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
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.
We raved about the good looks of the first
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.
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 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
The Wave 2 has a speedy 1GHz processor, which seems to help apps launch quickly. But the software doesn't feel polished enough to capitalise on the chip's speed. For instance, transitions between the portrait and landscape modes are sluggish, and scrolling isn't always smooth.