Samsung Focus 2: first impressions of a $50 Windows Phone

The Samsung Focus 2 is an inexpensive, but stylish Windows Phone that will run on AT&T's 4G LTE network.

AT&T and Samsung Monday showcased the latest Windows Phone, the Samsung Focus 2, in an old colonial mansion in New Orleans' Garden District during CTIA 2012.

But you don't have to be a part of the upper crust to own this phone: The Focus 2 will be $50 with a new two-year contract with AT&T. The smartphone will be available starting on May 20.

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The Focus 2's glossy, all-white design contrasts nicely with Windows Phone's bright, bold colors. The phone is quite thin and light (about 0.43 inches thick), though it feels a bit on the plasticky side. Its 4-inch Super AMOLED screen might seem small in comparison to some of the giant phones we've seen (like the gargantuan Samsung Galaxy Note, for example), but the display is large enough for comfortably browsing the Web and running apps.

The 5-megapixel camera on the Focus 2 takes decent pictures, although I noticed that the flash completely blew out the details of my photos. You can also record up to 720p HD video (not 1080p, however; only dual-core phones can support that resolution).

The Samsung Focus 2 runs on AT&T's 4G LTE network, which was quite speedy here in New Orleans. Like all Windows Phones, the Focus 2 comes with Microsoft Office Mobile, SkyDrive (cloud storage), XBox Mobile, Bing Search, and other Microsoft apps. Performance-wise, the Focus ran smoothly in my test without any stalls or freezing.

The age of inexpensive Windows Phones is upon us. With Windows 8 on mobile still in the distance, I predict that we will see even more sub-$100 Windows Phones in the next year--and possibly here at CTIA 2012 this week.

Keep checking PCWorld for more mobile news and first impressions out of CTIA.

This story, "Samsung Focus 2: first impressions of a $50 Windows Phone" was originally published by PCWorld.

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