The C510 is a smart-looking candy bar design, with a low-key front panel and some nice contrast silver and dark blue edging on the black version of the phone we tested (there's also a silver version with grey trim). It has a slimline build, with dimensions of 107(h) x 47(w) x 12.5(d)mm, and a respectably solid 92g bodyweight.
It feels good to hold and operate, the numberpad nicely set up with large, well defined and responsive keys a pleasure to press.
A conventional control pad set up includes a prominent square navigation D-pad that's raised slightly proud for suitably easy operation.
The contoured softkeys mostly work well, and are easy to press. In camera landscape mode you may find them slightly more fiddly because of the way the onscreen options are lined up – the Back option can bring fingers close to the call End button – but a little care is all that's needed to avoid mis-pressing.
The decent 2.2inch QVGA (320x240 pixels), 262K-colour scratch-resistant display is sufficiently bright and clear for image viewing and menu operation.
Sony Ericsson employs its familiar user interface that's quite straightforward to navigate, and there's a motion sensor accelerometer to automatically change screen orientation as the phone is moved between portrait and landscape.
Around the back, the C510 sports a slick but unobtrusive camera lens cover panel that slides down over the bodywork to reveal the lens towards the top of the handset. It's tidily engineered, so the back panel is flat when the cover is closed. Opening it up automatically fires up the camera.