Samsung S8600 Wave 3 preview: Exclusive first look

GSMArena team, 30 August 2011.
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Samsung S8600 Wave 3 360-degree spin

The Samsung S86000 Wave 3 measures 125.9 x 64.2 x 9.9mm and weighs just 122g, which isn't much considering the all-metal back - only 3 grams more than the original Galaxy S.

Design and construction

The Samsung S8600 Wave 3 has a slim metal shell with the traditional brushed metal look. It's recognizably a successor to the Wave II but has a touch of Galaxy S in it too - it's safe to say that the Wave 3 is in good company.

The front is dominated by the 4" SuperAMOLED screen, which makes the otherwise minimalistic design come alive when it's on.

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Samsung Wave 3 next to Wave M and Wave Y • Samsung Wave 3 next to Galaxy S and iPhone 4

The display is the same unit that the original Galaxy S had - a 4" SuperAMOLED with WVGA resolution. It has mesmerizingly deep blacks and even though it's not as bright as LCDs, it still offers very good sunlight legibility.

It uses a PenTile matrix, which reduces the sharpness of the display - it only has two subpixels per pixel, instead of three. Still, it's one of the best mobile screens around and we consider it as one of the strong suits of the S8600 Wave 3.

Unlike its two predecessors, the Wave 3 uses capacitive call keys around the center button. The center button itself is big and easy to hit, which is good considering it's the only hardware button on the front.

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The center button is now flanked by two capacitive call keys

Above the display are the earpiece and the video-call camera, along with the proximity sensor. Samsung Wave 3 also adds an ambient light sensor to the mix, which was missing on the Wave and Wave II.

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The earpiece and the video-call camera are at the top plus a couple of sensors

The left side of the Samsung S8600 Wave 3 hosts the volume rocker, which is rather thin and not very comfortable to use. On the right side we only have the Power/Lock key, there's no camera shutter key this time around.

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The volume rocker is on the left • Power/lock button on the right-hand side

The bottom of the phone is more exciting than its stark top. Here we find the microUSB port and the 3.5mm audio jack (both left uncovered) and between the two is the mic pinhole.

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Nothing on top • The microUSB port, mic pinhole and the 3.5mm audio jack

The back of the Samsung Wave 3 concentrates the interesting bits at the top - the 5MP camera and its LED flash and the loudspeaker grill next to them.

The camera is actually quite recessed into the body of the phone, which keeps it out of the way of scratches and fingerprints. The loudspeaker on the other hand only has a small nub as a protection and gets muffled when you place it on a level surface.

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The camera lens and the LED flash

The brushed aluminum surface on the metallic back is a real pleasure to use and shows clear ancestry. Pressing a small knob near the bottom of the phone allows you to slide open the entire back cover. Think something along the way of HTC Sensation back panel but affixed to the body of the phone at all times.

It slides up to a point, enough to reveal the 1500mAh battery and the SIM and microSD card slots. The battery is rated at 8 and a half hours of talk time and 480 hours of standby.

Both the SIM and microSD card slot are blocked by the battery, which needs to be out if you're going to be taking out or putting a card in either slot. That's something we wish Samsung would have fixed - the Wave and Wave II didn’t have a hot-swappable microSD compartment either.

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This is as far as you can slide the back cover • The 1500mAh battery blocks the SIM and microSD card slots

The Samsung S8600 Wave 3 is well-built and a lot of the solidity is contributed by the brushed metal back cover, which hugs the sides too. On the front, the Gorilla Glass covered SuperAMOLED contributes both to looks (when it's on, it's really pretty to look at) and to the durability of the phone.

The Wave 3 is not a small phone by any measure, but isn't much bigger than a I9000 Galaxy S. It's as slim as the I9000 Galaxy S and barely heavier (just 3 grams more) despite the weighty metal on the back and should slip into bigger pockets. It feels great in the hand too.

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The Samsung S8600 Wave 3 held in hand

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