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Review Nokia 6230

Nokia 6230, live pictures

Standard kit:

  • Phone
  • Charger
  • User’s guide
  • CD with software
  • Stereo headset
  • 32 Mb MMC card

The case with lots of models from Top 3 manufacturers is that they are awaited by a lot of people, they show their interest towards them, even though they do not contain any new functions, and their only difference from the previous models is changes design. Nokia 6220 was expected in same way, its appearance did not become a sensation, the discussions toned down by themselves, the sales were not shockingly big. The consumer’s psychology is rather simple and is known for quite a while now, manufacturers are affecting weakest spots and offer their faultless solutions in this area. Fortunately Nokia 6230 is actually new generation phone built in Series 40 platform, it has a lot of new functions on board. The model itself is innovative, it has certain amount of interesting solutions, but on the other hand not all of them are convenient in our daily life. The phone’s ambiguity guarantees lots of discussions now and then. But one fact is certain, Nokia became the first company in the world who started shipping phone with exchangeable memory cards. The competitive products will be released only in the middle of summer, this automatically guarantees good sales for Nokia 6230, its success on the market. Let’s review all «yes and no» for this model and compare it with its competitors.

The phone took after its outlook from 6000 series models, you can notice the shape transformation – first it was Nokia 6610, then transfer to Nokia 6220. The phone’s sizes remained typical for this series (103x44x20 mm), it is neither small nor big. The phone’s weight in standard package without memory card is 95 grams (the manufacturer claims that it is 97 grams), when the memory card is installed the weight increases up to 97 grams. The phone cannot be called light, its weight is concentrated in the phone’s small shape, you can actually feel it. Perhaps the fact that the phone is not balanced, upper part (where the speaker is located) is hollow, meanwhile starting from the speaker the mass increases, is the one to blame.

The phone is shipped in few standard color solutions (Graphite, Pearl White), they are performed in one color gamma. In all conditions keyboard, edging around the edge of the case, upper butt-end are colored in silver. On the back cover you will notice glossy setting in, it is shading the camera.

The phone supports exchangeable covers, this function becomes standard for all class phones, starting from the beginning one as well as fashion, business models. With the help of exchangeable covers you can get up to 4 new looks of Nokia 6230 (colors: Green, Red, Brown, Tin Grey).

Back cover has only one holder on the lower part of the case. The peculiarity of this cover is that it should be moved upwards, meanwhile most users are used doing this operation downwards. The fact that after few openings the panel will receive backlash is more critical, in future it will only increase. The locker’s construction is safe, the case can be accidentally opened only if the phone fell down, but because of the backlash you will always have a nasty feeling about the cover.

The horizontal backlash of upper panel looks funny, it turns out that the phone’s parts are not balanced in various directions. Due to the construction the backlash is springy, this creates squeak when dialing the number, even if you are not holding the phone tightly. In order not to be picky we decided to test few phones from various shipments targeted for Russian market, as well as for others. In all cases we noticed the very same backlash, squeak when dialing the number, holding the phone tightly. Of course this backlash did not appear at once, but only after the phone was in use for at least two weeks. Unfortunately the manufacturers were unable to gain good fixation of the panels, this is phone’s disadvantage.

On the right side you can see speaker’s hole, it is used for playing ring tones, providing loudspeaker and music playback. Considering that all of the mentioned functions are used as addition to an existing speaker this looks interesting. More than that, it is exactly the speaker that provides good volume for the ring tones, it is the loudest for Nokia phones. The phone has 24 chord polyphonic ring tones, but the preinstalled ring tones do not allow to see its true quality, they are basic for all phones on the 40th platform, sound exactly the same. On the whole the speaker’s quality can be rated only if you upload your favorite mp3 files on the handset, the ones you already know well. You should not except amazing quality, but I think that the thing you will hear will actually amaze you in a pleasant way.

The phone’s problem is the set of preinstalled ring tones, images that the manufacturer decided to include. They do not open at least one third of the phone’s hardware possibilities, like they say – required minimum. Let’s try to analyze this statement by taking the screen as example. On the paper its specifications look excellent, it can display 65000 colors, the resolution is 128x128 pixels (27.3x27.3 mm), the technology is TFT. The first encounter with this phone occurred in November, it was the moment when I’ve noticed that the screen is not bright enough, the pictures looked pale, uninteresting. During that moment I thought that this was the fault of pre-retail version of the handset and forgot about this issue. I was rather surprised when I have noticed the same thing in the retail samples, the screen remained untouched. I have deiced to find out what is wrong by myself, first of all I have tried transferring pictures from other phones and PC to Nokia 6230. You will be surprised, but the very first experience showed that the screen is capable of showing very contrast pictures, show their true color. You can see the Golf wallpaper on the photo, all my phones use it. But only at Nokia 6230 the colors are so saturated and nicely transformed. The following experiments confirmed my theory, only after a while I had found the explanation for this weird move by the manufacturers – Nokia. But we will get back to it later, for now on we will end the story about the screen.

The resolution of 128x128 pixels cannot be called as maximal for such class products, this is traditional solution from Nokia phones. At the same time the competitors are already using such resolutions as 128x160, 176x220 pixels for their screens. Up to 6 text lines can be displayed at the screen, one of them is used for service needs. In some modes the font’s size can be decreased, in that case up to 8 text lines will be shown on the display at once, you can see this in Notes section. Font scaling is not supported for Russian font, I think this will be typical for other non-latin fonts as well.

During the times when the phone encounters direct sunlight and the backlight is off the picture looks almost indistinguishable. After you turn the backlight on the case will be partly solved, the signs can be read now, but you have to look for the proper angle in order to do that. I cannot say that the spring sun is as bright as summer’s. On the whole the impression is as follows, you can work with the screen outdoors, but some additional efforts must be put in order to do it comfortably. For example the Samsung’s displays, as well as the latest models from Sony Ericsson, Motorola are better visible on the sun, In comparison with Siemens S65, Nokia 6230’s display looks better.

The change of standard wallpapers leads to unexpected results in the interface area. The signatures for soft-keys are not visible on dark background, you cannot change their color or location. Basically we face the fact that the user must look for pictures that have light background, or light area around the signatures. But that’s not all, when you are dialing a number the font’s color remains black and is not clearly visible on highly saturated images. We encounter paradox situation, on one hand we have the screen which is capable of displaying the pictures nicely, but on the other you are limited by the set of images with light shades. This is why such set of preinstalled pictures was used. Unfortunately due to the screens’ sizes the manufacturers were unable to create separate areas for number dialing and signatures for the soft-keys. On the other hand a lot of phones use pop-up menu for number dialing, these pop-ups have white used for their backgrounds, they are usually located above the wallpaper. Such solutions exist in Nokia 6230 as well, for example the missed calls and their amount are shown in the separate window with white background.

Another interface’s disadvantage is related to colors displaying. The user can choose one of the color gammas for the menu, the elements which will be changed are: indicators of network signal level, battery’s charge level. But not in all color solutions the mentioned icons are clearly seen, usually they get washed away due to the wallpaper used. These problems could have been solved without changing the screen itself, just few software modifications. But due to some unknown reasons this was not done. As a result the user has some space left for creativity. He has to search for the picture, which would not affect interface’s elements badly, I mean they should look good on the screen, as well as finding the picture that would look lively.

I’d like to point out again that Nokia’s 6230 screen is the best among company’s phones. But it raises controversial feelings due to the interface’s presentation, one of other disadvantages can be named screen’s poor resolution.

Here is the picture of Nokia 6230 located near Nokia 6820 in order you to compare the two screens. The second phone has same size of the screen, but it is capable of displaying only 4096 colors (SNT). We can see obvious yellowness of the Nokia 6820’s screen, you cannot get rid of it.

For the stand by screen screensaver presented in the look of digital clock is interesting. It is made in analogy with Nokia 6600, a lot of icons are introduced, they show if the keyboard is locked, or if there were missed calls. This is actually convenient since earlier on you were forced to activate the screen in order to see these notifies - I mean pressing the buttons at least.

This may seem strange but pale pictures have another reason to be present, at first this seems to be complete nonsense. With more bright pictures used for wallpaper the stand by time decreases (with same amount of calls and usage of functions), for about 5-10 percent from the overall working time with usual picture. We were testing this theory on various phones for few times in a row, the results were almost 100% identical. It turns out that brighter pictures cause higher energy consuming, perhaps this is the reason why the manufacturers decided to supply this new phone with such pictures?!

Since I have mentioned the working time for this phone, I’d like to stop for a while in order to describe this parameter. The phone uses Li-Ion battery with 850mAh capacity (BL-5C). According to the manufacturers announcement, the phone can work for 4.5 hours during your talks, and up to 200 hours in the stand by mode. We were testing this parameter in Moscow, our operator was MTS, in the end we had received pretty interesting results.

Only talks, minimal amount of other functions. If user is talking for about 15-20 minutes per day and does not use other functions the battery will be enough for about 3.5 days. This is a good result for such class of the phone, after all the screen is rather power-consuming. If you speak for 35-40 minutes, the phone’s battery will live for 2.5 days, the battery will become empty, by the morning of 3rd day as a rule.

Talks, games and organizer. If you speak for about 20 minutes per day, and use other functions for about 25 minutes daily the phone will work for about 2 days. We did not take such functions like loudspeaker, radio and mp3 song playback through the speaker into consideration.

Music. If you use radio for about 2 hours per day, and up to 20 minutes spent for talks, minimally use other functions the phone will work for two days, once again this is a good result. Changing radio to mp3 songs and listening them for same amount of time will lead to working time decrease for few hours.

Bluetooth. The continuously turned on Bluetooth mode decreases working time for about 10 percent as average rate. This means that if the phone would have worked for 48 hours, in case if Bluetooth will be turned on it will work for about 43-44.

We recommend using this data as supporting one. In most cases you should count for 2 days of fully-functional work with the phone, meanwhile it does not really matter what functions you use. These are relatively active users, who are using about one third of the phone’s functions in this or that combination. For active users, who talk and play, as well as listen to music a lot the working time will be around 1 day. For other users working time will become 3 days, you cannot expect more from this phone. This means that we got a range of working time from 1 to 3 days. Basically this is typical working time period for such mobile phone class. It takes about 1.5 hour for the battery to recharge.

An important peculiarity of battery’s indicator is that it does not change arcwise. Few first points can disappear only after 1 day of working time, later on the indicator will be decreasing more actively. This should be taken into consideration, you have to get used to this fact.

Let’s get back to the phone’s ergonomics, it can be compared with Nokia’s 6220 one, no special problems were encountered, the buttons have average size, they are located relatively close to each other. The buttons crackle a little when you press them, this is another disadvantage of the phone’s construction. The keyboard’s backlight color is white, not all buttons are equally and nicely illuminated, central horizontal row is rather dim.

Some words about the navigational key, it does not only allow navigating in four directions, but being pressed as well. The key has deepening and is rather convenient on the whole. Some people will require some time to get used to it, but later on everything will be fine.

You can see the joined volume regulation button on the left side. On the top edge turn on/off button is located, you can switch the profiles with its help as well. On the right side you can see hole for the strap. On the bottom part you can see the Pop-port connector, one of the many things that can be connected to it is stereo headset. The phone disadvantage is that this headset has pretty big size in the place where it is connected to the phone, standard headphone port would have looked a lot better.

Since we are talking about the technical part of this device, we cannot forget to mention the slot for MMC cards. It is located under the battery, this means that hotswap is not supported. For those who are going to use their phone as mp3 player this is not a good news at all. There are only two ways to solve this problem – either buying memory card with big capacity and continuously erasing and recording entries onto it, or turning the phone off and changing the cards. Both ways contain certain disadvantages. In first case you have to spend some money on buying the memory card, in my opinion buying card for 256mb will be the best solution. But please note that the phone is not working well with all manufacturer’s memory cards, sometimes it just can’t see them. In our case big capacity cards were simply ignored. You can ignore the warning that the phone supports cards with capacity up to 128mb only, which is located in the manual, this is not truth.

The data transfer speed from PC to the memory card via IrDA or Bluetooth is not high, 100mb are transferred within 30-40 minutes depending on the amount of files. With the help of USB cable the process is running faster, but still about 25 minutes are occupied. The universal card reader can record date a lot faster, like 2x times faster. Its price in Moscow is about 7-9 dollars. Here we can see the fact that this is another reason when you have to turn off the phone in order to remove the card, such actions lead to the back cover gaining backlash. Some sort of mysterious circle, but I personally prefer first way, leave the phone in the evening so the files will be uploaded, do your things, you don’t have to watch for your phone, don’t you?

SIM-card holder is typical for some other models as well, no problems were encountered.

Next part>>>

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Alexander "Lexx" Zavoloka(Lexx@i-5.delfi.lv);

Published — 20 April 2004

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com

 

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