The Nokia 6220 classic isn't one of those phones that immediately catches the eye and gets pulses racing. It's a fairly ordinary looking mobile, with a functional rather than flash typically Nokia design.

But beneath the low-key exterior, the 6220 classic packs a feature punch similar to some of Nokia's top-spec Nseries smartphones, with high-end functionality inside ranging from high quality imaging to onboard satellite navigation.

Impressive feature set

It boasts a 5-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and a xenon flash, has integrated A-GPS technology for location finding and route guidance, and features HSDPA high speed 3G data connectivity for fast downloading and internet browsing (at speeds of up to 3.6Mbps, depending on network set-up).

Like its Nseries stable-mates, the 6220 classic runs on the Symbian S60 smartphone operating system, with a healthy spread of applications pre-loaded.

These include music and video players, an FM radio, face-to-face video calling capability (using a secondary front-facing camera), VGA quality video shooting, online content uploading facilities and other web-based applications, plus a generous helping of organiser and productivity tools.

One feature missing from the 6220 classic that you'll find on higher end Nseries models, however, is Wi-Fi support..

Built-in GPS

As it's a S60 smartphone, you also have plenty of flexibility for customising the 6220 classic with a wide range of additional applications, some of which can be downloaded to the phone over the air directly from Nokia's Downloads! portal.

As well as employing a built-in GPS receiver, the 6220 classic is shipped with a 1GB memory card that contains Sat Nav mapping information for the UK and Ireland.

Users also get a 90-day free trial of Nokia Maps voice guidance add-on.

Phone handling

The Nokia 6220 classic has a no-nonsense sort of design that we've seen plenty of times on hugely successful Nokia mobiles. This mid-tier smartphone is cheaper than some similarly equipped Nseries devices, and Wi-Fi aside, some of that cost saving may be accounted for by its lightweight build.

The phone weighs just 90g, with a footprint of 108(h) x 46.5(w) x 15.2(d) mm, and there's a plasticky feel to parts of the phone – particularly the front control panel and numberpad.

The glossy black fascia and numberpad have a bit of creakiness, and the numbers and softkeys don't have as smooth an action as you'd hope for in a phone with this much feature firepower. The numberpad is smooth and slightly curved, which is OK, but we felt it wasn't easy enough on the finger for real speedy text typing.

The main controls aren't too fiddly, however – the main navigation D-pad control is large and well-defined, while the flanking S60 menu button (marked with the standard squiggle) is snug between the call button and a softkey but raised just enough to avoid mis-pressing.

User-friendly

The 6220 classic has a 2.2-inch display, a QVGA (320x240 pixels) 16-million colour screen that's bright and appears nicely detailed.

It's not the biggest screen you might expect on a smartphone, but it does its job fine. While it's not going to match up in sheer size to a large-screen in-car Sat Nav kit, the info displayed is perfectly viewable, and even video playback in landscape mode isn't bad.

The user interface will be familiar to Nokia smartphone followers; the phone's UI is based on S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2. The initial menu system is icon based and easy to get to grips with, while there are half a dozen user-definable shortcut icons on the top of the standby display to propel you into favourite functions, apps or websites – the choice of options is impressively comprehensive.

The 6220 classic was a touch leisurely in responding to commands to open apps – not exactly slow, but not as quick as you'd expect from a Nokia smartphone. Once an app was open, it was fast to react, however.

Unlike some recent Nseries Nokias, there isn't a built-in motion sensor to flip the screen automatically between landscape and portrait orientation, depending on how you hold the phone. Switching on the camera, though, the screen does a neat transition into landscape viewfinder mode as the app opens up.

5 megapixel camera magic

On the back of the 6220 classic there's a slider switch to open the protective lens cover, which also starts up the 5-megapixel camera.

Holding the phone in landscape camera mode, the xenon flash is situated under the lens, while there's a camera snapper button on the top right and zoom/volume control keys on the left.

This Carl Zeiss optics-equipped camera is similar to the shooter employed on the N82 and other high-enders, and is capable of producing excellent quality cameraphone shots.

Its user interface is similar to Nseries models – with a good array of easy to use setting control adjustments. But the automatic metering system is capable without tweaking; it's efficient and responsive to changing lighting environments and shooting conditions.

The onboard autofocus system is fast and effective, the 2-step focus-then-shoot shutter button enabling you to lock focus on the subjects you want to get sharp.

Detailed photos

Results from the camera are impressive, with crisp shots delivering a high level of detail, and accurate, natural colour rendition.

Among the settings is a macro mode, allowing fine quality close up shots. The xenon flash also boosts the quality level higher for low-light shooting, with the flash offering more powerful and precise illumination than the usual LED photolights commonly used on cameraphones.

In addition to the camera metering controls available, there's also in-phone software for basic image editing. In addition, an online sharing facility enables you to upload images and video clips directly to supported sharing sites, including Flickr, Vox and Nokia's Ovi portal.

Transfer videos to your TV

Video shooting is higher quality than you'd normally expect from a cameraphone too, with the 6220 classic capturing images at up to VGA resolution at 30 frames per second, providing a relatively smooth and acceptably viewable playback.

Nokia includes a TV-out AV cable in-box, so you can playback video clips, images and other content (including games, video calls, and music) directly to your TV.

The A-GPS technology onboard also enables you to 'geotag' images with precise location metadata – so you can record where an image was taken as well as when. This GPS-tag information can bring up images superimposed on maps in suitable applications.

Satellite navigation

Having Sat Nav in your pocket on something you always carry is a real bonus, particularly when you find yourself in unfamiliar locations. The A-GPS system combines GPS receiver location finding with mobile network cellsite information to help get a speedier and more accurate fix on your precise position.

A button on the side of the phone can be used as a shortcut to switch it on the Nokia Maps apps. Usefully, a blue light glows to let you know the A-GPS is switched on – so you know to switch it of when idle.

The Nokia Maps system allows you to plan routes, search for places of interest, local businesse and addresses, get mapping details and step-by-step navigation instructions onscreen. UK and Ireland mapping info is included on the 1GB MicroSD card supplied.

You can get details for other countries too; you can download additional Nokia Maps country info, or get it supplied over the air on the move via a mobile data connection (a possibly expensive option when roaming).

Nokia Maps

The 6220 classic comes with a 90-day trial of Nokia's optional voice navigation add-on, which gives the software added in-car system functionality. Other options you can pay to add include city guides and live traffic info updates.

In our tests, we found the Nokia Maps system quick and accurate. From start-up it regularly took less than 30 seconds to locate our position (though Nokia says it could take several minutes), and route planning was swift.

In-car, voice commands were loud and clear through the powerful loudspeaker, while the variety of route viewing settings - 2D and 3D maps, satellite views, day and night modes - and walking mode, provide a user-friendly Sat Nav experience. Very impressive indeed for a lightweight, mid-priced mobile.

The only issue with the Nokia Maps solution we found was the impact on battery life. Nokia reckons a 4-hour session of A-GPS navigation will be enough to drain the battery, so users may want to buy an in-car charger for longer journeys.

Music player capabilities

Part of the standard S60 functionality includes an arsenal of multimedia features, including RealPlayer software for full-screen video playback, a multi-format music player, plus an app for browsing and downloading tunes from the Nokia Music Store.

Using HSDPA high-speed data connectivity, you also can buy and download full track music and videos in seconds from mobile operator portals. An FM radio is included in the spec too, and a Podcast application enables you to find and download podcasts over the air too.

Copying music onto the 6220 classic is straightforward stuff, using the supplied USB cable to sync with Windows Media Player on a PC, or with Nokia Media Manager software (also supplied). You can drag and drop tracks too, and use Bluetooth to transfer files to the phone.

The music player works effectively, is easy to use and intuitive. The performance is reasonably good through the standard quality earphones included in-box. A 2.5mm jack rather than a standard 3.5mm headphone jack socket is used, so you'll need an adapter to appreciate an improvement in quality by using better quality headphones.

Some 120MB of user memory is included, though there's room on the supplied MicroSD card for adding plenty more tunes.

Speedy browser

Thanks to the data rates offered by HSDPA (up to 3.6Mbps on this phone), browsing is relatively fast and quite a good experience for a mobile.

The embedded Nokia full web browser provides a selection of page view options, pan and zoom, plus a page overview to help navigate pages quickly. You can switch to widescreen landscape mode too for better website viewing. It's still not a patch on the iPhone's Safari browser experience, however.

As well as being enabled for fast sharing of video and camera shots online, a spread of web-based services are included. Complementing the browser is RSS feed support, while a pair of widget-style applications are pre-loaded – Nokia's own WidSets app and Yahoo! Go.

These offer a user-customisable way to get a wide range of info, updates email and other services from a variety of websites and blogs pulled together onto one mini-desktop application.

Nokia's XpressPrint app also enables users to upload and order prints of images directly online, while Nokia's regular Download! tool provides a link to its in-house application download service for browsing and adding more software.

Additional business tools

There's no shortage of other gadgetry to play with. Naturally for a Nokia smartphone, features cover business as well as pleasure.

A comprehensive set of organiser and productivity tools are packaged, including calendar, notes, tasks, calculator and convertor, plus various clock and alarm functions.

A voice recorder, and text-to-voice software are onboard too. QuickOffice and Adobe PDF document readers are pre-loaded, for viewing documents received as email attachments or copied over to the phone. A dictionary application is included too.

Decent battery life

With so much functionality onboard, it's easy to overlook the basics, but the voice calling performance of the Nokia 6220 classic is first rate, with no audio or signal issues to flag up.

Battery life could potentially be an issue, purely because of so much gadgetry to play with. We've already mentioned the effects of GPS on battery life, but similarly significant video or music player action can be a battery sapper; the battery will last for up to 13 hours of tune playing, Nokia reckons.

Nokia quotes expected talktime of up to 2.5 hours on 3G networks or 5 hours in GSM network coverage, with standby rated at up to 280 hours for 3G networks and 300 hours on GSM. With average phone use, we found ourselves recharging every 2 days or so.

Top notch Nokia

The Nokia 6220 classic has a formidable set of spotlight-grabbing features under its modest-looking cover.

Its high quality 5-megapixel camera, slick A-GPS satellite navigation functionality, HSDPA connectivity and smartphone multimedia capabilities are extremely impressive.

The low-cost, lightweight design may have entailed some compromises on the bodywork, and it would have been great to have Wi-Fi onboard. But what you do get is a very generous package of quality features, and A-list applications that put in a top notch performance.

Looks: 3.5/5
Ease of use: 4/5
Features: 4.5/5
Call quality: 5/5
Value: 4.5/5

Network availability: Orange, 3, O2 – others TBC