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Samsung P510 review: Samsung P510

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The Good Shortcut key automatically opens clamshell. Camera performs exceptionally and has many effects and features. Well laid out keypaid. Dual screens. Two batteries included.

The Bad External antenna. Main screen is on the small side.

The Bottom Line A light yet sturdy clamshell mobile phone that includes an excellent -- albeit only VGA -- camera and an easy-to-use interface.

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Review Sections

Design
Measuring 87 x 43 x 23.5mm, the Samsung P510 is a compact clamshell phone -- though not as thin as the sexy Motorola V3 -- with dual screens. The external screen displays a clock (analog or digital), battery meter, signal strength, caller id, incoming messages and missed call information. It also functions as a viewfinder when the folder is closed, displaying a monochrome image on-screen.

Samsung has placed a convenient shortcut key on the side of the P510 that automatically opens the folder in a smooth yet reasonably quick motion. We don't really know who would use this rather than just flipping the phone open but it certainly looks cool (bordering on pretentious though). However, opening the phone reveals the flat keypad inside and a small 65K-colour screen. There is a four-way navigation key (each direction doubles as a shortcut when idle) and in the middle is the WAP browser button. The entire keypad is backlit in blue and easy to navigate when sending text messages.

Features
A whopping 1000 contacts can be stored on the P510 with mobile, work, home and e-mail fields available. Photos can be assigned to each contact stored in the phone's memory, which appears on the main display when the person calls (assuming you have auto answer switched off).

Organiser features include an alarm, calendar, calculator, to do list and currency converter. The Fun Box is another place you you can access the P510's WAP browser, as well as sounds, images and Java games. Games include BubbleSmile, a puzzle game in which you rotate adjacent bubbles to create diagonal rows of 3 or more bubbles and Fun2Link where you connect oil pipelines similar to the Windows puzzle game, Pipe Dreams.

The infrared port on the side of the P510 allows you to wirelessly send data to phones or PCs with IrDA connectivity.

Messaging features include a T9 dictionary mode for composing SMS and MMS as well as alphabet, number and symbol modes. The P510 can store up to 200 messages in its memory in addition to 30 or so messages on your SIM card.

Performance
The camera performed quite well considering it only supports VGA resolution (640 x 480 pixels). Images taken in well-lit rooms are sharp and clear and don't suffer the blurriness that afflicts some models. Like our Editor's Choice recipient, the Samsung E800, the camera supports multi-shot, allowing you to capture six, nine or fifteen shots in quick succession. Special effects include antique, moonlight, gray, negative, fog, sepia, mirror and vertical flip. Four image compression settings are supported: economy, normal, fine and super fine. As with all Samsung handsets, the shutter sound can not be turned off (due to Korean privacy laws).

There is a small LED beside the camera that assists as a flash when taking night shots. The 'Matrix' setting lets you take four or nine photos, which the P510 then composes into a single photo.

On the polyphonics side, the P510 excels. There is an eclectic mix of 20 ring tones available for incoming phone calls, 10 separate tones available for messages (SMS/MMS) and 4 tones for when the folder opens and closes. These can be switched off and the phone also includes a vibrate function.

Samsung includes a slimline battery that sits flush with the phone (lasts around 3-4 days) and a higher capacity battery that juts out slightly but extends the average life span (during our tests) by an extra day.

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