Product Type: Nokia mobile phones
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Hanging on the Telephone
Member Name: mattygroves10
Date: 24/10/09, updated on 24/10/09 (196 review reads)
Advantages: Easy to use, (mostly) intuitive menu structure, robust, good sound, nice look and feel
Disadvantages: After two years' use, poor battery life, wear & tear on the keyboard, a few weird storage structures
I am not a luddite, however, I tend to use my mobile phone to make and receive calls, send texts, and take (and send on) the occasional photograph. My Nokia 6300 allows me to do all these things, and more. It's the 'and more' that baffles me, and that rarely (or indeed never) gets used.
Cape and Tights (or, look and feel)
The handset is attractive, without being fancy. It has a metal casing, and a pleasantly reassuring heft, without being weighty. The handset is dominated by the screen (there are bigger screens out there, but for most uses, the screen on the Nokia 6300 is adequate), with a large middle button, giving access to the menu (and you can use it to answer a ringing phone - preferably the phone that is actually ringing). Surrounding the centre button is a metal frame. Each side of the square can be programmed to perform different functions. I have mine set so that the top side enables the alarm (very handy if you're prone to falling asleep on the train and finding yourself in Shepperton. Not that this has EVER happened to me...I may be fibbing), the left side opens the new text message screen, the bottom opens the contacts list, and the right the calendar/diary. Programming these is straightforward from the Settings-->My Shortcuts menu.
There are two buttons each on either side - the top ones are also programmable, the bottoms (green and red) answer and hang up the phone respectively (and the red one allows you to exit menus quickly. The number pad below is metallic, with blue numbers and letters (which are backlit when the phone is in use). The keyboard is robust, however, after a while the metallic sheen on the keys wears off, and can obscure the numbers and text. This is a nuisance if you're not familiar with the layout of the alphanumeric characters, however, one does tend to get used to where everything is, and so isn't too much of a problem. I should point out I've had this phone a good couple of years, thus the erosion isn't a huge surprise.
There are blue light strips on either side of the phone. These blink when you have unread text messages or unlistened to voice message. This can be quite handy if your phone is on silent, but can be irritating if you receive a text in the middle of the night, and your phone is in the bedroom. The light is fairly bright, especially when contrasted with a dark room. You might be able to turn this off - I've never tried (and have long since lost the instruction booklet - I've had the phone a good couple of years now).
On the back, you'll find the camera lens, and a note that the camera has two megapixels. The bottom two thirds is again metal, giving a good sheen and feel (and also showing up finger prints).
It's a Bird (and for 'bird', read 'phone...) - Calling and Texting
I'm on T-Mobile. When reception is good (which isn't always a given - I also have a Vodaphone differently modelled Nokia - Vodaphone seems to have better and more stable coverage), the sound quality is excellent, though you do have to be careful that the small handset is properly positioned over your ear. The volume is easily adjusted with a rocker button on the side of the phone. I have no trouble (in areas of good reception) hearing my caller.
Making calls using the contact list requires as few as three button presses (depending on how you have your shortcuts set up). I have also set up speed dials, where I hold down one of the number keys for a couple of seconds, automatically dialling frequently dialled numbers. Hitting the green button will also bring up a list of recently dialled numbers, speeding up the call process even further.
The phone is sufficiently fits my (exceedingly small) hand nicely, but yet isn't too heavy to become uncomfortable after an extended conversation. The keypad is nicely responsive. I can feel the difference between the various keys, thus avoiding double keying and accidental mis-dials.
The feel of the keypad is important when texting. Again, although the keys are small, there is sufficient distance between the keys so that mis-typing is easily avoidable. I am a very slow texter (especially compared to my teenage daughter). I do use Nokia's predictive text messaging, and am now very used to it, and like it. Whilst there are some words that are oddly absent (since when is 'ales' an unusual word, and try typing Smirnoff into a Nokia using predictive texting - g'on - you'll like it), in general, the predictive texting is easy to use and relatively clever. The phone also gives you option to manually spell the word if, after you press the 'I don't want that word - try another' button a few times, your word still doesn't appear.
Texting pictures is also straightforward - you can send a picture immediately after taking it (though you have to be quick, before the taken picture disappears) or from the gallery. Receiving texts and pictures is also straightforward, and can often be done with one button press (depending on how many have been received before checking your messages). Deleting messages is a tadge more fiddly (when you want to delete a bunch without deleting them all), requiring two or three keystrokes.
The menu structure is in general quite intuitive, and easy to use. I have my text messages set up to save received messages - this is not a default, but easy to change. I rarely have needed to refer to the instruction booklet to figure out how to do things, which is just as well, as I've long since lost it. I have, over time, set up various shortcuts to access frequently used items quickly, though sometimes, it would be nice to have a few more accessible shortcuts.
So, all in all, the Nokia 6300 is easy to use for making and receiving calls and texts. But what else does it do, and what is especially good, and what is less so?
It's a Plane (and for 'plane', read 'gadget'...) - Other features
Like many (if not most) modern mobile phones, the Nokia 6300 has a camera. It's only 2 megapixels, and so not suitable for anything really but snapping quick pictures to send to friends. The camera did come with a USB cable (well, USB bit to plug into the computer, and a little tiny bit to plug into a little tiny, not terribly accessible hole in the bottom of the phone), which I've long since lost. In truth, though, I wouldn't use the Nokia's camera for anything else. There is no flash, and the picture quality really isn't all that (though ok for taking pictures in bright daylight to upload onto Facebook).
There is no lens on the face of the camera, making it difficult to take pictures of yourself. There is also no specific button to access the camera (though, of course, you could set up one of the quick access buttons mentioned above to do this), so you do need to go through the menu options (unless you've done the quick menu set up) to access the camera. This means it can be tricky to get those 'I need to be quick' photos - birds on a feeder and so forth. So the camera on this phone is really a nifty added extra rather than a replacement for a decent point and shoot camera.
It's worth noting the slightly strange and quirky picture storage structure. The Gallery menu includes an 'images' option, however, pictures you take get dropped into the Memory Card section. This can be confusing at times, and does necessitate extra keystrokes to view photos you've taken. This is not, in my opinion, the cleverest or most obvious structure. My other Nokia files pictures in a much more sensible fashion.
As I mentioned, I do use the alarm clock (though not to wake me up in the morning) - it's easy to use, and easy to set, and uses your ring tone and vibrate option to alert you. I've occasionally used the calendar/diary, again, easy-ish to use (keeping in mind this is a phone and not a pda, so can take quite a few keystrokes to enter the details of your appointment). I don't use either function at any length, but they do adequately what they say on the tin.
The phone comes with a couple of games, and you can acquire others, some free, some at a cost. Like many people (perhaps specifically of my generation), I played a few (especially Snake II) quite a bit when I first got the phone; now I never do). The games I have played are mildly diverting, but I'm rubbish at them, and can never remember which buttons I need to press to make the darned character (or whatever) do what I want it to do, so I quickly gave up.
The Nokia 6300 has Bluetooth. There are any number of things that this is helpful for - Bluetooth enable handsfree kits, Bluetooth enabled Sat Nav systems, creeping out strangers in pubs. I've used it to exchange photos and the odd audio clip, however, again, the facility is seriously underused by me. This is my fault, not the phones. You can set the Bluetooth to be on (which drains the battery), off and visible or invisible. I keep mine off unless I know someone (usually standing next to me) is trying to send me something. Turning it on is straightforward.
Apparently, you can use the Nokia 6300 as an MP3 player. I have an iPod that holds 30Gb (and it's barely full), so I have never, ever used the Nokia as a music player. For one, I find Nokia's headset (included - also works as a handsfree headset - I've used it for that - it's ok, but the sound quality for the person on the other end of the call is not as good as using the headset alone) uncomfortable after a long period of time. When I was given the Nokia 6300, it didn't include an adapter to allow you to use normal audio headsets with the phone, so again, another reason I've never used the phone as an MP3 player. I do know that more modern Nokias do include an adapter. The Nokia 6300 is, I believe, still available new, and may well include such an adapter.
In theory, you can surf the internet with this thing. I've tried it once - the keyboard and the screen size make this (for me) prohibitively annoying, so I don't use it. If I were that desperate to surf on the go, I'd get an iPhone (which, for the record, I covet something chronic).
The phone is reasonably customisable - I have a picture of my cat as the wallpaper (which, to be fair, my daughter put on there) and the Doctor Who theme tune as my ring tone, and the sound of the Tardis dematerialising as my text message alert. These are easy to set up, though, in truth, a friend set up the ring tones for me (as he didn't approve of my standard ring tone). I always know when it's my phone ringing! And yes, I am a geek (or a 'geek nerd', as one friend styled me).
It's Superphone? Ups and Downs
So, you now, with a bit of luck (and a long attention span) know a fair amount about how this phone works. But does it work well?
All in all, the answer is yes. The shape and feel of the phone is elegant without being too heavy or too fancy. The call quality is good, the screen is adequate (and the font size adjustable making the text easy to read and adjust). The keyboard, though small (keep in mind I have very small fingers) feels nice and is laid out and assembled to help avoid accidental double clicks. The menu structure is fairly Nokia standard, and mostly intuitive. The phone is robust - I've dropped it on very hard surfaces on more than one occasion and it's bounced (and survived) admirably.
The phone isn't perfect. Perhaps not surprisingly, there is some real evidence of wear and tear. The battery life isn't what it once was - a few long(ish) phone calls, and you'll need to recharge it. Even if you're not on the phone too much, after two years, I still need to recharge mostly daily. The metallic overlay on the keypad is wearing away, so some of the keys are worryingly blue, making the text difficult (if not eventually impossible) to read. Although mostly the menu structure is sensible, there are niggles, such as where Nokia insists on dropping taken photographs.
The Nokia 6300 is not a so-called Smart Phone. However, if you need a basic, yet reasonably modern phone to make and receive calls, make and receive texts, and take basic pictures, you won't go far wrong with this phone (or its successor, I'd guess). T-Mobile have given me free upgrade phones on several occasions - each time, I've chosen to stick with my trusty 6300, and will probably do so until the battery finally gives up the ghost.
All in all, recommended, depending on how you want to use it.
PS - costs
Obviously, how much you'll end up paying will depend on how and where you get this phones. It's free with many pay-monthly plans; you can pick one up used for around £20 - it'll cost you £89 from Nokia's online shop - but do keep in mind, price for mobile phones is extremely variable.
Summary: A good, fairly simple, fairly modern phone, recommended for those who don't need a smartphone or MP3
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