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Review of Nokia C6-01 GSM/UMTS Smartphone

Live photos of Nokia C6-01

Contents:

  1. Positioning
  2. Design, Dimensions and Controls
  3. Display
  4. Memory and memory cards
  5. Battery
  6. USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  7. Camera
  8. Software
  9. Impressions

In the box:

  • Nokia C6-01;
  • AC-15 charger;
  • BL-5CT battery;
  • 2 GB memory card (depends on region);
  • WH-102 wired stereo headset;
  • CA-179 USB cable;
  • User guide.

Positioning

The Nokia C6-01 is a simplified version of the Nokia C7, with a minimum of inbuilt memory and a 3.2-inch display instead of 3.5-inches, as well as the cheapest Symbian^3 solution for the first half of 2011. The company is trying to create something like the Nokia 6303 for the mass market, a smartphone for everyone that would have an attractive price, build quality and software features. Unfortunately, Nokia appears to have forgotten about Android and its having come to the middle-end. If there were no Android around, the new model could use its metal casing and decent screen to find a way to consumers' hearts. Yet Android is already here.

Of course, my working assumption is that smartphones are bought on purpose and not accidentally. If it is deliberate choice that we are talking about, people tend to favor Android, with Symbian losing its support because of it being somewhat outdated in terms of user interface and not being able to offer a sensible amount of software applications and games (OVI Store looks a real fright to me, not what you would expect from a functioning store). Symbian^3 will make a good choice for experienced Nokia smartphone users as it is a huge improvement over the earlier versions. However, those not stuck on a single make have a wide variety of options to choose from. If you want to go the old-fashioned way, feel free to choose Symbian^3 Ц nobody will judge you; you might only be considered a little bit conventional. It is out of fashion among young people and simply not very functional (smartphones are primarily about additional software Ц just try finding some reasonable Evernote for Symbian or KIK, etc.).

The Nokia C6-01 is targeted at Symbian fans looking for a good price/quality ratio, no plans to work up the market there. The model will generate some decent sales, though, as it will prey on other Symbian devices. In particular, it will destroy the X6 16 GB and X6 32 GB by decreasing their sales even further and will take a bite at the X6 8 GB, which is significantly cheaper but less interesting. The same is also true for the Nokia 5800, which has been around for too long now anyway.

Unfortunately, Nokia isn't going to offer its obsolescent operating system with a discount. The regular markup turns the Nokia C6-01 into an attempt to squeeze the most out of the OS, to cash in, and not an endeavor to popularize Symbian^3. If the marketing department did their job properly, the product price would be around EUR 200, not the previously announced EUR 260. The brand name markup in Nokia's situation is deadly yet the company is doing it again. What a pity!

Let me say it once more: the phone may be interesting to those who are used to Symbian, who are conventional, don't follow the latest development trends and stick to one phone for several years without ever installing additional programs or games, that is, those satisfied with a limited amount of software that is as obsolete as Symbian itself.

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Design, Dimensions and Controls

Nokia designers did their best to add some flavor of the 8000 series to the model, just like they did with the Nokia 6700 Classic. The battery cover is made of stainless steel and it not just a thin layer of metal but a fairly solid piece. The screen bezel is chrome-plated, which is another allusion to metal. The inexpensive nature of the phone can only be revealed by the upper part of its rear side made of some cheap uncomely plastic. Yet I would like to point out that it is more of a matter of taste and the device looks really good in general. It weighs 131 grams and measures 103.8х52.5х13.9 mm. The phone feels excellent in one's hand and the weight is quite noticeable. People tend to perceive weight as a symbol of solidity and you get a lot of that in the Nokia C6-01.

The phone is available in two color options, Black and Silver Grey. In my opinion, both variants will find their customers. It is a fairly unisex model and will make a good choice for men and women alike.

Nokia C6-01 vs Nokia N8:

Nokia C6-01 vs Nokia C7:

On the front panel, you can find an extra camera for video calls, light sensor (on the left-hand side from the speaker) and a proximity sensor. The Call, Hang Up and Menu buttons are actual hardware keys, which is a plus. The lock slider on the side follows the general style of the phone Ц i.e. it is either made of metal or is a good imitation of it. The slider is quite handy. Right next to it, there is a camera button and a volume rocker, a really tiny and hard one, which I find uncomfortable to use.

On the bottom, there is a microUSB port, 3.5 mm audio jack, 2 mm power adapter jack, and a charge indicator (turns white while charging).

The loudspeaker is located on the back, right next to the dual LED flash and 8-megapixel camera without autofocus.

I do not have any complaints about the quality of the device: it is well built and makes a good overall impression.

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Display

The display is 3.2 inches wide, has a resolution of 640х360 pixels, supports up to 16 million colors and is covered with glass (that is how they refer to the special plastic layer also used in the X6 and C7). The display type is AMOLED, and my guess is that it is made by Samsung, just like it is with the N8. Unlike the Nokia C7 and N8, the screen sports a polarized filter that should improve its readability in direct sunlight. It has become known as ClearBlack Display (CBD).

Indoors, you won't be able to see any difference between the Nokia N8 and Nokia C6-01 Ц i.e. both screens are identical in terms of picture quality. Outdoors, the difference is not that significant, at least in the soft autumn sunlight. Feel free to make your own conclusions, though.

Nokia C6-01 vs Nokia C7:

Nokia C6-01 vs Samsung Wave:

Up to 16 text rows (depends on actual working mode) can be displayed at a time. You have a selection of 3 font sizes in the phone preferences.

The inbuilt light sensor adjusts the screen brightness automatically based on the environmental conditions. The level appears to be generally lower than it should be, and it's better to pick one from the menu (personally I prefer the 60-65 percent level). The brightness cannot be adjusted manually. Compared to the Nokia N8, the light sensor is less precise and any grease on the screen only makes it worse. I don't know why but the brightness level seems to be too low most of the time.

As a conclusion, the following can be said about the screen. It is neither better nor worse than that of the Nokia C7/N8 in terms of picture quality and probably somewhat better in direct sunlight. The lower diagonal makes it less comfortable to use (the on-screen keyboard is smaller) but the difference is not that huge. It is a decent up-to-date screen, not a superstar but not a loser.

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Memory and memory cards

The phone has 340 MB of memory, which is used for ordinary apps or user data. There is no additional in-built memory (Nokia C7-00 has 8 GB), but microSD memory cards of up to 32 GB are supported. The memory card slot is under the back cover.

The model boasts up to 256 MB of RAM (Nokia N97 Mini offers 128 MB). It is a giant leap forward for Nokia and it had to bring increased stability and speed. The handset is indeed considerably faster, but the stability is not as good as it could be. I have to say that we definitely have an improvement in comparison with other Nokia models, but it leaves much to be desired anyway.

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Battery

The handset has a 1050 mAh BL-5CT battery for up to 380 hours on standby and between 5.5 and 12 hours of talktime (UMTS/GSM).

The phone features new architecture coupled with Symbian^3 to offer improved operation times in every mode. Let's look at results in different modes (theory and real parameters):

  • Video playback - 7 hours (I had 6.6 hours);
  • Music playback - 50 hours (standard headphones and music in repeat mode – 49 hours);
  • Video recording – 3 hours 40 minutes (3 hours 10 minutes, maximum characteristics)

The difference from Nokia N8 is considerable as the same battery capacity yields considerably better operation times.

On the downside we have a short average operation time of no more than 2 days, but it is impressive against the background of many rival models, which offer only 1 day. The main power consumer is a desktop with widgets (they are energy demanding as all data transfer apart from WiFi). Viewing of web pages is also not energy friendly. Operation time reveals why ARM11 can offer only 680 MHz here. Longevity requires certain sacrifices elsewhere.

The full charging takes around 2 hours.

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USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

USB. In USB settings you can choose one of three operation modes:

  • Data Storage (Mass Storage USB) – both the phone memory and memory cards are visible and you don’t need any drivers as the OS sees the phone itself
  • OVI Suite – work with OVI Suite, access to all phone features, data backup, etc.
  • Printing & Media – photo printing and MTP mode.

The data transfer speed reaches around 5.5 Mbps. When you connect the USB cable the charging starts.

Bluetooth. This is the 3rd Nokia model with Bluetooth 3.0 (High Speed). Data transfer to other devices with the same technology is carried out via WiFi 802.11 n, and theoretically the speed can get up to 24 Mbps. A 1 GB file from Samsung Wave S8500 and back was transferred at the speed of around 10 Mbps at the distance of 3 meters between devices. When you try to transfer big files you can lose the connection rather often, while there are no problems when you move files from Nokia N6 to an identical model or from Samsung to Samsung. I guess there is some incompatibility of settings. The transfer of big files to ordinary S60 smartphones runs into connection interruptions as well (though BT 3.0 was not used).

The phone supports different profiles: Headset, Handsfree, Serial Port, Dial Up Networking, File Transfer, Object Push, Basic Printing, SIM Access and A2DP. The operation with headsets is smooth and I had no complaints regarding this area.

WiFi. 802.11 b/g/n is supported, but it is not the first model on the market with the similar range of protocols. Everything works fine. WiFi search wizard and a related widget are also available.

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Camera

An ordinary 8 MP camera without autofocus is similar to that of Nokia C7. Surprisingly, Nokia decided to continue the megapixel race and the autofocus was ditched. I think that a 5 MP camera with the autofocus would have been more appropriate here. On a clear day and at large distances the quality of pictures is decent, but if you move closer everything goes to the dogs. Pictures of text are impossible to describe and the flash can't help either. Symbian always concentrated on the camera quality and in this case we have a complete turnaround. It is a huge disadvantage, because the camera is well below par. Look at pictures yourself though.

Samples of photos:

Video. The camera records video in 720p (25 frames per second, H.264 codec) resolution. The quality is ordinary.

Video sample (mp4, 29,7 MB) >>>

Software

I would like to remind you that all features of Symbian^3 have been already described in the review. There is no need for repetition, so feel free to follow the link below to get the information on all parameters of the OS.

Symbian^3 Ц Main Applications and Features

Back to the table of contents >>>

Impressions

The handset has one speaker, but it offers loud and clear sound you can hear from pockets and bags. I like shallow and frequent vibro tremolos, but the majority may view it as weak. There are no complaints regarding the connection quality.

The model is a bit flat and has an old uninspiring interface. If you are accustomed to Symbian no disappointment will be involved. Do you need a modern OS? Pay attention to Android! Unfortunately Symbian is morally outdated and can be considered acceptable only by conservative users.

This handset has all features of Nokia C7 and Nokia N8: USB on the Go, DivX support from the box and the screen which is just a bit smaller, but other than that you can save money by choosing this model for И260-270 instead of more upmarket offerings mentioned above. It has many rivals for the similar price and many of them also boast Android or have some advantages or disadvantages. Anyway in February we will have a new generation of Android devices in this price segment. The list of interesting alternatives includes: HTC Gratis and Motorola Defy (a protected Android phone). These are the models I like. It's a pity that Nokia C6-01 turned out to be so boring. Some may like it though.

Finally, compare the features of Nokia C7, C6-01 and Nokia N8.

  Nokia C7 Nokia C6-01 Nokia N8
Battery 1200 mAh, Li-Ion 1050 mAh, Li-Ion 1200 mAh, Li-Ion
microUSB charger Yes Yes Yes
Screen 640х360, 3.5″, glass, AMOLED 640х360, 3.2″, glass, AMOLED, CBD 640х360, 3.5″, glass, AMOLED
Symbian Symbian^3 Symbian^3 Symbian^3
HDMI No No Yes
Inbuilt memory 8 GB No 16 GB
RAM 256 MB 256 MB 256 MB
Camera 8 MP, without autofocus 8 MP, without autofocus 12 MP, autofocus
DivX from the box Yes Yes Yes
WiFi b/g/n b/g/n b/g/n
Bluetooth 3.0 3.0 3.0
USB on the Go Yes Yes Yes
Price Starting from И335 Starting from И260 Starting from И450

I think this table clearly illustrates common points and differences between models.

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion be known to the author and everybody else.

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Related links

Symbian^3 Ц Main Applications and Features

Final Review of the Nokia N8: Detailed Debriefing

First look at Nokia C7-00

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal
Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net), Olexandr Nikolaychuk (meiam@inbox.com)

Published — 17 November 2010

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

 

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