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So, what about the camera, then?
Well, its 8-megapixel sensor is only part of the story. There is no optical zoom, which is a pity, and the flash is dual LED rather than Xenon.
When you start the camera software running by pressing a side button, the lens cover snaps aside. It pops back when you stop using the camera. This is a small touch but it gives the i8510 an air of quality.
There’s a macro mode, and the Sempervivum plant was taken using this at a range of about 5cm, with the result being rather good. As for my other standard test shots, the coloured dish is sharp and accurate and the chair is uniformly white with well-captured detail.
I took the opportunity to grab some shots of the latest feline addition to the household, Angus. These photos display nicely the camera’s sharpness, and his colouring is spot on. However, I had to discard more photos than I kept thanks to considerable shutter lag.
Smile detection, face detection and blink detection should help with portraits, and you can geotag images. Panorama mode lets you move the phone round while it shoots a sequence of photos automatically. It is very clever and I’d like to see it on more phones, but it only works at 640 x 480 and 320 x 240. A side button flicks you between camera, movie and gallery modes, and you can edit both movies and stills.
There’s also an application called SmartReader which converts photographed business cards into contact book entries. It worked well with the sample business cards I tried.
Other applications include mobile email, sound recorder, DivX playback, RealPlayer, calculator, unit converter, notes taker, calendar, some games, and readers for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF format documents.
The i8510 is certainly packed with features and it handles well. It is large for the pocket, but the image quality of its camera is splendid. That said, shots aren’t exponentially better than you’d get with a top-grade 5-megapxiel cameraphone, so don't be lured in purely by the headline-grabbing 8-megapixels.