Given Fly’s need to meet its price point some elements of this handset’s build do suffer. The front buttons are a case in point with the Call, End and softmenu keys feeling a little flimsy under the fingertips, despite my fondness for their large size. The slide is spring-loaded though, and clunks into position nicely, which shows good attention to detail.
The screen is necessarily small, measuring just 1.8in. Nothing larger would have fitted into the available space and there isn’t much by way of software to challenge its 176 x 220 pixels with no Web browser screaming out for more display area or finer grained pixilation – though there is a WAP browser.
The camera gubbins is on the back of the phone and manages to run to a tiny LED flash unit that sits above the lens as well as a small self-portrait mirror. These are nice features to find on a budget handset, and while the flash doesn’t do much for subjects that are more than a few feet from the lens, it could be handy.
The maximum resolution of 1.3-megapixels is nothing to write home about, and image quality suffers as a consequence. This is no surprise, really, and what I found more annoying was the difficulty of framing a scene. The SL500i suffers from the same problem as the SX200 and SLT100, where Fly doesn’t seem to understand that what you see on the screen when framing a photo should be close to what you get from the resulting image. That just isn’t how it works here.
The coloured dish, photographed under normal household lighting conditions was framed with its two ends in opposite corners of the screen, but the resulting photo delivered a lot of extra image. You can’t hope to frame a photo well under these conditions.
Look at the flowers for example. The one in the bottom right of the photo wasn’t in the shot at all when it was framed. And the white chair has been cropped to stop it looking totally lost against a sea of wall behind it.