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Review: Samsung ATIV Odyssey for Verizon Wireless

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Jan 25, 2013, 1:39 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung's entry-level Windows Phone for Verizon Wireless, the ATIV Odyssey, is a more sedate device for the conservative smartphone shopper. Phone Scoop's full review gives you all you need to know to make an informed choice.

Is It Your Type

The Samsung ATIV Odyssey is an entry-level Windows Phone for Verizon Wireless. If you like Microsoft's platform, but not the colorful handsets offered by HTC or Nokia, then the ATIV Odyssey may be what you're seeking.

Form

You'll be forgiven for thinking that the ATIV (pronounced ah-TEEV, like ‘achieve’) Odyssey is another Android smartphone from Samsung. It looks identical to at least a half-dozen such Samsung phones thanks to its conservative design. It’s small, compact, and doesn't have half the personality that devices such as the HTC 8X or Nokia Lumia 822 have. Not everyone likes color, but the Odyssey could be a little bit flashier and still be called reserved.

If you've held or used a Samsung Galaxy S III or Note II, you'll feel right at home with the Odyssey. It carries forward the same look and feel of those two handsets, albeit in a much smaller package. The front is all black glass. There's a chrome-ish band that forms all the side edges, and the battery cover has the same faux brushed metal look as the GSIII and Note II.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The Odyssey has a great size and shape. The surfaces are smooth and rounded; there are no sharp edges or corners. It’s comfortable to hold and use, though I found it to be a bit slippery. It glides into pockets as though it were lubricated with a fine oil. The quality of the materials is good, but not great. The fit and finish of the device are spot on, the seams are all tight and the phone is well made.

The only controls on the front are three capacitive buttons for interacting with the Windows Phone operating system (back, Start, and Bing.) I didn't have any trouble with these buttons, and the haptic feedback they offered was quite nice. Both Samsung and Verizon have logos on the front of the phone, and the front-facing camera and sensors are plainly visible near the earpiece speaker grill.

The Odyssey's side surfaces are busy with controls and ports. The volume toggle is on the left. It’s really easy to find, but travel and feedback feel quite cheap to me. There is also a hatch for microSD cards on the left edge. The screen lock button and dedicated camera button are on the right edge. These buttons are rather small, but still easy to feel with your thumb. I didn't care for the travel and feedback of the screen lock button, but the two-stage camera button feels great. The headphone jack is on top and the microUSB port is on the bottom.

The battery cover peels off from the back of the Odyssey just as the battery cover peels off nearly every other recent Samsung phone. There's a little notch for your thumbnail to help you get started. The Odyssey has a removeable battery, which is typical for a Samsung device. The SIM card can't be accessed unless you first yank out the battery.

In all, there's nothing wrong with the hardware, I simply wish Samsung had jazzed it up a bit.

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