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We're always wary when a company says its product is aimed at women. Invariably it means a predominance of ill-informed pink and shiny styling elements and a lacklustre feature list. As such, upon hearing about the Samsung Diva, we were instantly sceptical. Nonetheless, looking through its feature list there are enough elements to potentially make this a worthy investment so let's see if we're singing from the same hymn sheet.
When we first saw the Diva in pictures we quite liked what we thought was a clever undulating paint effect on the back that gave it a unique look. However, upon receiving the handset we were horrified to find this isn't an effect at all but that the back is actually quilted. Perhaps in its silver guise on the S5150 it works better but on this otherwise pleasant pearlescent finish it just looks and feels odd – it's not like it even makes the phone easier to hold. In fact, upon asking my sister her opinion she simply stated, "It's horrible!"
You'll also not fail to miss the plastic diamond-shaped button that sits on the front. This, though a tad cheesy, is a rather more effective style element as the fit and finish is top class and you get a really nice sparkly effect. Bizarrely, though, where we'd expect this to be a menu button from its central positioning, it's actually the back button. We'll talk more about the interface in due course.
Despite our grievances, the Diva does look reasonably elegant from the front thanks to its mostly simple and symmetrical layout and chrome surround. At 18mm, it is a little thick but with a footprint of 54 x 100mm it's still relatively small and its weight of 94g means it shouldn't put too big a strain on your handbag straps. That said, if you're after a truly tiny phone, the Diva isn't a patch on the minute proportions (73 x 45 x 17mm) of the Sony Ericsson Jalou.
Another issue is the general feel of the handset. While not out and out flimsy, it does have an overarching wobbly and creaky feel and the plastic screen has a fair amount of flex to it. The lack of a headphone jack is also a major inconvenience if you like to use your phone as an mp3 player. The Diva's headset, which plugs into a micro-USB socket on the side, is okay for casual listening and making calls (it includes an inline remote) but due to poor noise isolation and bass reproduction it's not one for the underground. You do at least get a microSD slot under the battery cover along with hardware volume controls on the left edge as well as a dedicated camera button and screen-lock button on the right.
On a semi-positive note, the screen produces bright vibrant colours and has good viewing angles. At 2.8in, it should have been a good compromise between size and usability but with a resolution of just 240 x 320 pixels it struggles to fit in sufficient detail for activities like browsing the web. Furthermore, despite its use of capacitive touch-sensing, it doesn't support multi-touch.