Samsung S8600 Wave 3 preview: Exclusive first look

GSMArena team, 30 August 2011.

A nice 5 megapixel sharpshooter with HD video recording

Just like its predecessor, the Samsung S8600 Wave 3 is capable of taking 5 megapixel photos and capturing 720p videos.

The camera viewfinder is quite reminiscent of company's recent cameraphones. The comfortable interface is nicely touch-optimized and has all you need on the two vertical bars on each side of the viewfinder, but there is an option to hide them both.

Samsung S8600 Wave 3 Samsung S8600 Wave 3
Samsung S8600 Wave 3 Samsung S8600 Wave 3
Samsung S8600 Wave 3 Samsung S8600 Wave 3
The camera interface

All the bases are covered - ISO, white balance, default storage, stabilizer, face and blink detection, geo-tagging etc. You can switch the default storage between the main memory and the microSD card. Touch-focus is enabled too.

The S8600 Wave 3 produces excellent photos for a 5-megapixel cameraphone. The amount of resolved detail and the contrast are very good, noise levels are kept under reasonable control. Here go the Samsung Wave 3 samples.

Samsung S8600 Wave 3 Samsung S8600 Wave 3 Samsung S8600 Wave 3
Samsung S8600 Wave 3 Samsung S8600 Wave 3 Samsung S8600 Wave 3
Wave 3 camera samples

Video recording

The Samsung Wave 3 captures 720p@30fps videos. The resolved detail is aa tad bit lower than we would have liked, but overall it's great. Contrast is good and the noise levels and compression are quite low. Motion is smooth.

Samsung S8600 Wave 3 Samsung S8600 Wave 3
Samsung S8600 Wave 3 Samsung S8600 Wave 3
The camcorder interface

And heres a 720p@30fps video sample from the Samsung Wave 3.

Here is another one that we uploaded on YouTube for your convenience.

Dolphin web browser

Samsung S8600 Wave 3 packs the latest version same Webkit-based Samsung Dolphin Browser, but this time looks a bit different - it resembles the Android's browser. Yes, we know we said that before. Twice. Once the page loads, all you see is the URL bar and the refresh button on a line at the top of the screen. Once you zoom in or pan around though even that line disappears (scroll to the top or press menu to bring it back).

Samsung S8600 Wave 3 Samsung S8600 Wave 3 Samsung S8600 Wave 3
Wave 3 Dolphin web browser multiple pages

You can zoom in/out with pinch gestures or use double tap. Text reflow is available on works great. There is kinetic scrolling too.

Samsung S8600 Wave 3 Samsung S8600 Wave 3
Text reflow works like a charm

Bada 2.0 offers Flash Lite support and most of the banners and even the 360p embedded videos played well.

We noticed the Search on Page options is now gone, but we have to wait for the retail version before we are sure about the browser experience.

First impressions

The Samsung S8600 Wave 3 is an excellent phone and comes as a nice upgrade to the previous generations. Bringing back the Super AMOLED (1st generation) in the game is certainly a good move plus the new Bada OS 2.0 (and 2.0.1 later) should have a few tricks to impress the users too.

Unfortunately, the hardware used on the Wave 3 is not as impressive as it was before when the original Wave was introduced. There is still no dual-core magic, no powerful graphics or impressive RAM or storage. We are left wondering whether the new edition will be an attractive enough vessel for the still fledgling Bada OS (be it 2.0 or not).

Bada OS has been around for some time now but it failed to make the splash Samsung was hoping for. Its certainly not a flop (largely thanks to the affordable devices available) but for a high-end phone, you gotta do better than a 5 megapixel camera with 720p video recording and a 2-year old screen tech.

The 1.4GHz Snapdragon inside the Wave 3 is a good player but its far from being at the edge of technology. The Wave 3 won't be the Galaxy S II of the Wave lineup. Its only chance against the droids is coming up with a cheaper price tag and seriously better battery life than the original Galaxy S or the Galaxy S Plus.

Yet, we acknowledge there is a lot work to be done on the Wave 3 and on the Bada OS 2.0 as a whole. Both are far away from release, so we expect Samsung to come up with the right mix of high-quality ingredients at the end.

We are looking forward to our next meeting with the S8600 Wave 3 and we certainly hope well see it in its retail outfit and running the latest Bada 2.0.1.