AT&T Samsung Focus S Review, Pros & Cons

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The first thing I thought of when I picked up the AT&T Samsung Focus S was my Galaxy S. Of course, these are two very different phones (one is Windows Phone while the other is on Android) but they feel the same in the hand. This familiar feeling, at least to me, is a good thing. But before I go on rambling about this and that about the Focus S, let me give you the phone’s basic specs:

  • 4.3 inch Super AMOLED Plus display at 800×480 resolution (217 PPI)
  • 1.4 GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 processor
  • 512 MB of RAM
  • 16 GB of storage
  • 8 MP rear camera capable of 720p video recording, 1.3 MP front camera
  • 8.5 mm thick, weighs 3.9 ounces
  • Windows Phone 7.5 Mango

The specs on the phone are pretty impressive, and are part of the reason why I felt like the Samsung Focus S was the best Windows Phone available when it came out. Do I still think the same? Read on to find out!

The cons on this phone :

Camera: While the camera on the Focus S takes pretty decent shots, I found myself yearning for more out the 8 MP shooter. I feel like some of the other high end Windows Phone out on the market offer a bit more in terms of picture quality (like the HTC Titan) than the Focus S does. The LED flash on the back made most of my pictures worse instead of better, and I found myself turning it off even in the dark situations.

No 4G LTE:  If there is one thing that would keep me from getting a Focus S, it’s the lack of 4G LTE data speeds. Yeah, it has “4G HSPA+” but with phones like the Nokia Lumia 900 coming out for AT&T (that will be similarly priced) having true 4G data speeds, you have to consider this a major con.

The pros of the Focus S:

Screen: Boasting a large, but not too massive, 4.3 inch is good. But having that screen be a Super AMOLED Plus display, is great! I can’t really say enough about it, I just love the screen on the Samsung Focus S. The colors all look rich and vibrant, and as is typical with AMOLED displays the blacks as black as can be.

Form Factor: I don’t know why, but for some reason a lot of Windows Phone out on the market are pretty thick. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with the Focus S. Like I said earlier, when I hold the phone it feels like I am holding my old Galaxy S, only thinner (8.5 mm) and lighter (3.9 ounces). And the most impressive thing, about my first impression, is the fact that the Focus S has a screen 1/3 of an inch bigger than the Galaxy S. In other words, the large screen size doesn’t negatively affect the phone’s form factor.

Design:  If you’ve been reading up on the Focus S and have read some of the other reviews out there, you’ve probably seen that a lot of people dislike the build quality or design of the phone. I, on the other hand, actually love it. Yes, I do like the way that phones like the HTC Titan II feel more sturdy and better built, the truth is that is just a feeling. Which phone do you think would be more likely to survive a 6 foot drop? Exactly.

And my final thoughts:

Overall, I like the Focus S. But if you’re going to be making the purchasing decision today, I’d suggest waiting for the next Windows Phone Samsung releases unless you get this one at a good deal. When the phone first came out, I thought it was the best Windows Phone available. But technology moves fast and with AT&T getting both the Nokia Lumia 900 and the HTC Titan II in April, it would be hard for me to justify buying the Focus S at the same price.

   
   
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About Author

David Rahimi is the editor-in-chief at PhoneBuff.com. Ever since he got his first smartphone, he has been obsessed with mobile technology and all that it has to offer. Other interests include business, investing, and neuroscience.