Samsung Focus S First Impressions: Big, Tasty Windows Phone

Did you see the Samsung Galaxy S II and think, "Man, that looks nice. If only it ran Windows Phone instead of Android..." Well guess whose dreams are about to come true on November 6th? (Hint: Yours)

We first caught wind of the Focus S and friends a couple weeks ago and it certainly looked dressed to impress. A little refresher on the specs: 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen, a 1.4GHz processor, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, 1.3 megapixels on the front; it's 8.8 millimeters thick, and runs Windows Phone 7.5 a.k.a. Mango. It will be running on AT&T's "4G" HSPA+ network for speedy data. Sounds pretty good? Here's are my snap impressions.

First off, that screen is luscious. It's every bit as good as the screen on the 4.3-inch Galaxy S II. Because it's the exact same screen. Colors are bright and vivid, and image quality is incredibly sharp. WP7's Metro UI looks crisp on it; It's a lovely coupling. While it lacks the Galaxy S II's face-melting dual-core Exynos processor, the 1.4GHz single-core processor the Focus S uses ran quite speedily, and I wasn't able to make it lag in my (admittedly brief) testing. No Windows Phones have dual-core processors yet, and frankly, they don't seem to need them at this point. That said, as software (especially on the gaming front) gets hotter and heavier, you might end up wishing you had a dual-core.

The build quality is also very similar to the Galaxy S II, which is, well, okay. They're light, and they're pretty strong, but their plastic bodies just give them that "I will break if you drop me" feeling. In contrast, the smaller, lower-priced, less spec-tastic Samsung Focus Flash is built like a little tank, with a really nice, solid aluminum back. It's weird, the Focus Flash is built like an HTC device, and it comes out right when HTC announces the Rezound, which is built like a Samsung device (plastic back). Everything's all topsy turvy! But anyway, despite the back being plasticky and kinda cheap, it's nicely textured which should help aid against dropage. Want one more thing to like about it? It's got a dedicated hardware camera button. Man, I love those.

It'll be available November 6th for $200 on an AT&T contract. I liked what I saw during my quick hands-on, and I'm looking forward to really putting it through its paces for the full review. Stay tuned for that, and in the mean time, check out our lightning review of the Samsung Focus Flash. [Samsung]


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