Mobile phones seem to be capable of anything these days. No single device does it all, admittedly, but the phone is proving increasingly invaluable for both leisure and business purposes.
Surfing the web via your mobile no longer costs a fortune, thanks in large part to far more realistic data tariffs from the likes of T-Mobile with its Web 'n' Walk price plans. What's more, you don't need to carry a brick-sized monster of a handset if you want to use advanced phone functions - the Samsung Z560 is a sleek case in point.
You can get online using most phones these days, but surfing the web using WAP feels like browsing in slow-motion. HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access) makes web browsing on a wireless device far faster, with a data transfer rate of up to 1.8Mbps (megabits per second). That's faster than the broadband service in some parts of the UK.
So the Samsung is a quick surfer - but we're not convinced that speed alone is enough to make for a truly compelling web experience. For a start, the Z560 doesn’t have a scrollwheel - you have to rely on the central up and down arrows. This is at times ineffectual, particularly if a page hasn’t been specifically optimised for mobile use. Nor did we manage to send or receive large files particularly quickly, suggesting the maximum data rates were a bit optimistic.
Plenty of thought has gone into the touch- and heat-sensitive controls used to control MP3 playback. The phone is solidly built and has a sturdy hinge. We liked the generous keypad and the ease with which you can find functions and tap in a URL, and since the Z560 is no wider (if a little thicker) than a Motorola Razr, we can see no reason that its size will deter customers. It includes tube maps for London, Paris, Milan and Berlin, and an 'adopt a dog' game.