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Contacts, Messaging and Web Browser

Along the bottom of the home screen are three icons for the Phone interface, Contacts, and Messages. These stay anchored at the bottom regardless of what menu you're in and which desktop you're on – it's only when you enter an app that they disappear from view.

The Phone application is arranged in tabs with a dialer being your first port of call, and further tabs for contacts, recent calls, and favourites. It's entirely basic, but also entirely intuitive and functional.


As well as simply listing your contacts the dedicated Contacts app shows groups of contacts and allows you to manage you contacts' information. Once you've setup Facebook and Twitter through the SocialHub (the central repository for managing integrated contacts) you can then update contact info with that information and contacts will take on their Facebook profile pictures. You can also track all the activities of a contact, keeping you up to date with all their goings on from one tab.

It's generally pretty slick, though setting up and using the SocialHub can catch you out sometimes. For instance, you can go to the SMS messages folder from the SocialHub and then navigate back to the SocialHub to look at Facebook updates for instance. However, you can't go straight into one of these services (Facebook, Twitter, SMS) then go back to the SocialHub. Again, it's a very minor point but it can really feel you feeling unstuck sometimes.


As for said Messages folder, it doesn't integrate other messaging services so all you get is SMS conversations, but it's clearly laid out and easy to use. Likewise email is relatively basic, with no combined inboxes or such like, but it's easy to use and works.

Helping immensely in this regard is a very capable on-screen keyboard and general typing interface. At least on the Wave key response was excellent and we had no problem typing at very high speeds. Keyboard layout is also on par with Android and iOS and word prediction is also good enough. It even trumps Android by copying the iPhone's text editing features: hold down you finger and you get a little arrow that helps you to pinpoint the cursor for editing each letter. It also pops up a bubble giving the option to select a portion of text then copy, cut or paste it. The only thing it lacks is the iPhone's magnifying glass feature that makes it even easier to aim the cursor.


The web browser is another area where Bada has really impressed us, considering this is a first effort. It rendered all webpages we tried perfectly, and in double-quick time as well. It also supports tabbed browsing for viewing multiple pages at once, and suports pinch to zoom. There are just two obvious downsides. The Adobe Flash support is fairly poor, so watching online video (that isn't youtube) is something of a problem, though many phones including the iPhone don't support this at all so it's not that big of a deal. We're also utterly perplexed by inclusion the addition of a brightness slider as one of the three primary controls (along with Stop and Settings) on the browser interface.

The other issue is the lack of text reflow. Unlike many Android devices, when you zoom into a webpage it doesn't re-size the text to fit the width of screen you're using. This makes for lots of left/right scrolling to read large blocks of text. It's not something essential and you can get by, as with on the iPhone, but it is a useful option.

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