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Samsung Wave III Review

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Vishal Mathur

Digit Rating: Good
3.5 3.5/5 image description
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Features:
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Performance:
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Value:
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Design:

PROS

  • Very good display
  • Slick UI

CONS

  • Looks too similar to Android
  • Not enough apps
Where to Buy

MRP: 19600

Summary

There is absolutely no doubt that the S8600 has excellent specs on paper, performs well and has a very good display. Beyond that, you are left wondering what this smartphone is all about. Neither does it have the oomph of an iPhone, nor the sheer app numbers of Android. And nor does it have the user experience offered by Windows Phone Mango. Its price rivals, the Samsung Galaxy S (Android), Samsung Omnia W (WP Mango), and iPhone 3GS (iOS), all offer a better OS and app experience.

In an ecosystem where only the fittest survive, we have seen the fit become fitter (Android and iOS), and the not so fit (Windows Phone 7.5) becoming very fit! Nokia seems to be thinking on the right lines when it is hedging its future bets on Microsoft’s born-again smartphone OS. RIM is fighting, and fighting hard. Which leaves us the burning question of the day - where does Samsung's Bada fit in?

Look & Feel
At a first look, and even much beyond that, the Wave III does seem to have a classy look and a solid build quality. Quite helped by the chassis that is made mostly of metal. The 9mm thickness and 122 grams of weight isn't bad considering this smartphone falls in the big screen category - 4.0-inches and beyond. Below the display are the two touch based keys for call connect/disconnect. Flip the phone over, and we have and we have the halfway slide to open battery cover. Keeping in mind this is a high-end Bada smart phone the easy to slide open (only partly) mechanism is a welcome design and usability element.

Features & Performance
The Wave III is powered by a 1.4GHz processor single core processor and paired with 512MB of RAM. There aren’t too many apps to try out the performance bit as it is, but we did install a bunch of apps and let them run in the background. And am happy to report that the interface remained quite slick throughout.

There is 4GB of internal storage as well as a microSD card slot (up to 32GB) that should be enough to hold most of the music collection.

The 4.0-inch Super AMOLED display is a delight to use, thanks to the crispness of the text written and a very good brightness level. Surprisingly, the colour wasn’t as vivid as the one we have seen on some other devices with the same display. But that might actually be a good thing, since it’ll negate the overbearing red colour shades from the equation. The crispness of the text is a huge bonus, and added to that is the slightly bigger font sizes (when compared to Android) - a perfect combination to help read messages and mails comfortably

The most important ingredient of this particular dish is the operating system - Bada 2.0 version. This is the update to the version we had seen when we had reviewed the Wave II smartphone earlier this year. However, Samsung’s treatment of the OS on this particular device makes it look like Android more often than not. The TouchWiz UI retains the same look, as on most Android phones. Move on to the applications list, and the UI treatment is very similar to the Galaxy SII, again! Samsung has loaded the Wave III with its apps - Music Hub and Social Hub. A new add-on is the app Chat-On, which works like the Blackberry Messenger and WhatsApp. However, comparing to the previous version, Bada 2.0 looks and feels much better to use. Partly it is the effect of the UI skin, but even then, the icons are better, and the transition animations give it a classy aura, perhaps befitting the powerful hardware.

The 5MP camera can record 720p HD videos. The picture quality is quite good, and in good lighting conditions, there was literally no noise. That does slightly creep in as the ambient brightness goes down. Videos are smooth, but do suffer from ever so little jerkiness in pan shots.

The 1500 mAh battery does tend to hold up quite well. You should get about 2 days on a single charge, with EDGE/Wi-Fi connected throughout.

Our Take
If we look at the Wave III in isolation, only considering the performance and the specs, then it is an excellent deal. It delivers on both counts, and adds a solid yet classy build to it as well. However, the moment the blinkers are removed, the problems creep up. At the same price point, it is fighting off its own siblings - the Galaxy S (Android) and the Omnia W (Windows Phone Mango), as well as the Apple iPhone 3GS (Apple iOS). The issue is simple - all three rivals offer a better package overall, particularly if you want to download and use a lot of apps.

Price
Rs. 19,600

Specs
Bada 2.0 OS, 1.4GHz single core processor, 512MB RAM, 4.0-inch display, 480 x 800 pixel resolution, 4GB internal memory, memory card slot (up to 32GB), 1,500 mAh battery

Ratings
Features: 6.5
Performance: 8
Build: 8
Value: 6.5
Overall: 7

Contact: Samsung India
Phone: (Prefix Local STD Code) 3030 8282
Email: N.A.

Test Scores Log Sheet
Brand
Samsung
Model
Wave III

Street Prices (Rs)

19600
Price (MRP, Rs)
N.A.
Features
 
Physical Specs
 
Form Factor
Bar
2G Network Bands
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network Bands
HSDPA 900 / 2100
Screen Resolution
480 x 800 pixels
Screen Size (inches)
4.0 inches

Maximum Screen colours

16M

Touchscreen / Dual Screen (Y/N)

Touchscreen
Battery Rating
1500 mAh

Dimensions (L x W x H)

125.9 x 64.2 x 9.9 mm
Weight
122 grams

Expandable Memory Type

microSD
RAM (in MB)
512 MB
SoC (CPU, GPU)
N.A.
CPU Clock speed
1.2 GHz
No. of CPU cores
1
Hot Swappable (Y/N)
Y
Available Colours
Silver
Other Features
 

Operating System (Tested with)

Bada 2.0

Charging via USB (Y/N)

Y

Hardware Keypad (Regular/QWERTY)

N

Accelerometer (For auto rotate)

Y

Address Book Capacity

Unlimited

No of calls in register

Unlimited

Talk Time / Standby Time (3G) *

9 hrs / 517 hrs

No of Profiles # / Customisable

NA / Y

Offline Opearability (Y/N)

Y

Inbuilt GPS / A-GPS support (Y / N)

Y / Y
Connectivity
 

Browsing (GPRS/EDGE/3G)

Y / Y / Y

EDGE max speed (in kbps)

237 kbps

3G max speed (in mbps)

14.4 Mbps

Connectivity (WiFi/Bluetooth/IR/USB)

Y / Y / N / Y

Bluetooth Version/A2DP support

3.0 / Y
Camera Specs
 

Camera Resolution (Mega Pixels)

5

Video Capture Resolution

720p
Auto focus / flash
Y / Y
Type of flash
LED

Secondary camera for video chat

Y

Mirror for self portrait (Y / N)

N

Camera Settings (So 10)

7

Zoom (Optical/Digital)

Digital
Multimedia
 

Music Formats supported

MP3/WAV/WMA/eAAC+

Video formats supported

MP4/MKV/H.263/H.264/WMV/Xvid/DivX
FM Radio / RDS (Y/N)
N / N
Accessories
 
Bundled Accessories
Wall Charger, data cable

Size of memory card provided

N.A.

Build and Ergonomics (So 10)

 

Surface materials used

8

Overall build and in-hand feel

8

Quality of moving parts

7.5

Design and ergonomics

7.5

Keypad design (on-screen or hardware)

7
Menu and interface
6.5

Settings and ease of navigating menus

7
Camera menu options
7
Performance
 

Signal Reception and Voice Clarity (So 10)

 
Zone 1
7.5
Zone 2
6
Zone 3
5
Handsfree Clarity
6.5
Loudspeaker Clarity
6
Earpiece Clarity
7.5
Handsfree Volume
7
Loudspeaker Volume
6.5
Earpiece Volume
7.5

Bluetooth Transfer Speed (in KBps)

134

Imaging and multimedia tests

 

Captured Photo Colour

7

Captured Photo Crispness

6.5

Captuted Photo Detail

7

Captured Video Quality

7

Effectiveness of integrated flash

7

Music Quality (loudspeaker)

5

Music Quality (handsfree)

6

Volume levels (loudspeaker)

6.5

Volume levels (handsfree)

7
Display (So 10)
 
Crispness
7.5
Colour
7
Contrast
7
Font rendition
7.5

Legibility in bright sunlight

7
Video playback
7.5
 
 

* Manufacturer Rated

 

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Where to Buy