Samsung’s other set of smartphones, the ones running on their Bada operating system have been under the radar off late, with the runaway success of their smartphones running on Google's Android operating system. The Bada operating system started off with quite a bang with the Wave S8500, which was released in April 2010 and within the first month, sold one million handsets. With Android and iOS currently fighting for top spot, it’s these operating systems like Bada that seem to have taken a step backward. But wait, Samsung’s not one of those companies that sits back and watches, right? Enter Bada 2.0. Samsung wants to be taken more seriously than ever with this new version and their new Wave Y. After ‘S’ becoming a hit, can ‘Y’ propel Bada’s hopes against the cutthroat competition we’re seeing in the market? Let’s find out. 

Design and Build Quality

The Wave Y Young (S5380K) is by no means a thin phone. To some, it might even border on the lines of being thick, but before we dig deeper into the pros and cons of this phone, here’s a quick reminder – the Wave Y is a budget smartphone and hence, certain tradeoffs are going to exist, considering the price it’s selling at. 

From all sides

From all sides

Back to the design, the Wave Y has a glossy black front, which is quite prone to fingerprints, and a shiny metallic back. It looks extremely identical to the Samsung Galaxy smartphones, with the trapezoidal home button being the only give away. The front consists of a 3.2 inch HVGA TFT display with a pixel resolution of 320 x 480. There’s a proximity sensor and a video calling camera located above it whilst two capacitive buttons, for call and end are located below it. The 3.5 mm headphone jack is located at the top and the microUSB charging slot is located at the bottom. Moving on to the sides, the volume rocker is located on the left while the power ON button is located at the right. The back consists of a two megapixel fixed focus camera and a speaker grill. The microSD card slot is located underneath the cover, but it’s not under the battery so hot swap capabilities are present. 

Gallery

2mp shooter at the back

In terms of design, this one doesn’t really follow a different path from the other Samsung smartphones we’ve seen in the recent past. But, it’s important to remember that inspite of reducing the price tag, they haven’t changed anything about the design. The Wave Y weighs a cool 102.4 grams, which is light enough for our requirements, even though the Spice Mi-280 does beat it at 96 grams. Even though the build is predominantly plastic, it’s definitely sturdy and much better than the other 7K phones in the market currently. 

Features and Performance

Interface

If you’re not too well versed with Samsung’s Bada operating system, you might just mistake the Wave Y Young to be an Android phone. But we won’t blame you, considering the similarity in their TouchWiz UI for both platforms. This phone runs on an 832 MHz processor and has 150 MB of internal memory. With Bada 2.0, the 832 MHz processor just about does the job. The phone is fairly quick in manouevering, flipping and overall navigation through the menus. Prolonged usage doesn’t seem to affect it either, multiple apps don’t slow the phone down and if there is any hint of it becoming slow and sluggish, the task manager comes more than handy. The Wave Y is that wee bit more stable and faster than what we’ve seen on the Androids we’ve reviewed in the same price bracket. There was this one odd time when the phone was extremely slow to respond but we figured that the problem was with the third party app that we were running on it. Also, we did go a bit over the top and started all the applications we had on the phone, to just see how much load it would take. Naturally, it couldn’t take it and the internal memory being a tad low, added to the load. 

The interface

The interface

But is it as customizable and user friendly out of the box? Well, yes and no. For starters, there’re limited widgets you can get onto the homescreen. Live wallpapers, though existing, were somehow unsupported by the Wave Y. And the notification bar doesn’t get out of the way even when you’re done looking at the task. You have to manually ‘clear’ it. Our ChatON and Gmail notifications would sit there even after we’d viewed them and we had to manually clear them.

Nice customizations

Nice customizations

It’s extremely user friendly though and within no time, you’ll get a hang of what Bada 2.0 has to offer. You’ve got the basic customization options for your widgets, applications and folders. This new version also comes with integrated multi tasking, speech recognition and push notifications. 

Media

We were impressed with the media performance of the Galaxy Y and we’ve got a similar verdict for media playback on the Wave Y Young. The interface consists of neatly placed boxes of what you’ll need the most to control your music. Supported audio codecs include MP3, eAAC+, WMA and WAV but we couldn’t find any third party apps to try out the other codecs we had. 

Media interface

Media interface

The phone comes with some really good quality in ear headphones. Couple them with the brilliant equalizer presets (trust us because they work THAT well) and you’ve got the best music experience you’ll get from a phone in that price bracket. There’s 5.1 channel surround sound as well and though it can’t be used in conjunction with the other presets, it offers its own variation to the music being played. The Wave Y deserves an A+ in this department. 

The video player doesn’t offer anything different from the ordinary. Video codec support is limited to MP4 and H.264 and again you might have to stick to these formats, because we couldn’t source a free third party player from the Samsung App store. 

Connectivity

At this price bracket, the Wave Y comes with some pretty interesting connectivity options. Firstly, there’s 3G, Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, A-GPS, -NFC- (it’s available with NFC, but sadly not in India). In call voice quality is loud and clear. The loudspeaker comes to good use as well, and the phone has an integrated call recorder option. 

Connectivity options

Connectivity options

Social networking integration is done pretty well with Twitter and Facebook for Bada. The stock Samsung Dolfin browser loaded pages pretty quick, but we did notice some lag while pinching to zoom, or while manoeuvring image heavy sites. Flash wasn’t supported but there’s HTML5 support. E-mail and contact transfer has been handled well and the phone easily pulls in contacts from your e-mail account. 

Misc. Apps

The phone comes pre-loaded with Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and ChatON, Samsung’s latest multi-platform messaging service. There’s a voice recognition app called Viki that works pretty well.

Misc apps

ChatON, Voice recognition and Viki

There’s not too much in terms of extra content, besides the usual voice recorder and task manager. SocialHub has been featuring in all of Samsung’s smartphones and has been included on this one as well.  

Camera

The Young is strapped with a two megapixel fixed focus camera on the back, and a VGA on the front. You might even mistake the front camera to be a sensor of sorts, because it doesn’t show up in the camera settings, and that is definitely a downer. It’s available only for video calling via your network, and the App store still doesn’t have any video chat applications, so that may be a restriction to some. Add to it, that you won’t be able to click self portraits. Anyway if you’re hell bent on wanting to use it as a mirror, (as if that counts!) pressing *#0*# on the home screen allows you to view the front camera. 

Cannot choose the front camera

Cannot choose the front camera

Back to the main camera – it’s a fixed focus one and doesn’t consist of an LED flash. At best, the phone is suitable for casual photography and outdoor shots. Anything indoors or with low lighting will come up with disappointing results. Video recording is limited to HVGA at 30 fps. This one too doesn’t particularly impress with quite a bit of colour banding.

good for casual snaps

good for casual snaps

Battery Life

The Wave Y comes with a 1,200 mAh battery powering a 3.2-inch screen. In our video drain test, the phone lasted for an astonishing ten hours and forty minutes easily surpassing the times we’ve seen on the other Android phones and a cool forty minutes above the Galaxy Y. In our loop test, the phone lasted for three hours of calling with 2G on, four hours of video, five hours of audio (which included one and a half hour of streaming via Wi-Fi). This only means a good thing for Bada and those wanting a phone with a powerful battery life. 

A worthy buy?

A worthy buy?

Verdict

The Samsung Wave Y Young is priced at Rs. 7,150. At this price tag, it directly competes with the Samsung Galaxy Y and the Spice Mi-350n. In terms of specs alone, the Spice Mi-350n might provide more bang for your buck, with a better camera and a larger screen, though it falls a bit short in processing speed. But, if you’re looking for brand value, you’ll be more inclined towards either the Galaxy Y or the Wave Y. Whilst the Galaxy Y gives you the all important Android market, it’s that tiny bit smaller in terms of screen size and resolution, than the Wave Y. The only thing that holds the Wave Y back, is the lack of app support in the market. 

If you want a nice stable experience on a phone, then the Wave Y is definitely a good option, but if you’re more interested on what games and apps your phone will run, the Androids are a better bet. 

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