Multimedia is of course a huge part of any modern smartphone and Bada doesn't disappoint in this regard. Video codec support is very good with mp4, h.264, DivX, and Xvid all supported at up to 720p resolutions. Playback is smooth and certainly on the Wave, looked amazing.
Pictures fared slightly worse on the Wave's screen thanks to it's rather oversaturated colours (something you notice less when watching video) but the overall interface for browsing your snaps is easy enough to get around with either a grid or list view available.
Slightly letting the side down is the music player that for some reason defaults to showing you All Tracks. As someone who primarily likes to listen to an album, I generally like to get to Artists first. You can customise which options appear (Artist, Album, All tracks, etc.), but you can't change the order. Otherwise, it's a simple to use, quick and functional player.
Another key consideration for any modern smartphone OS is its app store and Samsung has duly created a dedicated Samsung Apps shop. The depth and breadth of apps is pretty low still – in the region of a few hundred compared to the iPhone's 100,000+ and Android's 30,000+ – but essentials like Facebook and Twitter are there and a surprising number of proper games publishers already have content available.
It really is a chicken and egg situation as to if and how this will improve. Will people risk buying devices like the Wave and then find developers simply don't get behind the platform, or will developers wait until consumers buy the phones then develop for the platform? Either way is risky and Samsung certainly doesn't have the kind of following that Apple does that will have enthusiastic amateurs developing apps left, right and centre. All we can hope is Samsung is providing incentives for developers and gets those apps rolling out.
Arguably more of a problem to the casual user that may not care too much about having millions of apps is the fact that Bada looks rather ugly. Samsung's use of garish colours and blocky features makes the OS look way behind the times even though interacting with it proves otherwise. Indeed, the feel of using and interacting with Bada is actually nicer than Android: movement seems smoother, menus bounce around just like on the iPhone, and when you flick the screen to scroll a page it moves at the rate you expect.
Also, sometimes the user interface can seem a little inconsistent. For instance, there will be a Back button when there is nothing to go back to - it simply closes the program. We also found the position of Ok/Cancel/Back buttons used throughout the user interface the opposite way round to what we'd expect - look at the pictures above, why is Back on the right?
All told, had Samsung released Bada a year or more ago we would've been blown away. Android was (and still is in many ways) a bit clunky in general use and didn't have so many features or apps as it does now and the iPhone, well, didn't even have multi-tasking. Sadly things have moved on since then and both Android and iPhone are well established, while WebOS is still a platform people are somewhat enthusiastic about and the new BlackBerry OS is just on the horizon. There is also the new version of Symbian, though, if our initial experiences of that OS are anything to go by then it's not much cop. All told it's a tough market.
That said, even now, were it not for the sightly garish appearance and oversights - such as the inability to put apps on the desktop - then we'd happily have risked a potentially small app store. As things stand, however, we think Samsung needs to work a little harder before we'd outright recommend going for a device running Bada.