The Samsung Wave 578 looks like an inexpensive, straightforward budget touchscreen phone that eschews the app-powered wonders of Android. Instead, it sticks to Samsung's own, more basic Bada platform.
We expect the Wave 578 to land at an affordable price when it comes to shops in May, but we'll let you know about specific deals as soon as we do.
The third wave
The Wave 578 isn't as slick or handsome as its predecessor, the first Samsung Wave. It's even a step below, in attractiveness, the Samsung Wave 723. But it definitely shares the same DNA. The case keeps the brushed metallic back, and the front is glossy and smooth.
The 3.2-inch, 240x432-pixel screen isn't as stunning as the Wave's AMOLED one either, but our first impression was that it seemed clear and easy to read.
Underneath, the same Bada user interface means it has identical features to the more expensive Wave phones. Bada aims to bring more smart-phone traits to less expensive feature phones. It does a good job of offering features that would recently have been restricted to smart phones, such as support for multiple email accounts. It even offers basic multi-tasking. You can switch between running apps by holding down the main button on the front.
One place where the Wave 578 doesn't look like it will measure up to bargain Android phones such as the HTC Wildfire S is the app department.
The Wave 578 has a small app store that's stocked with Samsung's favourites, but you'll miss out on the thousands of apps in the Android Market. If you don't predict you'll want to spend hours being subjected to the latest app attack, you may not care. You won't be able to bond over your Angry Birds score, however, or compare Twitter apps with your smart-phone-owning friends.
The Wave 578 also sports Android-inspired widgets on the home screens. These are icons that can display live data without having to open an app, such as the latest email in your inbox. You can add or remove them by tapping a button, helpfully lablled "widgets", in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Based on previous Bada phones we've seen, there's a good selection to get you started. Once again though, the Samsung app store doesn't stock many more, especially compared to the packed-out Android Market.
Swipe and type
One feature we are excited about on the Wave 578 is its T9 Trace virtual keyboard. Like Swype, a Crave favourite on Android, T9 Trace lets you type by running your finger over the letters on the screen, rather than tapping at them one by one.
We've got high hopes for T9 Trace, because it's also got the T9 dictionary we've known and loved since it helped us peck out words on most 12-key phones. By suggesting words as you type, it could make writing even faster.
In a world flooded with cheap Android handsets, it's hard to get excited about the Samsung Wave 578. It's not as simple to use as a basic feature phone, but it lacks the apps and features of a fully fledged smart phone. We think its success depends on its price -- if it's cheap enough, it could be a good choice for a decent-looking bargain touchscreen phone.
Edited by Nick Hide