Samsung S8500 Wave review: Hello, world!

GSMArena team, 01 June 2010.
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Introduction

Smartphone for the masses or feature phone of the future? Samsung would gladly have it either way. The question rather is, will the Bada OS keep up the pace of its debut device. We’ve been following the new smart platform since its first public appearance. It’s not a particularly hard one to follow anyway, with a single phone announced so far and potential successors of the Samsung S8500 Wave only a whisper of a rumor.

It will certainly take more – and equally convincing – devices for Bada to do as well as Samsung want it to. Proper developer support and a fast growing app store will be a must too. So, it’ll take hard work but there’s something to be optimistic about – the firstborn is promising. OK, cautiously optimistic is more like it with Android, Windows Phone 7 or Symbian ^3 predators lurking around.

We’re about to see what the Samsung S8500 Wave is really capable of. We’re getting ready to enjoy it. The S8500 Wave did well in our preview and - fingers crossed - unpleasant surprises are not on today’s menu. The OS is trying to combine feature-phone ease of use with the versatility of smartphones. The Super AMOLED touchscreen is the envy of the industry, with image quality that no other phone display could match.

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Samsung S8500 Wave official photos

Being the first of a kind has its implications. Some may be willing to forgive a few flaws but a brand new OS needs a flagship capable of facing up to the competition. The S8500 Wave fits the bill. Trademark Samsung exterior and premium build are inviting enough to encourage exploring a wealth of features.

Key features

  • 3.3" 16M-color Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, WVGA (480 x 800 pixels), multi-touch input support, scratch-resistant glass surface
  • Solid 10.9mm-thin metal body
  • Bada OS with Samsung Apps
  • ARM Cortex A8 based 1GHz CPU
  • Quad-band GSM support with dual-band 3.6Mbps HSDPA, 2Mbps HSUPA
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n connectivity with WPS support, Wi-Fi tethering app
  • Built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS support, digital compass, Samsung Mobile Navigator
  • 5 MP autofocus camera with touch focus, geo-tagging, face, smile and blink detection and LED flash
  • 720p video recording at 30fps
  • 390MB user available memory, 1GB Bada apps storage and 550MB messaging storage
  • microSDHC card slot
  • Standard microUSB port and Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP
  • Standard 3.5mm audio jack, TV out
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS, FM recording
  • Webkit-based Samsung Dolphin Browser 2.0 with full Flash support
  • YouTube client, Facebook and Twitter integration
  • DivX/XviD video support
  • Impressive audio quality

Main disadvantages

  • Limited number of available applications
  • No lens cover
  • Card slot under the battery
  • Inbuilt SatNav software has only a 30-day navigation license
  • No ambient light sensor to change screen brightness dynamically

The S8500 Wave tries to give it all and hopes the Samsung app store will eventually catch up. As good as this phone looks and feels, and for all the technology it holds inside, its success or failure hinges on the developer support it will get. The Apple app store took a year to open after the launch of iPhone but look at it now.

Anyway, there just aren’t enough Bada OS compatible applications yet so there’s little difference (beyond hardware) between the Samsung S8500 Wave and a Samsung S8000 Jet. Although it excels in user-friendliness, the Samsung Wave doesn’t quite feel like a smartpone just yet due to the limited third-party software.

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Samsung S8500 Wave live shots

As for the other features, the S8500 Wave is powered by a Samsung-made 1GHz processor and has a great connectivity package. You get both HSDPA and HSUPA support, as well as Bluetooth v3.0 and Wi-Fi with WPS and Wi-Fi tethering. There’s a 5-megapixel camera with 720p video recording at 30fps, and an inbuilt GPS receiver.

Update, 28.07.11: We've added an overview of Samsung Dive.

That’s on the inside though. Now, jump to the next page for a closer look at the Wave’s exterior and ergonomics.

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Reviews > Samsung S8500 Wave review: Hello, world!