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printed April 20, 2014
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Review: Samsung ATIV Odyssey for Verizon Wireless

Form Performance Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  

Screen

The Odyssey's display is one of the worst I've seen on a Samsung device. It uses Samsung's Super AMOLED technology, measures 4 inches across the diagonal, and includes 800 x 480 pixels. Normally, this combination would be a win-win-win for the Odyssey. The bad news is that the Odyssey uses a PenTile pixel arrangement, and the effect is horrifying. Every element, every icon, every bit of text has an obscene jagged edge that I found very distracting. The Odyssey could be using a first-generation Super AMOLED, an outdated tech, with PenTile pixels. It is entirely possible that the PenTile pixel arrangement combined with the Windows Phone user interface is what makes it look so bad. As for brightness, there are no problems there. I was able to read it outside just fine, even under a sunny sky.

Signal

The Odyssey had no trouble finding Verizon's LTE network. During my review period, the device never dropped down to 3G. It always showed several bars of service and, more to the point, never dropped calls and always connected them on the first dial. Data performance was always quick. I only noticed the Odyssey get bogged down twice, and that was in areas with poor coverage.

Sound

I was bowled over with the quality of voice calls on the Odyssey. Callers were crystal clear and there wasn't even a hint of interference or other noise. The earpiece generates enough volume to trigger a headache if you're not careful with the volume toggle. The same goes for the speakerphone. Both the quality and volume of calls routed through the speakerphone were excellent. It should be no surprise, then, that the ringers and alert tones were also plenty loud. The vibrate alert was solid, as well.

Battery

If you're keeping a list of pros and cons, the Odyssey's battery life would be a pro. The device handily lasted 24 or more hours on a single charge, even with intense use like streaming music and downloading apps. Battery life freaks will still charge the Odyssey every night, but you can probably go every day and a half between charges.

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