Samsung Focus 2 Review
By Tommy Rebik
- May 19, 2012
Pros: AT&T's new Samsung Focus 2 is presented in an attractive design, and comes with a nice screen, and a 5-megapixel camera with 4G LTE speeds.
Cons: The Samsung Focus 2ís memory and battery life are in shorter supply and its glossy body likes to play slip-and-slide.
Samsung and AT&T have collaborated once more to bring us the new Samsung Focus 2. Itís the successor to the original Samsung Focus that will take advantage of the carrierís fast 4G LTE network. I must say that both the carrier and Samsung must have a good thing going on with their array of Windows Phone smart phones, because of the release of the Samsung Focus 2. There are actually 2 things that make this handset, it runs the Windows Phone 7.5, which for me is a stand out. Secondly, itís a 4G LTE device which makes it only the third Windows Phone device to be compatible with the faster of AT&T's two "4G" networks aside from the Nokia Lumia 900 and the HTC Titan II. As a bonus, the device is at $50 with a new two year contract, making it quite is a steal. Samsung has become surprisingly adept when it comes to putting out quality good smart phone hardware, even if the device is inexpensive. Talking about build and quality, the Samsung Focus 2 feels like a small version of the white Galaxy S II, it is compact, glossy and very solid. It is covered in a hard plastic shell that is not the thinnest available, but there is this nearly zero flex, & gentle curves that feel comfortable when it is held in the hand. Controls are found mounted within its silver ring - surrounding the smart phone: volume on the left spine, power and two-stage camera button on the right spine. The Samsung Focus 2 features an awesome 4-inch Super AMOLED display, and it is powered by a 1.4GHz processor. It comes with a mediocre 5 megapixel rear-facing camera which can capture 720p HD videos, and a front facing camera which you can use for video conferencing and taking vanity shots. While the Samsung Focus 2 will certainly lure in new Windows smart phone users and budget-friendly devices lovers, those looking for a smart phone with a stepped-up camera resolution with larger memory storage should consider either of AT&T's other two 4G LTE phones, or if data speed isn't a worry, then definitely Samsung Focus S is a good choice.
Samsung took similar design cues from the cultural color zeitgeist which is why the Samsung Focus 2 is in white, and is accented by a silvery trim. And although the Samsung Focus 2 is constructed of durable-feeling plastic, its smooth finish makes it look fairly classy. Its coating may be too glossy and it felt silky to the touch. The Samsung Focus 2 may not be vying for the slimmest smart phone title, but I found its dimensions very comfortable, compact, and easy to fit in to any jeans pocket or purse. It has dimensions of 4.7 inches tall by 2.5 inches wide by 0.5 inch deep and it has the right amount of heft Ė not lightweight at all, as it weighs around 4.3 ounces. For me, it has a good midrange features and its price tag is easy to appreciate. First off, who can resist its 4-inch Super AMOLED display that greets you on the phone's face. It is a WVGA variant that can render up to 800 x 480-pixels of resolution. The simplicity of the OS tiles works perfectly with the resolution as the text looks defined to the naked eye. The display makes blacks look black & colors pop. Just above its touch screen is the front facing VGA camera. Below are the three backlit, touch-sensitive navigation buttons: home, and search. The secondary functions can be found there as well: press & hold the back button to find & select your recently opened apps, and do the same for the deviceís home button to launch voice actions. The search button will pull up Bing, from which you can also use the scan bar codes and identify music. On the right spine you will find the silvery buttons which are the power and the camera shutter. On the left spine thereís the volume rocker while the Micro-USB charging port is on the bottom. Up top is the standard 3.5mm headset jack. Flip over the smart phone to see its 5 megapixel camera lens and flash. As of this writing, thereís still no Windows Phone device that has an expandable memory, so you won't find a microSD card slot here in Samsung Focus 2. Microsoft made an effort to their OS and there are now certain useful enhancements into it, including the voice actions, music ID, and bar code scanning. Moreover, thereís also this Yelp-like functionality in Local Scout, social network check-in & auto-fix editing features in its camera app. You will also get access to Samsung Zone within the application Marketplace. Samsung also preloaded the device with the Tango video chat app, Photo Studio, and a daily headline. AT&T also preloaded it with their own apps including the AT&T Code Scanner, Family Map, and My AT&T. The cameraís video and photo quality is superb, it captures movies in 720p HD and the recording experience was pretty good. Call quality was serviceable overall, but my main impression was itís "soft." . It performed well and I never noticed undue hang time Ė thanks to its 1.4GHz processor. Now how about the 4G speeds? Well based on my free Speed Test in the Marketplace the device recorded HSPA+ and LTE speeds ranging between 2Mbps and 5Mbps down. Its upload speeds hovered around 1Mbps. Quite fast hey? The device has a respectable battery life: 6 hours of talk time, with a standby time of up to 10.4 days over 3G and a much shorter 6.5 days over 4G LTE.