The Samsung Wave Y is not exactly the most notable handset to celebrate the launch of bada 2.0, as it mimics the lowly specs of previous entry-level bada phones like the Wave 575.
The only tangible thing that seems upped except the version number of the operating system and the NFC chip addition, is the slightly higher screen resolution, but even at 320x480 it is only decent for the 3.2 screen. Moreover, the camera resolution has gone down from 3.2MP on the previous cheaper Waves to 2MP here, making you go hmm.
Having Y in the title is an indication that the phone is supposed to be priced sub-$200 without a contract, and is geared towards teens and emerging markets. Is the Samsung Wave Y just low-end, or low-end but with a twist that will justify its purchase over some affordable Android handset? Read on our preview to find out...Design:
The Samsung Wave Y is actually a tad thicker and wider than the first batch of entry-level bada phones like the Wave 575, so it won't be winning any design contests in the compact department. The chassis takes a cue from the flagship Wave 3 bada phone with tapered edges and rounded corners, which is apparently the new look of bada phones.
The tapered back battery cover is trying to mimic a brushed metal pattern, but the phone is all-around plastic, and in the uninspiring black/grey combination at that.
The 3.2 display sports 320x480 pixels, which finally puts bada on par with most of the low-end Androids, and the screen actually sports decent viewing angles and sunlight visibility. Small text still looks jagged and letters interrupted with such resolution, though.
Underneath the display we have a large physical home key, flanked by two capacitive buttons that light up, ready for action, which is the only contemporary feature around the phone's design.
There is no LED flash for the 2MP camera on the back, just a speaker grill next to it, but we like that the microSD card slot is taken out of the battery compartment, and placed on the right side for easier access.
Overall, our prototype Samsung Wave Y unit looks and feels like a cheap smartphone, which we suppose would be surprising if it didn't.Interface and Functionality:
The new bada 2.0 TouchWiz UI brings additional eye-candy like transparent widgets and transitional animations, and on our preview unit's 832MHz processor they run fairly well, but not in full bloom as on the 1.4GHz Wave 3 prototype we handled recently, of course.
The small text, like news or social network updates inside the widgets looks jagged, and is thus hard to read without straining your eyes, which we can blame the screen resolution for. Still, the TouchWiz UI here introduces notifications on the lock screen, a dedicated homescreen for widgets, which you can scroll up and down, instead of swiping between homescreens, redrawn icons, and cool radio buttons, so no complaints about added visuals and functionality. Messaging, Internet and Connectivity:
Typing on the 3.2 screen is not a seamless experience, as we often grabbed two or more letters at once with our meaty digits, but the keys on the virtual keyboard are otherwise spaced out enough to do the job in landscape mode.
The updated Dolphin browser of Samsung also has a redesigned interface, but our prototype unit was stuttering in scrolling and all other actions we attempted to undertake. The browser doesn't support desktop Adobe Flash, just the latest version of Flash Lite, but content display is decent, with usable text reflow to fit the reading material better to the screen's real estate.
As far as connectivity goes, however, the Samsung Wave Y is thoroughly equipped, and has 7.2 HSDPA radio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM Radio. We also have an NFC chip inside the phone, which sports its own application, allowing you to receive and create NFC tags. Camera and Multimedia:
The 2MP shooter on the back of the Samsung Wave Y is without a flash companion, and video capture is done at 640x480 resolution with 30fps, making it smooth, but with too small of a definition to be comfortably watched on a bigger screen than the phone itself.
Samsung Wave Y Sample Video:
MPEG-4 videos played nicely up to the screen's resolution and even slightly above, but there is no DivX/Xvid support by default.
The music player can categorize by artists, albums and playlists, and also sports a 5.1 channel button in its interface for faux-surround sound in headset mode. Expectations:
The Samsung Wave Y is quite the unimpressive handset in terms of design and specs, and bada 2.0 is a fairly marginal improvement over its preceding versions in terms of eye-candy. The TouchWiz UI here, however, introduces notifications on the lock screen, a dedicated homescreen for widgets, which you can scroll up and down, instead of swiping between homescreens, redrawn icons, and the new radio buttons, so the interface is passable.
What we didn't quite like is that the Wave Y is only a slight improvement over the previous generation of entry-level bada phones, upping the screen resolution a bit. At the same time it is thicker and with a lower-resolution 2MP camera. Thus it would be hard to fend off the Android onslaught in the low-end, unless Samsung outs the Wave Y at really rock-bottom prices.