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Review of GSM-handset Nokia 6300
Nokia traditionally pays no attention to all latest-and-greatest trends in the mobile industry, specifically the hype around “slim-n-sleek” devices, when some are ready to throw functionalities and a part of the common sense away to get the casing thinner. But for Nokia it is experience what really does matter – therefore, they rely on ratio between various aspects, from design and hardware filling to software. Nokia 6300, just like any of its 6000-series monoblock-shaped siblings, should sport the optimal price/quality ratio; and don’t be deceived with the marketologists’ so-called truths that Nokia has engaged in the race for the slimmest-gadget-ever – this is definitely not the case. Nokia does foster plans to launch very portable solutions, yet reaching either extreme in terms of size is a non-value-added way and they do realize that.
However Nokia 6300 is rooted not in the modern age – as a matter of fact it’s a reincarnation of the top selling Nokia 6100 that arrived in the market early in 2003. There is a little to doubt about – these two models share almost the same strategies in marketing and positioning, but differ in the sense of casing’s thickness, which is highlighted more for the 6300. The target audiences for Nokia 6100 and Nokia 6300 are pretty much the same – men and women with more or less equal ratio for either model, who are want to acquire a fair feature-pack (they call it “modern” and by that mean player, radio and crisp display), eye-candy design and, more importantly, an eye-picking brand on the phone for reasonable money. Relying on this audience is not a miscalculation – the way Nokia 6300 is positioned has been proven by the experience of the prior offerings, thus give a warm welcome to a new Nokia’s bestseller.
Another thing that gives us the right to call the 6300 the successor to Nokia 6100, apart from positioning, is its size – previously we saw 102x44x13.5 mm on the 6100, and today a slightly bigger 106.4õ43.6õ13.1 mm is what you can experience with the 6300, which doesn’t really make any difference, but at the end of the day Nokia 6300 appears to be thinner due to being only 13 mm deep at the display area, whereas the keypad block is slimmer, measuring a hint less than 12 mm. Such uneven thickness distribution is nothing new, though – some other Nokia-branded solutions sport the same peculiarities, for example Nokia 3230. But getting back to the 6300, such approach to the design is not a coincidence, for the developers wanted to make it gain some resemblance with sliders that would boost the handset’s image and looks.
As for the negative experience of Nokia 6100 usage, there were some complaints about the plastic quality, the back cover reliability and the painting. Basically what they would have overlooked on less popular and demanded devices was the sticking point for the 6100 and created certain issues with post-sale service and built up a somewhat negative image of the product. Nevertheless such feedback didn’t affect the sales much, but even at this rate they were taken account of by Nokia. As a result, for the very first time in its class, Nokia 6300 retains metal details, specifically the battery cover, made of stainless steel, and the front-panel. And this is another indirect evidence that the handset will be produced in great amounts and eventually will top the charts. That is why more trims are probably to come – there is no way they will let only the black plastic and metal be on the market all alone. I think a bit later Nokia will release a device painted in black from head to toes and maybe a blue- or red-colored edition.
The glossy plastic used in the 6300 is good; in fact it is similar to that found in Sony Ericsson T610i. Even though it draws scratches and finger-prints, they are not too prominent, unless you start examining it, of course. The metal is exposed to wear and tear as well – first grazes appear in a week’s time, but you won’t stumble upon them at first. Overall, all surfaces of this kind suffer from the same “illness” – Nokia N91 is not an exception with is battery cover.
Weighting only 94 grams, the 6300 fits in hands pretty well and can be carried in any desired fashion. The handset is easy to use, yet retains a number of shortcomings in ergonomics. In light of the face it makes use of dual-interface layout, on Sony Ericsson’s “advice”, dedicated volume keys have been moved to the right side in most phones. This proves to be handy when this key doubles as zoom-button in camera mode. However since Nokia 6300 houses only a single side-mounted key, specifically the volume rocker key, why would they need to relocate it to the right? To blindly follow up the trend? But it is not convenient, and due to being hard-to-push and placed quite deep inside the casing, this key won’t make the user very happy.
The numeric keypad is average ergonomics-wise – you will encounter neither critical flaws nor breakthroughs here. At a glance the buttons seem to be made of cheap plastic and stir up discord in the handset’s looks. When cheap plastic blends with stainless steel, the resulting mix is somewhat strange, but apart from the aesthetics I have no gripes with the keypad. All keys are evenly lit in blue, which is well-visible in various environments
The set of functional keys is one level above the numeric keypad – all buttons are handy, this goes especially for the navigation key and OK button. Owing to the glossy plastic used, this part of the keypad is really pleasant to manage.
The display in the 6300 is its most outstanding part – in both senses of this word. Being a replica of Nokia 6131’s display, this screen empowers you with bring and crisp colors, all in all, it’s one of the best screens to date. At QVGA resolution (240x320 pixels, 31x42 mm), it shows up to 16 mln colors (TFT). Even though colors fade in the sun, the information on the screen remains readable. Depending on picked font size and current application, the display can hold up to 9 text lines (or even more) and up to 3 service lines.
The top end houses the power button, serving for fast profiles switch as well, while at the bottom you will find miniUSB-socket covered by a plastic flap attached to the casing, and 2.5 mm jack for a headset and charger slot.
On the rear you will find a lens of a 2 Mpix camera starring at you and the grill of the main speaker.
The handset is well-built - gaps, as well as crackling noises, are non-existent at all. Removing the back cover is really simple – just push it and draw. The microSD memory cards slot is located on the left side; “hot-swap” feature support is onboard.
The 6300 utilizes 760 mAh Li-Ion battery (BL-4C) which made its first appearance in Nokia 6100 – what a fortunate coincidence! As the manufacturer claims, this battery can keep the handset good to go for up to 3.5 hours in talk mode and up to 330 hours in standby. In conditions of Moscow networks the 6300 lasted about 2 days at 1,5 hours of calls and up to 3 hours of music playback, while all other functions were almost out of work. The battery life is insignificantly lower than that of Nokia 6233/Nokia 6131, which comes as no surprise, taking account of a less capacious battery. It takes the phone less than 2 hours to charge from empty to full.
Over at Nokia they are getting to make even more mistakes in spec sheets than before, so that Nokia 6300 is said to be powered by S40 3rd edition with Feature Pack 1. On the other hand, though, some features like DRM 2.0, revamped player and other specs, reviewed on Nokia’s pages, define it as a model running Feature Pack 2. So it is fine to distrust the manufacturer in this very case, since Nokia 6300 retains the latest software version by Nokia.
The handset accommodates 9 Mb of bundled user-manageable memory.
Being a standardized solution the 6300 doesn’t deserve just another close-up of its features – fortunately, the manufacturer hasn’t presented us with any changes. All software features of the device have already been reviewed in a dedicated article, which we are now referring you to.
Camera. This handset has 2mpx camera (CMOS) which is not that much according to today’s standards, but it is still pretty enough for a middle class model. Nokia decided not to bet on camera part, it is more of an optional feature. This is why camera’s module that was selected for 6233 is one of the cheapest, and provides average quality, if not to say bad one. In dark conditions camera refuses to work normally, exposure time increases and every movement your hand makes within that time leads to blurry image in the end. Dark conditions are considered daytime in summer on a street where there’s not much of sunlight. Indoors it is even worse. In case you consider camera being a nominal solution – it is pretty much comfortable, at same time handset was unable to reach at least Sony Ericsson’s K750i level.
Following resolutions are supported:
Two minimal resolutions were added for creating photos that would fit as wallpapers for display. Three JPEG compression types are supported: basic, normal, high. Considering the fact that photos do not blow your imagination away, it is better to set maximal quality, it won’t be worse than it is.
Shutter sound can be disabled, there is 8x digital zoom, but there is no reason to use it. You can save photos on both memory card and internal memory.
Some effects can be applied to already made photos, should they be used initially – it is up to you to decide. Such effects as False Colours, Greyscale, Sepia, Negative, Solarize are available.
Those who love to shoot a lot of photos at once, there is corresponding mode for you – camera makes up to 3 shots at a time, all settings remain similar to selected for single shot, including resolution. There is auto-timer for self-shots.
Video. Handset allows recording video in 3GP format, available resolution – 128x96 pixels, or 176x144 pixels. Recording quality is divided into three parameters. You can limit recording’s length, but it also can be limitless, until memory runs out (of memory card or internal memory). Effects can be applied for video just as they can be applied for photos, they are all the same.
Applications. The standard set of applications includes Music Guess, Unit Converter and Nokia Sensor. Some markets might get the phone coming included with other apps and games. Java-apps can be loaded over the air or via the memory card, cap on maximum file size is standard – 1 Mb (heap 2 Mb).
Performance. The 6300 offers typical performance rates for Nokia’s latest generation of handsets, no breakthroughs here in the sense of interface speed.
The volume of 64-tone polyphony is enough for almost any conditions. The receiving part also does fine, as it equals all other phones of the current generation. The silent alarm is average strength-wise, but can be still felt while the handset is in pocket.
This model by Nokia has turned out to be extremely fetching, and the most pleasing thing is to find it running on 3d Edition Feature Pack 2, which grants the 6300 acceptable music capabilities, radio, and well-implemented phonebook and organizer. A2DP did better than before as well – though it’s only my own opinion, don’t know whether it will be proven by facts or not. Refined materials used, marginal flaws in ergonomics – all this makes the handset looks like a kind of masterpiece. When it comes to the class it originates from, the 6300 comes out on top with its superb display, which is one of the market’s best screens as well. Like all other S40 cameras, the one found on the 6300 is beneath criticism and is seemingly embedded in the device just for sake of it. On-screen quality of snaps, owing the brilliant display, is pretty much fine, but viewing them on PC won’t make you happy. Video recording capabilities have been gotten down to the bottom level under the pressure of marketing strategy.
In the middle of February the 6300 will be retailed for 350-370 USD and will go down to 350 USD in no time. And there is a good probability that this model will be a long-liver among handsets – it might even exceed the lifecycle of 1,5-2 years and still look fetching, and there are many facts confirming this point of view, including the example of Nokia 6100. In fact the 6300 is not rivaled directly by any other model, however form-factor wise Samsung F300 could pose a threat to Nokia’s latest offspring, however its price tag is a bit hefty and specifications are quite different as well. But the Walkman-branded phone, scheduled for release pretty much on the same date and boasting smaller size and a whole lot of music features under its belt for a slightly higher price, is a totally different story. Music and fashion lovers will definitely go for Sony Ericsson’s offering in this case, but this target audience won’t be overlapping that of Nokia 6300 too much.
If a handset boasting golden price/quality ratio and equipped with a brilliant display, good specs, which is reliable wherever you go and is what you seek – Nokia 6300 should definitely be on your short-list. Nokia’s range delivers even more models of this kind - Nokia 6233 and Nokia 6131. But the toughest competition, as it seems, will take place between the 6233 and the 6300, since it’s quite easy to run around like a madman looking at their specs – Nokia 6233 gets ahead by offering stereo-speakers and better keyboard, but the screen is its drawback, as well as non-minimizable player and on top of that software has less to bring to the table. Quite challenging choice, isn’t it? So, everything I have left to do now is repeat my own words again – Nokia 6300 is undoubtedly one of Nokia’s best offerings to date.
Published 15 December 2006
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