The Nokia C6-01 is the cheapest Symbian^3 handset to date - it's a definite update to the likes of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, and also comes with a relatively large amount of technology under the surface too considering its smaller dimensions.
Considering that the Nokia C6-01 is the cheapest of the Symbian^3 offerings from Nokia at £279 direct from Nokia or free on contract, the build quality appears and feels more akin to that of some of it's E-Series predecessors, while its price tag is nearer that of the old Nokia 5800.
The power button has been moved from the top of the device, as is usual on Nokia phones, to being combined with the Call End button. This could be initially confusing, but it improves the phones aesthetics.
The first thing you note visually is the metal outer build, with the chrome screen surround and metal rear casing providing a feel of quality. One thing that lets this down, however, is the stepped difference in width between the chrome front and metal rear casing, which makes it feel a little cobbled together and slightly uncomfortable in the hand.
Despite that, it's the thickest of the Symbian^3 offerings at 13.9mm, and feels like the heaviest even though Nokia's specs disagree, stating 131g. The rounding of the rear cover does help to reduce the impact of this increased thickness, but the weight is something you just have to get used to.
If you compare the Nokia C6-01 (103.8 x 52.5 x 13.9mm, 131g) to other makes of smartphone, you will find that although it has a smaller profile than the Apple iPhone 4 (115 x 58.6 x 9.3mm, 137g), Samsung Galaxy S (122.4 x 64.2 x 9.9mm, 118g) and the HTC Desire HD (123 x 68 x 11.8mm, 164g) due to its smaller screen size, it is the thickest.
Switching from physical size to memory capacity, the Nokia C6-01 is the first Symbian^3 device to have no internal mass storage, relying on 340MB of phone memory and a microSD card slot capable of supporting up to an additional 32GB, although the Nokia C6-01 provided with a 2GB card.
In some ways, this does seem a little miserly based on the current low price of microSD memory cards, but something is better than nothing. Insertion and removal of the memory card is easy, yet secure, requiring the removal of the battery compartment cover to provide access to the card slot located on the right side of the phone.
Access is further aided by sculpting around the card slot to support insertion/removal with larger fingers.
The method of locking/un-locking the phone is the same as all other Nokia touch phones, utilising either a slider on the right-hand side of the phone or a soft button appearing after tapping the dormant display.
One positive in our opinion is that the Symbian^3 series of devices share the same GUI and software updates in most cases, providing a common feel to the range.