Finding an interesting-looking handset amongst the dozens of Samsung releases each year is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Samsung does release a few stunners; however, if the previous statement is true, then the A551 is just another handful of hay. Like the A811, J700, J750 and the (to name a few), the A551 is a conventionally designed plastic slider and sure to be lost amongst the glam and glitter of its competition.
Though the exterior finish is nothing to write home about, the A551's utilitarian design certainly feels right, with a satisfying weight and a sliding mechanism that clicks into place when both opened and closed. Under the slide we find a flat numeric keypad with the digits divided by thin raised strips — again similarly designed to many of Samsung's brethren. The keypad design could be improved with raised buttons, but it's easy to use nonetheless.
The big drawcard here is HSDPA (3.6Mbps) data transfers on Telstra's Next G network. In truth, if you were to take away its Next G capabilities then the A551 would be a $150 budget-priced handset, left with only a 1.3-megapixel camera and basic raft of organiser and media playback applications. Next G connectivity does obviously elevate the functionality of this handset, allowing users to access Foxtel and BigPond TV, amongst other standard Next G services.
The A551 also features a front-facing VGA resolution camera for video-calling and a microSD card slot on the side of the handset gives you access to your memory cards without having to power down first.