By Rob Boggan
The onslaught of Windows 8 phones continues, and the latest device that we got a chance to take a look at was Samsung's ATIV Odyssey. Being the first US Samsung Windows 8 phone, the Odyssey has a lot to live up to (not really, but you get the drift). Given that Windows devices are always under such scrutiny, that means this device has even more to live up to in regards to making a splash. With everything that Samsung touches turning to gold lately, one would assume that the Odyssey will be a slam dunk. Is there more misses than hits with this device, or does it do a stand up job of standing out amongst its competition? Read on for my review of the Samsung ATIV Odyssey.
The aesthetics of this device have a different feel from most "budget devices" nowadays. The Odyssey is a really good feeling device when in your hands, and the build materials used to construct this device were definitely high quality. The 4 inch Super AMOLED display looks gorgeous and colors are displayed bright and vividly. The battery door on the device has the same glossy finish found on the Galaxy S III and Note II, and the phone itself is light, but feels solid at the same time. Being as used to larger phones as I am, I figured it would be a huge adjustment to use the Odyssey but the screen is actually the same size as the iPhone 5 so it wasn't a big deal. Rocking 1GB of RAM, and a dual core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, along with 225 Adreno GPU, the Odyssey is no slouch when it comes to performance. Web browsing, video playback, and music playback all worked beautifully and nothing I could throw at the device slowed it down. My one biggest beef with the Odyssey was battery life. For it to be a smaller device, I expected more from the battery. Tossing some heavy duty use at it, usually ended in the battery buckling under the pressure. While I won't say battery life was horrible it definitely is below average. The camera was also a bright spot on the Odyssey. Although its only 5MP, the camera took some pretty sweet photos. One issue I faced though, is sometimes while taking photos the colors looked washed out, especially in cases where there is an abundance of sunlight. The video recording worked flawless, and I was surprised that this phone actually recorded in 1080p. The front facing camera worked decently as well, but I could definitely tell it was only a 1.2MP camera as most of the pictures taken with it were grainy and dark.
I was caught off guard when this device was announced as a Verizon exclusive, given the fact that AT&T has an ATIV tablet on their network. Be that as it may, it's actually a bonus to be on Verizon's network seeing as how it's an LTE device an Verizon has more LTE coverage (as of: February 2013). Voice calls were crystal clear, with no garbling or audio issues. Data speeds were consistent throughout my entire time with the device, and I dropped literally zero calls while using it.