You wouldn't be mistaken for thinking that the Samsung i8510 looks a lot like the Nokia N95 8GB. It's rather chunky, it's black and it packs a whole lot of features -- but look closer and you start to see the trademark industrial styling that differentiates Samsung from the rest of the crowd.
If we were Nokia we'd keep an eagle eye on the South Korean company because this is the closest we've seen to a high-end Nokia device, with some added features that could see many Nokia users migrating to Samsung. The Samsung i8510 will be available this month at the Carphone Warehouse, most likely for free on a monthly contract.
The i8510 is a tough-looking, relatively large phone that feels reassuringly solid -- a smooth slider mechanism brings it together. The i8510's screen packs some punch, but isn't as sharp as we expected, particularly when watching videos.
The navigation keys beneath the screen are made up of standard mechanical keys and a small touchpad right in the middle. While the mechanical keys underneath the screen are well laid-out, as is the i8510's keypad, it's easy to brush the small touchpad by mistake. Plus it's cumbersome to use unless you're browsing the Web, where it works very well for scrolling through pages.
The i8510's star feature, its 8-megapixel camera, looks every bit like a real camera, with an automatic lens cover that opens when you activate the camera and shuts when you're not using it. Disappointingly, there's no xenon flash on the camera -- you only get a dual LED photo light that works well at close range but doesn't illuminate very much past a few metres.
The i8510 does come with a very useful 3.5mm headphone jack, but unfortunately, as with the Nokia N95's headphone jack, it's on the side rather than on the top. This means you may find that the headphone pin sticks out at an awkward angle in your pocket.
A 3.5mm headphone jack is one of the small details that makes this one of Samsung's most feature-packed phones, but it's the i8510's camera that packs the most punch. Boasting an 8-megapixel sensor, auto-focus and a range of options, the camera also features an incredible panorama mode, facial recognition and smile recognition, which immediately takes a picture when someone is smiling.
For panorama, all you have to do is put the camera in panorama mode and click the shutter button once, and the i8510 instructs you to move the camera in a certain direction following an orange box -- it then stitches a 180-degree picture together for you so you don't even need to press a button.