The Samsung i8510 INNOV8 follows the design trend of all recent Samsung sliders - ingenious combination of metal and plastic and a totally flat keypad. The front panel is taken by the really large 2.8-inch 16M color display. Above it there is a video calls camera and an ambient light sensor for automatic screen brightness adjustment.
The display itself has a mirror finish but that doesn't hurt the sunlight legibility as much as we thought it would. However Nokia is still the leader in sunlight legibility - topped only by the Apple iPhone.
The D-pad below the display is comfortable to use and the optical touch pad is a novel concept among Symbian smartphones, although the same one is used in the Samsung i900 Omnia for example. Of course, unlike the Omnia, there is no mouse pointer here, unless in the web browser, where the touch pad really shines (but more on that later).
In the regular interface you can move your selection around by sweeping your thumb across the touchpad. A quick sweep moves the selection one item at a time, while a slower sweep jumps several items at a time.
Of course Nokia has a competing concept deployed in their smartphones too - the Navi Wheel as first pioneered in the Nokia N81 8GB. However However the Samsung touch pad is much more functional - especially in the web browser.
Under the touchpad hides a regular confirming key and if you turn off the touch pad functionality, you would never guess it's there.
The alphanumeric keypad is totally flat however the keys have sufficient touch feedback. Unfortunately, much like the Samsung G810, the C correction key is placed there instead right next to the D-pad. That's an uncommon solution and we find it hard to get accustomed to when handling text on the handset.
There are two multimedia shortcuts on the alphanumeric keypad - the M1 key opens the music library, while the M2 key starts the video library.
On the left side of the Samsung i8510 INNOV8 is the 3.5mm audio jack, which doubles as a TV-out port, the volume rocker and… wait for it… the standard microUSB port. That's right - Samsung have changed their communication port once again - this time it's for the better.
Last September the major cellphone manufacturers Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and LG all agreed to start using the microUSB port as a common connectivity port. So far only Nokia has made some steps in that direction. Now Samsung seems to follow suit. The new Samsung microUSB port is used for both charging and data connections.
On the right-hand side of the Samsung i8510 INNOV8 there is the microSD memory card slot, the camera shutter key and a slider that changes the camera mode among still camera, camcorder and image gallery. When you start the camera you can hear the distinct click of the automatic lens cover opening up.
The 8 megapixel camera on the back is styled really nicely - a lot similar to Samsung digicams actually. On both sides of the lens you will notice the stereo speakers. However they are positioned so close to each other that we found it hard to spot the stereo effect.
The camera is also equipped with a Power LED flash - it's not a xenon one unfortunately, but it packs dual LED design.
The battery cover, which is all-metal by the way, has a really nice locking mechanism. In order to release the cover, you need to slide the whole bottom part of the back panel.
The battery powering the Samsung i8510 INNOV8 is a standard Li-Ion one with a capacity of 1200 mAh. The manufacturer promises up to 310 h of standby time and up to 8 h 30 min of talk time. By the way, the same battery is used in Samsung G810, as well as Samsung i550 and Samsung D780.
Truth be told, the Samsung i8510 INNOV8 is a big handset. And when the slider is opened, it gets too long to allow convenient operation with both the navigation pad and the alphanumeric keys, which in the same time balancing the weight of the upper half with your index finger. And that's when having rather large hands - we can't imagine how would it feel in a girl's hand.