While the Nokia 6303 Classic is built for the solid, dependable performer role, eschewing more high-end gadgetry, it's more than just a basic, reliable phone.
Under its solidly built metal exterior, it is equipped with plenty of useful features for its target audience that are straightforward to use but do their jobs effectively.
The communications options tick the boxes and the organiser functionality is more than adequate. Some decent media functionality and an adequate camera mean it's got a bit of downtime entertainment value too.
The Nokia 6303 Classic is a well-built handset, and that metal bodywork feels comfortable to hold and reassuringly solid. Most mobile users will find its conventional Series 40 user interface straightforward to operate; it's a functional set up that many people will feel familiar with. Controls are good to handle too.
The addition of a 3.5mm headphone jack enables users to upgrade easily to better earwear to make the most of the decent music player, while the 1GB supplied MicroSD card provides a sufficient amount of out-of-the-box content storage space to be getting on with.
The 3.2-megapixel camera can capture pretty good images for this class of shooter – although its autofocus system is limited.
We were very pleased with the battery performance, which gave us plenty of chat and play time between charges.
Even though the 6303 Classic is aimed at those users who don't necessarily desire 3G connectivity, we'd have preferred to see high-speed data available. The lack of high-speed mobile data connectivity (and Wi-Fi) will be a drag for users who want to explore the pre-loaded online services, either to upload or download content or to browse the internet.
The camera's autofocus is pretty basic, not offering the versatility of a two-step autofocus system. The camera is a step up from the 6300, but not a great leap forward and not as sophisticated or capable as those on Nokia's up-range handsets.
We also found Nokia's Maps software limited without GPS or cellsite triangulation – it limits the immediacy of the map viewing experience, even though mapping info is included on the supplied MicroSD card.
The supplied earphones are pretty mediocre – but thankfully you can easily swap these for better headphones.
Fitting into the Nokia portfolio as an updated version of the 6300, the 6303 Classic provides a solid user experience – although it doesn't wow with high-end features, and the lack of 3G feels like an odd omission which is unnecessarily limiting.
It fits the profile of solid and dependable handset while still offering a tidy amount of relevant functionality, though some of the updated online features could be complemented by higher speed 3G or Wi-Fi.
The 6303 Classic carries out its role in a decent enough way, and is a reliable performer for what it does. We still think, however, that the Nokia 6700 Classic is a more natural successor to the 6300.