Another trick up the i8510 camera's sleeve is the ability to shoot slow-motion video at up to 120 frames per second, similar to the LG Viewty, which is great for shooting fast-paced action. We found the slow motion mode worked well even in low light, where the LG Viewty didn't perform so well, according to many users' complaints. It's not all good, though -- the i8510's camera doesn't have an optical zoom, which means that zoomed-in pictures come out fairly blurry, and as we mentioned before there's no xenon flash. With only a dual LED photo light, shots taken in low light only come out well at close range.
Samsung has generously provided the i8510 with 16GB of on-board memory, and as if that wasn't enough you can add memory via a microSDHC slot. That means you can carry around up to 32GB worth of data with you, giving you plenty of room to store pictures, videos or apps. Given that the i8510 runs on Symbian, you can download a fair amount of software, including Opera Mini to browse the Web and mapping software such as Google Maps, which can be used in conjunction with the i8510's built-in GPS. You can also use the GPS to geo-tag your pictures so you can see exactly where you took them.
If that's not enough to whet your mobile appetite, HSDPA and Wi-Fi are also available on the i8510, as is the ability to play DivX movies, particularly useful if you want to carry several films with you without needing sacrificing too much memory. Also, there's an FM radio. Combine all of the above features and you get something very close to Nokia's incoming N96, which we think makes for a battle of Godzilla-like proportions. But when the dust settles, we think the Samsung i8510 might just take it.
Audio quality during calls is good, with no noticeable distortion or muffling, and the loudspeaker is loud enough to hear even in a moving car. Picture quality from the 8-megapixel camera is fine, but not massively better than certain 5-megapixel camera phones such as the Nokia N95 8GB.
Battery life is quoted at 300 to 500 minutes talk time, depending on whether you're using 3G or not, and around 330 hours standby time respectively. We found that we got a full day out of the i8510 with heavy usage, but if you cut down on battery-intensive apps such as browsing the Web and using GPS, you'll find that it lasts for at least two days.
Having not properly reviewed the Nokia N96 just yet, we don't want to speak too soon and say the Samsung i8510 definitely wins out, but what we can say is this is Samsung's best phone yet. A solid design combined with more features than you can shake a moose at, the i8510 genuinely took us by surprise.
We knew that the Samsung mobile team had it in them to make something great, but the i8510 is excellent and a worthy choice for any smartphone fans out there. We'd even go as far as to say that if you're looking for something other than an N95 or N96, this is it.
Edited by Marian Smith