The big platform players of the smartphone scene these days are Apple's iOS and Google's Android, but there are other pretenders to the throne. Bada is Samsung's own stab at Android's vital organs, and the Samsung Wave II is the highest-end phone to use the system yet. It has mighty strong competition, including from Samsung's own dual-core Android monster, the Galaxy S 2, but this smartphone underdog costs a lot less than many of the top Androids.
The Samsung Wave II borrows the styling of its direct predecessor, the original Wave, but bumps its screen up from 3.2in to 3.7in. Meanwhile its body is topped with smooth brushed-metal plating, leaving only the top and bottom of the phone's exterior made from plastic. In traditional Samsung fashion, it's ultra-shiny black plastic too.
Thanks to the amount of metal on show here, the build quality feels superb. The classy battery cover release from the original Wave makes a welcome return too. It's a release catch, not connected to the cover itself, which makes the cover pop up like the hood of a luxury car - dead swish.
There is something every-so-slightly stuffy about the Samsung Wave 2's looks though, compared to the Samsung Galaxy S 2 for example. The oddly-shaped central select button and the diamond-shaped camera lens and flash housings have an air of contrivance that we find unattractive in this otherwise good-looking phone.
They're not unlike the design choices seen in the luxury Vertu phones - deceptively basic phones that cost thousands of pounds: loved by millionaires from Dubai, ridiculed by just about everyone else. Still, the Samsung Wave 2 costs a couple of hundred pounds not a few thousand so we'll have no ridicule here. Moreover, we find it hard to pick faults with the less subjective elements of the phone's design. This is one well-made device.
On its top are the 3.5mm headphone jack and microUSB slot, protected by a sliding plastic cover - more old-school class. Its sides house volume controls, the lock/unlock button and the physical shutter button. There are two soft keys and a main select button on the front, but navigation is otherwise handled by the 3.7in capacitive touchscreen.
Although Bada doesn't have the smartphone credibility of some of the better-known platforms, the Samsung Wave II is equipped with all the features demanded of a mid-to-high-end smartphone. The processor now lags the dual-core heavyweights but is still a powerful 1GHz ARM A8 model. HSPA internet and Wi-Fi are also here, and the Samsung Apps store is on-hand to provide you with games and apps. The Samsung Wave II provides a lot of what's required for a top-notch smartphone experience, but Bada is forever in the background, reminding you that it hasn't got everything its rivals boast.