Samsung S8500 Wave review: Hello, world!

GSMArena team, 01 June 2010.

The best video player up to date

Multimedia is certainly a S8500 Wave forte. The brilliant display is great for watching videos. The interface of the video player follows the logic of whole UI. Settings and options are a tap away, otherwise hidden when not needed.

The Samsung S8500 Wave supports DivX/XviD files out of the box. Subtitles are welcome as well.

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Video player is awesome

Interestingly, you can search for a specific scene using the "Mosaic search" feature. It breaks the clip down to 16 or 36 parts and displays the first frame of each to help you find the scene you're looking for.

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Video player context options • mosaic search

Performance with higher-res videos is great – it played 720p videos like a champ. Not a big surprise considering it can record 720p videos, but still impressive for a mobile phone. We threw everything we had at it – DivX, XviD, MP4 and even MKV files - all in 720p resolution. The Samsung Wave handled them smoothly and hassle-free.

The final really cool part of the video playback performance of the Wave is its battery life. We run a dedicated test and saw the Samsung S8500 play nearly nine hours of SD XviD video before it lost 90 percent of its battery charge and shut the video player off.

Nice music player

The music player has been redone as well. Tracks are sorted by albums, artists, genres, composers, etc. You can hide some of those sorting options if you don't use them. At the end only those that you've marked will be displayed on top of the screen (as tabs) while the ones you have unmarked will be gone.

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Eye-catching music player • sound enchantments

The major improvements however are only visible when you use the music player in landscape mode. Comparison to iPhone's Cover flow is inevitable with some important differences. Browsing albums or tracks is pretty standard in portrait mode: you get a list of all songs or albums, each with a small thumb. The list is smoothly scrollable with impressive kinetic effect.

If you're browsing in landscape mode you'll be getting an album art arch of virtual CDs. Tapping on a CD will expand it to show all the tracks within the given album.

Alternatively, sweeping down across the screen (from the arrow above the central CD) will display a virtual dial to let you search the albums or tracks alphabetically.

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The landscape mode looks great

Equalizer presets and sound effects are also available. The Samsung Wave comes with Samsung’s proprietary DNSe sound enhancement technology that lets you pick among Wide, Concert Hall. Music clarity, Bass enhancement and Externalisation.

Part of the music player is also the traditional Samsung music recognition feature that lets you record a few seconds of a currently playing track and it gets back to you with the name of the track and artist.

FM Radio on board

The Samsung S8500 Wave is equipped with an FM radio with RDS too. The interface is simple – there’s a tuning dial and you can save as many as 6 stations as favorites that are accessible straight from the main screen. The rest of the available radio stations is still a click away.

You can also listen to the FM radio on the loudspeaker, but the headset is still needed as it serves as an antenna.

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The FM radio app

FM audio recording is also available. The recorded files are stored in decent MP3 format in your music folder.

Audio output spells perfection

We did expect the Samsung S8500 Wave to perform well in our traditional audio quality test but the results turned close to perfection. Not only is the Bada-pioneer one of the loudest handsets in terms of headphones volume, it is also among the ones with the cleanest output. The Nokia N91 is the only handset that we have ever measured to be noticeably louder than the Wave, but it didn't perform as well across the board.

The frequency response is perfect for the entire audible range and deviation is impossible to detect even in lab conditions. The signal-to-noise ratio is also excellent and so are the dynamic range and the stereo crosstalk.

The distortions are also neatly kept and the decision to pronounce the S8500 Wave the perfect portable audio player couldn't be much easier than this really.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Samsung S8500 Wave+0.03 -0.04-90.990.90.016 0.020-92.5
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S+0.03 -0.04-90.790.60.014 0.019-90.6
Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10+0.07 -0.37-85.485.30.018 0.068-83.6
Google Nexus One+0.19, -0.55-86.185.80.0230.088 -85.2
HTC HD2+0.39, -2.99-89.089.10.0570.960-87.5
HTC Legend+0.13 -0.56-83.486.50.024 0.191-83.5
HTC Desire+0.07 -0.39-87.687.70.036 0.080-84.8
Samsung i8910 Omnia HD+1.29 -2.74-87.686.60.0023 0.255-85.2
Apple iPhone 3GS+0.01, -0.05-92.192.10.00350.011 -95.0

Samsung S8500 Wave
The frequency response of the Samsung S8500 Wave and the Samsung I9000 Galaxy S is perfect

You can learn more about the testing process here.

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