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Cast your mind back to January 2007. That was when I reviewed the predecessor to Vodafone's 810, the rather unsurprisingly named Vodafone 710. That was Vodafone's first pop at an own-branded 3G handset and the 810 is an update.
The 710 was a clamshell, but the 810 takes a different tack and is a slider. It is rather nicely designed. When closed, you are holding a phone that measures 98mm tall, 48mm wide and 16.5mm thick. With the slide up it grows to 130mm tall. It weighs a comfortable 110g. It is fine for all but the tightest of pockets to accommodate and I had no problems at all toting it around.
The sliding process is a very important factor in phones that take this format. I have nothing bad to say about the spring-loaded mechanism which delivers a nice thunk on opening and closing. But as is often the case with sliders I am a bit miffed about the fact that I needed to thumb the screen to open and close the phone. The net result is a greasy screen and I just don't like that. But Vodafone provides nothing beneath the screen on which to get purchase for sliding.
Oh, and there are buttons here, too, but they just aren't designed to help with sliding and I often ended up pressing one accidentally when opening or closing the phone. There is little more irritating than pressing a button you don't mean to on a mobile phone.
The button array beneath the screen forms a frame of silver around a black navigation pad with a silver select button in the centre. A further outer band of silver frames the whole front fascia and while the design is not exactly novel it is tidy enough.
The Call, End, Clear, and softmenu buttons are all large enough to hit accurately. The navigation pad is probably the most interesting part of this mobile's design. At first glance you could easily be forgiven for thinking it's one of those function specific touchpads that have cropped up recently in the funky LG KF600 and more staid Samsung Soul U900.
But no. The impression is given because the touchpad is a large area around the select button whose directional arrows are backlit blue when active. But this is a simple hardware button and no amount of wishing will make the arrows change into music control keys when you are playing tunes or camera control keys when you are shooting photos.