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Samsung Z510 review: Samsung Z510

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The Good Slimmest 3G phone around. Dazzling 262K-colour display. Comprehensive, straightforward PC software package.

The Bad Memory not expandable. Camera 1.3-megapixel. One port handles charging, PC synch and headphones.

The Bottom Line Samsung’s Z510 shows that new generation phones can be slim and sexy without skimping on performance -- say farewell to the 3G bricks of old.

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Design
The design of the Samsung Z510 has been heavily influenced by Motorola's enormously successful V3 (RAZR) range. The squared contours, keypad layout, shortcut keys and outer display are all, well, let's be charitable and say "inspired by" the RAZR, but Samsung's model has enough of its own charms to be more than a mere copycat.

The main difference looks-wise between the two phones is that the Samsung Z510 features a rotating camera on the hinge of the clamshell, whereas the V3 camera is embedded in the Motorola's lid. The Z510 is also 1mm thicker than the original 2.5G RAZR, but almost 5mm -- and at 98 grams, 27 grams lighter -- slimmer than the 3G V3x.

One multitasking port on the right of the Z510 serves as the socket for charging, USB connection and stereo headphones. While this convergence makes for a more streamlined look, it also makes it impossible to connect the phone to a PC while charging it.

Befitting the focus on multimedia, there are three buttons on the clamshell cover for music playback and a camera shortcut key.

The Z510's keypad lacks the novelty of the RAZR's Tron-esque, neon blue-accented design, preferring a sleek, shiny black and brushed silver finish. The only problem with this is that the ebony number keys tend to become sullied with smudges after a number has been dialled.

Features
When we switched on the Z510 for the first time, we were immediately smitten with its dazzling 262K-colour display, which makes 65k colour displays look like the SBS test pattern by comparison.

Like the Sony Ericsson Z800i we played with last year, the Z510 features a 1.3-megapixel swivelling camera built into the clamshell hinge. Unlike the Z800i however, the camera does not automatically flip vertically when rotated inwards. This quirk puzzled us for several days, during which we took several awkward upside-down photos that, in an unintentional homage to Mr. Squiggle, had to be rotated to be deciphered. We even pondered whether the upside-down factor was a deliberate ploy by Samsung, intending to crack down on the number of vanity shots being taken throughout the world. After a Google search however, we finally discovered that pressing the volume button in camera mode fixes the problem. This function is sneakily hidden in the back of the manual - perhaps a lesson in the merits of reading the user guide thoroughly before getting mad at a phone.

For the non-business user, the Z510's 138MB of embedded memory should be ample for a collection of MP3s, the odd download and a few folders of photos and video clips. Heavier users with a desire to use the Z510 to view substantial PDF documents and store e-mails with attachments may find the memory capacity limiting, especially given the lack of an expandable memory card slot.

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