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Review: Samsung Focus with Windows Phone 7

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Screen

The highlight of Windows Phone 7 is the sharp, clean interface design, and the 800 x 480 pixel, Super AMOLED display on the Samsung Focus brings out the best in the new design. It's a showstopper. Colors explode on screen, looking sharp and realistic. I found myself opening Bing just to see what background image the phone would choose, because they all look so wonderful. Text was very easy to read, and the occasionally tiny interface cues in Windows Phone 7, like an ellipsis that tells you to look for more options, were easily visible. Even outside, the display holds up nicely. Like all phones, it fades a bit in bright sunlight, but I could use the camera viewfinder or browse emails outdoors with no trouble.

Sound

Sound quality on the Samsung Focus was quite good. During calls, the earpiece sounded clear, with no static or background hissing. Calls sounded a bit bass-heavy, and I prefer a brighter, more treble-rich sound, but they still sounded good. My callers reported an occasionally digitized sound to my voice, but it wasn't a frequent problem. The speaker on the Focus also sounded good. The phone does a fine job handling group calls over the speaker in a medium-sized conference room.

Signal

Reception was no problem on the Samsung Focus. I never worried about signal bars because the phone never had trouble connecting. The data network was always available and calls always went through. The Windows Phone 7 interface hides the signal bars from view unless you need them, at which point you can tap the top of the screen and they will fall into position. The network connection always seemed snappy on the Focus, whether I was using AT&T's 3G service or my own home Wi-Fi network.

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Battery

Battery life on the Samsung Focus was a bit disappointing, but not horrible. In my week of testing, I had to charge the phone during the day every day. I never made it through an entire day without a charge. The phone uses a 1500 mAh battery, which is plenty big, but it still couldn't hang on as long as I needed. I would recommend charging this phone at your desk during a work day, or you might get stranded without a working phone by the end of happy hour. Under lighter use conditions, with only a few phone calls in a day, perhaps, you might see the phone last through the night.

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