This is more of a comparison with the original Samsung Wave, of which I am proud owner, than a review. I managed to get my hands on Wave II, at a local electronics outlet and had some time at hand, so spent checking out the features. Here’s the comparison laid out for you.
The Box :
If you compare the packaging of the original wave(S8500) and Wave II(S8530), it looks almost the same, except for the big letters proclaiming WAVE II instead of WAVE and the addition of the feature Quick Type on the back of the box. Missing from the back of the box, is the big circle with Super AMOLED written within it, since the Wave II features Super Clear LCD. The production of Wave was said to be stopped due to shortage of Super AMOLED screens. Other than that, the entire specifications, as declared on the box are exactly the same. On opening up the box, we can find the handset, placed perfectly fitting in its casing. Once the phone is taken out from its place, the inner portion can be opened up to reveal the accessories boxed with it, which include the 1500 mAh battery, USB cable, a stereo hands free kit which is quite ordinary, the microUSB charger and the user manual. Depending on the country, we may find a memory card bundled along with it(But seriously, mine is lying around somewhere in the house unused, right from day one. I invested in a 16GB card which seems fit for a smartphone). Sadly, no TV out cable in the box, which was the case with Samsung Wave too. Also, I would have been glad, had Samsung provided a good quality hand strap. I am currently using my camera strap, for the fear of the phone dropping out of my hands.
Physical Differences :
The Wave II looks almost exact copy of the Wave. Except for the Menu button, which is flush with the surface as compared to the protruding diamond shaped button on the Wave. Actually I was quite impressed by the original Wave’s button design. But may be, this one is for good. We’ll find out when we use.
The screen of Wave II is 3.7” as compared to 3.3” of Wave. This gives the designers a nightmare, when they are called upon to fit a larger screen without changing the size of the phone much, but keeping the functionality levels very high. The Samsung Wave II team has done a good job in fitting the 3.7” screen in to the phone of it’s size. The screen now becomes broader then Wave and a bit longer. The Wave II handset if bit thicker than Wave. But the difference is just visible.
Looking all around, we find no other differences. The battery cover is not of a different shade any more. You may remember that the battery cover on the Wave had a slightly different shade, which made it feel out of place. The front panel houses the screen, call speaker and the three keys(Menu, Call and End key). On the left side is the volume key and on the right is the phone lock and camera key. The top houses the phone speaker, 3.5 mm output for headphones and TV out, and the microUSB port for charging and PC connectivity. The sliding cover for the microUSB port has been retained, though I feel it has issues of getting jammed if lots of dust gets settled on it. The bottom portion has a visible hole for the microphone.
The back has the very easy to remove battery cover, camera and the LED flash. Upon opening up the battery cover, we find that the micro SD card will be hidden below the battery, and the SIM has to be inserted in the slot near the battery terminals. So no hot-swapping of memory card. Just like Wave. I do not understand the design in which, to remove the memory card, the battery has to be taken out.
Boot up :
It’s time to pop in the 1500 mAh power house, and the SIM and memory card. The battery cover fits very nicely and there is no feeling of a loose panel or battery in the phone.
The End key below the screen doubles up as the power(on/off) key. Once you power up, the entire boot procedure, similar to Wave is carried out, with the same splash screen. The major software difference between Wave and Wave II is that Bada 1.2 comes preinstalled in Wave II, while it is just being released for Wave in various countries at this moment. The home screen is preconfigured with a very nice and fresh wallpaper.
On comparison, the screen of the Wave II looks definitely bigger than that of the Wave. On operating the menu key, I found that the feel was definitely better than Wave, soft and flat. This is the case even with the Call and the End key. Time will tell which one is better. Operating the phone one handed is bit difficult due to its size. But with a right kind of securing measures, like a good hand strap, we would be more confident to operate it one handed.
On opening up the menu, we find the same applications pre-installed. The screen on the Super Clear LCD version is very close to the glass, just like the Super AMOLED version. This makes us feel that the images are displayed right on the glass itself. The glass is anti scratch type. And true to its words, I have not used any scratch guard till now and don’t have even a single scratch after 4 months of use. The display quality is almost the same on both the mobiles. I had a chance to compare it with a Motorola mobile(I forgot to check the model), and upon increasing the viewing angle, the Motorola screen tries to washout, while the Wave II screen has the same viewing ability as if it is viewed-at directly, and not from the sides. Upon comparing both Wave and the Wave II, I found that the viewing angle for both the phones is almost the same. The white on the Super Clear LCD is whiter than that on Super AMOLED, while the black on Super AMOLED is blacker than that on Super Clear LCD. How’s that for a comparison? It all depends on what you want.
The lock screen on Wave incorporated the current wallpaper. Not so in Wave II. It uses another wallpaper for the lock screen. The memory issues with the original Wave are carried on to the Wave II. I had hoped that Samsung would pack in that remaining bit of RAM, which they forgot in their first BADA powered smartphone. But it seems that the Wave II too packs in 256 mb ram, which is quite insufficient to run the factory supplied widgets. Even a simple task of changing wallpaper through widget, becomes a source of the insufficient memory popup. Yes, BADA is a new OS, and has a lot of teething issues. But I am impressed by its functionality.
The speed of the phone is said to improve on BADA 1.2. I decided to test it by performing a simple task on both the phones simultaneously. By experience on my wave, I know that changing a theme takes lot of time. So I tried that on both phones simultaneously. I selected the default theme while changing. I was amazed to find that BADA 1.2 does the task in 1/3rd of the time as compared to Bada 1.0.2. Yes, BADA seems to be improving.
The battery life of both the phones is claimed to be similar by Samsung. I do not hope to find otherwise.
The keyboard is quite big, and easy to use. The only flaw is the send button which can be accidently pressed. The best way to avoid this is to add the contact details after creating the message.
The black background calendar is now replace by white background, with black characters. It looks much better than that on Wave.
The Facebook and the twitter client bundled with the phone are the same ones as those on Wave. So if you are a heavy facebook and twitter user, they are insufficient for your needs. The instant messenger bundled along is Palringo, which I personally hate.
The browser has changed quite a bit. Actually it has gone worse now. The bottom toolbar cannot be hidden. I tried accessing a website via the wifi network at the outlet on both the phones, and the Wave II takes some time loading he page. Was it a network problem? Can’t say. The zooming is quite smooth, but when you scroll a large page, you get lots of checkerboard. The scroll speed is not so fast. Whenever you touch the screen, the address bar pops up, which is quite irritating, and inconvenient to use. As in Wave, no Flash 10 in Wave II, which is bit disappointing as I was expecting it in 1.2.
I couldn’t get a lock on the GPS, but I expect that it to take about 5 minutes, same as I get on my Wave, since the hardware is the same. It requires you to be out in the open, for GPS to lock to it.
The call quality was very good, just like Wave. Sound is quite clear. The Music player and the video player are the same as Wave, quite easy to use and good in performance. I would have loved a graphic equalizer in BADA 1.2. The camera is the same as Wave. Video recording can be done at 720p which is very good.
As a a whole, the phone is quiet good. Absence of Super AMOLED is not felt on it. For anyone who is looking for a quality smartphone, will do a good job, other than impressing onlookers. The only drawback as compared to any Android phone is, lack of quality applications. Yes, the application store is building up quite steadily, but it will take some time for it to get there. So if you are on a lookout for a good quality smartphone, Samsung Wave II can be taken in to consideration.