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Saturday, November 27, 2010

2010 Review: Samsung S8530 Wave II - Go with the Wave! (preview, tech, news, report, Auckland, "Android Repair"


They shall come in wave upon wave. Or so it seemed in the beginning. Samsung certainly wanted a strong start for their own Bada OS and they had it. It is usual for sequels to be questioned and belittled. That’s one thing the Wave II doesn’t have to worry about. It’s bigger and heavier than the original.

When the second gen phone has a familiar sounding model name with an actual ordinal number in it – that doesn’t mean a complete lack of imagination. It’s a way to promote continuity. The Wave II has this base covered too – it’s nearly the same phone as the first Wave but presumably upgraded to reach to a more high-end market segment. Here’s a quick recap of its specs:

Key features

3.7" 16M-color Super Clear LCD capacitive touchscreen, WVGA (480 x 800 pixels), multi-touch input, scratch-resistant glass surface
Slim and solid metal body
Bada OS 1.2 with Samsung Apps
ARM Cortex A8 based 1GHz CPU
Quad-band GSM support with dual-band HSPA
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n connectivity with WPS support, Wi-Fi tethering
Built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS support, digital compass, Samsung LBS powered by ROUTE 66
5 MP autofocus camera with touch focus and LED flash, geotagging, face, smile and blink detection
720p video recording at 30fps
2GB internal storage, microSDHC card slot
Standard microUSB port and Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP
Standard 3.5mm audio jack, TV out
Stereo FM radio with RDS, FM recording
Webkit-based Samsung Dolphin Browser 2.0 with Flash support
YouTube client, Facebook and Twitter integration
DivX/XviD video support
Good audio quality
Main disadvantages
Limited number of available applications
Super Clear LCD can’t match SuperAMOLED
Card slot under the battery
No lens protection
SatNav software only a 30-day trial
No ambient light sensor to adjust screen brightness automatically
Poor loudspeaker performance
Wave II over original Wave
Latest Bada OS 1.2
Swype-like T9 Trace text input
Over-the-Air software updates
Larger 3.7" touchscreen

Yep, we know, it’s not a great update. Plus the first three differences over the original Wave are about to be washed away once it receives its due software update to Bada OS 1.2.

The Samsung S8530 Wave II may not be the upgrade that all users have been waiting for, but the phone runs the latest version of the Bada OS and has kept all the great features of the original: from the powerful CPU, to premium connectivity and HD video recording.

And all this is delivered on a larger 3.7-inch display. Sure, it’s no SuperAMOLED screen but Samsung promises the LCD screen is not your ordinary screen, too. You see, good things come in limited number and Samsung is pressed to supply enough SuperAMOLEDs for their Android and Windows Phone 7 operations.

Bad luck for the Wave II, we guess. Even worse for the original Wave – this phone will be as good as discontinued when the stocks run out. The Wave II will take over and that’s that.
Anyway, Samsung are probably not giving up on their Bada OS. If it eventually becomes the base platform for all their midrange touch phones, they will be extremely well positioned to adapt to the new market reality.

It’s not about the business benefits or the multitasking – it’s as simple as apps. Users love to have them and makers love to sell them. Imagine being able to do that on all levels – from the most basic feature phones to the top-of-the-line smart devices. That must be enough reason for Samsung to keep their commitment to Bada.

Like it or not, the Samsung S8530 Wave II is just a step in the process. We’re about to see whether it’s as compelling as its predecessor. As usual, we start with the design and hardware, and then put Bada 1.2 under the microscope.

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