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As few are familiar with Bada’s small family line, we’re going to dwell a little on what the OS has to offer. Bada has its own app store, comes with a GPS navigation app and gives multiple home screens to customise with widgets. As the Samsung Wave 723 offers Wi-Fi and 3G, it’s an always-connected device that fulfils all of the usual smartphone prerequisites.
A sense that the Bada Wave 723 still has one toe resting in feature phone territory remains though. Bada is designed with accessibility in mind, and customising your home screens is quick and easy. Just tap the “Widget” button at the top-left of a home screen and drag the widget you want from the toy chest that pops up at the bottom. However, it’s as limited as it is simple.
The selection of built-in widgets is fairly small, and although you can download more from within the Samsung Wave 723’s Settings menu, there’s not a great deal extra on offer. With our test device, we had access to a whole 16 options including such riveting additions as a static shortcut to the Samsung Apps store.
The Samsung Apps portal is similarly understocked, with fewer than 2,000 apps available at the time of writing. Many of these are low-quality java ports rather than the iPhone ports we’re used to in other smartphones ─ the navigation of it even smacks of an old Java games portal rather than a smartphone store like the Android Market or BlackBerry App World.
Experienced smartphone users might start to feel as though they’re playing in a quasi-smart sandpit, treated to an impression of the full smartphone experience rather than the real deal. The navigation of Bada comes across like an impersonation of Android in particular, but crucially it’s not a bad one. If you think you’ll find the boundless scope for customisation of Android daunting or of no interest, Bada’s not a bad alternative.
Bada’s issue is that it apes this most tweakable of smartphone giants, rather than adopting a slicker constrained style, as used in Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, and the inevitable comparison highlight’s Bada’s key weaknesses. Surprisingly, Bada offers full multitasking control though. Hold down the main menu key and a pop-up showing all running applications appears, each represented by an icon sporting a little minus sign that lets you close it down.
Multitasking can have an effect on battery life if you don’t keep an eye on your running apps. The Wave 723 will last for a couple of days with careful use, but we saw the battery level drop more rapidly when we left our multitasking ways unchecked.