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May 6, 2009

War Of The Phones: Samsung Omnia Vs HTC Touch HD

WarOfPhones copy

MobileSpoon's WAR OF THE PHONES begins and the first episode (as you could have guessed by my first mobile comics attempt) brings back the Touch HD to face his appreciated opponent the Samsung Omnia. Enjoy!

Samsung Omnia vs. HTC Touch HD:

omniaHD

Both devices are considered to be high end WinMo phones, both of them have 5 megapixel cameras, GPS, Wifi, etc., 
Both of them have good performance (at least from what I've seen so far).
Here are some differences between the 2 devices.


Design:

The Touch HD is bigger and comes with a black color, in my humble opinion it's the best looking Windows Mobile device ever, which means it wins in the design category. If you prefer a smaller phone, you may actually prefer the Omnia.

Score: Touch HD 1:0 Omnia


Screen Resolution:

This is pretty obvious, the HD has an amazingly HUGE WVGA display. Samsung Omnia has a wide screen but it's just QVGA (WQVGA). While it doesn't look bad - there's no comparison with the HD's screen.

Score: Touch HD 2:0 Omnia


Built-in Memory:

Samsung Omnia is packed with 8GB Internal memory, which is a nice thing to have (you can add external SD card too). Not the kind of argument that would make you prefer one phone over the other, but still and argument.

Score: Touch HD 2:1 Omnia


Power Connector:

While the HD uses the standard mini USB connector, Samsung, for some reason, continues to use that old proprietary connectors.
I personally don't mind so much but I know many people see it as a big disadvantage.

Score: Touch HD 3:1 Omnia


Power Button:

OK, not sure you will see it elsewhere, but for me it's important;
The only way to wake up the Touch HD is the upper power button.

This is extremely annoying, because the location of the power button is not "single hand friendly". Bad decision HTC.

The Omnia, on the other hand, can be opened using the power button or any other hardware button which is much better.

Score: Touch HD 3:2 Omnia


D-Pad:

The Omnia includes an optical D-Pad button that can also be used as a mouse cursor. The Touch HD does not have a D-Pad at all.

I can accept that the importance of the D-Pad becomes smaller when your user interface is completely finger friendly, but since we all know Windows Mobile is not there yet, a WinMo device must have D-Pad! And the HD doesn't have real solution to that, other than opening the virtual keyboard which is, again... annoying.

Score: Touch HD 3:3 Omnia


OK Button:

Another tricky thing I never forget to check is how simple it is to close the window using the smart minimize button (X or OK).

With the Omnia you have to pull up your finger and click the top right corner button, which is not comfortable at all. The Touch HD has a "back" button which acts as an 'OK' button when it's relevant.

Score: Touch HD 4:3 Omnia


UI Shell:

Both phones come with an extensive customized shell UI.

tf3d  Screen49 

But, while the TouchFlo 3D looks amazing and covers a lot of the day to day functionality, the TouchWiz is a cool concept but not very productive. 
Some people may prefer it, but I think that the TouchFlo is much better and is actually working fast on the Touch HD.

Score: Touch HD 5:3 Omnia


Additional Software:

Both phones are packed with pre-installed applications, but there is a clear advantage to the Omnia with an impressive list of finger friendly applications (alarm clocks, phone-books, smart converter, smart reader and many more).

Score: Touch HD 5:4 Omnia


Haptic Feedback:

The HD has some haptic feedback when using the hardware buttons, but the Omnia has a complete haptic feedback when using the D-Pad, keyboard, or any other button.

Score: Touch HD 5:5 Omnia (Draw!!!)


Automatic rotation:

Samsung Omnia switches between portrait to landscape in 100% of the applications. This is an amazing feature which even has the coolest randomized visual effects.

The HD, on the other hand, just like the Diamond, Pro, iPhone and the others - supports it only for specific applications.

Score: Touch HD 5:6 Omnia (Changeover!!!)


More About User Interface:

I've mentioned that in my Touch HD review, and I truly believe it's worth mentioning: the HD's screen is so big, that even the smallest, non-finger friendly control you can think of - becomes more finger friendly, because it's simply bigger. Add to that the fact that most of the menus are bigger as well and you end up with a pretty finger friendly device. Not perfect, but nice.

Score: Touch HD 6:6 Omnia


Dangling Stylus:

product_thumb copy I never understood why Samsung did not provide the usual stylus ditch, and provided this strange looking dangling stylus which seems like a girly version of Star War's Lightsaber. Original idea, but not practical.

Score: Touch HD 7:6 Omnia (another changeover!)


Camera Flash:

Exists on the Omnia, does not exist with the HD.

Score: Touch HD 7:7 Omnia


Summary:

Somehow, this ruthless battle has ended with a draw and no blood, but I assume every user will find some of the key points more relevant than the others.

My opinion is that the Touch HD is a better phone. Mainly because of the size, design and the VGA screen. But other people may actually prefer to have a smaller phone.


Here's a quick summary of pros and cons for each phone:

HD_Wolverine HTC Touch HD:

Pros:
- Bigger, stronger, better looking
- Amazing WVGA screen display
- TouchFlo 3D
- Standard mini USB

Cons:
- No D-Pad
- Hard to turn the device on.
- No automatic rotation for all the applications.


x-men2- cop32y

Samsung Omnia:

Pros:
- Fun phone
- Fun optical D-Pad
- Auto-rotate  for all applications
- Loads of custom applications wrapping much of the WinMo UI.

Cons:
- WQVGA Display
- No easy shortcut for the OK button
- Dangling Stylus.


Reader's Poll:
What's your thoughts about it? Omnia or an HD?

You are invited to vote or add your comment below:




 

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5 comments:

bazzah said...

htc touch is an awesome bit of kit!!!!

Stewart said...

Good one.
I'm going with the HD this time...

Guest said...

yeah i have the omnia but i have been drawn into the look of the iphone....

Kate said...

I'm kinda surprised that this was a draw, considering the Omnia is really more of a peer to the regular HTC Touch, not the Touch-HD.
 
Really you should be comparing the HTC Touch-HD with the upcoming Omnia-HD. If the regular Omnia is a match for the HTC Touch-HD, then I would suspect that the Omnia-HD would murder the Touch-HD.
 
I own the Omnia, its a good phone. But it could be better... Having to get a waranty voiding ROM to pry GPS functionality from Verizon's cold dead hands is a real pain. After that, making some registry tweaks to improve the touch screen's sensitivity has made it much more of a pleasure to use. Add the Spb 3 aftermarket UI shell so you see less WinMo, and you've got a really great phone.
 
But really, you shouldn't have to hack the phone to use the built in GPS, and there should be more adequate control in the UI over things like touch screen sensitivity. It's still a pretty good phone without taking these steps, but it could have been a real gem right out of the box with just a wee bit more foresight. Ultimately the only major flaw is Verizon's decision to disable the GPS unless you use their proprietary navigation for $10/mo. Which kinda ignores the fact that there are *many* other applications & uses for GPS on a WinMo device. So you can either pay Verizon $240 (2years) for what is actually 'free' GPS, or you can hack the phone to unlock GPS, or you can do without GPS and the dozens of winmo apps that use gps in creative ways. I can't really fault Samsung for Verizon's business model, the Omnia is a solid phone.

Kate said...

PS: just to be clear, my only major gripe on the omnia is strictly for the US version, marketed by Verizon (i910). And it is fixable. But the rest of the world(i900) gets a very nice phone right out of the box.
 
Also, Windows Mobile is so easily moddable and upgradable that any comparisons of the UI, applications, or appearance of winmo phones is almost pointless. Only hardware based UI features really need be compared.

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