The Samsung Wave which is the first outing for Samsung’s very own Bada OS, features some impressive specs – a super AMOLED screen, 1GHz processor and a slim design – but is it actually any good and, more importantly, does it have what it substance to take on the likes of mid-range Android, RIM and Symbian devices?
Overall, though, the Samsung Wave is resounding success for the Bada OS and we can’t wait to see more., features some impressive specs – a super AMOLED screen, 1GHz processor and a slim design – but is it actually any good and, more importantly, does it have what it substance to take on the likes of mid-range Android, RIM and Symbian devices?
On first inspection, the Samsung Wave is clearly of the highest quality. It’s slim, light in the hand and has a beautiful super AMOLED screen, which even looks impressive when the device is switched off. In addition to this, the Samsung Wave feels sturdy in the hand and really looks the part with its polished metallic body – basically, the Samsung Wave is quite a looker.
And once you power it up, that Super AMOLED screen jumps to life – and, believe us, it is quite a sight to behold. The Wave’s 3.3-inch 480 x 800 pixel touchscreen is both crisp and vibrant displaying colours and details in the highest quality. So much so, in fact, that the Wave could easily give some high-end devices – such as the Nexus One – a serious run for their money.
As we all know, a lot of mid-range touchscreen devices lack the tactility of their higher-end counterparts – and, as a rule, Samsung is usually no exception to this law.
Fortunately, with the Wave, it really is a different story.
Samsung has really out done itself with regards to the touchscreen interface on the Wave – it’s responsive, tactile and seemingly flawless. For instance, if you compared it to the touchscreen fluidity of a device like the HTC Hero, there really is no comparison – and the Hero, in many respects, is generally considered a better device.
However, is not perfect. For starters, it is very difficult to get your head around how it actually works at first and, while the UI might be reasonably tight, there’s no video introduction like the one you get on HTC devices and you’re pretty much left to figure it out for yourself.
There are some very cool aspects to the Wave though. For example, there are two home screen modes: The first, features five home screens where live widgets, such as the FT and The Register can be stored. The second is similar to a generic menu, but just laid out over an additional three home screens and features things like Twitter, Facebook, Address Book, Email and Settings etc.Switching between the two “screen modes” is very simple, you simply press the Wave’s main button, which is located in between the Call and End-Call button.
Unfortunately, there’s something else amiss with the Wave as well. The built-in applications, such as Twitter, Facebook and Gmail aren’t very good – in fact, they’re pretty infuriating and a little too difficult to set up for our liking. And this is very unfortunate, especially when you consider just how well put together the Wave is physically.
And this is where the Samsung Wave really loses out to mid-range BlackBerry and Android devices – it simply doesn’t handle things in a way that is efficient, which, in the end, makes doing the simplest of tasks – such as tweeting or sending an email – extremely arduous.
Samsung’s apps market – known as Samsung Apps – is also grossly under stocked and you really have to dig deep to find anything of value. That said, Bada is still very much in its embryo stages – so who knows, maybe Samsung will start pumping tons of useful applications into Samsung Apps soon?
Nevertheless, the potential of Bada is practically palpable. The accelerometer, for example, is superb. During testing we played Asphalt 5, which was brilliant. The controls of sharp, responsive and easily on a par with the experience you get on an iPhone. In short, we’re looking forward to Samsung expanding on this potential in the future.
In terms of the UI, there are a more than a few nods towards Android. The most prominent of which is the drop-down notification bar, which displays emails, updates and also provides quick access to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Volume Settings. Unfortunately, though, the Samsung Wave cannot beat Android on quality and the TouchWiz UI does lack a lot of the quality that is commonplace on HTC’s Sense UI.
The video aspect of the Wave, on the other hand, is up there with the best we’ve seen on any handset allowing you to shoot in 720p quality and at 30fps, which means the results are extremely impressive to say the least.
The camera is also equally impressive and, while it may only be 5-megapixels, it has enough built in functions – such as touch-to-focus controls, Geo-tagging, face, smile and blink detection, as well as image stabilisation – to make it one of the best mobile cameras we’ve had the pleasure of using.
There’s also a front-facing camera thrown in for good measure and some seriously good connectivity – 3G, EDGE, GPRS and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n – to boot, so you’ll always be able to get on the web, access Google Maps and stay up-to-date with what’s going on in the world of social networking where ever you may be.
In a nutshell, we’d say that the Samsung Wave is like a half-way house between a feature phone and a smartphone – having significantly more than the former but not enough substance to be considered one the of latter. It is a beautifully crafted device with an absolute shed-load of features, but it just doesn’t cut the mustard with its UI, apps and usability.
Overall, though, the Samsung Wave is resounding success for the Bada OS and we can’t wait to see more.