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Samsung Focus Review

Over the course of the weekend, I installed the following apps: 1Password, Facebook, Flickr, Flux (Google Reader client), Foodspotting, Foursquare, Netflix, Public Transit (wrapper for Google Transit's website), Runkeeper, Shazam, Stacks for Instapaper, Twitter and YouTube. I resented having to install software to watch YouTube videos, and found the Flickr client incredibly slow. I was grateful that 1Password existed, but was disappointed the app did not follow Windows Mobile Phone 7 conventions (it did not use the hardware search button, nor did the interface look and feel like a WP7 app). I was generally pleased with the other apps.

What I loved:
  • The pane paradigm on the home screen and in apps, with a bit of the discoverable parts showing on the side. Text size is generally big, and going back to the iPhone, everything felt tiny. Tapping on icons made them looked pressed down, and sliding away after pressed is a nice visual touch.
  • Trial mode apps. Theoretically iOS apps are trial mode with in-app purchase, but the WP7 marketplace made trial mode explicit.
  • Apps like Foursquare and Twitter with their big, beautiful typefaces, and WP7-native approach
What I merely liked:

Zune music player, though I wished album covers could be bigger, quicker access to the app from outside it, and that swiping from side to side didn't go back and forth between tracks.
A hardware camera button, with pressing down slightly to focus. I expected to be able to take a picture in lock mode

Capacitive buttons, although some inconsistencies with search within apps (1Pasaword), lots of mis-taps

What I neither liked nor disliked, but found weird:
  • Fido, a nationwide carrier owned by Rogers Communications had me as roaming, so I had to turn on data roaming to get 3G data to work. Random forums of destiny told me that I should not expect a roaming bill because of this.
  • Every time I put the SIM card in, I had to reboot the phone. The iPhone spoiled me: put in a working SIM and you're good to go.
  • The phone has an FM receiver. That brings me back.
What I hated:
  • Vibrating on the capacitive buttons. There is no ability to turns this off. Random forums of destiny confirmed this. 
  • Slow charging, if at all. The iPhone wall charger was better than through the computer, but I expected faster recharge times. I expected to be able to charge at least somewhat reliably through my MacBook Air.
  • The default of the phone is to automatically save the screen and then lock, even while reading but not pressing any buttons. Maybe I could have turned it off, but I wanted to stick with the defaults as much as possible.
  • The unintended taps, not just on the capacitive buttons, but also on the three hardware buttons (lock, camera, and volume). Also three buttons made it non-obvious which one I was touching in my pocket if I wanted to turn the music up.