Don't be fooled by the glossy marketing photos above; the Samsung INNOV8 is built like a tractor. With its stainless steel trim and keypad, this is the kind of ritzy tractor the Beverly Hillbillies might own, but a workhorse nonetheless.
The INNOV8 is strongly reminiscent of, another handset that features the hallmarks of attractive phones but fails to be actually alluring. The INNOV8 does include some good design, the 2.8-inch QVGA display seems huge on a handset this size and the keypad features an extra row of keys for dedicated shortcuts, but the colour scheme of varying shades of grey is dull, and the tin battery cover looks like plastic.
While its appearance may inducing yawning, the INNOV8 is an easy handset to use and sports all the ports, plugs and fittings we could hope for on a high-end handset. The right hand side is camera town with a dedicated camera shutter key, the microSD card slot and a switch for navigating between camera and video mode and opening the gallery. The volume / camera zoom rocker is on the opposite side above a 3.5mm headphone socket.
The top half of the slider is almost all screen, with nav keys positioned below. The screen is sharp and clear with great viewing angles, but it isn't as bright as those on other phones and is near impossible to view under sunlight. The standard nav key layout is added to by two extra shortcut buttons and an optical mouse jammed into the middle of the five-way nav button. This mouse takes some getting used to and is sometimes troublesome when moving through the regular menus, but is a godsend when browsing the web.
As with Samsung's Omnia, the INNOV8 is an exercise in squeezing every known piece of mobile technology into a single device. There's the usual suspects; HSDPA data transfers, Wi-Fi, GPS, A2DP stereo Bluetooth and an FM Radio tuner. Then there's the big gun: an 8-megapixel camera with auto-focus, LED flash and a huge range of camera settings including face detection.
With storage becoming the new mobile phone battleground, Samsung has loaded the INNOV8 with 16GB internally but also adds the aforementioned microSD card reader, giving the INNOV8 the potential to store 32GB of data with the use of a 16GB card.