Samsung Focus 2: At $49 You Can't Afford Not to Check It Out

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The Samsung Focus 2 has been outed this week at CTIA in New Orleans. The next generation Windows Phone smartphone will be available from AT&T beginning May 20 for the bargain price of just $49 with a two-year contract.

A while back I wrote an article asking “Is the Nokia Lumia 900 the Best $99 Smartphone at AT&T?” At $99, the Lumia 900 had some solid competition from smartphones like the iPhone 4 and the Motorola Atrix 2. But, in an effort to spur sales that price has since been dropped to $49 by online retailers such as Amazon, and at $49 the Lumia 900 has no real competition…until now.

The problem with the Samsung Focus 2 is that it feels like a $50 smartphone.
Samsung is jumping straight to the $49 price point, which may drive Nokia to officially slash the price of the Lumia 900 (it’s still listed at $99 on the AT&T site). It has a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, 8GB of memory, and a 1.4GHz single-core processor, along with the obligatory front and rear facing cameras.

When I did my 30 Days with Windows Phone 7 series I spent part of the time using an original Samsung Focus. I really liked the display and the performance, but the plastic case felt cheap. It doesn’t necessarily affect the quality of the construction, but a smartphone with some metal and glass just feels sturdier. I haven’t yet handled the new Samsung Focus 2, but early reports suggest that it will have a similar build.

(For a more in-depth look at the new Samsung smartphone read Samsung Focus 2: First Impressions of a $50 Windows Phone)

On paper it doesn’t exactly blow away the competition. Many of the flagship smartphones coming to market--including Samsung’s own Galaxy S III--have gargantuan displays, quad-core (or at least dual-core) processors, higher resolution cameras and 1080p HD video, and more on-board storage. But, what those other devices lack are the Windows Phone OS and a $50 price tag.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue saying it--comparing specs on paper is irrelevant. You have to consider how the device actually works in real life doing the things you need it to do. You also have to weigh the experience provided by the mobile OS, and how that platform integrates with your PC, and the software you rely on to get your job done.

Windows Phone is an awesome mobile platform. For business use, the built-in Office Mobile apps alone are worth giving Windows Phone a very serious look. And, with the Lumia 900 available for $49, and now the Samsung Focus 2 coming to market at $49, it would be foolish not to give Windows Phone a spin if you’re in the market for a new smartphone.

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