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Interface and Functionality:

We have previewed the bada operating system of Samsung quite extensively in the original Wave review, as well as with the Samsung Wave 723, so we will just mention here that the Samsung Wave II has the latest 1.2 bada version. It brings over some big fixes, such as being able to operate the phone while connected via USB, but also a couple of new features - Swype-like text input, improved browser, and OpenGL ES implementation for game development.

Bada has all the prerequisites of a modern mobile OS - homescreens with widgets, social networking integration in the phonebook, copy and paste, song recognition, basic image/video editing, as well as excellent stock video and music players with DivX/Xvid and FLAC codec support. The major downside is that it doesn’t have many 3rd party apps yet, with which to fill the 2GB internal memory.

The ones you download from Samsung Apps can’t run simultaneously - multitasking is supported only for the base apps, like Calendar and Email, for instance. True multitasking and Adobe Flash support are coming to the Samsung Wave II with bada 2.0, which will be rolled out in the summer.

Internet, Connectivity and Software:

The WebKit-based Dolphin browser in bada 1.2 has some improvements, mainly in terms of speed, but the basic support of HTML5 and Flash Lite 3.xx stays the same, i.e. some Flash ads and YouTube videos play fine. Flash Lite 4 support should come with the launch of bada 2.0 in the summer, but it's yet uncertain when the OS might get the real deal, which is Flash Player 10.1 support. Also, the browser still doesn’t support text reflow properly, or rather makes everything too small when it tries to fit it in the screen size, so the text is barely readable on the 3.7” Samsung Wave II.

The bada browser uses high compression for web pictures, so as to load the page quickly, but the resulting looks are pretty bad. It also offers some nice perks, like moving you from one drop-down menu to another with a simple press of the “next” button, which speeds up form-filling on websites.

The Samsung Wave II offers a full set of connectivity options - 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, A-GPS, DLNA for media sharing, as well as FM radio.

As usual, the Microsoft Office and PDF document Picsel viewer is included in the package, along with Samsung LBS - a voice-guided GPS software by Route66, which offers a lifetime license deal for Wave phones for $40. The GPS fix was fairly quick when we were connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot, or the carrier's data network. Locking us in position with only the GPS chip on, however, required several minutes. As usual with bada handsets, Samsung has included music recognition software, as well as basic image and video editors, which are built right into the music player and the gallery themselves.

Camera and Multimedia:

The 5MP camera with LED flash is of the same resolution we have on the first Samsung Wave, and as a whole we have no complaints towards this. The camera interface is  the tried-and-true Samsung creation, which is very touch friendly, and a pleasure to use, with a number of useful additional settings, preset scenes and shooting modes present out of the box. In addition, firing it up with the dedicated button, and shot-to-shot times, are almost instant.

The outdoor snaps with the Samsung Wave II turned out with correct exposure and color representation, as well as sharp focus, but detail was lacking a bit, probably due to the cloudy skies. The indoor shots are more than adequate for a phone camera, and the LED flash does a much better job at illuminating the scene than your average unit.

Video is captured at 720p HD resolution with the smooth 30fps, and it exhibits the same accurate color representation and exposure already seen in the still pictures.

Samsung Wave II Sample Video

Music playback on the Samsung Wave II is traditionally great, as in most bada devices, as Samsung’s mobile OS supports FLAC, the lossless audio format, as well as 5.1 channel surround sound in headset mode, dubbed DNSe - Digital Natural Sound Engine. The music player’s interface is nice, definitely better than the Froyo one, and it has music recognition software built into the player itself. We could use a better loudspeaker in the phone, though, as the default one sounds quite unnatural.

The handset plays whatever you throw at it, including DivX/Xvid files up to HD resolutions - great codec support out of the box, as is usually the case with Samsung’s smartphones.

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