Nokia seems to be able to produce a new handset almost every week, and inevitably some of its launches look rather familiar. The 6233 is a classic Nokia design - simple and to the point.

But thanks to its steel bumper and rubbery backplate this phone has enough to make you want to pick it up. Below the understated exterior, however, this handset holds a secret. You won't guess it from the weight or size, but this is a 3G phone - one of the first Nokia models to offer a lowcost entry into the brave new world of high-speed multimedia downloads.

Unlike most previous Nokia 3G handsets, therefore, there is no Symbian S60 operating system with which to add your own suite of programs.

But all the same it gives you access to a whole raft of services that the other GSM-only handsets in this roundup fail to reach. Vodafone offers a Mobile TV service with its version of this handset (called the 6234, and which is sold pre-pay for £200), for instance.

You need to be warned however that one of the most talked about 3G features is rather hard to take advantage of. The 6233 will let you make and take video calls, but with only the one digital camera (on the back, pointing away from the main screen) you can't see your caller and send pictures of yourself simultaneously - unless you stand in front of a mirror.

Limited built-in memory

Nokia has also limited the amount of built-in memory - just 6MB is provided - although it sensibly throws a swappable 64MB microSD memory card in the box to beef up the storage. MP3 performance is pleasing through the supplied headset, and the built-in speakerphone can also boast stereo sound and pseudo-surround effects.

The phone offers more games than most including a rally driving simulator and sudoku puzzles. Picture performance when taking stills is not bad, with reasonable colour and good exposure. There is plenty of detail from the 2-megapixel camera but a few too many artefacts to make best in class.

There are some nice additional surprises with this phone, too. You can always access free entertainment with the FM radio tuner, for instance (as long as you remember to carry the antenna/ headset).

And it is the only phone in this line up that offers both infrared and Bluetooth link ups, enabling you to exchange information and files with a greater percentage of the mobile phone carrying population.