Samsung i8510 INNOV8 preview: First look
User interface is all too well known
The Symbian S60 3rd edition user interface is used by all Nokia smartphones for quite some time now. Samsung however seem to have a hunch for that operating system too and has several Symbian smartphones in its portfolio.
The Samsung i8510 INNOV8 comes with the Feature Pack 2 of the Symbian OS S60 UI, which was announced back in February 2008 and we even have an article on the changes it brings to the Symbian S60 smartphones. Still there aren't that many handsets with it available so we guess it's still a novelty.
However we won't be covering it here, let's just stick to the basics.
It's interesting that unlike Nokia smartphones the auto screen rotation feature doesn't work in the menus. But it's pretty much the only place it's not active. Other than that you can rotate every interface screen.
The Samsung INNOV8 screen rotation is more attractive than the Nokia one. Much like on the Samsung Omnia, the screen of the INNOV8 first zooms out nicely then rotates to landscape and zooms back in. Some eye-candy can't hurt anybody, right?
The Samsung INNOV8 will have two variants - 8GB and 16GB. The test unit we had was a 16GB one and as expected the actual available memory is more of 14.9GB. There is also a hot-swappable microSD slot. And with the DLNA support you can now mount locally remote folders shared on desktop computers and stream multimedia content from them.
When connected to a PC via a data cable you get a choice of several connectivity modes. In the Mass Storage mode the large 16GB (or so) memory, as well as the memory card, both become available as removable drives on the computer. The internal system memory of the INNOV8 is not accessible in that mode.
Speaking of multimedia, the image gallery of the Samsung i8510 INNOV8 holds no surprises. Besides the auto screen rotation it has nothing special to offer. The Nokia N-series trademark gallery looks much better. We also noticed a certain lag in image opening - we really hope this is a pre-production bug that will be fixed further.
The camera has it own image gallery that looks way better. It's only accessible if you slide the camera mode switch to gallery. It's only from there that you get access to the pre-installed image editor.
The Samsung i8510 INNOV8 has the regular Symbian music player, there are no news in that department. You can sort tracks by by artist, album, genre and composer and searching tracks by gradual typing is also available.
The player also comes with numerous equalizer presets. In contrast to some Nokia smartphones, the music player can be terminated as a running process when not needed.
By the way a video editor is also available as a separate application that allows you not only to actually edit videos but also create videos out of still images (video slideshows).
There's also an FM radio with RDS support. The INNOV8 can record radio broadcast too. However no equalizers are available for the FM radio.
Video playback is among the touted features of the INNOV8. It's said to be able to play a really wide range of video formats among which even DivX. We managed to confirm that the INNOV8 plays superbly DivX .avi videos shot at VGAres@30fps. The same goes for MPEG4 VGA@30fps videos.
By default all videos play in landscape mode and there's no setting to change that (not that anyone would want to). You can also fast-forward and rewind videos as you please.
Web browsing is excellent
Browsing the internet on a Samsung INNOV8 is a pleasure much like on any other Symbian S60 smartphone. Thanks to the great page rendering content fits perfectly on screen and looks exactly like on a PC.
There is flash support but you can turn that off if you like. And now before you ask, yes, it does YouTube videos too - straight from the desktop version of YouTube.com.
The INNOV8 optical touchpad in combination with the web browser virtual mouse cursor (not visisble on the screenshots) really takes browsing a level up. The touchpad allows you to control the mouse pointer as freely as you like - just as on the desktop. And pushing the pointer to any of the borders of the visible window makes the webpage pans in that direction.
Unfortunately, the web browser doesn't have a true fullscreen view mode, but offers an interesting overlaying toolbar (not visible on the screenshots) with several shortcuts that can be operated with the mouse pointer.