Samsung i8510 INNOV8 review: Roaring V8 engine
The retail package of Samsung i8510 INNOV8 isn't quite what you'd expect in a high-end phone. Inside the box you will find a a two-piece wired headset, three different sizes of custom ear-buds and a DC charger.
The enclosed hands-free set has a 3.5mm standard audio jack, which means you can easily replace the supplied headphones with a set of your choice.
The rest of the contents are the familiar paperwork and a mini CD with the required PC sync software (Samsung PC Studio). Bear in mind though that those packages have always been market dependant, so you should take our words with a pinch of salt.
Samsung i8510 INNOV8 360-degree spin
Samsung i8510 INNOV8 measures 106.5 x 53.9 x 17.2 mm and weighs 140 grams. Furthermore, with the slider up, the i8510 INNOV8 takes a shot at the tallest handset world record. It outstretches the Nokia N95 8GB by about 2 cm but we guess it is the price to pay for the functionality offered.
Design and construction
Samsung i8510 INNOV8 has very conservative styling and that seems the right approach to a device of such size. It won't turn heads but handling and ergonomics will be widely appreciated.
We do like the black casing, matt on the rear and brushed on the keypad. The sliding action is firm and smooth, the remarkably long slider run never a burden with the spring loaded case.
Starting with the front, we find the loudspeaker grill dead center at the top. Alongside on the right are the ambient light sensor and video-call camera.
The display takes most of the front but leaves enough room for a neat navigation block beneath. Six keys are lined around a nicely sized and tactile D-pad.
Much like the Samsung G810, the INNOV8 has no labels on the Menu and Gallery key - the two silver knobs on the sides of the D-pad. However, you will get used to that in no time.
All the controls on the front panel are very user-friendly, offering great size and solid press. The D-pad center can be set to work as an optical trackpad letting you browse menus by finger sweeps. You can adjust its vertical and horizontal sensitivity to best suit your taste. The place where the optical trackpad really makes a difference is the web browser but we'll get to it in due time.
The left side of Samsung i8510 INNOV8 hosts the microUSB port, 3.5mm standard audio jack and the volume keys.
The volume rocker doubles as a zoom lever and its location may seem a questionable ergonomic solution. Not everyone will like zoom control at the bottom. We for one don't think it's such a big deal. The rocker is very tactile and responsive, and falls right where your left thumb is when holding the device up to take a picture.
At the very top of the left side is the lanyard eyelet. The good news is Samsung i8510 INNOV8 also uses the microUSB port for charging, which allows you to transfer data and recharge at the same time.
On the right we find the camera key, the microSD card slot and the camera mode switch. The latter is in charge of toggling between still camera, camcorder and the image gallery much like on a digicam.
The shutter key is remarkably soft and responsive, with a very distinct half press and full press. The camera mode switch is a bit rigid, the three stops less marked than we would've liked.
The top and the bottom of Samsung i8510 INNOV8 are neat, featuring no functional elements whatsoever.
Turning the phone over we find the stereo speakers on either side of the 8 megapixel autofocus camera lens. There is a LED flash next to it but you may as well know from the shootout its performance is quite below-par. The camera lens is protected by a small automatic cover.
The bottommost piece of the rear slides out to release the battery cover and reveal the 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery. It has enough juice to keep the phone going for about two and a half days of quite extensive usage, which should be the case with most INNOV8 users. After all it's not a call-and-text phone we're dealing with, is it?
The actual battery cover is made of metal but you can't tell that at first sight. Only when you touch it can you feel the difference from the high-quality plastic used on the rest of the body.
The projecting nest of the lens also features some metallic finish. The build quality of the i8510 INNOV8 is commendable and the handset looks quite set to hold up against the normal wear and tear. While not a finely crafted elegant set, the INNOV8 looks and feels extra solid, a neat balance between businesslike and gadgety.
Thumbs up for the display
Samsung i8510 INNOV8 is equipped with a 2.8" 16M-color TFT LCD display of QVGA resolution. It managed to impress us with great brightness and contrast levels, contributing to excellent picture quality.
It isn't as impressive as the OLED screen on Nokia N85 but for an LCD the picture quality is excellent. Sunlight legibility is also notably improved over past Samsung handsets so we can hardly frown at the INNOV8 display.
Keypad is OK
Sliding the INNOV8 up does two things: it almost makes you think you can use the phone for shoveling the snow from your driveway and it reveals the alphanumeric keypad.
Now, on a serious note, the INNOV8 sports a fairly comfortable flatbed keypad with large enough keys and very good press feedback.
The keypad styling is borrowed from the U900 Soul and performance is on par. The only difference is the top row of the alphanumeric keypad.
The Soul's dedicated video-call key and the Application Switch key - on either side of the C key - are now fully-customizable shortcuts to any application or even websites.