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Samsung E2510 review: Samsung E2510

Looking for a phone for well under $100? Samsung's E2510 makes excellent calls and is easy to use, but you can forget about the extra trimmings on this one.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
4 min read

Design

From a distance, like across the table in a cafe or bar, you'd be hard-pressed to identify the E2510 as an AU$59 phone. The phone's plastic shell is designed to look like something classier, or made from richer materials at least. There's silver plastic passing itself off as steel around the edges and on top you find glossy piano-black plastic as you do on the iPhone and high-end Nokia mobile phones.

7.0

Samsung E2510

The Good

Cheap as chips. Good call quality. Passes itself off as a more expensive phone.

The Bad

No external notifications. VGA-resolution camera. No USB cable or software. No 3G.

The Bottom Line

The E2510 makes a perfect phone for someone who doesn't need the extras, people like short-stay travellers, for example. It makes excellent calls and has a loud ringer, but forget the extras like low-spec the camera.

Up close it's easier to see where Samsung has saved money on this design. The E2510 is a flip phone but with no external display. This isn't surprising, a secondary screen would almost certainly double the price, but the phone does need some way to indicate that you have received a message or missed a call — something as simple as a blinking light would have sufficed. There were several occasions when we opened the phone to find notifications on the screen that we wished we'd known about hours earlier.

Opening the phone reveals a further cost-cutting. The phone's keypad looks cheap and nasty, but we've found using it to be marginally easier than using the keypads of more expensive Samsung models. Phones like the Samsung UltraTouch make use of a cramped, flat keypad, while the E2510 has definition in its keys, and wide spacing between them. Also, the E2510 sports a low-resolution display; a 1.9-inch display with only 128x160 pixels. This is an issue when scanning through the menus or reading long messages, as only so many characters can be viewed at once with a screen resolution this low.

There's a pin-hole camera lens on top of the phone so that the lens faces away from you when the flip is opened. The camera is VGA resolution, which is significantly less than 1-megapixel, if megapixels are easiest for you to compare. Around the edges of the phone you'll find volume controls, a microSD card slot and a music control key used to open the music player and to pause currently playing music tracks.

Features

For making calls and sending messages the E2510 is quad-band GSM network compatible. If you're confused about the whole 3G vs. GSM business, the long and the short of it is this: GSM is the older technology and is great for calls because it has a wider range, but can only transfer data at a very slow rate. This means web browsing is a bummer. But if you don't see yourself browsing the web on your phone then GSM is just fine for you. Quad-band means you'll have no trouble using the E2510 on any network in Australia, and in most places around the world.

The E2510 is capable of a few extras, but your AU$60 isn't going to stretch much further than basic phone functions. You'll be able to listen to some music, either by using the built-in MP3 player or by using the FM radio player. You can also take photos and shoot video, but the low-resolution quality isn't going to encourage you to use them very often, we think.

There are a few standard extras as well; Bluetooth 2.0 for connecting your phone to other phones or PCs and transferring files, there's the microSD card slot we listed earlier for expanding the phone's memory, and in the box with the phone you'll find headphones and a travel adapter for charging.

Performance

For our money, the E2510 had to pass one test, call quality, and it did so with flying colours. For AU$59 you can't expect much more than a phone that makes calls and sends messages. All the calls we made during our tests sounded great, with loud, clear volume at both ends of the call. Speaking of loud, clear volume: we take our hats off to the E2510 for having perhaps the loudest ringing volume we've come across on a phone for a while. At times it was so loud as to be startling.

Enjoying the extras is inhibited by the absence of quality hardware. Web browsing is possible, but the slow web speeds and low-resolution display soil the experience. Listening to music is better, but only if your music files are in MP3 file format otherwise the E2510 won't recognise them. The upside to low-grade features is super battery life. The E2510 held its charge for a week while we reviewed it.

Overall

Reviewing an AU$60 phone takes us back to when we reviewed the Motorola MOTOFONE F3, an AU$70 phone at the time and one that earned an Editors' Choice award. On paper the E2510 sounds like a better bargain, with the inclusion of Bluetooth, GPRS and a camera, but the F3 had that indescribable X-Factor that the E2510 sadly lacks. We still highly recommend the E2510, it does the basics with ease, and it costs what you'd pay to spend in a single month with the iPhone.