The mobile phone market is like an ocean full of choices. Some good, mostly bad. But every once in a while, a solid contender washes ashore, proving that not all the best gadgets fall from Apple‘s tree. The Samsung Wave S8500 is one such phone, and we here at Techie can boldly say that Jobs & Co. can learn a thing or 2 from this Korean.
The Wave S8500 is a lesson on how to make a phone that’s worthy of existing in 2010. It’s quick, smooth, and has full of connectivity options that will put most other phones to shame, the iPhone included. It’s cheap, too, selling for a mere P19,000 with no obligation or lock-ins with telcos. In layman’s terms, it’s “open line,” and we all know how important that is to a prepaid country like the Philippines.
So what exactly got us excited about riding the Wave? Well, to tell you the truth, it’s nearly everything. From the looks down to the silky-smooth Touch Wiz user interface, the S8500 is spot-on. It’s the first phone we’ve used that made us say, “Wow, that is one well-made phone.” And it really is.
The Super AMOLED screen is the crown jewel of the S8500. It’s the prettiest screen we’ve seen on a phone, ever, and it easily puts Apple devices to shame when it comes to color depth and sharpness. It’s a joy to use and is a far cry from Samsung‘s older offerings, like the Spica and the Marvel, because of 2 reasons: 1. the Wave S8500 is equipped with a 1GHz processor and 2. it makes use of the new Bada mobile operating system. “Bada” means ocean in Korean, so the analogy at the beginning of this review is not without reason.
Apple iPod touch vs. Samsung Wave S8500. Notice the difference in color
The combination of the new CPU and the new OS makes the S8500 outstanding on all fronts. Touch-screen performance is comparable to the iPhone/iPod touch and is much more responsive compared to Android devices such as the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 and the (ugh) HTC Magic. There’s no learning curve involved because everything is easily understandable. We’ve no doubt Samsung took cues from Apple, given how the grids resemble the iPhone’s home screen, but this is a very impressive showing especially for a first-version OS.
Having mentioned that, we have to admit that while the Wave is an impressive physical specimen, it’s letdown by the lack of apps. To date, Bada only offers a total of 143 apps in the Samsung app store. Compare that to Apple’s 200,000 and Android‘s 50,000, and it’s clear that Bada has a lot of catching up to do.
The S8500’s chassis greatly complements the OS. It looks very business-chic, and the brown aluminum shell just adds class to this already gorgeous piece of work. Buttons are kept to a minimum with only the Call, End, and Menu buttons taking up space right below the screen. It’s solid and hefty, making it look more like a P30,000 phone rather than something that sells for the price of a netbook.
The battery, which can be removed easily by any average Juan, can last for about 2 1/2 days with heavy use. Of course, given the present state of the Samsung app store, there’s nothing much to do really than to indulge yourself in Wi-Fi browsing (which it also does extremely well).
Great build, good features, and a wickedly affordable price… The Samsung Wave S8500 with its bad-ass Bada OS is one of the few phones that got us excited this year, and so it more than deserves perfect marks. When you see the Wave at your friendly neighborhood cellphone store or at a Greenhills tiangge, you only need to say these words to yourself: Surf’s up!
Click here to see the Samsung Wave S8500 in the Buyer’s Guide.