Meet Australia’s first second-gen Windows Phone. The Omnia W (aka Focus Flash in the States) packs a 3.7-inch Super AMOLED screen, and is the beginning of something good. It’s on the economy end of this next-generation of Windows Phones, but in a lot of ways, it blows the doors off of the last generation. That means something.
Feels a million trillion times better in the hand than the original Focus. It’s still not anywhere near the build quality of handsets, but it doesn’t feel like a total piece of junk in your hand either: a marked improvement. The physical home button is a departure from most Windows Phones, including the original Focus, and it’s actually a pretty nice change of pace. The 3.7-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen is just as sharp and vibrant as you’d expect a Samsung screen to be at this point.
This is also one of the first Windows Phones to have a front-facing camera, which is a nice and seriously overdue perk. It’s also got an Internet Sharing on/off setting built into its software. While we weren’t able to get it up and running, it would be a huge bonus if the Focus Flash and the beefier Focus S (not officially available in Australia) got that in order.
[imgclear] The touch actions are much less accurate than on other Windows Phones, and sometimes the screen won’t even register fast or especially light touches at all. That problem compounds itself with the fact that the phone can be a liiittle too narrow to type on comfortably in portrait mode—even with my freakishly tiny hands—making sending even short messages a pain despite Windows Phone’s generally solid digital keyboard. As for design, the physical home button is nice function-wise, but it could stand to be a little more flush with the face of the phone. The camera is serviceable, but it’s certainly not a plus.
[imgclear] If you’re very specifically looking for a tiny, cheap ($59 Freedom Connect Plan for $0 upfront) and sturdy Windows Phone, here’s your huckleberry. Otherwise, there are a lot of solid Windows Phones coming out, like the HTC Titan II and course Nokia’s Lumia 800 (the 900, too if it ever makes its way to Australia). More info over at [Windows Phones Downunder]