Sunday, 9 November 2008

Nokia 6500 classic review

I bought this phone with a 1-year plan from Tele2. It was considerably less expensive than the normal vendor price and Tele2 has the least bad plans in this country. You may wondering what I did with my wifi-less iphone? I've put a data card in it so I use it as an ipod touch with always available web. Not bad a deal at all I can assure you. The problem is, that you can't get a decent call/sms plan and a data plan together at the same carrier. So you have to take call/sms from say tele2, data from vipnet (vodafone). That requires two phones. So the phone used for calls/sms (the iphone is better for everything else without a doubt) should be as light and small as possible and from tele2. There wasn't much choice so I got myself a Nokia 6500 classic.

I'm not going to write a long review, to read a very detailed review of this phone just take a look at Eldar Murtazin's review. I just wanted to share a bit more insight as he unintentionally left out from his review.

The phone is eastetically pleasing and very well designed (which is unusal for nokia, at least design-wise). This is impressive because it is a great rarity that nokia made a completely metal shell on a phone. The only plastic part aside from the keyboard is the plastic at the top which is really small. Now, don't get me wrong, I do like plastics actually, but as I said, it it very rare from nokia to make a almost completely metal phone. Great number of nokia's E series is metal, but they have large visible plastic parts too.

Display is not brilliant and has some color shifting when you change the viewing angle. But overall, for a mobile phone display it is not bad at all. Can't be compared to iphone's though, which is much much better than any other mobile phone's display I ever had the pleasure to use. But I'm a little concerned about lack of display protection. There is no protection at all which is very unusual for nokia. Pretty much every nokia phone has additional hard plastic covering the phone but this one has none. I'll report if I manage to crack it some day. It won't be from flex/torsion, mind you, because this phone is very solid in its metal case.

Keypad looks at least ok from the pictures but it is another thing entirely when you actually use it. They keypad only has two or three problems. They buttons are much too stiff, they are plastic and the key travel is extremely short. First problem somewhat goes away with the time because your thumb adjusts, but less stiff buttons would be a plus. Keys are plastic and they sometimes squeak when pressed. They should be made from metal as the whole body is made from it. When you handle the keypad for the first time it gives a bit too much of a cost savings feeling. Finally, key travel is a bit too short. When you have too short key travel and combined with very stiff keys you get generally unpleasant keypad. Well, I adjusted with time but there are mobile phones with considerably better keypads. There are worse keypads too (dad's w910i which has soft key, short travel but no feel at all so it is a pain to write anything on that phone) so I can consider this keypad in the mid range. It is not bad at all, but as I said, there are better keypads.

When talking about the phone size, judging from the pictures, one can conclude that the phone is not really small. But you would be wrong here. True, the phone is not really super small (there are such mobile phones though) but it is really thin. So you can grasp the phone and hold it in one hand when you send text messages without problem. With its thinness they got smaller volume but same "front face functionality" as on the larger/fatter phones. Even though the phone has metal shell it is very light and if you add the thinnes of it you don't even notice you have it in your pocket. True again, there are very light phones but few of them are thin as well. You always feel the fat phones in your pocket. Even worse if it is heavy because you call it a brick then. Why an iphone isn't called a brick? (except when you call it an ibrick, but that is another story;) Because it is relatively thin. But even if its thin, you really notice it in your pocket because of the weight (130g).

I was negatively surprised with the sound quality of the phone. No, I'm not talking about the external speaker which is very loud (like 3x louder than the iphone's) which is a great comparing it to almost silent iphone (now thinking about it, they really did screw up with the loudness on the iphone v.1). The problem is the normal speaker. Probably not the speaker itself, but somehow the sound coming from it is metallic. It is difficult to explain, but almost as the sample rate is bad. I found the "voice clarity" in the menu and activated it (should be on by default) and it did make considerable difference. But it is still way behind the iphone's quality. Somehow I expected more because I had mobile phones (yes, even nokia's) which were like 8 years old now with excellent sound quality. The quality was almost at the quality of the fixed landline. Sometimes it was even at that level.

The only connector the phone has is the micro usb. Finally they got rid of all proprietary connector formats and replaced it with a micro usb (A version?) connector[1]. This way you can charge the phone when you connect it to a computer (just like the ipod/iphone) with data cable and by using a standalone charger with the micro usb connector (both are included in the box). The only port lacking is the 3.5mm audio-out but I can understand that this is fashion showoff phone so there is no place for and ugly hole.

So what's more to say? Ah, software, nothing much to say really. Eldar said about that software everything there is. It is not bad at all, but I cry when I see my iphone. S40 (and S60 too!) look from stone age compared to iphone's os x mobile. Not only looks, but usability is better on iphone. I'm not going to be pulled into a debate about s40 vs os x mobile but they are hardly comparable. But I will say only this. I hate those near monopolies. Manufacturers just become lazy and do the same things over and over again. Just look at those s40 or even some s60 phones. They are pretty much the same all the time. They just change the shell and call it all new series for young and metro people. I hate this practice and I cannot describe the joy when I saw the iphone demo when it was first time demonstrated. I just knew that other manufacturers would have to do something in the near future. Cheers about the google's android, I just love the competition. But honestly, have you ever seen people waiting in a line to buy a phone? I mean, have you ever seen a line of people wanting to buy an nokia phone? Of course not. Noka lauch days don't even exist really. Alot of phones they produce in the last months, even years, are just rehashed crap. But I must stop here, firstly, I'm repeating myself, secondly, I don't want to open a chapter on useless rambling. Ah, yes now I remember, what really bugs me about the software. When you go to write a sms and start to write in "To:" field, you can enter only the number with the keypad. To select the name you have to navigate the menu and find it in your address book etc. I all want is in the To: field is to default to text so then I enter "Jill" the sms message is sent to Jill. _I don't want to remember her bloody phone number!._Symbian 60 does support the feature I was talking about. But none of this is new. S40 phones from 4 years at least back didn't have this feature but S60 did! This is not a hardware/software limitation. It is deliberate obstacle by those nokia tards. I hope those managers rot in hell and their company faces liquidation. But one can only wish I suppose.
Update: To set your phone to normally vibrate when you receive a message in “Discreet” or similar mode you have to put the “Message alert tone” to Off.

Lets now compare this phone to nokia 5310 xpress music (but only what one has and the other hasn't)

Nokia 5310 xm:
+ micro sd slot
+ 3.5mm audio-out jack
+ better keypad (tried it out)
+ lighter
+ screen has a plastic protection
+ has a fm radio
+ considerable cheaper

Nokia 6500 classic:
+ considerable better design
+ metal casing (just for the looks)
+ camera has leds which act as strobes (can't be used as flashlights though, another deliberate design decision)
+ integrated 1GB of memory

So what to do about this? I would have bought the 5310 but tele2 doesn't stock them unfortunately. But if you really prefer the design, go for 6500 classic. Yes, people sometimes ask you about the phone (6500c is not really common here), which is always a great thing;)

[1] to enter the chinese market you have to have usb connector on your phone. That makes sense because I have 3 tons of different transformers and such for every different electrical device. As the market is too big not to compete in it, nokia naturally gave way and introduced usb connectors.

Edit: I should really work more on writing shorter articles. Took me 2 hours at least to write this and it is just too long.

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