Samsung has been one of the most enthusiastic adopters of Google’s Android operating system but the Wave sees the company run a phone on its own Bada software for the first time. So is it a strong competitor in an increasingly competitive space?
In physical dimensions alone the Samsung Wave is an attractive and impressive phone. It houses a 3.3” screen in a solid steel body and is quite slimmer and lighter than other devices on the market. The aforementioned screen is a “Super AMOLED” display and gives extremely sharp picture quality without being too much of a drain on the battery; it is also a very responsive touchscreen.
As far as the rest of the specs go it is all fairly standard. A 5mp camera with flash sits on the back, it has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth and its standard headphone jack allows it to double-up easily as an mp3 player or FM radio.
The operating system itself will be somewhat familiar to anyone who has used a Samsung phone with its TouchWiz interface; such as the Tocco. The Wave appears much the same, albeit with a far more polished finish and greater depth to the customisation options.
Just like Android users are able to have multiple screens which can be populated with different widgets. There are three static buttons at the bottom – the default being shortcuts to the keypad, contacts book and messages folder – but all of this can be moved around if users so wish.
The main menu also has multiple pages and can be edited to a user’s heart’s content. There is also a neat notifications tab at the top of the screen which can be pulled down to quickly switch WiFi, Bluetooth and Silent Mode on and off. Users can also access new messages quickly from there much as they can in Android.
All of this is executed extremely well. The phone has a very simple feel and takes a lot of its leads from Android OS without copying it too much. The keyboard and predictive text on messaging is also extremely responsive and accurate – something that will make this far more attractive than most touchscreen handsets.
There are flaws, however. The e-mail interface is quite lacking and awkward to use – it fails completely when compared with the iPhone’s system and Androids. There are also a few quirks that make it harder to jump from one SMS to the other.
The Samsung App store is also quite lacking at the moment but this is something that will right itself eventually, assuming Samsung give proper support to Bada and developers see a market in writing code for it.
Overall, however, the Samsung Wave is a very enjoyable phone to use and it certainly holds its own against much of its competition. It is not the best smartphone out there but it holds a lot of promise. Most importantly Bada also has the potential to be a very strong operating system, though it will take other manufacturers to get behind it and a few of its tweaks to be ironed out for that to ever be realised.