued
10th June 2008

Announced on the very same day as the Apple iPhone 3G, the Samsung Omnia (also known as the Samsung SGH-i900) is a broadly similar device that competes head-on with the new Apple handset.

The "Omnia" in the SGH-i900's name indicates that this handset really does have everything.. except the kitchen sink. (Omnia extra culina amula? Something like that). The Omnia is certainly one of the most feature rich handsets that we have ever seen.

As we said, the Omnia and iPhone 3G will compete directly with each other, so we will compare the two side-by-side using our patented Fudge-O-Meter scoring system to see which is best.

Operating System: don't yawn - this is really important. The Samsung Omnia has Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional with Samsung's custom TouchWiz interface on top. This is a much improved operating system, enhanced for finger use (rather than a stylus). Windows Mobile has a large amount of third party software available for it, plus pocket versions of Microsoft Office. On the other hand, the iPhone 3G runs on the new iPhone 2.0 platform which is much slicker than anything Microsoft can muster, Apple promise more third party applications and the overall capabilities of the new iPhone combined with Apple's MobileMe service are hard to beat. The two platforms are very capable, but we must give the iPhone more because it is so polished. Apple: 9/10, Samsung 7/10.

 Samsung Omnia SGH-i900 Display: The Samsung Omnia comes with a large 3.2" 240 x 400 pixel touchscreen display with haptic feedback, the iPhone comes with a larger 3.5" 320 x 480 pixel display but it lacks haptics. Bear in mind that some of the competition manage 480 x 640 pixels or higher, and the Omnia and iPhone 3G don't quite look so good. Apple: 7/10, Samsung 7/10.

Camera: you can't always tell how good a camera is from raw technical data, but it's clear that the Samsung Omnia's camera is significantly better than the iPhone 3G. The Omnia has a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, flash, an image stabiliser, face recognition and geotagging. The SGH-i900 Omnia has a secondary video calling camera too. On the other hand, the iPhone 3G comes in at just 2 megapixels, lacks video calling and doesn't have autofocus or a flash. It does support geotagging, but the camera is certainly a weak point for the Apple device. Apple: 4/10, Samsung: 9/10.

GPS: Both devices have GPS, Apple state clearly that the iPhone 3G supports A-GPS and comes with basic mapping, Samsung are not clear on this. Also, we don't know what applications are bundled with the Samsung Omnia, so we must mark Samsung down for being unclear as to the i900's specifications. Apple: 8/10, Samsung: 7/10.

 Samsung SGH-i900 "Omnia" Multimedia: the Samsung Omnia's multimedia player supports MP3, AAC and WMA audio types, also MPEG4, DivX, H.263, H.264 and WMV movies plus many other types of multimedia file. The iPhone 3G doesn't have quite the same support, but really it is just as impressive. The Omnia scores more because it also has an FM radio, TV output and supports stereo Bluetooth, where the iPhone 3G does not.. on the other hand, good iTunes integration and an easy-to-use interface help out the iPhone 3G. Apple: 8/10, Samsung: 9/10.

Connectivity: Both phones have WiFi, 3G support plus HSDPA high-speed data and quad-band GSM, GPRS and EDGE. As far as we can tell, the Samsung Omnia only supports UMTS 2100, which is fine for Europe.. not so good for the US. The Apple iPhone has tri-band UMTS, so gets a slight mark-up. Both handsets have Bluetooth 2.0 and USB 2.0. There's no HSUPA support on either device, although this is still very rare. Apple: 9/10, Samsung: 8/10.

 Samsung Omnia Memory: Both phones have lots of memory and are available in 8GB or 16GB configurations. The Samsung Omnia also supports microSD and SDHC cards, although it's less important on a device with this much memory. Apple: 8/10, Samsung: 9/10.

Looks: the problem with large touchscreen phones is that they tend to look alike, although Apple have tried hard to style the iPhone 3G so that it looks a little different. The Samsung Omnia could be just about any touchscreen phone at all, and it lacks the necessary "wow factor". Apple: 10/10, Samsung: 7/10.

There are some other things about the Samsung that we just don't know, such as cost, battery life and weight. These are quite important, but there's no point trying to compare the unknown with the known.

So, which phone is the winner? Well annoyingly, both the Samsung and Apple score 63/80 in our not very scientific comparison. Our gut feeling is that we'd prefer the Samsung Omnia over the Apple iPhone 3G, but it really is just a matter of taste.

Samsung say that the Omnia SGH-i900 will be available in Asia-Pacific in June this year, with certain European countries following in July onwards.

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Samsung Omnia (SGH-i900) at a glance


Q3 2008


GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 + UMTS 2100




240 x 400 pixels


5 megapixels (main)


PDA-style device
112 x 57 x 12.5mm



Memory card:










Battery life:

Not specified


Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional


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