Samsung Wave Y review: Young blood
The Wave Y's phonebook has rich functionality and practically unlimited capacity. The handset displays the phone memory and SIM-stored contacts in the phonebook. There is a dedicated setting for that, so you really can have all of your contacts gathered in one place. If you want to use your Exchange contacts too, you not only need to set up your Exchange account properly, but you need to import them in the Contacts settings. It's a very easy step, but it took us a while to realize why our Google contacts were not available in the phonebook.
You can search the entries by either kinetic scrolling or using the alphabet scroll at the side of the screen. There's a Search bar at the top of the contact list too.
There are many info fields available for each contact, which doesn't prevent them from remaining perfectly organized. You have all the types listed (numbers, email addresses, etc) and there's a plus sign on the right - clicking it adds another item of that type. Pressing the minus sign under it deletes the unneeded field.
Bada OS has a cool phonebook feature, which is also available in TouchWiz-skinned Androids. A right swipe over a name in the contact list will dial the contact's default number while a left swipe will start the Message composer. In Bada 2.0, in whatever direction you swipe, you'll reveal four shortcut keys: Call, New Message, Video Call and Delete. The side-sweeps also works in other lists where you have names or numbers.
The Samsung S5380 Wave Y excelled in our reception tests, with trouble-free handling of calls, no choppy audio or reception issues. Unfortunately, there is no secondary microphone for active noise cancellation here. And no smart dial either. The Wave Y will only recognize digits and suggest corresponding numbers from the phonebook, but it won't suggest names.
Thanks to the proximity sensor, your screen will automatically turn off during a call. The available options during a call include muting, using the keypad, holding the call or adding another call to this conversation.
We also ran our traditional loudspeaker test on the S5380 Wave Y. It snatched a Below Average score. More info on our loudspeaker test as well as other results can be found here.
Messaging duly covered
The Wave Y supports SMS, MMS, and email. Texts and multimedia messages share the same editor.
The messaging app resembles its corresponding counterpart in Android and iOS. It only offers Conversation view, but in the Advanced tab you can create folders to archive your messages and filter spam and system messages.
Swiping on a message header will do exactly the same as in the phonebook - reveal a menu with shortcuts for Call, Video Call, Block Number or Delete.
When it comes to email, setting up your account on the Wave Y is hassle-free. You just need to go to the Accounts section in the Main Settings and set up whatever emails you need - Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, Exchange or other. In most cases, you'll just need to enter your username and password.
If you have to set your email account up manually, there is a host of settings that you can tweak. Both POP3 and IMAP4 protocols are supported and you can set the handset to auto retrieve new mail at a preset interval with a dedicated setting in roaming. The email client supports SSL encryption too.
The email client looks pretty much like the Android app. It supports conversations and in the upper left corner you can switch to the advanced folder view. Multiple accounts are supported and there is a shared inbox for all your emails.
Swiping on an email message will once again reveal a hidden menu with options for Download/Reply, Forwarding, Block or Delete.
Rich input options, Siri-like voice commands
Capacitive touchscreens usually won't give you handwriting recognition but, just like the Wave 3, the S5380 Wave Y is among the few exceptions. The handwriting screen has two viewing modes - full screen or a dedicated handwriting box (usually taking about half of your screen).
If you prefer typing to drawing, go for the on-screen keyboards. You get diverse options - a portrait numpad and a landscape full-QWERTY keyboard with or without the T9 Trace enabled. The so-called Continuous input is similar to the popular Swype. You tap on the screen and move from letter to letter without lifting the finger. Just like Swype, the Continuous input guesses the word you're trying to write (even if you weren't that accurate) and places suggestions in the text above the keyboard.
That should allow you to write up to 40 words per minute. Now that's fast typing! Plus, if you prefer the old way of typing letter-by-letter, it's still available.
The Wave Y supports voice dictation and voice commands very similar to the iPhone 4S's Siri. The major difference is your Wave Y can't actually speak.
So, the voice dictation works just like on the iPhone 4S - you tap on the Mic key on your virtual keyboard and speak. Then your Wave Y will put everything down for you. The service is powered by Vlingo and is not as smooth as Siri, but most of the time it works just fine.
If you double tap on the Home key you'll get to the Voice Commands interface. You can do things Siri-style, but the software isn't that smart. For example to compose a message you speak out the relevant command and the name of the addressee. After you've said the name though, you must say something like Message or Tell for the software to know where the actual text of the message starts. If you want proper punctuation, you'll have to specifically dictate all the commas and question marks.
Voice commands can be used for voice dialling, text messages, emails, web searches, memos, playing songs or playlists, and social updates (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). You can't create appointments and alarms, and no - you will not get replies to the questions you ask.
There are voice alerts too for things like incoming messages and status updates, and your phone can also read messages out loud. You can download different voices for free at the Samsung Apps store.
Credit goes to Samsung for trying to expand the voice recognition capabilities of the Bada OS, even if it isn't the next Siri.