As for snapping photos, there’s a dedicated shutter button on the right side of the phone to load the camera app and to take a picture. In the Photo hub, you can also enable pictures to automatically sync to a free SkyDrive folder stored online in your Hotmail account, sparing you the need to manually upload them.
Overall, this entire camera experience is a lot snappier than photo features on the iPhone and Android devices. However, the pictures shot with the Focus’s 5-megapixel camera are only passable, and are a little blurry even in good lighting conditions.
With all that said, there were a few minor gripes that drove me a bit crazy. To wake up the phone, you have to press the physical power button on the right side. It feels unnatural to have to grip the phone and push a button on the side whenever you want to quickly check an e-mail or send a text message. I wish you could power on the device just by pressing the main menu button, which is centered under the screen — similar to how you can press the iPhone’s Home button to turn it on.
And then there’s the mobile version of Internet Explorer. It’s not as bad as Microsoft’s desktop browser, but it’s not much better. The mobile browser doesn’t seem to load text properly on some websites, such as Reddit and Digg. Small text doesn’t render smoothly, which is evident even when loading . Also, photos on some websites appear over-sharpened, making rough pixels become visible. Long story short, two thumbs down for Internet Explorer.
Oh, yeah—and just like the iPhone, there’s no support for Adobe Flash on Windows Phone 7 (yet), so Hulu junkies won’t be thrilled.
The phone seemed more reliable at holding a call than the iPhone 4, but it wasn’t any better at pulling in a signal in areas where AT&T’s coverage is weak (like San Francisco’s Mission District). My testing was hardly scientific, though.
Texting is surprisingly fast on the Focus. Hitting Send shoots out a text almost instantly. There’s no progress bar or anything. Why can’t the iPhone do that?
Overall, the Samsung Focus is a solid all-around device, and the pros heavily outweigh the cons. Most of the listed problems will probably be fixed in software updates. And with Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has largely redeemed itself after putting that bloated carcass known as Windows Mobile to rest. Rest in peace — and good riddance — WinMo.