Announced in Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last year (2010), Samsung Wave S8500 is the first Samsung bada OS phone. Bada OS is Samsung’s own operating system. It’s not iOS, Android or Symbian. It’s their very own operating system that’s been garnering huge reviews and hype.
I have always wanted to play around with the bada OS but didn’t want to spend money on a Samsung phone just for this. Thankfully, Advertlets was kind enough to contact me with a review unit of this bada powered Samsung Wave.
As mentioned, the phone runs on Samsung’s very own bada OS. Here’s a quick overview of the phone’s specifications:-
- 3.3″ WVGA Super AMOLED capacitive multi-touch screen
- Back 5 MP camera with Flash
- Improved TouchWiz 3.0 User Interface (aka skin)
- 1GB internal storage (microSD external storage, up to 32GB)
- HD Video Player & Recording
For more information, check out their official product page on the Samsung Malaysia site.
Please note that this is NOT a paid review, but this is a Review Phone. Click on to read more about the phone from a pure user review point-of-view.
The Samsung Wave hardware is great. First thing you’ll notice is the build quality (metal body) and how solid the phone feels in your hands. Very much like a high end phone indeed – unlike the plasticky phone you get in most smartphones today.
|Awesome 3.3″ Super AMOLED screen|
|(Left) Answer call button. (Right) End call / Power on-off button. (Middle) Menu button.|
|The back 5MP camera has an LED flash|
Please pardon the “Not For Sale” print on the back of the phone. As I mentioned, this is a review unit. So, obviously your actual unit doesn’t have this imprint. *DUH*
|The front camera allowing 3G Video calls|
The front camera that enables 3G video call is something that has been omitted from a lot of powerful smartphones these days. Nevermind that video calls are not a huge service, it is still crucial to have the front facing camera.
|The buttons and ports|
At the top of the phone, you’d get a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, a micro-USB charging and sync port. On the left side of the phone, you’d see a volume rocker. On the left side, you’d see a “Lock” button and a “Camera” button.
Super AMOLED screen & Camera
The Super AMOLED screen on Samsung phones are no doubt the biggest selling point. You can see it VERY CLEARLY with this phone. Sitting next to my HTC Desire, the display comparison shows a clear winner in the Samsung phone.
The phone has a capacitive multi-touch screen.
- Capacitive = finger touch (no fingernails or stylus).
- Multi-touch = pinch and zoom when you browse the web / documents.
The image and the picture captured by the camera is crispy clear. Hard to express in words how awesome this display really is.
|The back camera is really good|
Samsung’s Super AMOLED for the win!!!
Setting up the phone
I find this step rather disappointing for a smartphone. Probably because I’m used to Windows Mobile or Android where cloud syncing is the norm. With Android, I only need to setup my Gmail username and password and everything is synced – my contacts, calendar, email, etc.
This is not the same with this phone. I setup my Gmail (it syncs email & calendar) – my Gmail contacts, however is not synced (???). The only way I can sync this is to use a micro-USB sync cable, Samsung Kies sync software and sync it with my desktop computer.
|My Account setup|
Other than Google setup, the phone also supports other webmails such as Yahoo and Windows Live. You can also setup your company email if it’s running on Exchange ActiveSync. Other POP3 and IMAP email accounts are also supported.
Software & User Interface
I don’t know whether it’s getting used to the bada OS or the TouchWiz 3.0 user interface that is a little cumbersome for me. Having used TouchWiz on my Samsung Galaxy Tab (check out my user review here), the UI was easy to understand and adapt.
All you need to do is to slide the screen to unlock the phone. Pretty standard with all touch screen smartphones you have out there.
|Slide down notification shade|
Similar to their Android phone (I’m guessing this is their TouchWiz interface at work), you can slide down the top bar that shows you quick shortcuts and any notifications you have, such as missed calls, new messages, etc. This is another implementation of background notification like Android OS.
*Apple’s iOS does an intrusive pop-up notification that interrupts your usage.
True mutli-tasking is supported here as well. All you need to do is click and hold the hardware “Menu” middle button. After 3 seconds, you will see a menu of last opened applications.
Generally, the user interface is quite easy to use. Without a User Manual, I am able to play around with it and get myself familiarised quite easily. But then again, I am a a geek and a mobile guru. For an Average Joe (say, someone like my dad who is not too tech savvy), it might take some time to get used to and several references to the User Manual to get adjusted.
Touch screen Keyboard
I end up making many mistakes on this screen, which could be attributable to the 3.3″ screen size. Additionally, the Predictive Text T9 function is not exactly very accurate. I don’t seem to think that it’s learning my typing style and texts very well, too.
I also notice that I always have to turn on the T9 function for different applications, again and again. For example, I turn on T9 for SMS, when I go to email app, I have to turn on T9 again there. When I go back to SMS, I noticed that T9 is turned off again (???). It could be me or this review unit.
If you’re not used to using qwerty touch keyboards, you can always choose to use other input methods such as phone keypad or handwriting input. Yes, handwriting input! If there’s no stylus and its a finger friendly touch screen phone, why would you need handwriting input? A redundant option, me thinks.
I feel that Samsung should include their famous Swype input for this phone. It worked so incredibly well on their Android phones, why not have it for bada, too?
|Samsung App store|
There is a dedicated Facebook application that’s built for this Samsung Wave. It’s a basic app that shows you your Newsfeed, your Profile and a list of your Facebook friends. This is linked to your Contact list in your phonebook. With this FB app, you can post status updates, upload pictures and comment on your friend’s updates. It’s a very basic app though, so no fancy features like Events, Groups, Facebook Chat, etc.
Like Facebook, there is also a dedicated Twitter application developed by Samsung. Similarly, this is a basic application that allows your Twitter timeline, another tab for @mentions and Direct Messages. One thing I can’t figure out when I was using this app, is the ability to upload images with my tweets. *scratches head*
|Instant Messenger app|
|Samsung developed widgets|
|Feeds and Updates widget|
|Daily Briefing widget|
|My blogsite on the browser|
|YouTube App that links to the Mobile site|
Personally, I might recommend this phone to my friends who are not too tech savvy. If you…
- Need a mid-range smartphone that can handle emails, calendar, messaging, browsing.
- Are not too bothered about millions of downloadable apps, but only need functional ones
- Great screen for multimedia (picture and video)
- Basic social network usage (not for the Social Media managers)
Mobile88.com states that this device is retailing for an average of RM 1,299. This is a healthy price, but needs to be revised to a more competitive pricing – what with so many options for smartphones in the market and massive subsidized smartphone plans by the mobile operators.
Because Samsung Galaxy S is doing so well as an Android smartphone, I personally don’t think Samsung should maintain it’s own mobile OS such as bada. I say they should just focus on coming out with entry level to high end Android phones. But then again, this is not an OS article, it’s a phone review. *sheepish grin*
Once again, as a reminder – this is a personal user review of a loaned review phone. Everything here is my personal opinion only. If you own this phone and have different opinions, feel free to share it with a comment.
Also, if you’re looking at evaluating this phone as your next purchase and have a question of a function that I might not have covered here, drop me a comment too. 🙂