The M7500 Emporio Armani measures 114.9 x 47.4 x 12 mm and weighs 90 grams. It's a solid piece - without being bulky. The handset handles well, the neat bar shape and clean lines are much appreciated. We only think a slimmer girth would've been a great boost to the styling. There is no reason for it to be 12mm thick apart from the 3.5mm audio jack and, more importantly, the flashy Emporio Armani logo on the side.
The Emporio Armani phone is entirely made of plastic and that's not a complaint. It still looks very appealing and humbly acknowledges that metal belongs in a different league - that of the original Giorgio Armani handset. On the front panel a glossy surface encloses the screen, while the keypad has a brushed metal effect. The phone's sides and back have a soft rubbery finish that's pleasant to touch and provides great grip.
The earpiece of the M7500 Emporio Armani is placed in the middle at the topmost part of the front. Right next to it are the secondary video-call camera and the ambient light sensor. The ambient light sensor controls the keypad backlighting in order to save energy.
The rest of the front is taken up by the 2.2" display and the keypad. As you might know, those key elements have a special chapter in our reviews, so we won't look at them in detail now.
The left side of the phone features only the connectivity port. Instead of their proprietary USB port, Samsung have embedded a standard microUSB connector instead. There's no backwards compatibility with other Samsung phones, but you can use most accessories out there that plug into microUSB.
The rest of that left side is taken up by the big Emporio Armani logo with LED stripes on either side that glow and flash in the same color as the logo when activated.
Here's a quick video to see what we mean:
Samsung chose to locate the microSD card slot under the battery cover but not under the battery, so it's still hot-swappable. The slot can take microSDHC cards with a capacity of up to 16GB.
On the top and bottom we find nothing but the lanyard eyelet and the microphone pinhole respectively.
The Samsung M7500 right side hosts the three dedicated music controls, the volume rocker and the camera key. The music keys have the same backlighting as the stripes and the Armani logo on the other side.
The volume rocker is quite thin but nicely projecting and thus very tactile and responsive. It doubles as a zoom lever but zoom is not available when the camera is set to the shoot in its highest resolution. Typical for Samsung, the volume rocker can also be used for scrolling up and down in menus.
Music controls are pretty straightforward, offering the usual Play/Pause, Fast-forward, Rewind and Skip functionality. The Play/Pause button is set to launch the music player right from the standby screen.
The shutter key is small but very tactile, and the distinct half press for auto-focus is commendable. Our only issue with the camera key is that it also accommodates the basic Task Manager - the so called application switch, which lets you quickly toggle between calling, texting, browsing and Java Apps.
Whether the shutter key will launch the camera or the application switch is a matter of user preference. A dedicated setting lets you choose between either and offers a compromise option, which displays a prompt every time you press the key in standby. Not the most comfortable solution, but you still get both a dedicated camera key and a Task Manager at the expense of an extra click.
At the top of that very same right side is the standard 3.5mm audio jack.
The back panel of the M7500 Emporio Armani could've been great with its soft rubbery finish and neat and simple styling, was it not for the huge Emporio Armani logo. Maybe it's just us but we don't really see the need for such excess. The backlit logo on the side is noticeable enough.
Dead center at the top is the nicely recessed, but otherwise unprotected, 3 MP camera lens. The loudspeaker grill is cleverly integrated into the Emporio Armani logo.
Removing the battery cover - simple slide down and lift - reveals the SIM card compartment and the 960 mAh Li-Ion battery. Talk time is quoted at 4 hours and 20 minutes with 290 hours of stand-by.
In real life we are quite impressed with the battery life of the Samsung Emporio Armani. In moderate use, it lasted for 6 days on a single charge. So we guess, even if you push it to the limits, you can count on at least three days of power.
The build quality and handling of the M7500 Emporio Armani are very good. Quality materials have been used and the phone seems quite fit to resist the everyday wear and tear. It's probably not as exquisite as one would expect in the fashion phone segment but we can't complain about the subdued yet solid styling and sturdiness.
Views on the light effects may vary from a major selling point to a big turnoff for those who like to keep a low profile. We think they're absolutely fine - they're fully customizable and that includes switching them off completely. The only thing we wish we could customize is the gargantuan Emporio Armani logo at the rear. Yes we know, scratching it off doesn't exactly count as customization.