Samsung Wave II

Style and handling summary for Samsung Wave II review
A wonderfully vibrant LCD screen sits in an anodised chassis that boasts rounded edges
Samsung Wave II

User friendliness summary for Samsung Wave II review
Though many will not be familiar with it, Samsung has made its OS Bada easy to master, with a nod to the popular Android OS

Feature set summary for Samsung Wave II review
A five-megapixel snapper, Wi-Fi, a 3.7-inch capacitive display and a nifty facility that allows you to save individual screen shots are on offer

Performance summary for Samsung Wave II review
The Samsung Wave II has a good raft of features and they all work well, but we were a bit disappointed by web browsing, especially the limited content that can be displayed at one time

Battery power summary for Samsung Wave II review
A full charge gives you 500 hours on standby and a talktime of 360 minutes

Full Review and Specification for the Samsung Wave II
The full Samsung Wave II Review
While phone manufacturer Samsung may be busily producing phones running Google's Android OS, it certainly hasn't forgotten about its own system, Bada. There are not many phones running Bada; the first to do so was, unsurprisingly, the Samsung Wave. This second generation of the Wave has many of our favourite features from the original Wave and has added a larger, brighter screen and a slightly improved operating system.

First impressions
At first glance, the Wave II looks very much like the original. It has a cold metal back plate and the same anodised chassis. The only obvious differences are the screen, which is 0.4 inches bigger and the home key at the bottom of the display, which looks like it's been squashed. Looks-wise it's hardly big on innovation, but it's still good looking. Fire up the screen and it looks even better - the Wave II has a Super Clear LCD capacitive touch-screen, which looks bright and colourful, even though it's not quite up there with the Samsung Galaxy S's Super AMOLED screen. A near-3D appearance comes courtesy of the preloaded wallpapers.

To get the screen up and running, you have to swipe across the whole display in one direction. Do this, and a frosted window slides across to show off the screen in all its colourful glory. Mind you, it's a bit strange that first you have to push the lock key, which sits on the right side of the handset. Sure, it makes it simple to lock the phone, but it's irritating if you just want to see if you've missed any texts or calls, or want to see what time it is. On most phones, you just press any key to do this.

You can choose to have several home screens - the default is three, but you can bring up a widgets bar by clicking on the widgets icon found in the top-left hand of the screen. Then it's simply a matter of dragging and dropping the feeds or shortcuts you want onto the home screen. Mind you, the widgets are so large that it's only possible to add one to a screen, and then the Wave II adds a new home screen automatically.

This makes the whole process disorganised and rather cluttered with no proper system for organising feeds and apps. There are some handy preloaded widgets on the Wave II, including a Financial Times news feed, Yahoo and Google search engines, BBC news feed, and, which is useful for locating nearby restaurants, businesses and so on.

As you'll find on many phones these days, the Wave II has a social networking feed (called, unsurprisingly ‘feeds and updates'). This aggregates all your Twitter and Facebook news - and both network apps are already preloaded on the phone. When it comes to apps, the Samsung Apps Store is disappointing, with little on offer - especially when it comes to free apps - and this could be a real issue for hardcore smartphone users.

Web browsing
The Wave II might be rather short on the apps front, but it has a great set of features, with the likes of a five-megapixel snapper (which boasts high-def video recording), Wi-Fi, HSDPA and a 1GHz processor. It's a shame that they don't quite live up to their initial promise. Our main bugbear is the web browsing.

Yes, it's speedy, with either Wi-Fi, 3G or HSDPA - and simple to set up thanks to an Android-esque pulldown bar at the top of the display. But each time you touch the screen, when you're trying to zoom in with pinch and pull (which didn't work all the time) or scroll, the web address bar pops up at the top of the display. While we appreciate that the screen is not tiny, along with all the virtual keys for exit, multiple pages and favourites, it still limits the amount of content available to view.

It's not all bad on the net though. We like for instance that double tapping on the display scrolls down the page paragraph-by-paragraph, rather than zooming in. Also, hold a finger on a web page and it will highlight the word you're on (or you can change it to highlight a phrase or sentence). Then you can choose between doing a Google search on that word, translating it or copying and pasting it into an email or text.

But perhaps our favourite touch is what happens when you hold down the home screen button and lock key together - the Wave II takes a snap of whatever you're viewing. It works wherever you are on the phone (so you can take a copy of the home screen for instance) but where it is most useful is for business cards and web pages - especially as you can forward screenshots on using email or MMS. Not only that but you can even print, edit or make a movie from a number of screenshots, and add your own soundtrack.

Snapper happy
We were also impressed with the five-megapixel snapper - it started up quickly and although we found colours a little washed out we didn't think this would matter to the type of user attracted to the Wave II. The LED flash can be used for low-light situations and for high-definition video. Once you've finished your short film, you can put it on Photobucket, YouTube and Hyves in a couple of clicks. Another interesting addition (although not new - we saw it on the original LG Viewty) is the fact that it is possible to record in slow motion.

The Wave II does have A-GPS, but you'll not find any preloaded navigation apps on the handset. You'll not even get Google Maps, which suggests to us that the search giant only cooperates with Samsung when it's using its Android OS. Mind you, you'll be able to download a few apps from the Samsung App Store - the Route 66 offering appears to be Samsung's preferred option. Mind you, it's a tad irritating not to have one loaded, although of course it does encourage users to head to the Samsung App Store.

The verdict
At the end of the day, we'd say that the shortage of apps in the Samsung App Store would be the main deterrent for anyone thinking of buying the Samsung Wave II, and which might push them towards an Android handset. The Samsung Wave II is a very capable device, apart from those web browsing issues, but at the end of the day it's a kind of lite smartphone, and most users will prefer a more familiar OS to Bada. Maybe Samsung should consider concentrating solely on Android?