Samsung Wave -- Hands On

[Mobile World Congress 2010] Samsung has just announced the Samsung Wave, and I was fortunate to get my hands on it for a short time – not long enough to provide anything remotely close to a review, but sufficiently to write a “first impressions” post. The device is solidly built and the crown’s jewel is the new AMOLED display (call it AMOLED 2 if you want), which is better than the Nexus One’s, which is excellent. The Samsung processor is an upgrade from the one used in the iPhone 3GS, and should provide an excellent (overall) performance. That said, it might be hard to compare because it runs on Samsung’s proprietary operating system (OS) called Bada.

The OS itself was still a beta version, so the design will change by the time this device hits the market, 3 to 4 months from now. I tried to look at the fundamentals, like the responsiveness, and did my usual scrolling test to measure the lag between finger motion and screen motion. It very responsive – something between the Nexus One (faster than) and the 3GS (slower than). Because the hardware is more powerful than the 3GS, I suspect that the lag is somehow induced by the OS, just like it is the case for Android.

Physically, the device feels solid. It also feels smaller than the iPhone (because it is) or the Nexus One – the two top phones to dethrone in this category. I think that the style is very similar to other Samsung phones, so no surprises there. It looks good, but it’s not extraordinary. Because the device is narrow, Samsung has decided to enable the virtual keyboard only in landscape mode (what do you think of this? Drop a comment).

Overall, I believe that the fast processor and the display are the two pillars of the Samsung Wave. At the moment, the proprietary OS and the current lack of apps are a bit of a turn off, but Samsung is trying really hard to ramp this up quickly. Time will tell.

From what I’ve heard, Samsung recognizes that it was caught off-guard by the smartphone onslaught of last year, but 2010 should be a comeback year for the brand with smartphones supporting major platforms like Android and Windows Mobile. Samsung has also great plans for its own Bada OS as it realizes the benefit of owning the whole stack: hardware, OS, apps.

The (specs are:

  • 3.3″ Super AMOLED display, 800×480
  • 1Ghz CPU, 2GB of internal memory + microSDHC slot
  • GSM/HSDPA 3.6Mbps (900/1200Mhz) + AGPS + Bluetooth 3.0 + WIFI G/N
  • 5 Megapixel Digital Camera
  • TouchWiz 3.0 user interface
  • Samsung Apps, store
  • Support for Exchange
  • HD video decoding (xvid, divx 720p) and encoding
  • FM Radio, including recording
  • 3.5mm audio connector
  • Voice commands
  • 118 x 56 x 10.9mm
  • 1500 mAh battery
  • Availability: Mai 2010 in Europe

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