Samsung – Wave II review

Large screened smartphone running Samsung's own Bada operating system
Photo of Samsung – Wave II
£319 , SIM-free

Samsung has a prolific presence in the smartphone sector, with a number of Android-based handsets doing the rounds, plus a Windows Phone 7 offering. Not content with that, Samsung also has also developed its own operating system, called Bada.

Bada boom
Bada has had a few outings now, notably in the original Samsung Wave and in the Samsung Wave 723. The idea behind Bada is that it gives Samsung a vehicle to manage its own apps store and ecosystem’ – the whole software-based shebang which is important to all smartphones these days.

But Samsung has to sell handsets to make that work, and so Bada – and the Wave II – include a number of familiar aspects. Bada is a multi-screened operating system, with up to ten home screens on offer. It has a drop-down notifications area, widgets, and of course an app store. To meet the challenge of running all that, the smartphone packs in a 1GHz processor, with features including Wi-Fi, GPS and HSDPA.

But all is not rosy in Samsung’s walled garden. The app store is poorly stocked compared to those of Android or Apple. You can’t put links to apps on any of the home screens, and the range of widgets is limited. You can download more from the store, but some are charged for.

Nicely designed
If you don’t mind all that the Samsung Wave II is a nicely designed smartphone. Its 4.7in screen is huge, sharp, bright and clear, with 800×480 pixels of resolution on offer. It’s great for web browsing and watching video in particular – and is, quite probably, the main plus point of this phone.

The actual handset design has barely changed from that of the original Wave, despite the presence of the larger screen, but it’s ergonomic so we’re not really bothered about that. And the chassis is solid, with a metal backplate that means there is no creaking if you twist the phone in your hands.

Balancing act
To counterbalance the software dislikes we mentioned earlier, there are a few clever things that we did enjoy about the Wave II.

Bada lets you control music playback from the notifications area, so there’s no need to switch back into the music app to do this. And there is a Swype-like text input system which lets you sweep a finger across the qwerty keyboard rather than having to lift and press to make every letter. Master the technique, and it’s a faster system.

Company: Samsung

Website: http://www.samsungmobile.co.uk


Verdict
The Samsung Wave II is well made, and has a large, impressive screen. But we aren't fans of Bada. The user interface has its good and bad points, and these largely balance each other out. But smartphones need a strong library of third-party software to help them survive, and it's here the Wave II fails.