A friend asked me to test out the newly launched Samsung Omnia SGH-i900. But rather than do the usual indepth product review I thought I’d look at it from the angle of the common user – my wife. If you still want to read one of those in-depth product reviews, click on the links below:

TrustedReviews: Samsung Omnia i900
CNETAsia: Samsung Omnia SGH-i900 (8GB)
Wassup: Samsung Omnia – New 3G iPhone Killer?
Pocketnow: Review – Samsung Omnia i900

So what do I like about the Omnia? It comes in a beautiful box that reminds me of those expensive luxury watches from Switzerland. Thanks to the Samsung heritage of great LCD panels, the Omnia boasts the best LCD screen I’ve ever come across barring those beautiful Samsung LCD computer monitors. Beats the iphone and every portable wannabee when it comes to crisp, clear display.

I only have a couple of gripes about the Omnia: (1) it takes close to 1 minute to power up. If I were to come across someone having a heart attack and I needed to make a call and unfortunately my Omnia was powered off, the guy will be close to death’s door before I can reach someone on the emergency hotline; (2) the back panel gets warm when the display is on – not toasty hot – but warm. Which is great for winter when you need something to warm your hands but very lousy during hot summer days in Hong Kong. 

One more thing: I am not a geek but certainly after 22 years of being in the IT industry, I am no newbie either. But I can tell you that you can get really frustrated trying to connect to your WiFi with this phone. I’ve been trying to do it for two days now and I still haven’t found the magic sequence to connect to my WiFi at home. My iPod Touch took about a minute to find and connect to my WiFi. My favorite BlackBerry Pearl managed to get connected in under a minute as well. So why can’t I get the Omnia connected? Beats the hell out of me. Fortunately I am not alone. Lots more folks shouting for help out on the WWW (just type – I can’t connect to WiFi on Omnia).

So we go back to the topic of this article: Do you buy a phone for its features or ease-of-use? Apple has shown that if you can make a phone easy-to-use while still being cool, people will buy it. Manufacturers like to think that if you stick a supercomputer on a handheld device, people will buy it. Yes, I am sure a few geeks would love to get their hands on such a device. But time and again, consumer statistics and common sense tell us that people like to use things that are simple to use, and oh yes, it does as advertise (OSX vs Windows).

I’m not taking a swipe at Windows. I am writing this blog on a Windows XP PC (I have a Mac too). But when it comes right down to it, the more elegant and simple a device is, the more people are drawn to it. Wll you buy a sleek, sexy, curvey jacquar or a tank? Both can bring you from point A to B. But you only need to know how to steer, where the gas and break peddals are to drive a Jag.

So you tell me!