Samsung Wave 525 Review
- Lots of in-built features
- Wi-fi 802.11n
- Powerful image editing options on phone
- Call clarity
- Clunky apps
- App store still growing
- Lags under heavy task multitasking
- No 3G
For the price this phone packs in a lot of features, be it multitasking, GPS, multiple home screens, widgets, and social media integration. Yet there are lots of minor irritants in almost each aspect. Overall, this is a phone for those who like to (more or less) use their phones with whatever it comes with, rather dabbling with customisation. If you are that sort of a user it's not a bad deal at all for Rs. 7,500 approx.
Samsung impressed everyone with the kind of hardware they packed into the original Wave (GT S8500) at an affordable price point. The curious were tempted enough to go for the phone even with at the risk of braving a brand new (and yet unproven) operating system called bada. The Wave 525 continues the same 'Wave' line of phones and is positioned as the most entry level offering in that line. Without going into the semantics too much, I would definitely place this phone beyond a feature phone and concur with the Wave 525's status as a smartphone – but just barely. More on that later.
Right out of the box the phone didn't look bad at all. The bundle consists of a 2GB card (which wasn't there in our sample for some reason), kies software disks, microUSB charger, data cable, and a wired stereo head set. We found that there was a lot you could do with the phone without putting in a SIM. When it came to opening up the back, is when the minor irritants began. The back cover is extremely difficult to take off. In fact I found it quite funny that the manual cautions you about this. "Be careful not to damage your fingernails when you remove the back cover", it says, and I nearly did damage them.
The operating system is bada 1.1 while the interface is based on the old TouchWiz UI that we've seen previously on Corby phones. This is version 3.0 of TouchWiz. It features upto 10 home screens with a dock at the bottom featuring buttons for Keypad dialer, Contacts, and Messages – things that Samsung rightly believes deserve quick access. Each of these home screens or virtual desktops can have widgets. Tapping on the little widgets button brings up the widgets dock from which you can drop widgets on to any of the home screens. Widgets include basic things like a calendar widget, feeds and updates widget that pulls content from social networking services you are signed into such as Facebook, Twitter and orkut.
The OS has a peculiar way of managing social networking accounts. It does it in a centralised manner through what is calls a Social Hub – something even Windows Phone 7 OS was harping about. In terms of looks the widgets are designed keeping in mind modern-day aesthetics such as transparency etc. On pressing the center hardware button you get into the applications menu, which contains all your bundled applications, utilities, phone settings, as well as apps that you download from the apps store. The messaging application, shows messages in the bubble based conversation style, which is a nice touch of visual appeal and usability.
There is no hardware back button, so applications must always include a software method to go back. Pressing the end call button brings you back to the applications page or in some cases even ends the application. The phone features multitasking, so you can have a browser, music player and other applications open simultaneously. To view applications that are currently running you need to long press the middle button. From the page that it brings up you can switch between applications or choose to close them one by one. There is an “end all applications” button at the bottom, but tapping this will close widgets too. That means you will have to sit and customise your home screens all over again – a very annoying task.
The UI does manage to do a few things in style. While reviewing the phone I happened to stumble upon quite a few Easter Eggs of sorts. While in the phone contacts, you can sweep your finger across a name from left to right to directly call or from right to left to send a message. Another example is when the phone is locked and there is either a missed call or message notification. The long route is to first unlock the screen by sweeping it, then tapping on the notification.
There is however a much quicker and fun way to do this. When the screen is locked, the notification shows up as a jigsaw puzzle piece. Without unlocking the phone, you can drag this piece onto an empty slot or missing piece. This will directly open that message or missed call straight away.
Click next to read on about the phone's applications and design...
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