Samsung Focus Flash – an unassuming, but stylish Windows Phone 7 handset that everyone can afford


samsung focus flash review
Microsoft’s Windows 7 Phone operating system is slowly gaining traction, with more and more manufacturers (including the big dog, Nokia) releasing new and improved smartphones running the new OS. Samsung was one of the first companies to start producing a Windows smartphone line, and now they’re rolling out the second generation of them, with updated hardware, looks and of course, the new Windows 7 Phone Mango update, also known as Windows Phone 7.5.

One of their latest products is the Samsung Focus Flash, a new addition to the Focus family, and you could say, a successor to the first Focus, although that’s not entirely accurate (the bigger Focus S could be considered that, as well). The phone has some pretty decent specs, a nice price point and a simplistic, yet stylish exterior design that many people will like (and many will hate, it’s a bit polarizing).

Unlike the first Focus’ curvy lines, the Focus Flash has a more rectangular shape, with slightly rounded corners, and it’s made out of a mix of metal (on the inside) and plastic (on the outside) materials, as well as a tempered glass that covers the front and protects the display from scratches (it’s not Gorilla glass, though). The design and black color makes it fit in great in business as well as casual settings, and nobody can say that it looks ugly (although I can see how some may think it’s “bland” – at least no one would like to steal it :-)).

The 3.7 inch display is a Super AMOLED unit with a resolution of 800×480 pixels, and it’s perfectly sized for portability, as well as comfort. The colors, brightness, contrast, viewing angles and outdoor visibility are all great – the screen is just like its bigger brother on the first Galaxy S. There are three buttons for Windows Phone 7 right below the display, and a camera on the back – that’s it, the rest is glossy plastic, which looks great, feels pretty sturdy and attracts a lot of fingerprints, as well.

On the inside, you’ve got the new 1.4 GHz, single core Snapdragon, which seems to be the standard for the second generation of Windows 7 smartphones (sadly, I don’t think we’ll get dual cores until the third generation). The phone should be pretty snappy, but it’ll be difficult to convince people that it’s as fast as all those dual core Android smartphones and the iPhone 4S, especially when they’ll see the 512 MB of RAM (and Windows is known for using a lot of RAM).

The storage space is comprised of 8 GB of onboard memory and… that’s it! There’s no micro SD card slot for expansion, which is surprising, since it’s present on Samsung’s other devices. 8 GB is not exactly a lot, and even I’m running out of space, even though I don’t use my phone for much besides music, games and Web browsing. The Adreno 205 graphics adapter should do a great job at running all the new-fangled Windows 7 games, though, and most of them look even better than their iPhone analogs – no wonder, since Windows and the Xbox are leaders in the gaming industry. There’s also the usual Wifi, Bluetooth, GPS, DLNA, various sensors and support for 4G speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps, which should be more than enough for now.

The new Mango update for Windows Phone 7 brings along a lot of improvements, but I doubt that most people will notice them – on the outside, it’s got the same old Metro UI, which looks unique and elegant, but gets old pretty fast. If you like it, it’s cool, though I’m sure I’d wish to change things up a bit after a month or so (that’s why I have an Android phone).

The price is supposed to be somewhere between $50-100 with a contract on AT&T, which is pretty good for what you’re getting, but there aren’t a lot of reasons why you should choose a Windows 7 smartphone over the competition. If you like or need the OS, the Focus Flash is one of the best choices, though.


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