Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Samsung Wave Review

In a nutshell: The Samsung Wave is a flagship phone running Samsung's brand new Bada smartphone operating system. The Wave has plenty of headline-grabbing features such as the world's first Super AMOLED display, HD video recording, a superfast 1GHz Hummingbird CPU, GPS satnav, 5.1 surround sound and 1GB of built-in memory. Overall this is a high quality package, but remember that it's not a smartphone. Now replaced by the Samsung Wave 2.
The Samsung Wave is the first phone to use the new Samsung Bada OS and features the world�s first Super AMOLED display, for sharper, brighter images and a super fast response. It's a phone with an awful lot going for it, but at the same time it's hard to see it going head-to-head against the best smartphones.

Let's take a look at the Super AMOLED display first. Yep, it's outstanding and as good as the hype suggests. Samsung are the world's pioneers of Super AMOLED technology, and only Samsung phones will have this for the immediate future. The big thing about Super AMOLED is that the screen itself is touch sensitive, instead of the touch sensitive layer being placed on top of the screen. This results is a brighter display and up to 80% less reflected light, so when outdoors the display is much sharper and brighter than an ordinary TFT display. That's the theory, and we have to say it works in practice! The Wave has a gorgeous 800 x 480 pixel capacitive touchscreen, and the result is a pin-sharp display.

While we're talking about appearance, it's worth stopping to mention just how good the Wave looks in the flesh. It looks a whole lot better than in the photo here. What this photo fails to get across is how shiny and metallic the Wave looks, and how tactile it is. It's ultraslim too, at under 11mm in thickness, yet it feels solid and weighs in at 118g. It looks good, it feels good. You want to hold it, you want to own it. And the Super AMOLED screen isn't the only place where Samsung have crammed quality into their new flagship phone. But before we investigate the insides, let's consider the operating system next. For the Wave is also the first phone to run Samsung's new Bada smartphone operating system.

Bada is a multi-tasking mobile operating system designed by Samsung for use in phones and tablet devices. While the Wave has standard apps such as facebook, twitter and email, the number of useful apps available for download is minimal at present. Frankly, we doubt that Bada will ever rival Apple's OS X, Google's Android or Microsoft's WinMobile operating systems for apps.

Sitting on top of Bada is Samsung's usual touchscreen user interface, TouchWiz 3D 3.0. This 3.0 version is the very latest and has been redesigned after user feedback from earlier releases. We've always been fans of TouchWiz, and the 3D 3.0 version is fantastic. Existing Samsung users will love it, and we think everyone else will too! TouchWiz features a number of home screens that are fully customisable, so you can add your own widgets and shortcuts to create an interface that works for you. Looks like Samsung may have picked up a few tips from Android here, which is no bad thing. You also have access to a full-sized virtual QWERTY keyboard, which makes texting and email a breeze. The keyboard changes when you rotate between landscape and portrait modes, with larger keys available when in landscape. The new Social Hub has been designed from the ground up to seamlessly integrate all major email providers, IM and social networking services such as Yahoo, MSN, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

The web browser isn't the best, with no support for flash, but the AMOLED screen does provide a good platform for viewing at least. You can however watch YouTube videos.

The Wave is a flagship phone for Samsung, and they've packed in the kind of hardware that impresses. Top of the bill is a super-fast 1GHz Hummingbird processor that delivers a lightning fast response to key presses and generally enables the phone to fly. The camera's impressive, with 5 megapixels, autofocus and flash. The video camera is outstanding too and can record in high definition (720p) and in slow motion and the Wave also support video calling. The music player is excellent, with 5.1 surround sound and an FM radio with RDS too. When playing back video, the Wave supports pretty much all formats, including DivX and Xvid. The fast processor and Super AMOLED screen make all the difference here. A GPS receiver is built in too, with Samsung's own proprietary mapping system.

There's plenty of memory for all the multimedia features too, with a full 1GB of memory built-in, plus support for microSD cards up to 32GB. Battery life is good, with the monster 1500mAh battery delivering plenty of grunt, and connectivity is excellent with support for 3G HSPDA 7.2Mbps, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and USB. The 3.5mm audio jack enables a third-party stereo headphone to be plugged in.

Overall we like the Wave very much. It has a few shortcomings, but excels in so many other areas. It's a logical upgrade for users of previous Samsung phones such as the Jet. As a smartphone, we feel that at present it can't compete on a level playing field with phones such as the iPhone 3G S or the Android-based HTC Desire. But if you regard it instead as a high-end non-smart phone with a few extra features, then you'll find it meets your expectations. Remember that the Wave is considerably cheaper than the iPhone 3G S, and has some very impressive features that outperform the iPhone in some ways. Just don't hope for too many apps in the near future!


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