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Surf’s Up: Samsung Wave Rides Out

eyecandyAs predicted in my preview of MWC last week, Samsung has launched a 3.3 inch super AMOLED touchscreen phone and called it the Wave (or S8500 if you prefer). More than just an evolution of existing Samsung models, although similar in many ways, the Wave is the first Samsung phone to run on its new Bada OS and also benefits from a zippy 1GHz processor.

But it’s the display that’s got everyone talking and I’ve been reliably informed that the published images of the high resolution WVGA (800 x 480 pixels) super AMOLED display simply don’t do it justice and it has to be seen to be believed. It also overcomes the OLED smartphone screen’s worst nightmare – sunlight. Some trusted journalists were allowed to take the device outside for some screen tests in the Spanish sun and found that it performed beyond any prior expectations.

In with the Old and also the New

s8500-1It’s not just about new technology either, Samsung has spruced up some old electronics in the shape of an adapted version of Samsung’s mobile Digital Natural Image engine often seen in its LCD and LED TVs and squeezed it into the Wave. There’s also a dedicated DNSe chip, normally found in Samsung’s audio players, to take care of the promised virtual 5.1 surround sound. Video entertainment comes in the shape of 720p HD video decode and encode with multiple codec support, including DivX, MPEG4, H.264 and WMV.

The Wave will ship with 2Gb (or 8Gb) of onboard memory, which is expandable via MicroSD, and is said to have half a Gig of RAM (which explains its speedy performance). There are more features than you can shake a stick at – from a home screen and menus that can be fully customized to the intriguing Smart Unlock (which allows the user to determine how the phone is unlocked – from a simple sliding gesture to the shape of a letter or figure), to an updated Webkit-based Dolfin browser which is reported to cater for a solid and fast web experience to a profusion of Apps (available at the Samsung Apps store, which is due for worldwide expansion throughout 2010).

In addition to a handy RSS reader and PictBridge USB printing facility, there’s an ambient light sensor, USB 2.0, Bluetooth 3.0, WiFi 802.11n and 3G connectivity, voice command interaction, a 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash and it’s nice to see a 3.5mm headphone jack instead of a proprietary audio connection. For avid texters, such things are taken care of via a responsive onscreen keypad (although I have to say that I prefer off-screen keypad or keyboard keying but maybe that’s just me).

Riding the Wave to Success

No doubt about it, the Wave is one impressive smartphone and one which is sure to give the others (yes, even the ubiquitous iPhone) a run for their money. It packs some industry-leading technology and very useful applications into a phone which is smaller than a Nexus One. In fact, about the only negative thing I can say about the Wave is that there’s doesn’t appear to be multi-touch functionality, which is somewhat surprising considering everything else being offered but you can’t have everything, right?

I’ve already reserved by camping spot outside my local mobile outlet and eagerly await its April release, pricing will no doubt be dependent on contract.


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