We first got a view of Bada 2.0 on the Samsung Wave Y Young that definitely was one of the best phones in that price tag. Now, Samsung’s Wave 3 ups the game with the addition of a Super AMOLED screen and some more goodies. But, it’s also upped the price tag and now competes with quite a few powerful Androids. Let’s find out if it’s worth the bucks.
On video: Samsung Wave 3
Design and Build Quality
Samsung and plastic have been synonyms, since quite a while now. However, if you go to see, the same kind of treatment is not meted out to their Bada counterparts. A good thing? Definitely yes! Who would want to hold a plastic bar in their hands anyway? The Wave 3 is all about curves, smooth metal finishes, scratch resistance and fingerprint proof unibody design. It blows the Android phones out of the competition.
Let’s take a quick tour around the device. Towards the front, you have the four inched SUPERA AMOLED display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. Above that we have the proximity sensor, the front camera and the ambient light sensor, while the capacitive call and end buttons and the physical home button is located below. At the back, we have a 5 mp shooter, the LED flash and the speaker grill. Moving onto the sides, there’s a volume rocker on the left, while the power button is located on the right. Nothing out of the ordinary here, except that the phone doesn’t have a camera shutter button and the microSD card slot is located under the battery cover and is not hot swappable.
From all sides
The metal finish also means you are nowhere compromising with the quality of this device. It’s sturdy and has a firm grip when held in one's hand. No plastic parts, no bendy flaps; just pure, strong metal. The Wave 3 weighs a cool 127 grams and with that slim profile, its quite a looker.
With the Wave 3 its about three things – class, sophistication and sexy. Definitely an A in this department.
Features and Performance
The Wave 3 is powered by a 1.4 GHz Scorpion processor and has 512 MB of RAM with Bada 2.0 running atop. With the Wave Y Young, we had zero issues with the interface speed. Upping the processor speed only makes it smoother, if it already wasn’t. Flipping through the menus and overall navigation is smooth and seamless. The UI is fluid, but as mentioned in our Wave Y Young review, it does have those few hiccups that need to be fixed. For example, the notification bar auto clearing problem still exists.
About the looks of the interface – if you’ve used Samsung TouchWiz UI, you’ll be no stranger to their Bada interface. It’s extremely similar and you can’t really tell one from the other, unless you go into minute details. One drawback that this one has is limited pre-installed widgets. The app store can help you out with that, but again, there’s extremely limited content out there, something we will delve upon in detail in the misc apps section.
Bada 2.0 also now supports integrated multi tasking, speech recognition and push notifications.
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The Wave 3 comes equipped with a super awesome music player – not just looks wise, but in the quality section as well. A brief description of the interface first. The tabs and icons are neatly stacked and you get 5.1 surround channel and a few equalizer presets. The interface looks awesome in the landscape mode as well with the cover art and the jog dial for segregating artists and songs.
A winner in this department
In the audio quality department, all basic formats (Supported audio codecs include MP3, eAAC+, WMA and WAV) are played by this smartphone, but unlike the Android counterparts, you don’t have too many third party players, if you need a particular format to be rendered on your phone. Music playback via headphones is awesome, but we’ll make a point out here – we tried it with our test Koss headphones, as our review unit came without headphones. 720p video looks crisp and clear on the SUPER AMOLED display and as a media consumption device, the Wave 3 is definitely amongst the best out there.
Another experience in landscape mode
This department has been covered pretty well with support for 3G, Wi-Fi, DLNA, Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi Direct. Samsung’s Dolfin browser has been added into the mix as well and though its pretty smooth and all, flash videos would stutter and play and we reckon it’s due to the software here and not the hardware. In terms of calling, the voice quality is loud and clear and our counterpart on the other hand could hear us pretty well, too. The in-call recorder option, however was not present on this phone.
Social networking is handled well with Social Hub as well as dedicated apps. All share has been included for your DLNA needs. Polaris Office is present as well for your document editing and viewing needs. One addition we loved with Bada 2.0 was the integrated voice command that worked pretty well in recognizing our thick accent and working on it. Something like Siri, but without a hefty price tag.
There’s not much here in terms of both quality and quantity. Besides Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and ChatON, Samsung has also bundled in an app called Caster that lets you share your web content. Orkut has been thrown in for good measure(?) as well. In case there are too many applications running in the background, the in-built task manager comes in handy.
Misc. apps – limited
Now, about the app store. This is what is limiting the Bada platform from competing with the biggies. The app store is so limited that we couldn’t even find basic VOIP apps, like Skype or Viber. Forget that, there was no Whatsapp, either. You get what we’re saying? It may have some great games, like Asphalt 6 and all, but popular utility apps still need to be ported over to Bada. Samsung, listening?
Like every other phone we’ve seen in the recent past, the Wave 3 also comes with a 5 mp shooter. But guess what, it’s the quality that the Wave 3 dishes out that makes it stand out from the crowd. The camera is great for outdoor shots and with touch focus, macro shots come out pretty neat as well.
With 720p video recording, we did notice some colour banding, but we’re not going to be complaining much, because more expensive phones have disappointed us more.
Indoor shots are impressive as well
The Wave 3 comes with a 1,500 mAh battery and the phone easily lasts over a day on normal usage. In our video loop test, the Wave 3 lasted for a super awesome ten hours and twenty five minutes, with automatic brightness and no connectivity options (besides calling) enabled.
Worth a buy?
The Samsung Wave 3 is priced at Rs. 16,500 (MOP). As you can see, it pretty much impressed us in all, but one department, the App store. If Samsung do manage to sort that bit out, we’ve got a powerful phone capable of challenging Android and iOS. As of now, at this price bracket, there’s not much to offer, besides the Galaxy Ace Plus, which we think is quite overpriced. For 1,500 bucks more you get the Neo V, but if you’re looking for something under 17K, and have no requirement for 10000 apps, the Wave 3 is for you.
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