As expected, Samsung’s mysterious “Mandel” device has surfaced, albeit months later than originally expected, as the Focus 2. In truth, this device is third (or even fourth) Focus handset that Samsung has released. But no matter. It looks like a nice Windows Phone device.
“The original Samsung Focus [was] one of the most popular Windows Phone devices of all time, and for good reason,” Microsoft’s Ben Rudolph writes in the Windows Phone Blog. “It was fast, sleek, had a killer Super AMOLED screen, and got great battery life. Since then, Samsung’s released two really great devices in the small-but-sturdy Focus Flash and the thinner-than-a-pencil Focus S. And today they’re following up on those with the brand new Samsung Focus 2.”
The Focus 2 goes on sale in two weeks, on May 20, for only $49.99, which seems to be the new mainstream price for mid-level Windows Phone handsets. (The Nokia Lumia 900, by contrast, is typically $99.99.) It will be available on AT&T and, like the Lumia 900 and HTC Titan II, is compatible with that carrier’s superior LTE network.
Rudolph says he’s been using a Focus 2 for the past week and as you can see from the photos below it’s a gorgeous looking phone, with a nice white form factor that otherwise very closely resembles the original, 2010-era Focus. “Samsung has done a great job making the phone really ergonomic and is comfortable to hold, and pocket-friendly to boot,” he notes. “Typing is where the design really shines through, as the curved edges mean no ‘hotspots’ on your hands and helps you avoid cramping fingers (especially if you have big hands like me).”
That last bit may be a reference to one of the original Focus’ two biggest issues: The front-facing buttons, in particular the Search button (which triggers the Bing app) was far too easy to tap by mistake.
The other issue was the device’s lackluster camera. And that does not appear to be fixed: For some reason, the Focus 2 includes only a 5 megapixel camera, which is curious in a day and age in which 8 megapixels is the new minimum. The Focus 2 also comes up short on storage with just 8 GB of on-device storage and no expansion capabilities, unlike the original Focus (though that was unsupported). It does have a front-facing camera, too, of course.
Here are a few shots of the device courtesy of Mr. Rudolph. It’s a nice looking phone, but aside from LTE and a nice looking form factor, it appears to be lacking in too many key areas.
Original Focus (left) and Focus 2 (right)
Original Focus (top) and Focus 2 (bottom)