Samsung’s best-known smartphones are Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S, but in the background it has quietly been working away on its own Bada-powered phones. Bada is an OS made by Samsung, for Samsung phones, and the Wave 723 is just the third device using the OS to hit the market. Is Sammy simply too proud to admit defeat or is the Samsung Wave 723 worthy to stand up against rival budget smartphones?
The original Samsung Wave represented a striking start for the Bada platform. Metal-bodied, Super AMOLED-screened and powered by the same Hummingbird processor as the Samsung Galaxy S, it wasn’t the ultra-accessible budget device some expected to launch alongside Samsung’s own smartphone OS. The Samsung Wave 723 is what results when all the fineries of this first Bada phone are stripped away.
Gone is the ultra-bright WVGA display, replaced by a non-AMOLED 240 x 400 pixel model, the camera retains the 5-megapixel sensor but can’t match the Wave S8500’s image quality, and the metallic finish has been scaled down to a mere metal backplate atop a plastic body. Family resemblance aside, these phones are intended for different buyers - the Samsung Wave 723 has its eye on the budget contract or pre-pay customer.
To mask these cut-price origins Samsung has tried to class-up the phone with an unusual bundled accessory, the leather flip case. An optional addition, this case covers the Samsung Wave 723’s screen with a leather-clad flexible plate that’s fastened into an alternate cover for the bottom of the phone’s back. An odd USP, but a USP nevertheless.
Although it gives the Wave 723’s display the added protection we used to see in not-much-missed flip phones, it mostly fails to reproduce that cigars-and-mahogany sensibility of class it seems to point towards - the styling of the rest of the body isn’t up to the task. And what’s wrong with a simple screen protector anyway?
The phone’s body misguidedly uses four different hues of black and grey. Samsung’s staple shiny black for the front, silver for the phone’s sides, a darker silver for the bottom part of the backplate and a still-darker brushed metal for the metal battery cover. This patchwork of shades leaves the poor Samsung Wave 723 looking as if much less care and attention was put into its design than some of Samsung’s other phones, often highly regarded for their looks.
The metal backplate doesn’t entirely remove the slightly cheap feel of the plastic-bodied phone, either, which is far removed from the dense and compact body of the original Samsung Wave. Before you accuse us of harking back to unfair comparisons, consider that now, almost a year on from the Wave S8500’s release, both phones are available for free on the same low-end contracts from some carriers.