While the sliding mechanism is smooth and fluid, the plastic fascia feels somewhat tacky, while it's not the lightest of phones.
Operating on Symbian Series 60, Nokia continues its vein of producing phones that are a cinch to get to grips with.
Navigation is at the heart of this device, with A-GPS, Nokia Maps 2.0, voice directions, a search bar and an onboard compass. Other features include a 3.2-megapixel camera, HSDPA and a text message reader.
While the navigational experience is one of the best we have ever encountered, our excitement was dampened by the poor battery life.
With a miserly battery life of just 220 minutes talktime and 220 hours standby, we strongly recommend buying an in-car charger if you plan on using the device on long drives.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:54:12 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
An even better navigation experience than we had expected with fast accurate GPS fixing and a host of mapping and routing options.
The glossy plastic shell feels creaky and a tad tacky while the battery life is disappointing.
Built-in GPS (Global Positioning Systems) are becoming so common place on mobile phones that the folks at A-Z must be cursing the day someone first uttered the words "sat nav". Nokia has pioneered mobile mapping solutions more than any other manufacturer and what's refreshing is that they don't appear to be resting on their laurels. Take the Nokia 6210 Navigator for example, not only is it fitted with the latest Nokia Maps 2.0, it is also purpose built for both the pedestrian and the driver.
Anyone familiar with the Nokia 6220 Classic will recognise the 6210 Navigator's overall design, albeit the latter being in a slider format as opposed to a candybar. As with the Classic, Nokia has opted to construct the front fascia of the Navigator with a shiny plastic that we're sad to say looks and feels a bit tacky. The back of the handset is also made from plastic, but without the gloss. We assume the benefit of building a handset predominantly from plastic, as opposed to metal, is to keep the weight (and perhaps the construction costs) down. However, whereas the 6220 Classic was a feather-like 90 grams, the 6210 Navigator weighs in at 117 grams.
Our gripe about the plastic finish aside, the 6210 Navigator is a neatly packaged device. Underneath the 2.4-inch screen are two soft keys, a menu and clear key, and unmissable call and call-end keys. These collectively engulf the navigation key, which incidentally glows a luminous blue when in use. However, the pièce de résistance is the blue star-shaped key found immediately below the navigation pad. Press this key and you will immediately be taken into Nokia Maps 2.0, along with all your other navigational needs. As the phone aims to pick up an A-GPS (assisted-GPS) signal, the aforementioned star key blinks before remaining lit when a signal has been fixed.
Gaining a satellite fix was achieved in less than ten seconds, even from our second-floor office. What's more, the strength of your fix will be signified by how bright the red dot (that's you) appears. It's a simple touch, but we're pleased to see Nokia making a concerted effort to keep the user informed as to the efficiency of the device. Likewise, Nokia has also included a magnetic compass. To make the most of this, make sure it has been well calibrated by rolling the phone over in your hand. The compass will then change from red (no calibration), to yellow (poor calibration) to green, which signals that it is fully enabled. Once this has been achieved the map view will turn automatically, according to the direction you point the top of the device.
As touched upon, the Nokia 6210 Navigator has been designed with both the pedestrian and the driver in mind. What's more, Nokia has been kind enough to include a free six-month license, which means you're ready to go straight out of the box. Drivers are treated to full voice-instructions that are both clear and coherent. Although we applaud the fact that you can decide how you want to view the map in driving mode, be it 3D, 2D or as simple instructions, the screen is still considerably smaller than that of a dedicated sat nav device, or for that matter, the likes of the iPhone, HTC Touch HD or BlackBerry Storm, so it may be safer to simply rely on the voice guidance.
A search bar is always displayed at the bottom of the screen when using Nokia Maps, and what a fantastic addition it is. Type in the name of a street, postcode, building or landmark and the Nokia 6210 Navigator will give you the option of seeing where it is on a map, how to get there from your current position on foot, or how to get there by car. You can even add it to your current route. For example, say you wanted to walk from Soho to Waterloo, but fancied a quick cocktail in the Oxo Tower, simply type in Oxo Tower and add it to your route. It also means that drivers will be able to plan multiple stops before they set off. However, and this could prove a major hindrance on longer journeys, as good as the 6210 Navigator's mapping credentials are, it saps the handsets battery life. So much so, in fact, that we strongly recommend you buy an in-car charger, which sadly Nokia hasn't included in the box.
There's more to this map-savvy device than all things navigational, including a couple of quirky features. Perhaps once again with the driver in mind, the 6210 Navigator has the ability to read your text messages, voiced by a robotic-sounding lady called "Ellen." It's a great tool and managed to digest even the trickiest of words, though the fact that you have to access it through your applications menu rather than being able to switch it on automatically, means ultimately it may not prove too useful to drivers after all. Something else we were quite taken with was the ability to silence incoming calls or alarms by simply turning the phone face down onto a flat surface. Very useful indeed when your phone interrupts a busy meeting.
Camera wise the Nokia 6210 Navigator is fitted with a 3.2-megapixel snapper, which is less than the 6220 Classic's five-megapixel toting camera. With an onboard self-timer, LED flash and auto-focus, the 6210 Navigator is still capable of some good-looking shots, although a degree of care will be needed with the phone as there is no lens cover. It's worth noting that the photos looked far sharper once taken than they did pre-shot. However, there is a bit of a lag from pressing the camera key to the photo actually being taken, so those spontaneous shots may escape you.
As with the mapping services, surfing the internet is rapid due to HSDPA data speeds of up to 3.6Mbps. It also has built-in accelerometers so you can view your web pages in the more aesthetic landscape mode. The 6210 Navigator uses a mouse-like pointer to move around the screen and while it works very well, we felt it was actually a tad too responsive as we often found ourselves scrolling too far up the page. That said, we did like the fact that you can zoom out and rotate through a list of your previously read pages by simply pressing the back key.
The Nokia 6210 Navigator is one of the most capable navigation devices available. The voiced navigation, along with the easy-to-use search bar, are excellent additions to Nokia Maps which combines expertly with the near pinpoint accuracy provided by the phone's A-GPS. However, while it far surpasses most sat nav phones, it sits alongside Nokia's other map-savvy devices, the 6220 Classic and even the N85 and the thing is, both of these provide a far more polished overall experience than the 6210 Navigator with their superior specs. That, along with the plastic feel of the device, means we can't help but think there are better-looking, better-equipped phones available.