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printed October 21, 2014
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Review: Samsung Focus 2 for AT&T

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

Screen

The Focus 2's display measures 4.0 inches across the diagonal and sticks with the standard Windows Phone resolution of 800 x 480. Samsung used OLED technology in the display, and - thanks to the resolution and size - it looks fantastic. Colors are rich, blacks are inky, and the amount of light coming from the display is enough to dazzle your eyes. The high brightness lets the display be read easily outdoors under even harsh sunlight. It's a good screen, and one of the better ones I've seen on a Windows Phone.

Signal

The Focus is the latest LTE-capable phone to hit AT&T's network. When LTE isn't available, it ramps down to HSPA+. The device performed well no matter where I took it. I was able to make phone calls, which consistently connected on the first dial, even in a crowded concert venue. The Focus never dropped a call, nor did it miss any during my review period. Data speeds were always quick, even if the phone showed a single bar of signal.

Sound

I found the Focus to be an excellent voice phone. Most often, calls were crystal clear and free of noise and other network-related nonsense. The earpiece speaker produces very good volume for most environments. Only in the noisiest places might you have to crank it all the way up and press it firmly against your ear. Most often, it does well set at about 60%. The speakerphone also sounded excellent. Voices were warm and clear coming through the speaker, though the volume of the speaker was a bit shy of great. The same volume issue affected ringers and alert tones, which I felt should have been louder when the phone was turned all the way up. The vibrate alert was strong enough to alert me to calls/messages even at a loud rock concert.

Battery

Battery life will depend on what sort of coverage you have available. Under HSPA+ coverage only, the Focus powered through a full waking day with no problem. It lasted from 7AM to 11PM consistently with charge to spare. Under LTE 4G coverage, however, the battery drains noticeably faster. In my tests, I saw the battery life drop from 100% to 29% in the span of about 5 hours with moderate to heavy use (taking photos, tweeting photos, checking email and RSS, etc.). Worse, there's no switch or other way to control the LTE radio. It's always on.

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