As the mad rush that followed the highly anticipated launch of Windows Phone 7 has more or less died down, it’s now time to step back and and take a good look at the handsets to decide whether you want to invest in one or not. We’ve already seen the LG Optimus 7 pitched against HTC’s 7 Trophy, but how will it compare when it stands toe-to-toe with its main rival from Samsung? With its big, 4-inch AMOLED screen, the Omnia 7 has set itself apart from the pack. But, which is the better phone? We engaged the two handsets in a tense spec-off to see which came out best…
Winner: Omnia 122.4 x 64.2 x 10.99mm; 138.5gLoser: Optimus 125 x 59.8 x 11.5mm; 157gSize is an important factor to consider when you’re shopping for a smartphone, as it’s something that you’re going to be carrying around with you all day long. Although smartphones tend to be on the larger side in order to accommodate their luxuriously large screens, it’s still important that they’re small enough to slip into a pocket. At 122.4mm long, the Samsung is shorter than the more elongated LG handset, while it’s also considerably lighter and slightly slimmer too. On account of its compact dimensions, the Samsung storms into the lead on the first round.
Winner: Omnia 4-inch, 800×480, AMOLEDLoser: Optimus 3.8-inch, 800×480, LCDThere’s not much between most of the displays on the first wave of Windows Phone 7 handsets, with all offering capactive touchscreens, as you’d expect on a smartphone. However, Samsung’s Omnia 7 sets itself apart with a large 4-inch display that also happens to be the only AMOLED screen on offer. Not only does that mean, better colours, brighter whites and deeper blacks, it also means that the viewing angle is wider and it copes better with bright sunlight. In contrast, LG’s Optimus 7 offers a standard LCD panel, measuring 3.8 inches. Both screens offer the same 800 x 480-pixel resolution, but the Samsung’s impressive AMOLED technology and larger screen size make it the winner in this category.
Tie: Optimus 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8650, 512MB RAM, Adreno 200Tie: Omnia 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8250, 512MB RAM, Adreno 200When it comes to hardware, there’s not much in it between LG’s Optimus 7 and Samsung’s Omnia 7. Both phones are powered by 1Ghz Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm. However, while the Omnia is powered by the QSD8250 chip, the LG makes use of the very slightly higher specced QSD8650. That said, both of the Snapdragon chips boast identical Adreno 200 graphics processors and, seeing as both handsets sit with matching complements of 512MB of RAM, there’s really not enough in this to make any difference between the two on a practical day to day level. The LG Optimus 7 might have a tiny edge, but to the user this one’s a tie.
Tie: Optimus 5MP, flash, 720p video captureTie: Optimus 5MP, flash, 720p video captureA mobile phone isn’t a mobile phone these days, unless it has a camera. A sweeping generalisation, yes, but it’s more or less true and as we’re talking about high-end smartphones, it’s absolutely essential to include a decent snapper. Apart from the HTC Mozart and its impressive 8-megapixel camera, all of the other phones in the current Windows Phone 7 line-up feature 5-megapixel snappers and obviously that includes the Omnia and the Optimus. Both handsets are also supported by LED flashes and also offer 720p high-def video capture, leaving us no option but to declare this round as another dead heat.
Winner: Optimus 16GBLoser: Omnia 8GBNeither the LG Optimus 7 or the Samsung Omnia 7 include an SD card expansion slot as, like all other Windows Phone 7 handsets, they don’t support removable memory. The LG sports 16GB of internal memory, while the Samsung only offers half that amount, with just 8GB. The lack of an option to expand the memory shouldn’t be too much of a problem unless you want to keep an especially extensive music collection on your phone or store lots of videos and, as it happens, quite a lot of people do. Of course, the makers are hoping that you’ll use the available cloud-based offering that comes as part of your Windows Live Account. Either way, we’re looking at the hard facts here, and at double the size of the Samsung, the LG’s memory capacity grabs the point in this round.
Winner: Optimus 3G, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth, DLNALoser: Omnia 3G, Wi-Fi b/g/n, BluetoothThe connections available on top-tier smartphones are relatively standard, so it’s no surprise that both these handsets have got 3G support along with Wi-Fi connectivity with exactly the same specs (802.11 b/g/n). Both the Optimus and the Omnia also benefit from Bluetooth 2.1 capability, but LG’s handset also has an ace up its sleeve in the form of DLNA sharing. Under the Play To Function, this enables you to play content from your phone on other compatible devices. This is one of those features that some will use all the time, while many will perhaps look at it once and never feel the need to use again. However, it’s an important advantage and makes LG the victor when it comes to connectivity.
Winner: Optimus 1,500mAh capacityLoser: Omnia 1,500mAh capacityBattery life is one if the most important factors to consider when looking at any mobile device, for obvious reasons. Both the LG Optimus 7 and Samsung Omnia 7 offer decent-sized batteries, both with 1500mAh capacities making the two phones neck and neck. Seeing as the Samsung has a larger screen, it seems a fair assumption that it will use slightly more battery power than the LG, and while both have 1Ghz processors, the LG sports the very slightly higher specced QSD8650 chip. The Optimus takes the win on the this round, albeit with Omnia snapping dangerously close at its heels.
The LG Optimus 7 is available from £30 a month on Vodafone for 900 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data, while the cheapest plan for the Omnia is priced at £35. While there’s not much in it, that £5 a month could be a deciding factor for some.
Both handsets offer a great introduction to the world of Windows Phone 7, and are very similar in many ways such as their identical camera offerings and their standard WP7 multimedia credentials. The Samsung Omnia 7 is a compelling option, mainly due to its superb 4-inch AMOLED screen, teamed with a compact chassis. However, on a pure points decision, the LG Optimus 7 emerges as the better all-rounder, thanks to the inclusion of DLNA connectivity, a slightly cheaper price and its built-in memory which is double the size of that on the Omnia. That said, for many people, a good smartphone is all about the screen and, for that reason, you shouldn’t be swayed if the Samsung Omnia 7 is really the handset you’ve got your heart set on.