We're unlikely to discover whether Samsung relies on the slider form factor as an exercise in branding or if there's an element of cost-saving involved in reproducing the same phone over and over. Either way, Samsung's slider is back and for the untrained eye the i560 looks like about half of Samsung's mobile phone releases in the low-to-mid-price range in the last six months or more.
While we might be underwhelmed by its appearance, there's no questioning the functionality of the slider, and by extension its popularity. The i560 sports a 2.4-inch 16 million colour display, which is handy considering Samsung's push for the i560 as a navigating handset. Perhaps it was a minor issue with our review unit but this display seems to be noticeably duller, in brightness and colour, but also in the sharpness of the screen, as compared to other recent Samsung screens with matching specs.
Around the edge of the i560 you will find all the common important inputs; USB charging port, microSD card reader, dedicated volume and camera keys. The same can be said for the top portion of the slider under the screen, which has a standard grouping of navigation and selection keys. Under the slide is Samsung's renowned flat keypad, which we don't love, but at least the keys are verging on huge, so they are easy to find when thrashing out a text message.
Looking back over 2008 it's easy to see that GPS tech in phones is the new black and we're hardly complaining. GPS and phones go together like pickles on a cold lamb sandwich, like Paris and Britney — they belong together. The i560 is Samsung's answer to , a GPS enabled phone with high-speed internet and a half decent camera.
The i560 handset we've been reviewing comes bundled with Route 66 navigation software and an associated car kit including a mount and arm plus an in-car charger. From what we've been told this bundle will be sold through Optus in Australia, while Vodafone will offer the i560 bundled with its own Compass navigation software.
In addition to the GPS the i560 features HSDPA data speeds for Web browsing, a 3-megapixel rear-facing camera plus an LED photo light, stereo Bluetooth, and runs on Nokia's Series 60 operating platform (feature pack 3.1). Audiophiles will be pleased to know the i560 also features a 3.5mm headphone jack for connecting your favourite headphones.