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By Thomas McKinnon 20 February 2009

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One of the major talking points of our January 2009 Trends Issue was convergence; specifically the relentless move towards all-in-one devices.

If there was any one device we had to single out as epitomising convergence it would have to be the Samsung Innov8 i8510. As an eight megapixel Symbian 60 smartphone it’s a veritable complect of mobile technology.

The looks

The Innov8 is a rather weighty slider at 136g and is not small with dimensions of 106.5 x 53.9 x 17.2 mm when closed. But with its glossy black finish, large display and brushed steel looking keypad the Innov8 is a very attractive device.

It sports a 2.8" TFT display with a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels, an ambient light sensor and a very nifty accelerometer function. In many ways the handset is similar to Nokia’s N96, its use of a Symbian version 9.3 Series 60 OS, 3G HSDPA capabilities and comparable form factor being the most obvious similarities.

Integration troubles

Despite utilising the same OS as the Nokia, the Innov8 just doesn’t function as smoothly, the software and hardware just seem poorly integrated at times. The device’s touch sensitive navigation button, unique to Samsung handsets, is the perfect example of this. We disabled this function as we were constantly scrolling past applications we wished to open; inevitably opening apps we didn’t want to. While this sounds like a minor issue it is an extremely irritating one.  Once the function was disabled our experience of the interface did improve markedly although it was still a bit sluggish.

The device’s HSDPA and GPS connectivity are well complimented by its large display making browsing and navigation easy on the device. A full GPS kit including mount, car charger and software are also available in a special navigation package.

The good stuff

The Innov8’s best features are its 16GB of built-in memory and its fantastic camera. The handset’s storage capabilities make it a very desirable multimedia device which is further enhanced by the fact that it comes with Divx loaded out of the box and a microSDHC card slot which means you can increase storage capacity by a further 16GB. Its eight megapixel camera is exceptional, taking some impressive high-res images. The camera is equipped with auto focus and boasts a blink shot and smile shot function. Basically with blink shot and smile shot the camera is able to recognise if you are doing either and will snap a pic accordingly, or not as the case may be. Our only complaint about the camera is the fact that it utilises a LED flash as opposed to a more powerful Xenon flash.

A success?

The Innov8 is a remarkable device, particularly when considering its versatility and the evident level of convergence it embodies. That being said, for a do-it-all device it does some things better than others. As a camera it’s great, as a mobile browser and navigation device it is satisfactory, but as a phone it just doesn’t hit the nail on the head. This inconsistency in performance is however tolerable as Samsung sought an extreme level of convergence, a level its competitors are going to find tough to live up to.

PROS
An 8 megapixel camera and 16GB storage is deal closer.
CONS
The software and hardware aren't well integrated, the UI lacks something.
USER COMMENTS

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