Samsung Wave 2 GT-S8530 review: Samsung Wave 2 GT-S8530

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good

Average User Rating

3.5 stars 11 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Gorgeous Super AMOLED screen; shoots good-quality 720p videos; handsome, solid case.

The Bad Basic app store; similarly cheap Android phones offer more features and apps.

The Bottom Line The Samsung Wave 2 covers the basics well and looks good doing it. Its software needs some polish, but it's suitable for anyone who prefers to keep their phone simple. Still, a similarly priced Android smart phone will serve many people better.

Don't Miss

The Samsung Wave 2 is the sharpest-looking dumb phone on the market. But, despite its good looks and straightforward user interface, it still makes us pine for the app-sharing community of similarly priced Android phones.

The Wave 2 is available now for free on a £20-per-month contract. You can also pick it up for around £280 SIM-free. Note that the Wave 2 is also known as the Wave II or GT-S8530.

New Wave

We raved about the good looks of the first Wave , and we're happy to report that the Wave 2 is also solidly built and attractive. The diamond-shaped home button on the original phone now has a fatter, more thumb-friendly, rounded shape, and the screen has been pumped up from 3.2 to 3.7 inches. Otherwise, though, the two phones look like identical twins.

The rear of the Wave 2's sleek case twinkles with diamond-shaped holes for the camera lens and LED light. But, other than those playful decorations, the phone looks sleek, minimalist and high-quality. Even the snappy catch on the back cover screams quality -- and it actually makes the cover much easier to take off than that of most other phones.

Bada up

Overall, the Wave 2's software isn't quite as slick as its hardware. But Samsung's Bada operating system is straightforward and does a good job of imitating some smart-phone features. For example, the Wave 2 has three home screens, which you can fill up with  live widgets that do everything from displaying your Facebook updates to showing you the news. It's easy to add widgets to the home screen by tapping a button in the corner of the screen.

The Wave 2's simplicity should appeal to people who aren't interested in getting stuck into a more complex smart phone, such as an Android device. But there's only a basic selection of widgets pre-loaded on the phone, and they don't always make the best use of the screen space. The BBC widget, for example, consists of two large buttons that link to the BBC news and sports websites, and a tiny text area that's barely big enough to display one headline. Happily, it's possible to download more widgets from the Samsung Apps store.

The app store is slowly but surely filling up with programs and games, but it's more like a corner shop than a supermarket. If you're keen to start playing with apps, we suggest buying an Android phone instead. In this price range, it probably won't look as good as the Wave 2, but the selection of apps is huge and there are far more people in the Android community to share app suggestions with. The iPhone App Store is even bigger than the Android Market, but that phone costs a heap more than the Wave 2.

If you're not hugely bothered about apps but still want the basics, the Wave 2 might suffice, offering a few simple built-in apps. For example, Facebook and Twitter clients are pre-installed, and you can add your various email accounts, too. But we wish the phone came with a few more media treats, like various wallpapers. We couldn't show off the gorgeous AMOLED screen at its best until we'd loaded our own videos onto the phone.

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Samsung Wave 2 GT-S8530

Part Number: CNETSamsung Wave 2 GT-S8530
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