I've always been a bit squeamish when it comes to small cellphones. I have owned only one phone, and that's one of those good block-sized Nokia 6110 phones, which I have used for six years now. However, the technology evolves, and one has to keep up with it, so it's time for a new phone.
As said, I'm prejudiced when it comes to small cellphones: The thumb presses six buttons at once, they seem like toys by appearance and they have a poor sense of hold and grip. Nonetheless, I'm eager to change my opinions if someone can prove me wrong, and what would be a better way to prove me wrong than to probe the thing throughoutly myself. Enter: My review of the Nokia 6610 cellphone.
|Dimensions:||106 × 45 × 17.5 mm|
|Weight:||84g with the standard battery|
|Display:||128 × 128 pixels, 4096 colors (12-bit). Passive matrix|
|Protocols:||IR, GPRS, HSCSD, SMS, MMS, WAP 1.2.1|
|Dynamic memory:||625 kilobytes, not extendable|
After opening the box, I noticed that it contaied what you might expect: Two manuals, one in finnish and the other in swedish, Lithium ion battery, a charger, program CD, hands-free earplugs a few advertising pamphlets and the phone itself, of course.
I would like to point out that there was no data cable included in the package, so the Nokia PC Suite software assumes that you have an IR-port in your computer which it would use by default. A USB cable for the 6610 costs about 30€ in Finland. This was a big disappointment for me. There is no support for Bluetooth.
Without further ado i was busy assembling the phone, but immediately I stumbled across the first hindrance: the back panel. It was a bit hard to coordinate pressing the back panel release knob and simultaneously pulling it off. In the end, nevertheless, it was not an impossible task, and before soon i had both the SIM-card and battery in their respective places. I don't see the cumbersome back panel much of a problem, because it's more important for the back panel to stay attatched, than being able to swiftly change things behind it.
I noticed that the power button was much more difficult to handle, than the old 6110. The button is fairly stiff, and you have to press it quite deep. I can easily imagine people with larger hands and/or shorter nails having problems pressing it.
First off, I headed to the settings and configured it to work the way I want. As nice surprises, i noticed that the menus were like they have always been, with neater graphics of course, but still straightforward. You can get the date displayed on the main screen along with the clock, and that's a very welcome bonus. As other additions, i could mention the ability to change the color scheme for the menus. I chose grey.
Puzzling enough, I didn't find one single 'normal' ringing tone, but only more or less tuney ones. Some nature-related tones I did find, but I didn't see them fitting for the use. Also, I had troubles finding a suitable background image for the phone, so I decided to switch it off entirely. It's worth to notice that the main screen text is hard to read if the background has a dark tone, as the phone is incabable of switching the text color if needed. Strange and annoying.
After some browsing through the menus I noticed the downward directional button was acting up a bit. A while later, it ceased to work properly, and took only sometimes the presses. I took the phone apart, but was unable to find a reason. The actual buttons behind the keypad was working flawleslly, and the keypad didn't seem problemsome either, so I was left scratching my head with that one.
Because we are talking about a Java enabled cellphone, you could expect many Java powered bells and whistles. Luckily (as with any other 6000-series phone), the phone doesn't have any unnecessary bloat, so the software is strictly aimed towards business: Calendar, task list, portfolio and unit transformer - to mention the few most important. There are only two games included: Chess Puzzle and Bounce. The former is about solving situations given on a chess board, for example doing a chessmate in one or two moves. In the latter you control a ball in a 2D-world and bounce it around, avoiding needles and stuff that might pop it. I found a bug immediately, which enables you to get an unlimited amount of points. A bad flaw, but a very entertaining game nevertheless.
Radio and handsfree
One of the most intriguing features is the stereo FM radio, which, as a great fan and consumer of music, I tested with eager. First off I noticed that the hands-free device has to be attatched for the radio to work. I'm guessing there's an integrated antenna in the device.
The earplugs feel like any other mediocre earplugs. I got an unpleasant feeling in the other ear when exposed to a prolonged (over two hours) listening of music. But this surely is individual. The quality of sound was a very pleasant surprise. Okay, they don't have any especial bass effects or such, but used with radio, they are much better than one would actually need. The reception of the FM-signal is very crisp and clear, except for some random disturbances caused by a hand blocking the reception of signal, or some such. I was left wondering about the stereo reception, nevertheless. In my personal use (both mobile and static) the signal switched constantly from stereo to mono. I found that disturbing so i soon switched it to a constant mono-reception.
The phone has several preset slots for the user to save radio channels on, and you get to label each of them. It's more than clear that the radio doesn't support RDS-functions. As a neat feat, I noticed that the button of the hands-free functions as a channel changer between the preset frequencies.
All in all, the radio is a very well done feature, and a very welcome one. I dare to claim that it's even more useful than a camera in a phone. The only downside i encountered with this whole ordeal was the used Pop-Port connection. I'd imagine that during some rough usage (biking, for example), the clip can't keep the hands-free in place, and pops out of place, due to lack of any kind of connector locking mechanism. The connector rocked a bit while attatched, which made me wonder whether the designers actually have made everything durable on the long run.
The radio works also via the built-in loudspeaker, but this still requires the hands-free to be connected. If you are handy, you could try connecting the two first pins (from the left), which makes the phone think that the hands-free is connected, and put something metallic near the six last pins which is the antenna. I, however, do NOT recommend this, and I do not guarantee that this would be healthy for the phone.
My hand and the phone
The physical appearance is, as stated, smaller than what I'm used to. During time, I got used to this little block of electronics surprisingly well, and the feeling is sufficiently sturdy. The buttons feel good despite the small layout. I was, in fact, surprised that my fingers didn't press any other buttons than what I intended to, thanks to the beveling. When a key is pressed, you can hear and feel a pleasing click and the stiffness of the button is sufficient so that the neighbouring buttons don't get pressed by accident, but they were not too stiff either. There is some uncertainty when it comes to the two combined buttons, the ones used for menus and to start/end a call, as I'm not always sure whether I pressed the right half of it.
The layout is elegant and minimalistic, but very different to the earlier 6000-series, which may or may not make one wonder. I feel this looks more like some relative to the 7000-series. The black covers don't look the best on this phone - I think the white ones are most stylish. But this is a matter of taste. Of course, you can always get more Xpress-onTM covers.
A quite handy piece of thingie, especially to those of us who rely our daily organizing totally on a phone's calendar, clock and communication methods, and leave the entertainment plugged to our televisions. The price is about 250€ in Finland, which is a fair price for this gimmick. The pros to the FM-radio and the organiser, while the cons go to the design of the hands-free device and the lack of Bluetooth. Surely, this will take the place of my good old 6110 ...until something better comes along.