Nokia 6650 review

  • £15

Sturdy Nokia fold-phone packs in HSDPA, GPS and smartphone functionality

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For

  • Crisp call quality
  • HSDPA high-speed data connectivity
  • A-GPS satellite location technology
  • Nokia Maps
  • Responsive controls
  • Good quality music player
  • 1GB microSD card supplied

Against

  • Only 2MP camera
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Poor battery life
  • No Wi-Fi
  • Only 30MB internal memory

Joining a rare breed of mobile phone – Nokia clamshell smartphones – the Nokia 6650 is a tidy-looking flip phone with some neat functionality onboard.

As well as the Symbian S60 smartphone operating system underpinning it, this device features high-speed HSDPA 3G connectivity and A-GPS Sat Nav functionality.

But this T-Mobile exclusive also has an impressive supporting cast – though there's also a few less than standout performances.

Reliable build quality

There's more than a touch of the Motorola RAZR about the 6650's design but Nokia hasn't managed to achieve quite the same slimness.

Actually, the 6650's a bit of a bulky beast, measuring 99(h) x 47 (w) x 16(d) mm, but for all that it does have a strong, dependable build quality. The keypad, even with its nifty multicoloured lights, has a reassuring 'Nokia' feel about it and is intuitive and responsive.

The fold design enables Nokia to include two screens: the main one being a 2.2in TFT QVGA (240x320) display that's crisp and precise. The second – on the front of the handset – is a 1.36in TFT version, and can be used to browse the menu and activate features, including the music player, thanks to controls on the front of the shell.

Multimedia features

Handset spotters might also notice that Nokia has had a bit of a recycling moment, the 6650 model number having already been used once before - on the company's first 3G phone, released in early 2003.

Mobiles have certainly come on somewhat since those early Third Generation days. The combination of Nokia's S60 OS and HSDPA (with download rates of up to 3.6Mbps) provides the 6650 with strong multimedia functionality, allowing fast downloads of video and audio content, speedy web browsing, plus customisation of the phone's software with numerous third-party applications available to download.

Along with a first-rate music player you also have S60 standards including RealPlayer for watching video clips, various web-based applications, plus a main 2-megapixel camera.

The Nokia 6650 only has a 30MB internal memory, but fortunately a hot-swappable microSD expansion slot means you won't be stuck for extra storage space. A 1GB microSD card is included in-box, so you should have ample room to be getting on with anyway.

Headphones socket

A 2.5mm AV connector allows you to connect the supplied in-ear 'phones to enjoy your music, videos or the FM radio.

The quality is acceptable, though it would have been more elegant to have included a standard 3.5mm jack socket to allow you to plug in your own headphones without having to source an adapter. Nokia does this on some but not all of its higher end devices.

On a positive note, stereo Bluetooth does mean that you can 'go wireless' with a suitable headset.

Limited camera

However, the inclusion of a mere two-megapixel camera (with LED flash) casts a downer on things – a mood not helped by the pictures it produces, which suffer from over-exposure. Detail is limited too.

A video clip resolution of 320x240 isn't impressive, though a nifty video clip editing app does provide some much needed flexibility. It's worth noting that the 6650 doesn't include Wi-Fi either.

One further connectivity addition comes in the guise of the 6650 as a USB modem. Just plug it into a compatible PC and you'll be able to benefit from mobile broadband over T-Mobile's network. Nokia's PC Suite software comes bundled with the handset.

GPS guidance

The 6650 features integrated A-GPS (Assisted GPS), which uses network based assistance to speed up the calculation off the coordinates of your location when your device is receiving signals from satellites. First time around GPS proved slow in establishing our position but in terms of maintaining it was very reliable.

In keeping with other entry-level Nokia handsets you'll find that Nokia Maps aren't stored locally, instead they are downloaded when required. The map software is a touch fiddly but persistence pays dividends as this is a solid, dependable app.

Should you wish to, you could add your own third party Sat Nav software, such as CoPilot.

Naturally with the web browser, you get fast access to T-Mobile's web portal, so you can download tunes and videos and check out other t-zones content and services; of course you can also browse the full web using the rather nifty S60 browser, which is pretty efficient thanks to the HSDPA connectivity.

Exceptional call quality

Over our test period the 6650 maintained an impressive call quality, with superb clarity and definition. Interference is minimal and it was often a genuine pleasure to use the handset to make and receive calls.

Battery life was perhaps a little disappointing. The quoted standby is up to 350 hours, but after a handful of calls, the download of two full-length music tracks and 20 minutes of web browsing our test model packed up after around 60 hours.

While from a design point of view the Nokia 6650 might not set the world alight, it's reasonable enough. But there's more than enough multimedia functionality to keep most people happy. The camera remains a disappointment but elsewhere there's plenty to be played with and enjoyed.

Network availability: T-Mobile

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

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