Windows Phone is relatively new in the 4G LTE part of the business but all that’s changing as more and more phone are being churned out like the Samsung Focus 2 for instance. The amazing thing about Samsung Focus 2 has to be its price, as it goes for only $49.99 on-contract. A smartphone offering 4G LTE for such a low price is definitely worth learning more about.
Samsung seems set with its design principles for its phones of late and the Samsung Focus 2 is another such device. The sturdy all-plastic body has remained and thanks to this design, the phone is kept lightweight. It only tips the scales at 122 g. The white paint job gives it a clean and classy look while the rounded curves make the phone look adorable. The smartphone has also been designed in such a way that it doesn’t attract and retain smudges or fingerprints on its body. Measuring in at 21.7 x 62.7 x 10.9 mm, Samsung Focus 2 is slightly smaller than the original Samsung Focus although it does turn out about 1 mm thicker – a difference that is barely noticeable.
On the front of the phone sits a 4 inch screen that has three Windows Phone buttons sitting right underneath. The lights have been given a really bright backlight which makes the buttons appear quite cool. Above the screen is the front facing VGA camera for making video calls. Taking a look around the sides of the phone beginning with the right side, we find the power and camera buttons there. Meanwhile on the bottom is the microUSB port while on the top is where the standard audio jack is located. The volume controls can be found on the left side of the Samsung Focus 2 smartphone. The buttons however are not easily distinguishable from the body of the phone. Finally on the back of the phone is a 5MP camera with auto-focus and LED flash.
With the Samsung Focus 2, the screen has had no change from the original Samsung Focus so we get the same 4 inch Super AMOLED screen that comes with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. Since its main rivals are Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC Titan II, this screen will do fine for a while since they all use WVGA resolutions. A pixel density of 223 ppi is a reasonably good number and that can be seen with the good amount of details that we got from the phone. Furthermore, the screen was also able to give high contrast and at the same time wide viewing angles too. All that put together with the awesome color production makes this screen a pretty good offering.
Windows Phones have an OS that is simple and refined, thus not needing a whole lot of processing power. This results in most Windows Phones to stick to CPUs that will get the job done rather than going for dual-core processors. The Samsung Focus 2 is no different and it gets a 1.4GHz single-core Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU. This CPU was able to tackle all the tasks that were thrown at it with ease.
As expected, the OS running on the Samsung Focus 2 is the Windows Phone Mango. That means the user experience in this phone is no different from the likes of HTC Titan II and Nokia Lumia 900. The one major difference so to speak between Samsung Windows Phones and other Windows Phones is the Daily Briefing Hub. This hub provides updates on weather, world news and stocks all in one place. Windows Phone Mango has stayed true to its mantra of providing a user experience that is both easy and refined.
Email experience on the Samsung Focus 2 is more refined and it offers a universal inbox system. The emails are shown as threaded conversations too. Setting up the email account is as easy as doing it on the Android phone as all you have to do is provide an email address and the right password. The screen on Samsung Focus 2 is a tiny bit smaller than its rivals like the Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC Titan II meaning the onscreen keyboard layout is slightly cramped. The auto-correct feature that’s really great with Windows Phones is there and that goes a long way to help with the texting. There are some preloaded apps from AT&T like the AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Navigator and AT&T Code Scanner.
On the back of the smartphone sits a 5MP camera with auto-focus and LED which upon testing reveals to be just an average performer. Taking it for a spin outdoors resulted in pictures that were reasonably good although dynamic range isn’t where it performs best. Noise and graininess will be evident when taking pictures in low lighting scenarios. When used, the LED flash does help to improve things a little bit. The camcorder isn’t something to be recommended for daily use as it lacks details and it is almost totally useless when used indoors. The camcorder on the Samsung Focus 2 records videos at 720p at a rate of 30 fps.
Support for 4G LTE network is Samsung Focus 2’s biggest plus points as it can make full use of AT&T’s 4G LTE network. Thanks to the super speeds, the web browsing experience on the Internet Explorer was a whole lot better. The browser is also very fluid and responsive when given navigational tasks. Although there is no Adobe Flash support, the internet browsing experience on this phone was still pretty good. Apart from being a GSM phone, other connectivity options available are aGPS, Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-fi and mobile hotspot functionality.
Call quality on the Samsung Focus 2 wasn’t anywhere close to impressive as the earpiece produced weak tones while voices on both ends had a robotic touch to it. The speakerphone wasn’t any better as it muffled the output. Meanwhile the 1750mAH does a very good job as it can last more than a day with just one full charge even with 4G LTE in use.
Pros and Cons
Samsung Focus 2 has a simple yet adorable design. Coming with 4G LTE support is a major plus point.
Call quality and camera performance were both mediocre on this phone.
The Samsung Focus 2 is a very serious contender in the Windows Phone arena and will definitely be able to take on the likes of HTC Titan II and Nokia Lumia 900. If you adore Windows Phone and are looking for a phone that can access 4G LTE network on a bargain, Samsung Focus 2 is your answer.