Samsung surprised us all recently by announcing it would be producing its own brand new mobile platform, rather than sticking with Android, Symbian, or Windows Phone. Called Bada, it's completely open-source so other developers and manufacturers will be able to tweak it as they see fit. We'll be taking an in-depth look at Bada in an upcoming feature, but today we're going to concentrate on the first device released that uses this new platform. It's called the Samsung Wave, which being as Bada comes from the Korean word for 'ocean', we probably should've seen coming.
The Wave has possibly the nicest form factor of any such all-touchscreen smartphone we've seen. We've long since said that the range of around 3.0 – 3.7in screens is the best compromise between portability, usability (or should that be reachability?), and screen real estate and the Wave's 3.3in one fits perfectly in this range. As a consequence, the body of the phone also feels just the right size, being narrow enough to easily grip, and even though it's quite tall, it doesn't feel top heavy. It may not be quite as slim as the iPhone 4, but at 10.9mm it is still very svelte and thanks to curved edges, it feels considerably more comfortable and is easier to hold.
Build quality is also excellent with most of the outer body being made from brushed aluminium, which is finished in a fetching anodised taupe. Even the battery cover is metal and it's removed with a satisfyingly sturdy sprung clip – no flimsy plastic panels to be prized off here. Top and bottom are two sections of glossy black plastic that, given their likely ability to pick up scratches, aren't ideal, but unless Samsung was to try a similar external aerial trick to Apple it needs to have some plastic sections to let the phone signals out.
One area where many companies still fall foul nowadays is by scrimping on the screen, but thankfully Samsung has given this model a nice tough glass finish that resists scratches well, looks great, and feels nice. Like many, the screen isn't quite perfectly flat, giving it a slightly distracting wobbly finish that takes the edge off the feeling of quality, but only the various iPhones and the Dell Streak spring to mind as handsets that don't suffer from this.
Pressing the phone's various buttons doesn't throw up any causes for concern either. They all have a nice positive action, so you know when you've pressed them, and they're all conveniently positioned. All except for the screen lock button on the right edge. It's not that it's particularly difficult to reach but rather that no other button allows you to unlock/activate the phone, as on most other competitors, so you always need to reach round slightly to get to it, no matter what you're doing.