Samsung Wave Y review: Young blood
Bada OS 2 with TouchWiz
We've established that the Wave Y is not an Android phone, despite the visual similarities, which are prevalent thanks to Samsung's TouchWiz UI. The Bada/TouchWiz combo was, in a way, being worked on by Samsung long before the appearance of Android, and the Koreans have learned a lot from their experience with Google's mobile OS. The 2.0 OS is optimized to run software seamlessly and efficiently on high end phones like the Wave 3, as well as lower-end models like our Wave Y.
Bada 2.0 brought a new element to the homescreen - the Live Panel, essentially an extra vertically scrollable pane of full-sized widgets. There are contextual menus just like on Android, and the gallery, media players and the web browser match those found on Android, as well.
Some basic weather info has been added to the lockscreen, although it's not a dynamic weather widget, and all you get is a simple temperature reading and a current weather icon. In case of a missed event, swiping on the notification will perform the relevant action. If the music player is running, you'll get the music widget at the top of the lockscreen.
The homescreen can stretch over as many as ten panes to fill with widgets and shortcuts. There's a scrollable homescreen pane, called Live Panel. It comes with full-size widgets such as AccuWeather, Yahoo Finance, AP mobile, calendar and search. You can choose their ordering and enable or disable them as you please, but you cannot remove them altogether or add new ones. The bottom of the Live Panel is reserved for contact shortcuts. You can place as many favourite contact pictures there as you please.
The single hardware control on the Wave Y (the Home key) switches between the regular homescreen and the Live Panel.
The homescreen panes can also readily accommodate application shortcuts alongside widgets downloadable from the Samsung app market.
A tap-and-hold on any homescreen allows you to edit the contents of that specific pane, while a pinch zoom displays an aggregate view of all panes currently in use.
The notification area is almost the same as on Android, with the big difference being that you cannot pull it down bit by bit - it's a tap to expand, a tap to collapse. There are switches for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, sound and auto rotation. Music controls are displayed too if the player is running in the background.
Bada 2.0 is a proper multitasking platform, so naturally, you get that on the Wave Y. The task manager is accessed by a long press on the Home button so you can easily switch between currently active applications, or terminate them.
The main menu structure is flat, with all available items and apps initially spreading across two screens of icons. If needed, you can add up to 7 more. Icons align in a 4 x 4 grid and you can reposition them the way you like. Scrolling the menu screens is looped, so when you reach the last pane you don't have to sweep all the way back.
As we mentioned earlier, the Bada OS is heavily indebted to Android. That being said, there are some important differences to note. The Samsung S5380 Wave Y has a single hardwired control. A Menu key is the first thing experienced Android users are likely to miss. One thing directly resulting from this absence is the fact that all application-specific settings are packed together in the general settings.
So, if you're adding a contact for example, you won't be able to access the phonebook settings. You'll have to go back to the main menu and access the settings from there.
In the absence of Menu and Back buttons, the previous Bada edition relied heavily on on-screen soft keys. We like it how the new version pretty much gets rid of them. The swipe gestures in the phonebook and inbox are nothing new but they did well to keep them.