Okay, back to shore – we had a fun time cruising with the Samsung S7230E Wave 723. Let’s get the negative impressions out of the way first – there is only a couple of those.
The screen is the biggest disappointment. We can justify the switch to TFT, SuperAMOLED is much too limited in quantity. But we’ve seen better LCD units on other Samsung phones plus the low resolution ruins the Bada experience for us..
The video camera was another disappointment, but that was to be expected as good video recording is rarely found in the mid-range. The poor Flash performance in the browser was another thing we saw coming – it’s hardly a surprise on a midrange mobile devices.
But there are plenty of positives too – the nice still camera, the excellent UI, the build quality and materials and the connectivity too (Wi-Fi tethering is still a premium feature). Overall, the Samsung S7230E Wave 723 offers a very competitive package in a really stylish shell.
The other Bada phone we reviewed – the Samsung S8500 Wave - had one of the best screens and 720p video recording we’ve ever seen. And it did an amazing job at video playback. But it comes at an understandably higher price.
The Samsung S5750 Wave575 has mostly the same specs as the Wave 723 but a 3MP camera, no flap and no plastic. The Samsung I5800 Galaxy 3 offers similar specs too but with Android 2.2 Froyo and DivX/XviD support. It’s a tough call between the two, with the Wave 723 winning hands down in build-quality (metal trumps plastic any time), while the Galaxy 3 still has the advantage of the more populous Android Market.
There are more Waves on the way – an affordable low-end one, a QWERTY-packing one, a Wave II with a bigger LCD screen. Bada OS promises to become a prominent player in the mobile OS world and the Samsung S7230E Wave 723 is one of the best ways to ride that wave on a budget (if you’ll pardon the pun).
Other companies have cheap Androids too - and really, if Bada is to become the smartphone OS for the masses, it has to beat Android to it. Symbian too.
Here's what we've got - the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X8 is an affordable low-end droid and offers a convincing package (and more importantly an access to one of the most popular OSes on the market right now).
A step above on the price ladder is the LG Optimus Chic E720 - it offers features that are good match for the Wave 723's powers. And Android 2.2 Froyo will be quite fast, even on a relatively slow 600MHz CPU.
Moving on to the HTC Aria (or Gratia) and the Wildfire - 5MP cameras, 3.2" screens (though just QVGA resolution for the Wildfire), Android with Sense UI. The Aria does have a slightly faster CPU and a 2GB microSD card in the box as well - but it's pricier than the Wildfire.
Finally, the Nokia X6 8GB packs 8GB of built-in memory (though no microSD card slot), nHD screen and a life time of free voice-guided navigation. You'd be stuck on Symbian^1 (a.k.a. S60) though.
So that's about it. The Samsung Wave 723 is a promising and stylish full touch handset, with its main disadvantage being the poor screen. What's more the starting price of 300 euro is too hefty for its feature set and we suspect it should go down to 200 euro to really make a splash in the affordable smartphones segment.