Product Type: Nokia mobile phones
Newest Review: ... to read text messages and view the icons, though not so good with the web. In the box you get the phone, USB PC cable, basic hands free ki... more
Sliding Back In To The Mobile Generation
Nokia 6600 Slide
Member Name: Hishyeness
Nokia 6600 Slide
Advantages: Does the basics very well. Great looks and form factor.
Disadvantages: Easily scratched.
Having recently resigned from my job, I was suddenly faced with the slightly daunting prospect of going shopping for a new mobile phone. My previous employer had a generous personal use policy for business issued mobiles (a Blackberry Pearl), so I have not had a need for a second mobile for almost four years.
Luckily, I already had a pretty good idea of what I wanted from a phone. I mainly wanted to be contactable, make the occasional phone call and text, catch up on news via the internet on occasion, and have something about my person that didn't look too dull or too flash.
Armed with my brother-in-law (who was a little more in touch with the mobile world) I descended on Guildford High Street, and after some excellent assistance from a chap at Carphone Warehouse, emerged blinking into the bright sunlight with a swanky-looking Nokia 6600 Slide (so much for not looking flash!).
IN THE BOX
I bought the phone on a 24-month pay monthly contract, so it was "free". However, if you wanted to buy the unit separately without a contract, it would set you back £249 from Carphone Warehouse. However, the model is already a year old, and as such, you can get them new elsewhere at a significant discount (£125 from Amazon), or acquire them second hand for a fraction of the cost.
The top opening box includes the phone, the manual, a mains charger, a data cable to enable connection to a PC, a set of in-ear headphones (the ear canal types with rubber ear buds that sit inside your ears) with three sizes of ear buds, and a special adapter which plugs into the USB port which allows it (and the headphones) to double as a hands-free kit. More on the accessories later.
In addition to the stuff supplied, I kitted it out with a number of invaluable accessories (a car charger, plastic stick-on screen protector, a belt clip carry case and a Bluetooth hands-free unit) which do not come with the phone but which, for the grand total of £35, I have found well worth the extra investment.
LOOK & FEEL
The 6600 has a shiny black cover and fits nicely in the palm of the hand. The front is dominated by the 1.5 by 2 inch colour screen (advertised as a 2.2" TFT display) and just three buttons. A central thumb-sized square menu button edged in fetching aqua blue which is used for most of the navigation, and two rectangular buttons for initiating and ending calls and all other peripheral functions. Also on the front is the microphone and a forward facing camera for video calls. It is a quad band phone, which essentially means it will work in Europe, the UK, USA and Japan and most other places on the planet.
The phone has a slide mechanism (hence the name) so when you push the fascia upwards, it smooth slides back to reveal a backlit keypad underneath. The keypad features numbers 0 to 9 plus two special function keys. The top of the unit has the disengaging mechanism for the back cover (to reveal the battery, SIM and 512MB Micro SD memory card as well as a hard rubber cover which, when removed, reveals the USB port for docking with a PC.
The power input for the charger is on the right hand side of the phone, and the back cover features the loudspeaker, the main 3.2 megapixel camera and the discreet flash. With the battery inserted, the phone weights a very modest 110 grams. The unit itself measures around 3.25 by 1.5 inches and is fairly slim. All in all, from a purely aesthetic point of view, with its shiny black exterior and rounded corners, it's a very slick and cool looking phone.
However, as a note of caution, that nice slick black surface is prone to: (a) fingerprints - I find I am forever cleaning it as every little oily deposit from my face or mitts shows up; and (b) scratches - which makes a screen protector and a protective case of some description an almost mandatory acquisition.
I wanted a good looking phone which did the basics well. The phone has a load of extra features, such as photo and video capability, a maps facility, a music player and FM radio, games and web browsing using the Opera application, and, although I touch on these specific features below, I bought it primarily as a telephone and that's how I still use it a majority of the time.
> Calls & Texts
Making and receiving calls is simple. The keypad is a nice size, even for stodgy fingers like mine and I find it easy to use. The phone allows you to assign a photo to each contact, so not only can you read who is calling you, you can see them at a glance as well. You can also assign specific ring tones to specific contacts (in my case, my wife) so you don't even have to look at the screen to know who is calling. There may be a few of you rolling your eyes at this point (as in DOH! What did he expect?), but for me, this is a very useful and practical advance on my old (yes - REALLY old) previous phone.
When receiving calls, you can set up the phone to answer when you slide it open, or leave it so you have to press the answer key. I prefer the latter, even though it involves an extra step, because my natural inclination is to slide it open when I get it out. Predictive text is available, but does my head in, so I don't use really use it. Like phoning, texting is easy with the decent sized keypad and the 6600 handles it well.
The sound quality of calls is excellent and clear with good signal strength. Volume control is intuitive while in-call (from the menu button) and there is little distortion even at the highest sound level. Equally, the speakerphone function does a great job both for the speaker and the listener, although, with the loudspeaker located on the bottom of the back cover, it's easy to accidentally cover it when holding the phone.
As with most phones, there are a number of profiles you can use (general, loud silent) which allow for heavy customisation. There is a "Go To" menu on the start-up screen that provides a useful shortcut to your profiles, so you can put the phone on silent and back to another profile at the click of a couple of buttons instead of working your way through the menu system. The "Go To" menu reflects my use of the phone - with shortcuts to profiles, camera, web browser, alarm clock and calculator.
The screen is fully customisable (I currently have a photo of my newborn son as a wallpaper) and shows signal strength, battery level, date, time and network, Bluetooth, 3G and hands free status. When the phone is in "closed" mode, tapping on the screen twice in quick succession brings up the date and time in large type-face.
There are two "features" which, irritatingly, I haven't managed to locate the settings for. The first is that the phone locks the keyboard after 30 seconds of inactivity, and the second, presumably as a power saving measure, turns the screen off after 30 seconds as well. I am sure these are customisable and easily done with a thorough read of the manual, but I will probably wait until my frustration spills over before having a proper look through to find it.
Being used to the extended life of a Blackberry, which could happily go three or four days of relatively heavy use before charging, I was a little disappointed to discover that my new 6600 needed to be recharged almost daily. I am not a heavy user, and although battery life can be affected by signal coverage, I did expect it to last longer. As such, the car charger has proved to be a useful (and necessary) accessory. I also have a USB laptop charger which I use sometimes for a quick power top up. For the record, the advertised battery life is 3 hours of constant talk or use, and 240 hours in standby mode, which to be fair, is pretty accurate.
I have a dedicated Digital SLR camera, as well as a digital compact camera and am not a spontaneous taker of photos. As such, I don't use the camera function on the phone very often. However, it does have its uses, and when I have used it, it has produced clear, sharp, rich and usable photos. Obviously, with a 3.2 megapixel resolution, it's not going to be suitable for anything over a 6" by 4" print, but it does a job. Images are saved to the standard 512Mb Micro SD card that comes with the phone, which is too small for most PC card readers. As such, any images taken will need to be transferred by data cable (or Bluetooth).
My trusty 16MB iPod Nano goes with me everywhere and I have little interest in FM radio, so I have rarely used the music features on the phone. I use a Bluetooth headset for my calls, which means if I wanted to use the music features on the phone, I would have to carry around the headphones and the dedicated adapter cable as well. You cannot plug headphones straight into the phone (there is no phono jack - it goes through the adapter via the USB port).
The headphone cable also doubles as the FM radio antenna, and I decided early on that I could not be bothered with the palaver given I already had a dedicated MP3 player. For all that, the headphones provide pretty good sound and build quality (not dissimilar to my Sennheisers which share the same form factor), so I am sure it will be useful to someone who wants a multifunctional portable device - but that someone is not me.
The number and quality of games has come on leaps and bounds since I last owned a mobile phone, and the 6600 provides a generous selection (which of course can be augmented by paid downloads). My phone includes backgammon, Golf Tour, a casino game, Snake, Sudoku and Soccer, all of which are fairly diverting for those times when your train is delayed. I added Scrabble (for £3.99 from the O2 portal), which is the application I use the most.
The phone is 3G capable and WAP 2.0 enabled and uses the Opera Mini browser for internet surfing. I tend to steer clear of content-rich internet sites, opting instead for text heavy services such as BBC News and various other sites that provide sports scores. Given the internet usage charges and the speed of connection (very variable depending on signal strength - especially when on the move) I prefer not to use it for anything else. The network provider, O2, caps internet usage costs at £1 a day on my contract (you can buy an add-on that allows unlimited use) but to keep costs down, I have decided that sites like Ciao, DooYoo and Facebook can wait until I get home!
Overall, it does a perfectly adequate job in accessing the information that I want at a reasonable download speed, and the screen size, although not tailor made for internet use, does a pretty good job of it.
The phone has other features which you would expect to see on most phones - calculator, converter, alarm clock, stopwatch, and contacts and calendar functions, as well as Nokia Maps, which is specific to the handset manufacturer. The Maps function is a useful little aid which utilises a GPS locator to help you navigate around and locate where you are (if lost) and I have found it particularly useful in central London, as it provides a level of detail and granularity sometimes missing on pocket A to Z maps and the like.
Nokia consistently produce intuitive, easy to read manuals and this one is no exception. It is well structured with a basic "getting started" guide at the beginning which walks you through customisation and set up, followed by step-by-step instructions for using all of the additional functions. However, Nokia have not included any of the technical specifications in the manual - you have to go to their web-site (www.nokia.com) for these.
Other than my business use Blackberry, I have always had a Nokia phone, mainly because I am so used to the excellent operating and menu system and can't be bothered to learn something new (I must be getting old!). I went into Carphone Warehouse with a specific set of parameters and budget in mind and was more than happy to walk out with the 6600 Slide. After almost a month of continuous and daily use, I am pleased that it does exactly what I want it to and has successfully ticked all of the boxes I wanted it to.
If you are looking for a snazzy looking phone that performs the basic functions very well, but also gives you room to grow with it, then the Nokia 6600 Slide is a pretty good option. It's not the newest kid on the block (it's been around for a year already) and it's not going to set the world alight, but for the budget-conscious, and the set of the population like me - which expects phones to be, above all else, good phones - you can't go far wrong with this little fella.
© Hishyeness 2009
Summary: A very good basic but stylish phone with room to grow.
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