Samsung S8500 Wave preview: First look

GSMArena team, 14 February 2010.
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All-you-can-eat connectivity

Smartphones are usually well-heeled in terms of connectivity and the Samsung Wave is no exception: all contemporary means of data transfer are supported.

All kinds of network connectivity are at the user disposal - GPRS, EDGE and 3G with HSDPA (7.2Mbps) and HSUPA (2.0Mbps). The GSM/EDGE networking of course comes in quad-band flavor and the 3G in dual-band - 900/2100MHz.

The Wave is the first mobile phone to support the new Bluetooth version 3.0. Naturally, A2DP is also supported. To activate Bluetooth (and Wi-Fi), you can use the dedicated control hidden in the notification area on top of the screen.

The S8500 also packs a standard microUSB port. You can choose from 4 connection modes - Media player, PC Internet, Mass storage and Samsung Kies. Samsung Kies is the new software used to connect your Samsung mobile phone to a computer. Interestingly, in mass storage mode the phone mounts its internal memory (2 or 8 GB, depending on the device) and not the memory card inside it.

Wi-Fi with WPS is also at hand. WPS stands for Wi-Fi Protected Setup and it's a hassle-free way to pair a wireless device with your secured network. As long as your wireless router supports the feature, pressing the dedicated button on it allows it to pair with the Samsung Wave.

Web browser

Samsung S8500 Wave packs a Webkit-based Samsung Dolphin Browser 2.0. You can have multiple pages opened at the same time and there is Flash video support on board.

The web browser interface is reminiscent of the Samsung S8000 Jet. There's multi-touch support, so you can make use of the pinch-zooming feature. That's only one of the three zooming options, though.

Update 10 March: You can also double tap a block of text or an image and the handset will automatically zoom in on it. Another double tap and you are back to the previous zoom level. And last but not least, there comes the one-finger zooming which works flawlessly as well.

The web browser also offers kinetic scrolling and fullscreen view mode. The text search option is also there.

Unfortunately, there is no text reflow (dynamic refitting of text to match the width of the display port). Its job is to make sure the text won't run too wide, so that each line of text will fit horizontally on the screen (hence no need for horizontal scrolling).

Another letdown of the Samsung Wave web browser is the lack of auto-complete when typing the address of already visited websites. The only help you get here is the ".com" button which can, eventually, save you 3 extra taps, nothing more.

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Browsing GSMArena.com on the S8500 Wave

Applications

The System Manager was the first telltale sign the Wave is actually a smartphone. It consists of three tabs. The first one shows the battery info, while the second and the third inform you on the CPU usage and the memory status, respectively. Along with the CPU usage you can also see the currently running apps and you can start the Application manager.

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The System Manager

The Voice Command application does what its name suggests. With its help you can dial a contact from your phonebook or a phone number. You can also load a playlist into the music player or make the phone tell you what's on your schedule and which events you have missed.

Using the same app you can also start the Voice recorder or activate the Driving mode. If the Driving mode is on the phone will automatically read out all new notifications.

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The Voice Command app

Our unit came with the Route66 based Samsung Mobile Navigator aboard. Though its maps graphics have somewhat outdated looks, feature-wise there's really nothing missing. It has voice-guided navigation and a huge number of additional features (such as the weather service, traffic info, safety cameras info, travel guides, etc.).

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The GPS nagigation software

Thanks to the Mobile AP you can turn your S8500 Wave into a wireless router.

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The Mobile AP

Unfortunately, the newer Wave version we took for another preview wasn't final, too, so we won't be able to try out the Bada App store, as well as the SNS apps so stay tuned for our review.

Final words

The Samsung S8500 Wave is an interesting device indeed. Performance is pretty good even at this early stage and we take it as a promise there will be little to complain about in the end. While the limited 3rd party software puts it to a disadvantage, the impressive display and the latest Bluetooth 3.0 seem the perfectly good reasons to give it a try.

However, Samsung better learn from their mistakes and provide better support for it than they did for the Omnia HD. A pretty amazing piece of technology itself, the Omnia HD failed to generate as much developer interest as Samsung must've hoped. In the end, it was never able to live up to its full potential. They did indeed come up with new firmware but it was both late and poorly distributed.

So, users should hope Samsung S8500 Wave and Bada OS in general has better fate and receives the after-sale support that it deserves. When you develop a new OS from scratch, making updates convenient for both users and developers is vital.

The other vital thing is to attract a large enough user base so developers feel motivated to write apps. With this kind of potential, a proper sales strategy can do wonders for the S8500 Wave.

OK, but what about the Bada OS. The key thing at this point is it's welcoming and familiar, a smarter TouchWiz as we know it. We guess, it will be as good as the applications that will run on it. But that's yet to be seen. The Bada OS is perhaps a must-have for Samsung. And Smartphone for everyone is perhaps more than a slogan. Just look at where Nokia are heading with the Cseries.

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