Sony Ericsson K510 review: Unexpected contender

GSMArena team, 29 May 2006.

Fixed positions

SMS maniacs won't be disappointed from the keypad of K510. It is easy to control and typing goes natural. Regrettably, the two soft keys on the top of the keypad are with fixed functions and cannot be assigned anything else. The left key is reserved for the Calls log and answering phone calls as the right one is a shortcut to the Menu and rejecting phone calls. A press on the joystick also takes you in the Menu and that's why it's such a pity that the soft keys cannot be re-assigned. But that's standard for Sony Ericsson phones menu system.

The right lateral button brings the Activity menu on the display. This menu consists of three tabs: My Shortcuts, Bookmarks and New events.

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Activity menu

A bad thing is that the backlighting of the keypad is not very good. It glows unevenly and leaves the keypad hardly visible in the dark.

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Keypad backlighting

Beware of the sun

The phone has a 262K color TFT display offering a resolution of 128 x 160 pixels. It performs well when indoors or under poor lighting conditions but when it's exposed in direct sunlight it becomes very illegible. The backlighting of the display is also not among the best ones. On top of that, there is no option for changing the backlighting time of the display and the preset period is very short.

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Display backlighting

When active, the display shows the network cell status, the battery status, the operator name, time and date and the Calls and Menu labels of the soft keys. The display can run animated wallpapers. When the display is inactive, it goes off but you can set a clock to be displayed. However, it is hardly visible in any conditions. You can also set a screen saver picture which will be displayed for some time after the display goes inactive and then it will go off too.

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The active display with different themes applied


Generally speaking, we were quite pleased by the quality of the sound during conversations. The microphone is really sensitive and gave us no troubles - even in noisy streets the other party was able to hear us speaking. The loudspeaker is also loud enough and we must point out that according to us it’s even louder than the one used in Sony Ericsson K800 which is far superior to K510 in many ways. All in all, we’ve seen louder phones, but this one does its job more than satisfactory. During conversations you can use the loudspeaker too allowing you to talk while the handset is away from you. That worked well but there’s more to wish for.

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Calling • In-call menu • loudspeaker switched on

There are 6 predefined profiles which can be freely edited to the user preferences. A fast shortcut key for changing the current profile is the short press of the ON/OFF button.

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Changing profiles • profiles can be edited

Need for speed

The user interface in K510 is a standard non-smartphone Sony Ericsson user interface. The main menu is made of a matrix grid with 4 x 3 animated and zooming-in icons. All sub-menus are in listed view with tiny icons on the left side. The phone reacts and performs incredibly fast in every submenu and application. Even the camera and picture viewer applications work very fast. It has 28 MB internal memory and due to lack of a memory card slot it cannot be used as a music phone.

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The main menu • listed sub-menu • event animations

There are several repetitions of applications and shortcuts in the menus, which can be confusing for some users. The logical positions of the applications are not always present and the untrained users might need some time to get used to the K510 menu system. There are four available graphic themes on the phone. They change the color scheme and the wallpaper. More are available for download, of course.

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Different graphic themes

1000 entries

The phonebook interface is simple and easy to use. It displays only the contacts from the phone memory. SIM card contacts are accessible from a sub-menu. When you browse the phonebook it displays as much as 5 contacts at a time. Switching between different phone numbers and emails for a given contact is possible via pushing the side ways of the joystick.

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Changing contact's number, email and web address

The maximum capacity of the phonebook is 1000 contacts. They can be separated in groups which, however, cannot be used as call filters. When adding a new contact, there are five possibilities for the phone number: Mobile, Home, Work, Fax and Other. You cannot add more than those five numbers. This is the first tab of fields for the new contacts. The second one is for email and web addresses. The third is for assigning a picture and a custom ringtone. The fourth goes for Title, Company, Street, City, State, ZIP, Country information. The last, fifth, tab is for additional information and birthday date. When you add the birthday date, the phone asks you whether you would like to add it to the calendar and put a reminder of it. That's a good feature and we like it that we see it available more and more often in current phones.

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Adding new contact • Photo call

There is also the Autosave on SIM feature, which is common for Sony Ericsson models. It is also a very useful feature for those who change phones often. Contacts can be ordered by First or Last name. Phonebook is searched through gradual typing of the desired name.

Reader comments

  • Habt

My k510 mobile sedenly when I press on it display continusly blink white screen what is the solution.

  • Yazz

I have been using this K510i since October 13, 2006. And still working very well. I have been unintentionally drop this phone so many times, two times get really wet, and still working...very good product from Sony Ericsson, very durable and affordab...

  • Anonymous

I can't send any sms. It always says: sending failed unknown recipient. can anyone help me?