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Samsung Wave Review

4

The first handset to feature Samsung’s very own bada platform, the Samsung Wave is available now on Vodafone and soon to make its way to O2. Samsung’s high end handset hopes to give the illustrious Android and iPhone platforms a run for their money.

What we like

You just can’t talk about the Samsung Wave without first raving about that Super AMOLED screen. Wow. We’ve enthused at length about nice screens before, but the likes of the HTC Desire and iPhone 3GS pale in comparison to the Wave. It’s sharper than a shark’s tooth, crisper than a frosty morning and you can even use it in bright light without squinting or shading it. It’s wonderful for displaying high-quality photos and watching HD video content over Wi-Fi.

That lovely screen is also very responsive. In fact, the handset is generally really fast – that’ll be the 1Ghz Hummingbird processor doing it’s thing. Web browsing, swiping between screens, calling and typing – nothing kept us waiting

We’re not always fans of touchscreen typing, but on the Wave it was surprisingly all right. Even in portrait mode the touchscreen Qwerty isn’t bad, with plenty of space between letters – although of course it’s better in landscape. The predictive text is a little temperamental but nothing we found too frustrating.

Like many current handsets, the contacts book can be synced with Facebook and Twitter – which is great, we really value this kind of joined-up contact thinking, but we’d like to be able to sync our Google contacts as well.

The 5-megapixel camera is fine, but we don’t really like the fact that when you press shoot, the screen goes blank so you have no idea what your picture actually looks like. The other annoying thing is that the photo quality doesn’t quite do the screen justice, so when setting images as wallpapers you may be better off using higher-resolution images and transferring them from your computer.

The bada OS is fine but not groundbreaking, especially for anyone who has used a Samsung TouchWiz phone before. We do like the new Android-esque touches, like the pull-down notification menu and the pull up options menus (see images below). The multiple homescreens are customisable with your apps and widgets, and the background image stretches across all four.

What we don’t like

It’s early days, so we’re not exactly surprised that Samsung Apps aren’t really there yet. Any brand entering the app market is going to have to play mega-catch up to the likes of the Apple App Store, Android Market, BlackBerry App World and even the Nokia Ovi Store. There were 192 apps in the Samsung store (yes, we counted) which pales in comparison to the bigger players.

The apps that are there aren’t anything to write home about. The LondonTube app, for example, was really just a tube map and a very rubbish journey planner (it didn’t recognise any of the stations we entered). Alongside this are a host of mediocre games and sometimes unfathomable apps – like Musical Instrument which appears to allow you to create an image using stamps of musical instruments and… that’s it. You can’t save the image or do anything else with it.

We’re keen not to make this review all about apps, but given the huge focus and long-time build up Samsung has given the bada platform based on apps, it’s got to play a role. If you’re looking for an immediate fix of good quality, genuinely useful apps then you will not find it here.

The Samsung Wave’s build quality isn’t as good as we were hoping. Given the amazing screen, we hoped it would come ensconced in a sturdy high-end case. But no, what we actually have is a passable chassis – it hasn’t fallen out of the ugly tree but it doesn’t feel very substantial in the hand, and we’re the materials feel quite plasticky. We’re also disappointed at the inclusion of Diva-esque diamond buttons and camera frame. That said, it’s still a good deal better than Samsung’s host of mid-range handsets (not to mention being leagues apart from the Diva in almost every other respect).

The 5-megapixel camera is fine, but we don’t really like the fact that when you press shoot, the screen goes blank so you have no idea what your picture actually looks like. The other annoying thing is that the photo quality doesn’t quite do the screen justice, so when setting images as wallpapers you may be better off using higher-resolution images and transferring them from your computer.

Conclusion

For a Samsung phone, this one is excellent. It’s worlds apart from the deluge of mediocre mid-range handsets we’ve seen from them of late. The Samsung Wave’s screen is wonderful, we can’t praise it enough so if you spend a lot of time watching videos and using media functions, then we’d definitely recommend you consider it. But if apps are important to you, we’d steer clear for now.

Specification

OSBada

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