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Review: Samsung Omnia II

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's Touch Screen  

There's no denying that the Omnia II is a chubster, a fatty, a tubbo... a beefy device. I can't for the life of me figure out why it is so large. It is a monoblock phone that is thicker than some sliding QWERTY devices out there. And it weighs a ton. It feels downright huge in your hand. All the size and weight to inspire confidence, though, and make the Omnia II feel tough and strong (it is NOT rugged). It's smooth sides and back mean it will slip into a pocket without problems, but dang, you are gonna know it's there. Tight jeans? There's going to be a bulge.

The front of the Omnia II is mostly consumed by the large touch screen. Nestled along the bottom of the Omnia II are three buttons. The middle button serves a number of purposes — which at first aren't obvious. Given Samsung's history with optical mice on its phones, my initial thought was that this center button was an optical mouse. It's not. First and foremost it is the button to press if you want the main menu. It serves as a selecting button on some instances, and a "back" key in other instances, depending on where you are on the operating system. This inconsistent usage takes some getting used to. Flanking it on either side are the send/end keys. All three buttons have good travel and feedback.

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The left side of the phone houses several controls. Closest to the top is a very welcome 3.5mm headset jack. It's nice to see Samsung finally coming around on this feature and getting away from that ridiculous proprietary port. The volume toggle is below the jack. It is easy to find, though the "up" direction doesn't work that well; it's mushy. The "down" side works perfectly, though. Last on the left is a voice-activation / application key. It is rather small, but has good travel and feedback.

The hatch for the microUSB port is positioned in the middle of the right side. Accessing and using it is no problem. Below it are two keys. First is the lock/unlock key. It is a little on the small side, but has good travel and feedback. The camera key is directly next to it. This key also has good travel and feedback. Their positioning is bit of a pain, though, because the buttons literally touch each other. It is all-too-easy to accidentally press one when you mean to press the other. Believe me, that gets old really fast. There is also a stylus buried in the top right corner. It is tucked in there nice and tight, but retrieving it is no problem.

The battery cover snaps off easily. If you need to swap out the battery or microSD card, the hatch isn't going to get in the way. You do have to remove the back battery cover to get at the microSD card (thankfully you don't have to remove the battery.)

Everything about the hardware of the Omnia II works, aside from a few quirks. It may be big and heavy, but it has been put together well and functions mostly without issue.

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