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Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look

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IFA 2011. First Look at Samsung Wave III: New Bada Flagship

Live photos of Samsung Wave III


  1. In the box
  2. Positioning
  3. Design, Dimensions and Controls
  4. Display
  5. Battery
  6. USB, Bluetooth, Connectivity
  7. Storage and Memory
  8. Camera
  9. CPU, Performance, GLONASS
  10. First Impressions

In the box:

  • Battery
  • 1500 Li-Ion mAh
  • USB cable
  • Wired stereo headset
  • User Guide
  • CD with software


One year after the launch of the Wave Samsung comes up with Wave III. The third flagship on Bada (Samsung proprietary platform) can be easily considered to be the second in the lineup as Wave II was merely a variant of the first phone with the differing screen size, but featured the same software. Despite the flamboyant name that device did not become the second leader, but just complemented the original model. At the same time Samsung paid more attention to Android and Bada stayed out of the limelight, which allowed many to claim it was a non-starter. However, it is not really so, because sales of devices on the Bada were decent. It is another matter that they are not as noticeable as those of Android, iOS or Symbian. For a newly created platform the figures were quite noticeable. Therefore, we can safely say that Bada will continue as an inexpensive analog of Android and this role is envisaged by Samsung. Devices on Bada have analogs running Android, but they are a bit expensive. This is a fee for the ecosystem. It is not a secret that the number of applications for Android is increasing much faster. There is still no Skype or similar programs for Bada and their prospects are not clear. Today the positioning of Bada is simple. These smartphones are for those who do not need extra features and plan to use only default ones. There is also a set of standard everyday applications: unconverted video playback, browser, music and other entertainment tools. It is some sort of universal solution, which should attract with its price.

Let me remind you that the first Wave was almost 30% cheaper than the Galaxy S, which looked very attractively. This difference in price was justified due to slightly inferior performance and the absence of additional software. With the release of Wave III we are confronted with the fact that the gap with the flagship remains roughly the same. As always there are some reservations. Over the past year the price of Galaxy S, the flagship of 2010, fell almost by 50%, which makes this model very attractive. With characteristics similar to Wave III this model costs much less. The processor is a bit slower, but the screen is still on par. Do you need the same processor? Then you have the option of Galaxy S Plus 2011 available on selected markets under different names. Nevertheless, unlike the original handset it has a 1.4 GHz processor instead of 1 GHz. The difference is not too noticeable in most applications, but operation time is clearly shorter. Again the price is lower than that of Wave III. The popularity of Android Galaxy lineup influenced this Bada flagship negatively. Its price is not optimal and loses out to last year's solutions. The only obvious advantage is a metal body finished in an interesting way. There are no other advantages. On the downside we have a smaller portfolio of apps in comparison with Android. Another obvious disadvantage is that Bada was created as an analog of Android and was even supposed to replace these models. In other words Bada has no value of its own and is designed for those who for whatever reason do not like Android. In my opinion, the audience of Wave III will be significantly lower in comparison with the first two models due to the pricing and the presence of more advanced options. We cannot expect a resounding success for Wave III similarly to the first incarnation. On the other hand this model highlights features to be available in cheaper phones, which will be more attractive. Most of the new features have been already seen in Galaxy S2 and they were simply transferred to Bada (WiFi Kies, voice dialing, and so on).

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Design, Dimensions and Controls

The first surprising point lies in the dimensions of the handset: 125.9х64.2х9.9 mm. The weight is appropriate at 122 g. The elegance of the initial model (118х56х10.9 mm, weight - 102 g) is no longer here. We cannot compare these phones in terms of dimensions.

Samsung Wave 3 vs Samsung Wave:

If to ignore the metal body the size of the handset is almost a carbon copy of Galaxy S. I had a feeling that both phones were created by one team of engineers. In Wave III was lost a camera button, but other controls are similar to Galaxy S. On the left is located a volume rocker, while the right side hosts the screen lockup key. A 3.5 mm headphones jack and a microUSB jack are on the bottom (in Galaxy these elements were at the top, but it is not essential).

Samsung Wave 3 vs Samsung Galaxy S:

Under the screen we see a frontal camera for video calls together with the light sensor and inbuilt electronic compass.

Unlike the original Wave the model under review has no hardware green and red buttons, which is a giant step backward. Subsequently, the ergonomics was negatively affected. The red button was also assigned to close apps. Occasionally you can shut down applications by mistake, which is irritating. The central key opens the apps manager to switch between them. The key is hardware and raises no questions. I think overall the convenience was sacrificed.

The speaker is at the back alongside a 5 MP camera with the flash. The location of elements is similar to Galaxy S. I liked the metal body, which resembles a glass. You cannot take the phone out of it completely. It adds to good built and durability.

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It's the very same screen used in Samsung Galaxy S. it measures 4", the resolution is 800x480, 16M colors. It is the first generation SuperAMOLED screen. I am baffled to hear some people say that this type of screens is obsolete. The competitors simply don't have anything comparable in the same price ranges. The arms race Samsung imposed on the market has put this company into the lead far ahead the others. And yet a year and a half has passed there is nothing that can compete with SuperAMOLED screens in any aspect.

The screen fits 16 lines of text and three lines of notifications. In the reading mode it can display up to 24 lines depending on the size of the font. You can select the size and the type of the font in the settings but they look pretty much the same. The system font here unlike many other phones is huge and text is easily readable at any distance which is really cool.

The big plus is that the screen remains legible under sunlight – matrices this big do not usually perform very well in this aspect.

The phone features a motion sensor that allows you to rotate the screen and scroll through your pictures by tilting the phone.

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The phone uses a 1500mAh Li-Ion battery. Quoted lifetime is 14.5 hours of phone calls, 535 hours of standby. In European networks the phone works about two days with an hours of phone calls, a few SMS, a few mail messages, about 3 hours of music and radio listening and 2 hour mail sync (both EDGE and Wi-Fi). If you use the Internet and mail all the time the battery will only last one day. It takes around 2 hours to charge the battery.

The battery can give you about 5.5 hours of non-converted video playback or up to 34 hours of music playback.

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USB, Bluetooth, Connectivity

Bluetooth. Bluetooth version is 3.0. During data transfer to a device that supports this technology Wi-Fi 802.11 n is also used and the theoretical rate of data transfer is 24Mb/s. I tested it on a 1GB file and the average transfer rate was 12Mb/s at three meters.

The phone supports various profiles including Headset, Handsfree, Serial Port, Dial Up Networking, File Transfer, Object Push, Basic Printing, SIM Access, A2DP. Headsets work fine, no issues detected.

USB connectivity. You can select one of three modes: Media Player, Mass Storage, Samsung Kies. You can use the phone as a mobile access point (Wi-Fi Hotspot) or use USB tethering.

The USB Mass Storage mode works fine and does not require any drivers – you can easily move data between your PC. The USB version is 2.0, the data transfer rate is about 25Mb/s.

When the phone is connected to a PC USB and Bluetooth cannot work simultaneously and the phone requests turning Bluetooth off regardless of the status (paired device or data transfer) which really inconvenient. The battery charges when the phone is connected via USB.

The phone supports the USB on the Go feature that allows you to connect flash drives or any external disks to the phone by means of a special adapter and browse, copy etc. the contents with the file manager.

The microUSB port also supports MHL which means that you can connect your phone to your TV (to HDMI) with a special cable. This standard allows you to connect to HDMI ports by means of the microUSB port on your phone. I think this is better than having a separate miniHDMI slot on the phone.

The phone uses EDGE class 12 for GSM networks.

Wi-Fi. 802.11 a/b/g/n standards are supported, the Wi-Fi menu looks a lot like the Bluetooth menu. It can remember networks and automatically connect to them. There is a single click connection feature – you will have to press the button on the router and then the WPA SecureEasySetup button in the phone.

Wi-Fi Direct. This new protocol will replace the regular Bluetooth and compete with its 3.0 version (it also uses Wi-Fi n for transferring large files). You turn Wi-Fi Direct on in Wi-Fi settings and the phone starts searching for devices. You select the device you want and voila! You can now browse files on the other phone and move files between phones. Another way is to find devices connected to your router and transfer files through the gallery or other directories. But the other phone must also support Wi-Fi Direct.

Kies via Wi-Fi. The first company to introduce driver free PC syncing was Motorola. You could browse certain phone directories via Wi-Fi. Samsung went a little further and gave wireless access to all the directories. You enter the address suggested by your phone into your PC browser and you are good to go with moving any data between the phone and the PC. Simple and convenient. You don't need any special software, you can write and read SMS right from your PC.

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Storage and Memory

The phone has 4GB of inbuilt storage, 3GB is free from the start. The memory card is displayed separately; you can browse all directories at once (both from the phone memory and the card). There is no hot swap for memory cards. I have tested a 32GB memory card and it worked fine.

The phone features 1GB of system memory, the boot leaves about 800MB free which is plenty for any app.

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It is a regular 5MPix module with autofocus and video shooting support. The camera interface is horizontal; the buttons are big and easy to use. All setting and features are selected by pressing the respective buttons.

Video can be recorded in up to the 1280x720 resolution.

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CPU, Performance, GLONASS

The phone features a 1.4GHz processor which is quite up to date. Considering the fact that I tested a very early prototype I cannot really assess the performance of the phone I'll have to do that later when the phone is officially released.

The phone uses a combo GPS/GLONASS navigation chip. I could not test GLONASS performance because my prototype handset simply did not have any respective settings or apps. The preinstalled Route 66 works with GPS the same way as on any other Samsung phone.

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First Impressions

At the price of €400 in Europe this phone will occupy a very small niche. If there were no cheap Galaxy S variants on the market this phone could have had a chance but it cannot compete with the last year's flagship. Certain pluses: the build quality, nice screen as compared to the rest of the market, although not as good as some of the latest Samsung gadgets. The future of this phone is uncertain. Uncertain because of the price and because it is an attempt to copy the previous flagship which was a success. It is supposed to be an alternative to Samsung's Androids and it does not do well in this quality. I would recommend to choose among the company's Android phones instead of this niche phone. This phone is rather a test of the company's technologies that may not see any development in the future.

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion be known to the author and everybody else.

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Related links

Review of Samsung Wave (S8500) GSM/UMTS Phone

Review of Samsung Wave II (S8530) GSM/UMTS Phone

Review of the Samsung Galaxy S GSM/UMTS Smartphone

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal
Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net), Robert Mugattarov (mugattarov@gmail.com)

Published — 02 September 2011

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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