Nokia C6 Review

  Nokia C6
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Nokia C series started as an entry-level series since June 2010, when the first C1 and C2 handsets were launched, but continued to upgrade, as more advanced devices have been thrown on the market.

Lately, we had Nokia C3, which could easily be taken as an Eseries device, and then we had Nokia C5, which is a powerful candy-bar smartphone that strongly resembles the older Nokia 6300 phone. The last phone in the series, Nokia C6 can be considered a cheaper version of the N97.

The Symbian smartphone includes all the important features that you would want from a mid-level device, without offering any high-end, innovative functions. On the other hand the slider is not lacking any important specs. And to make it even better, the Finnish handset manufacturer is offering all these at an affordable price.

Announced in April 2010, Nokia E5 was launched on the market in July 2010 and can be acquired for around $300 USD, depending on your location. There are only two simple color schemes available for users to choose from: Black and White.

Design

Nokia C6 bears the same mark as some of the XpressMusic smartphones, that feature a QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen display. If you take the 5800 XpressMusic phone, which was launched on the market two years ago, and put it side by side with the new C6, you'll notice that the resemblance is astonishing. And this is not the only handset that looks exactly like the first Nokia smartphone to feature a touchscreen display. This surely tells something about the manufacturer, who is focusing more on features and less on design.



But let's cut to the chase and see how's this smartphone on the outside. Nokia C6 features a 3.2-inch touchscreen display, that covers almost the entire front part of the smartphone. Above the display, next to the earphone speaker, there's a secondary camera and a small light ambient sensor. Below the large display, there are three physical keys, much like those of Nokia 5800.


The middle key is flashing all the time at a low pace, but it's also able to notify the user of a missed call or received message, as it starts to flash more frequently. The right side of the phone features two volume keys, an locking/unlocking slide key, and a dedicated camera button. The microSD card slot for memory expansion has been placed on the left side of the handset and is covered by a long plastic stripe. On the bottom of the device, there's a small charger port, while on top you will notice the microUSB port and a 3.5mm audio jack.


Nokia C6 slides to the right to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard with 39 keys and a big D-pad to the right. The keyboard has been split into two, as you can see from the screenshots. This might be a little confusing at first, but as you start using it often you'll get use to it. The keyboard is made from a cheap plastic, which shows as soon as you touch it. Well, at least the keys are responsive and the space between is wide enough, so texting won't be much of a problem with Nokia C6. The backlighting is also decent enough, so users will be able to text even in darker environment. I don't have any doubts regarding the sliding mechanism, which seems to be very solid.


The 5.0-megapixel camera on the back of the phone features a small LED flash upwards, but lacks any protective lenses. There's also a small loudspeaker placed to the right of the camera module.

The battery cover, as well as the whole back part of the phone is made from a cheap plastic, which is in deep contrast with the stylish plastic that covers the front part. Oh, well, at least the back of the phone won't be full of smudge like the front part will be after 2 minutes of use.


Overall, the phone looks compact and “mundane”, as it doesn't come out with anything new, nor will stand out from the crowd.

Display and Camera

Nokia C6 features a TFT 3.2-inch resistive touchscreen that supports 16 Million colors and 360 x 640-pixels resolution, which can also be controlled with a stylus if you have one, as the sales package doesn’t include one. Well, it's a resistive touchscreen, so don't expect miracles, as it cannot be compared with devices sporting capacitive displays.


The quality of the image is unquestionably good, including brightness and contrast - at their highest level, but it becomes poor when it's exposed to sunlight. The phone also features built-in accelerometer for display auto-rotation, as well as turn-to-mute function.


The 5-megapixel camera of C6 features autofocus, LED flash, geotagging and a pretty standard interface. Further, the camera lacks new advanced functions such as smile detection, face recognition or blink prevention. The camera UI seems to be the same as the one embedded in Nokia 5800 and N97.


The camera can take pictures with a maximum resolution of 2,592 x 1,944 pixels and saves the images pretty fast. All the settings and functions can be displayed on the touchscreen: Contrast, White Balance, ISO, Sharpness, Exposure compensation, Color tones and many more.


There's also a touch-n-shoot button on the screen, which enables users to take pictures with a simple touch instead of using the dedicated camera button. Unfortunately, the touch button lacks the "half way press" function, so you will miss the autofocus feature if you decide to use it.


The phone also has a secondary videocall camera that can be used to take pictures. The main camera can shoot clips in VGA mode at 30FPS, while the secondary can record videos in QVGA mode at 30fps. As you can see from the samples below, the pictures taken with C6 camera are not amazing, but they're decent.

Menu and Software

Nokia C6 runs Symbian 9.4 operating system, with S60 5th Edition interface, the same as its N97 mini predecessor. Little to no improvements have been done to the graphical interface, instead the UI is now even poorer in options and menus. Well, at least now you will enjoy the kinetic scroll feature, that was so needed when Nokia 5800 hit the market.


The only changes I noticed is on the 'surface', as the homescreen has been improved a little. In fact the new C6 homescreen is a mix between a widget-style screen and the usual Active Standby. Still, do not expect to get more customizable homescreens, because you'll be disappointed.

Nokia C6 features only one homescreen that can be customized to display various widgets, in thumb-able blocks, which can be arranged or hidden. To hide the whole set of widgets that appear on the homescreen, simply swipe your finger to the left or right. Do the same thing to make them reappear. Clicking near the battery icon, on the upper right corner of the homescreen will give you quick access to the clock and Connectivity area, where you can enable/disable Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and other stuff.


To bring up the Main menu key, click the middle key under the screen, choose Options/Organise, to rearrange the menu as you see fit. The Home screen features the same customizable Shortcut bars that contain icons of the applications that users have previously set. They are now functioning like widgets too and offer a little bit of entertainment to the common user.

You will find applications that come pre-installed with the phone together with the clock, notes, office, recorder and other Symbian-specific functions.


The device has a variety of input methods: stylus (not present in the sales package), plectrum and finger touch support for text input and UI control, but the best by far is the full QWERTY keyboard.

Some of the key applications that come pre-loaded with Nokia C6 include: complex calendar, notepad, calculator, converter, file manager, recorder, Drawing, Traveler, Font Magnifier, Shazam, Associated Press Mobile, Bloomberg, CNN Video, ESPN Soccernet, Facebook, Friendster, Hi5, MySpace, Slideshow. There's no media sub-menu, but you get some dedicated apps under the Music menu: music player, Stereo FM RDS Radio, Ovi Music.


There's also a YouTube client, PDF reader and QuickOffice applications, which can only be used to display documents, but you cannot edit any unless you pay for an upgrade. You can also entertain yourself with the addictive Bejeweled Twist game, developed by PopCap.

Communication

Nokia C6 is a quad-band GSM (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900) handset, HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100 (3.6 Mbps) compatible, which features GPRS class 32 (100 kbps), EDGE 32 class (296 kbps), and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g. This makes it an all-rounder when it comes to data transfer or connectivity in general.


With the quick to access shortcut on the Home screen setting up you connections (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) is now very easy, even though you will have to click twice to get where you need.

The integrated browser is the same that you can get in the older N97 phone, but got small improvements and bug fixes. It has now full Java and Flash support, and the latter is working nicely. You will be able to watch YouTube movies using the browse, but it seems that because of the rather small-sized display, you won't see the whole frame of the clip fitting onto the screen.


I have also noticed some improvements in terms of speed compared with the one included in N97. The best improvement is the kinetic scroll, which works like a charm. Other features include in the browser: auto fill-in, RSS reader, download manager, password manager, pop-up blocker.

The handset features a GPS receiver, which works in conjunction with Ovi Maps. I have tested the localization times and noticed that Nokia C6 is decent enough. The built-in GPS receiver features the A-GPS function, which makes localization even faster. It quickly pin-points you even when the phone is indoors.


Other connectivity tools include Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP and EDR support, and microUSB for PC synchronization (no charging).

In terms of messaging, the phone offers a complete solution, accepting all available message types. Furthermore, given the fact that it features a QWERTY keyboard, you'll be able to type your messages faster. The message client works with POP3, SMTP, and IMAP4 protocols, and supports more than one email account. Also, it can download headers or full email, and supports attachments.


The quad-band (GSM 850 / GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900) network compatible smartphone has a very good GSM signal reception. The sound is very good at both ends, and pretty loud too. The vibration alert is also above average in intensity.

Processor and Memory

Nokia C6 is powered by the same ARM11 family processor running at speeds of up to 434 Mhz that has been embedded in N97 model. The device works pretty smooth, but I have noticed some lags when using other applications while the browser is open. I think this is becoming the main issue with Symbian devices, as others are fixed.

The smartphone also features 240 internal memory, but only 200 MB are user free. The memory can be expanded up to 16GB, thanks to the hot-swappable card slot. The sales package also includes a 2GB microSD card.

Multimedia

The smartphone features the same standard looking music player as Nokia N97 and Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, with little to no cosmetic changes. You have five pre-installed equalizer modes: Bass booster, Classical, Jazz, Pop and Rock. Other settings are: Balance, Loudness and Stereo widening.


The device features Radio FM with RDS function as well, but lacks the FM transmitter. Reception is very good, and sound is above average. The Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support enables you to listen to music wirelessly.


The 3.5mm jack port is a good addition, as it enables you to change the earphones that are coming with the phone (WH-102). The included video player lacks DivX and XviD codecs, so you'll need to find yourself a third-party application to play these movie files.
All in all, Nokia C6 music sound is pretty decent in all aspects, so it really worths a try.

Battery

The 1,200 mAh Li-Ion (BL-4J) battery has an officially stated life expectancy of 384 hours in standby (384 for 3G) and of about 7 hours in talk time mode (5 hours for 3G). I have noticed that the phone has a very good playback autonomy (30 hours official), whereas the talk time tends to reach about 3 hours at the most, regardless of the network used. I managed to keep the phone for about 5 days, with 25 minutes of talk per day and about 1-2 hours of music playback per day. I would say the phone has a decent battery, much better than other XpressMusic handsets or Nseries smartphones.

Impressions

Nokia C6 is an interesting addition to the Cseries lineup, but does not come up with anything out-of-the-box that might impress users. It's like the manufacturer preferred to put some standard features into an old design layout, just to be sure that the phone will be 100% usable and with as few downsides as possible. That's how the phone feels, incomplete, but all-rounder at the same time.

The Good

There's a long list of nice features that Nokia C6 includes, but I would say that the strong point is the improve performance and usability, compared with other similar Nokia phones, such as Nseries and a few XpressMusic smartphones. Anyway, here are the key highlights of Nokia C6: generous 3.2-inch resistive touchscreen (640 x 360 pixel resolution), full QWERTY keyboard; 3.6Mbps HSDPA support; decent 5.0-megapixel camera with autofocus and VGA@30fps video recording; Wi-Fi connectivity; GPS with A-GPS and free lifetime voice-guided navigation license; microSD card (16 GB supported, 2GB included); 3.5 mm audio jack; Smart dialing; Stereo FM Radio with RDS; Flash support for web browser; decent audio quality; Kinetic scroll.

The Bad

Compared with the huge list of good things, the downside list is pretty short, but might prevent users choose it instead of other rival brands. I think the main problem with the device is the primitive interface, which seems old and poor in customization options, as well as functions. Also I would list here, the poor eligibility of the display under direct sunlight, as well as the lack of camera lens protection and DivX or XviD support. And it would've been nice to be able to edit documents, but the QuickOffice application included requires upgrade for that.

Sales Package

Nokia C6 handset
Nokia Battery BL-4J
Nokia Compact Travel Charger AC-15
Nokia Connectivity Cable CA-101D
Nokia Stereo Headset WH-102
Nokia 2 GB microSD card
User guide

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21 Comments

By    10 Sep 2010, 15:46 GMT