Review by Sunetra Chakravati,
12/12/2011 3:54:26 PM
Stylish and compact design, intuitive user experience and integrated Nokia Maps.
None of its varied entertainment features really stand out.
Nokia is the master of classic phones with excellent user interfaces, and the 6600 Fold is no exception. A clamshell take on the 6600 Slide, this handset features the Finnish manufacturer’s intuitive menu system, plus a varied set of entertainment features that includes a decent music player, FM radio, a two-megapixel camera, the excellent Nokia Maps and 3G, EDGE and GPRS connectivity.
The Fold may not have a touch-screen, a high-res camera or even a standout feature to speak of, but its smooth, fluid design harks back to a more high-end aesthetic. In fact, its design is so sleek, with each part fitting perfectly into the next, we could barely figure out how to remove the battery cover and where the headphone and charger ports were.
A button on the side releases a spring mechanism that flips the phone open, and conversely, slows down its closing so you can’t snap it shut in that oh-so-satisfying clamshell way. The shiny metallic casing almost looks like poured vinyl, and you can choose from ‘sophisticated purple’ or ‘mysterious black’. A neat touch is the secondary hidden screen on the phone’s front – tap it twice and a digital clock materialises (or messages and missed calls, if you have any).
We are big fans of the keypad, which sports large keys spaced a decent distance apart and lights up when in use.
Inside the phone, you’ll get to choose from four fairly standard display themes, but there is the option to download more. The navigation is based around Nokia’s traditional grid-style menu, with crisp icons leading to drop down menus. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated.
As with any Nokia device, the user interface is a breeze to navigate through, with no lag in response time. The D-pad is customisable with four shortcuts, and the left top menu button is a shortcut to a drop menu of apps including the music player and browser. You can also access these apps from the main grid menu, so Nokia has essentially designed an extra way to get you where you want to go.
The messaging menus are particularly well thought out, with a toolbar at the bottom of the new-message field that allows you to attach to the SMS an image or video file, text template, sound clip, or calendar note. There is even the option to go into the camera menu from there, take a picture, and have the picture automatically attach to the message. And of course, it’s a snap to save phone numbers and email addresses, whether they appear in the sender bar or message body.
The applications menu includes the excellent Opera Mini browser, as well as preset access to Flickr, Yahoo Search, and some useful apps such as Converter, which performs standard conversions in temperature, weights and measurements.
The 6600 Fold gets online through 3G only, so you’ll be dependent on your operator’s coverage for a consistent web experience. The phone also comes with Nokia’s own HTML browser, but Opera Mini is far better at rendering text. However, you won’t be able to leave the browser (or indeed, any Java app) running in the background while you answer a phone call or read a text message. Add to that the Fold’s compact screen, and it really can’t be considered a serious browsing phone.
Email setup is simple, with a client that supports POP3, SMTP and IMAP protocols. The setup wizard is indeed wizardly, creating multiple email accounts in no time.
Like other Nokia handsets in its feature range, the 6600 Fold runs on Series 40, 5th edition, with the additional feature of the bundled Nokia Maps – a supremely useful service with maps of numerous cities and countries. Unfortunately, the small screen again means it doesn’t work perfectly, as there is only space to show the largest streets’ names, but it’s still helpful to get a general idea of where you are.
The 6600 Fold has quite a number of entertainment features, though they are not particularly high-spec. The music player and FM radio are the highlights, with great menu structures, an equaliser option, in-ear headphones plus an adaptor that comes with a remote control and call-taking button. However, the remote control feels light to the point of cheapness, and the headphones provide only average sound quality that drops when it comes to bass.
The two-megapixel camera is pretty dinky, though the automatically applied noise reduction makes the pictures look sharper. The QVGA screen adds to the quality, with vibrant colours and clear lines, and after each picture you have the option to SMS, email, upload or Bluetooth it. Just don’t bother with low-light shots.
You can also record video, but unless you upgrade the bundled 512MB microSD card you will be limited to four and half minutes of recording time on minimum settings. Again, it’s a bit of a token feature.
A secondary camera means the Fold can be used for video calling, which can be useful, though if you’re making video calls on a regular basis you might want a phone that is equipped with more business features.
Games on Nokia handsets are always quite a treat, mainly because Nokia shows great discretion by selecting titles that match the specs of the handset. No overblown mobile epics here, just good old arcade-style fun – in this case, Backgammon, Golf Tour, Highroller Casino, Rally 3D, the genius addition of Sudoku with 100 levels of increasing difficulty, and of course, Snake (III).
More a fashion phone than anything else, the 6600 Fold is a slinky little handset that skates by on its good looks and Nokia’s trademark intuitive user interface. Its entertainment features are nothing too exciting, but its connectivity – 3G, Nokia Maps, and the Opera Mini browser – is impressive for such a compact device. The Fold may be a basic handset, but it’s got enough good looks and user-friendliness to sneak into mid-range territory.