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Samsung Wave review



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Samsung Wave front
  • Samsung Wave front
  • Samsung Wave back
  • Samsung Wave soft keys
  • Samsung Wave side
  • Samsung Wave side
  • Samsung Wave in-hand
  • Samsung Wave camera lens
  • Samsung Wave test photo
  • Samsung Wave screengrabs
  • Samsung Wave screengrabs
  • Samsung Wave screengrabs
  • Samsung Wave screengrabs
  • Samsung Wave screengrabs
  • Samsung Wave front
  • Samsung Wave test photo
  • Samsung Wave test photo
  • Samsung Wave test photo
  • S8500 Wave - silver Internal menus available in German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Turkish


Our Score:



  • Competitive price
  • Good build quality


  • OS lacks polish in some areas

Key Features

  • Bada OS
  • Super AMOLED display
  • Touch-sensitive interface
  • Manufacturer: Samsung
  • Review Price: free/subscription

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.

Samsung Wave back

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.

Samsung Wave soft keys

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.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


July 12, 2010, 4:34 pm

Thanks for the review, nicely done.

"Frankly, we've not noticed a significant difference between these and any other good AMOLED screens"

I think the main difference is that Super AMOLED is supposed to work in direct sunlight, unlike most OLED screens. At least, that's what Samsung would have us believe...


July 12, 2010, 5:28 pm

@Chris - it's also significantly brighter and colours are stronger (almost too strong IMHO).

Also, as a counterpoint to this, I really don't get on with Bada (or the TouchWiz UI) and don't see the point in its existence - but as Ed says, it is hard to dismiss the Wave at such a low price.


July 12, 2010, 6:26 pm

Is there no facility to adjust the colour saturation and / or brightness of the display in the OS?


July 12, 2010, 7:59 pm

@Gordon: Surely the point is that Samsung control the App Store, not Apple or Google and thus get a cut of the revenue.

While iOS/Android might have momentum in their App Stores in US/Europe perhaps in Asia they are smaller and that will give Bada a chance to grow there before being big enough to compete over here. Mind you at that price it's a great phone (kills all dumbphones) and if their App Store grows will soon compete with Android and then iOS.

Still wouldn't touch this over an Android phone myself though.


July 12, 2010, 8:51 pm

Sticks with dumbphone because smartphones and their owners aren't smart enough.


July 12, 2010, 9:42 pm

It's a shame that we have to watch an advert before the video - I suppose TR has to get funds from somewhere, but it's intrusive.

Martin Daler

July 12, 2010, 10:38 pm


what ad? I don't see one. A brief spash screen for TR and then straight into the main feature.


July 12, 2010, 10:46 pm

Pleace cut your nails


July 12, 2010, 11:31 pm

@timbo347: No sympathy to be honest. It's the least you can do to access our free content and it's certainly not intrusive. I could understand if it were five minutes long but it's a quick 20 second ad at the beginning of a 3 to 4 minute video.

@Martin Daler: The ads are frequency capped - you won't always see one.

@apojapo: Yup.

Martin Daler

July 13, 2010, 1:06 am

So, any user benefit from the "4x the power" you flagged earlier? Did you even notice it?



July 13, 2010, 2:15 am

Edward Chester I see you as an I phone person. On the I phone review you gave 10/10 for features & performance however Samsung seems to fail by 1?? And as good as the Super Amoled is amongst other screens you some how found a way to slate it. !!

Al 2

July 13, 2010, 3:06 am

I don't mind the ads - they pay for the site folks!


July 13, 2010, 1:27 pm

@Martin Daler: Those 4x figures refer to its 3D graphics processing power which is only really put to the test in games. I tried a couple of racing games and they certainly looked quite nice but I don't suppose they were really taxing it. This is a perfect example of how the limited developer support will hold back Bada - there are a total of 119 games currently on the app store.

@Zero: Yes, the iPhone 4 has more features and it's screen is better. Your point being?


July 13, 2010, 2:02 pm

@Martin: any user benefit from the "4x the power"

Most IPhone4 users :), from what I can gather it's the same chip. No idea what deal Samsung/Apple have going here. Maybe Apple helped design and Samsung manufactured, and maybe a deal was also made so that Apple didn't mind Bada been so similar to IOS.


July 16, 2010, 3:26 pm

To Edward Chester, just some constructive criticism.

First Wave soports Flash (it's disabled by default), second design doesn't include only how much do you like the looks of device, one major design flaws by Apple is antenna issue, third does the features score refers to Flash support, if not why don't we just use text only web, fourth how do you determine display quality size, contrast resolution, brightness, refresh rate, viewing angle...


July 21, 2010, 7:36 pm

it seems edward chester does not like samsung...either samsung wave or samsung galaxy s should hav a TR recom (or both).. but noo...cuz itz being reviewed by edward!


September 1, 2010, 8:09 pm

Respected reviewer...i differ on atleast one one point- the screen of wave that is superamoliad is stunning...way ahead of anyphone including iphone4. i have seen the screens of wave n galaxy s...in its comparision iphone4 screen looks washedaway....put side by side all the three phone WAVE, GALAXYS and IPHONE 4... and the difference is glaring...wave beats iphone4..by miles...and wave costs just one third of iphone4....how many app can one use in iphone...when is not multitasking....close one n start another in iphone....wave n galaxy have cornered iphone3,4 for now...that is for sure.


December 30, 2010, 12:15 am

Hi have anyone else seen that o2 are selling this for £10 a month with a free phone. An absolute steal on epic proportions so if that is the case and you compare this to other £10 a month phones then the samsung wave is 10 out of 10 I think.

Jack Branch

January 2, 2011, 2:58 pm

Superb hardware (especially screen). Probably the best phone for video capture I´ve ever tried. With the release of Bada 2.0, will achieve a solid position as alternative OS compared to Ios and Android.

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