Samsung Wave 525 Review

Introduction and Design
This is a global GSM phone and it can be used with AT&T and T-Mobile USA.


Samsung announced the low-range phones to carry its own bada OS back in June, naming them the Samsung Wave 2 and Wave 2 Pro. Afterwards the company took care of the mid-range with the Samsung Wave 723, which we reviewed recently. The last news from the bada camp were for a true successor to the first Samsung Wave, called the Samsung Wave II.

To avoid duplicate pronunciations, the low-end members of the bada family are now ready to enter the markets, but with names consisting strictly of numbers. The Samsung Wave 2 is now the Samsung Wave 525 and the Samsung Wave 2 Pro, which simply adds a QWERTY keyboard, is Samsung Wave 533.  We have the Samsung Wave 525 of the duo announced in June, and are taking it for a spin to check how bada OS looks and behaves on a rock-bottom hardware...


The Samsung Wave 525 will not win any design awards with its plain black rectangular shape with chrome-like accents, such as a thin rim around the phone. The capacitive touchscreen screen is 3.2" with 240x400 pixels of resolution, which makes the interface and websites look scraggy, and average sunlight visibility. Underneath it is the home button, flanked by send and end keys. There is a volume rocker on the left, microUSB port and 3.5mm audio jack on top, as well as a lock/power button plus a dedicated camera key on the right. Don't ask us why bada phones have a separate shutter key, while their Android brethren by Samsung only have virtual camera buttons, as we can't answer that on behalf of the company.

You can compare the Samsung Wave 525 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The back hosts the 3MP camera, and replaces the usual glossy black plastic Samsung is using in most of its handsets of late for a dotted pattern one, which makes the phone less slippery to handle. The phone lies comfortably in the hand, and is fairly thin and light at 4.31 x 2.17 x 0.47” (109.5 x 55 x 11.9 mm), and 3.53 oz (100 g) of weight. The back cover is pretty prone to smudges and visible marks from everyday use, despite that it is not glossy plastic, but a simple wiping takes it all away. The Samsung Wave 525 will be available in three colors - black, white and pink.

Samsung Wave 525 360-degree View:

Interface, Messaging, Software and Functionality:

The phone runs bada 1.1 underneath Samsung's TouchWiz 3.0 user interface. We extensively reviewed the combo when we talked about the Samsung Wave 723, and we didn't notice anything different, but the lack of some apps in the menu, chief of them being the gallery. There are 100MB of memory, which seem enough for the low-footprint mobile OS, although we did notice a split second lag here and there, especially in scrolling. 

The phone doesn’t have a front-facing camera, so it lacks the video calling button in the dialpad and contacts app. Speaking of contacts, there is social networking integration in your phonebook, which brings in your Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and even Exchange contacts, but if we didn’t setup our network data services (and we didn’t), it wouldn’t load them via Wi-Fi.

The text messaging and email applications possess all the basic functionalities a modern smartphone OS offers, even text body search. Typing on the virtual keyboard is easy, and the keys positions are well chosen in both landscape and portrait modes

Right now a few decent games, such as Assassin’s Creed II and some applications are free for the latest bada phones, so you can enrich your collection until Samsung decides to pull the plug on the freebies.

Internet and Connectivity:

The Dolphin 2.0 browser is fairly decent, but lacks proper Flash support and polished interface. Samsung Wave 525 has EDGE connectivity, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0 and FM radio. The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity can be easily turned on and off from the switches in the notification bar.

Camera and Multimedia:

The 3MP shooter in the Samsung Wave 525 has the typical TouchWiz 3.0 camera interface, which is very touch-optimized and easy to use with a lot of functionalities. The pictures themselves turned out with a decent amount of detail and accurate color representation, but exposure compensation was hit and miss for bright objects. Indoors  in low light the shots were quite noisy. The phone shoots QVGA video at 15fps, which is good only for viewing on the handset's screen.

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We mentioned the lack of a dedicated gallery app icon in the main menu, but it can be accessed through the camera interface, and has photo editing options built-in, for basic alterations to your photos on the handset.

Samsung Wave 525 Sample Video:

The music player is pretty decent with a lot of sorting options for your tracks, a music recognition service that you can fire straight from the app, and mock 5.1 channel SRS sound in headset mode. The loudspeaker is of decent volume but with the ubiquitous “tinny” effect when listening to tunes.

Video playing is not up to par with Samsung’s traditionally excellent codec support, as it lacks DivX/Xvid capabilities, and only plays clips up to the screen’s resolution.


The voices in the earpiece sound a bit distorted and of average volume, while people were able to hear us loud and clear. Samsung Wave 525 has a 1200mAh battery with no official endurance specs, but we did manage to squeeze two days of fooling around with the handset, so we are at least positive that it hits the average mark.


The Samsung Wave 525 is a decent low-end handset, mainly due to bada OS offering much built-in functionality that until recently was only reserved for the iOS/Android devices, like image editing and music recognition apps integrated into the platform. We still don’t have any pricing details for it, so it is hard to judge if it overshoots or underestimates its respective market niche, but we’d be willing to wager that Samsung will be charging decently for the device.

It certainly makes a good starter phone for those who are just entering the smartphone world – they will have all basic functionalities present out of the box. As alternatives we would point out the Sony Ericsson Xperia X8, which is an Android phone, and supports 3G speeds, or the low-end Symbian smartphone Nokia 5250.

Samsung Wave 525 Video Review:


  • Image and video editing capabilities
  • Music recognition service


  • Low screen resolution
  • Lack of DivX/Xvid support
  • No dedicated gallery app

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

7 Reviews

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