Samsung has decided to cover all flanks during its Android-led assault on the smartphone markets, introducing handsets in various form factors and price spots. At the IFA 2010 expo, a Samsung i5510 was spotted, boasting Android 2.2 and a physical QWERTY keyboard, in a fairly slim package. Now we have a review unit of the device, and will put it through its paces so you can judge how TouchWiz 3.0 and Froyo get along together on a budget handset.
The Samsung i5510 is made of the durable, glossy black plastic that the manufacturer uses on a lot of its handsets recently. The 3.2” capacitive touchscreen has 240×400 pixels of resolution. The LCD display is bright and responsive, and the pixel density is enough for everyday tasks.
Underneath the display there are three physical Android buttons – Home in the middle, Back on the right, and the Menu key on the left. Long-pressing the Menu key brings up the eight most recently used applications. The screen half of the Samsung i5510 is differentiated by the dark gray plastic surrounding it.
The Samsung i5510 is made of durable, glossy black plastic
You can compare the Samsung i5510 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
The back is flat, with a 3MP camera centered in its upper part, and the speaker grill down right. The camera doesn’t have a dedicated shutter button, thus the only element on the right side is the lock/power key. On the left we have the volume rocker, and the top houses the standard audio jack, and a microUSB slot with a sliding cover.
The sides of the Samsung i5510
Naturally, it is the QWERTY keyboard part, which will interest people most in the Samsung i5510, so let’s push it open and check the key design and responsiveness. The screen half slides away tight and smooth, revealing four rows of keys, which light up in white when used. The numbers, which are colored in red, are placed at the top row, and the mode switch is down left, colored the same.
Samsung has included four dedicated cursor arrow keys in gray, which, to us, is the greatest advantage of physical keyboards over virtual ones. The key travel is a bit stiff and shallow, but the keyboard is very usable, once you get used to it. It doesn’t feel crammed, as each individual key is placed in a frame independently. Snapping the screen back over it is again easy, and the spring mechanism feels satisfyingly sturdy.
The QWERTY keyboard of the Samsung i5510
We won’t go so far as to say that it is a Galaxy 3 with a keyboard, but in terms of front and back design, components and materials used, the two phones are very close relatives. The Samsung i5510 fits very well in the hand, and has just enough heft to feel solid, despite the physical QWERTY keyboard. Our scale showed 4.23 ounces (120 grams), which makes it one of the lightest handsets with a slide-out keyboard out there.
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