Samsung’s first bada phone, the Samsung Wave S8500, has landed on our desk, and we’re still not quite certain whether the new OS has a future in the mobile market. Designed to bridge the (fast-shrinking) gap between feature-phones and smartphones, bada is envisaged as the Samsung’s way to corner a new generation of handset upgraders tempted by the flexibility of a full smartphone but shy of either their price, complexity or both. Read on for our Samsung Wave S8500 unboxing and some first-impressions.
One of Samsung’s biggest pride points about the Wave is its Super AMOLED display, and while we’ve a soft-spot for the richness of color and crisp detail such panels deliver, we’ve been waiting to see whether the company’s claims for outdoor-visibility pan out. The Wave has an outdoor-specific display mode, which ramps up color saturation in certain apps; it works well, though we’d still like a screen that’s equally visible in all situations without needing tweaking.
Still, the touchscreen is responsive and the onscreen keyboard seems decent. The homescreen is a mixture of fixed icons and a slice of widget-style customization, though lacks the true interactive gadgets you’d find on, say, an Android device. In fact it’s more of a shortcut launching area than anything else, allowing you to pin your favorite apps where they’re easily accessible, rather than navigating to them through the iPhone-styled menus.
That navigation is swift, courtesy of Samsung’s 1GHz Hummingbird processor, and the Wave generally feels high quality and solid. It’s a slim device too, pleasingly narrow, and fits nicely in the hand. When you first power on you’re invited to link up your phone contacts with your Facebook and Twitter friends, though it’s a labored experience rather than the partially-automated approach you’d find in, say, HTC’s Sense. If anything, the Wave seems determined to remind us at each step that it’s not quite a feature-phone and not quite a smartphone.
We’ll be putting the Wave through its paces for the full SlashGear review, to try to figure out whether or not bada is the next big thing or an unnecessary stop-gap. Until then, enjoy the hands-on gallery and video demo!
Unboxing Samsung Wave: