Samsung S8500 Wave review: Hello, world!

GSMArena team, 01 June 2010.
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Final words

The Samsung S8500 Wave is the first phone to run a brand new OS and this may look great on its resume but isn’t what makes it worthwhile. The potential is all there and the UI user-friendliness is at its peak so even if Bada OS never takes off, the Wave would make a perfect feature phone nonetheless.

At this point the S8500 Wave is still a smartphone-to-be. With only a few available third party apps users will be right to have their doubts. But that would be something for Samsung and the Bada OS to sort.

Now, how about the phone? We think the S8500 Wave is well worth its asking price and it would serve well the goal of paving the way to the mass market for a brand new OS.

There’s a marvelous Super AMOLED touchscreen, a zippy 1GHz processor, a nice camera, solid multimedmedia capabilities and great connectivity. And those don’t depend on the number of Bada OS compatible apps.

Not least, the Samsung S8500 Wave looks and handles great. It’s slim and solid, with perfect build and great performance. Just like a good throwing knife it’s perfectly balanced and feels like a tool that would handle any job you throw at it.

It’s a proper flagship – only without a fleet. Samsung’s intentions about the Bada OS look serious enough but it doesn’t seem clear how the whole thing will shape up. It would make sense for the Bada OS to try and quickly populate the midrange and for Samsung to get the app store up to scratch as soon as possible.

When – and if – this happens, the S8500 Wave will fit in place. It will be in charge of a lineup of mass-market smartphones to give loyal users plenty of upgrade options and let Samsung profit from their own app store.

At this point though, the Samsung S8500 Wave is a premium device, getting some heavy premium competition. We can only think of only one close rival that isn’t among the market’s heavy-hitters.

The Symbian-powered Sony Ericsson Vivaz has an 8MP snapper but a smaller (and resistive) TFT screen. These are both feature-rich phones and the choice is hard. The Bada OS is better in terms of looks and touch experience but the amount of compatible apps is undoubtedly in favor of Symbian. It’s a tie we think in the video department.

Samsung i8910 Omnia HD Sony Ericsson Vivaz
Samsung i8910 Omnia HD • Sony Ericsson Vivaz

If spending more cash on a gadget isn’t a problem, there’s a great selection of first-class phones you might want to consider. The Nokia N8 is said to start shipping in the coming months at about 370 euro (before tax). It runs the refreshing Symbian^3 and promises to be a remarkable cameraphone: large-sensor 12-megapixel AF camera with Xenon flash. The N8 has an AMOLED touchscreen too (no Super AMOLED though).

Nokia N8
Nokia N8

Next up are the HTC Desire and its twin-brother, the Google Nexus One. Both have a Snapdragon on board and 3.7” AMOLED touchscreen (no Super here either). 5MP autofocus cameras with WVGA video are in charge of imaging. The two Androids cost around 400 euro each.

Another Android-powered option in this price bracket is the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10. Its major advantages are the Snapdragon platform, the excellent camera, which is promised HD video recording later this year and the highly customized social-oriented UI. The XPERIA X10 TFT touchscreen measures 4 inches and delivers great image quality but can’t compete with the Wave’s Super AMOLED display (even if it is way smaller). The outdated Android version 1.6 is a letdown in its own right too.

HTC Desire HTC Google Nexus One Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10
HTC Desire • HTC Google Nexus One • Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10

Now, these are serious rivals up there but we guess it will be up to the Samsung I9000 Galaxy S to keep the industry’s finest at a safe distance.

Samsung I900 Galaxy S
Samsung I900 Galaxy S

And while Samsung’s top Android is the most likely nominee to be Samsung’s top smartphone, the S8500 Wave will have to find its proper place. It’s not quite the smartphone it wants to be just yet. But the Wave is trying to make up for it with a brilliant screen, excellent UI usability, solid feature set and premium looks.

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