• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

Have you already worked your way through the operating systems – Apple’s iOS, BlackBerry’s system – even Windows Phone 7, and found that they don’t do much for you? Well there is one more to try – and that’s Samsung’s own Bada.


It first came to our attention last year, and is very similar to Android. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the Samsung Wave III is the third generation of handset to feature the operating system – but does it offer something the others don’t? And can it compete with Samsung’s own stable of powerful Android phones?


Smooth operator


Under the hood, a 1.4GHz chip is supported by 512MB of  RAM to keep everything running smoothly. You’ll only get a feeble 4GN of onboard memory – but don’t worry, you can expand this by up to 32Gb using microSD cards. There’s a five-megapixel snapper on board too, with LED flash and auto-focus – but it’s a bit of a disappointment after the Galaxy S II’s eight-megapixel model. On the front of the device sits a lower-spec model for video calls and self portraits – actually we say video calls, but bada doesn't have a Skype – or any other video calling – app.


The body itself is quite different from your average mobile – the back cover does slide off, but a hinge keeps it attached to the body. There’s a diamond-shaped Home key, which is reminiscent of Samsung’s old handsets, along with touch-sensitive keys for OK and End at the bottom of the handset.


The body is made of aluminium, which makes it lightweight yet sturdy and it feels shiny and smooth in the hand. It has clean lines, with nothing sticking out (be it odd chins or lenses).


The screen is of the Super AMOLED Plus variety and measures four inches, stretching right to the sides of the handset. It offers clarity and bright colours, along with a 480x800 pixel resolution (that’s 233dpi). That makes it sharper than both the screens on HTC’s flagship smarties and Samsung’s own Galaxy S II. It measures 9.9mm thick, so is about the same as the iPhone 4S. Plus it has that metal body, which you might prefer to some of Samsung’s plastic Android phones.


Battery life is impressive at 517 hours of standby. In use, while running GPS, push email, 3G and Wi-Fi, we got a good day out of a fully charged battery.


Bada bing


The Wave III runs on the latest version of the bada OS, version 2.0. At its core is Samsung’s widget-heavy interface TouchWiz, which sees icons placed on multiple homescreens, and along the bottom a toolbar features the four most-used apps. Sounds great – but actually adding the shortcut icons did not prove as simple as we would have hoped. Rather than pressing and holding them down to move them, it is necessary to head on over to All-Programs, identify the app you want to move and then drag it to one of the seven homescreen thumbnails.


Fair enough, should you be browsing apps and see one you want to add to a home screen it makes sense, but you’re far more likely to be on the home screen and to choose to add an app – which makes the process click-heavy and clunky. The iPhone users among you will of course be wondering why only some apps are on the home screen instead of all of them.


Widgets are there too – but you can’t just place them where you want, as you would on an Android device. Instead there is a widget panel – you must press and hold to see the widgets that are available. You can choose to leave them ‘on’, in which case they will live update information such as stocks or the weather. This is also where your downloaded widgets will appear.


Stay safe


You’ll want to keep all that stuff on your device safe won’t you? And while all smarties come with a password lock these days, Samsung has taken it a bit further with the Wave III. It is possible to place locks on certain apps – maybe your messages, calendar or email. Push notifications will still come through, but to view them you’ll need to enter the password.


Next up social networking – swipe over the display and you’ll see Social Hub, which brings together LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, texts and email. Once all your accounts are added, the app will let you know when you have events in any of them. Syncing Facebook’s calendar and contacts is simple, but adding Yahoo! and Gmail contacts took some effort – you have to add them as Exchange accounts, which means entering domain names and servers. All information is available online, but it’s a bit of a faff nonetheless.


Social Hub also provides you with a very useful calendar that combines Exchange (so that’s also Yahoo! and Gmail) and Facebook appointments

There’s a Google Hub too, which brings together Google sites such as News, Gmail, Maps, Calendar, YouTube, Picasa, Reader and so on, but we can’t really see the point. They are not apps; but we do know that Google and Samsung have a close relationship – maybe there will be some Google apps for bada at some stage.

Talking of apps – they can be found in the Samsung Apps store, but don’t get too excited. There are about 10,000 to choose from – a paltry number compared with the half a million iOS and Android apps on offer. However, bear in mind that bada is not yet two years old, so that number is sure to grow as time goes on. But apps are at the core of most smartphones, and a dearth of apps can be a deal breaker for a lot of users.




We were quite surprised by the camera on the Wave III. Samsung is well known for its excellent cameras on its smartphones, so to see a five-meg model with no fancy extras is quite something. There are no preset scene setting, no effects filters, and no editing tools. But you do get reasonable pictures in daylight. Low light images were okay too – but in a dark but lit room we found images suffered from overexposure – pretty common on camera phones.


Once you’ve taken your picture, you can share it on social networks or by using AllShare. This is a wireless media-sharing app of Samsung’s, which works over DLNA – you’ll find it is compatible with HDTVs, Windows 7 PCs and DLNA-friendly handsets. Your pictures can also be looked at in a nifty slideshow gallery as well.


We really like the media interface – and the WVGA resolution makes video look clear and bright. The video player supports plenty of formats, including the ever-popular Xvid and DivX, so you should be able to view most downloaded video.

Just my type


The onscreen keyboard proved incredibly responsive in use. The layout of the keys makes it comfortable to type on, and punctuation and numbers can be typed by holding down certain keys – far better than having to go to another screen. It offers haptic feedback, which can be a bit over-the-top – it makes the whole handset vibrate – but there is an option to switch it off.


Web browsing is quick using the WebKit browser, which supports Flash. You don’t get the benefit of tabbed browsing, but it is easy to switch between pages.


Free messages are also available using Samsung’s own version of BlackBerry messenger called ChatON. It lets you send messages over the web without having to pay – but your contacts do have to have the same app. The good news is that it is available for Android as well as bada so you might have a few mates to chat with.


Our conclusion


Samsung has got the hardware right on the Samsung Wave III – it has a good-looking metallic chassis with a hinged back cover, a bright and clear Super AMOLED display and one of the best touchscreens we’ve seen. But as you know by now, a smartphone’s success hangs on its software. And while bada is similar to Android (apart from the issue with putting icons and widgets where you want them) and offers a great Social Hub for bringing together your messages, contacts and events, the dearth of apps will probably be enough to put off most Apple and Android users.



Type of phone:



candy bar






16 million colours




5 megapixels

Special Camera features:

auto focus

Video recording:


Video playback:


Video calling:


Video streaming:


Music formats played:


3.5mm jack port:


Handsfree speakerphone:


Voice Control:


Voice Dialling:


Call records:



Yes, Photocall

Ringtones customization:


Display description:

Super AMOLED capacitive touch-screen







Standard color:


Launch Status:






Operating system:



MicroUSB, A2DP, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

Announced date:

August 2011

What's in the Box:




International launch date:

October 2011

Battery life when playing multimedia:



1.4GHz processor

FM Radio Description:

Stereo FM radio with RDS

Internal memory:


Memory Card Slot:



Email, IM, SMS, MMS

Internet Browser:


E-mail client:

Push email






Yes and downloadable

Data speed:





855 mins


517 hours

Display size:

4 inches



Audio recording:


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