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Review GSM/UMTS-handset Nokia 6500 classic

Live photos of Nokia 6500 classic

Table of contents:

  1. Preface
  2. Design, materials
  3. Keypad
  4. Display
  5. Memory
  6. Battery
  7. USB, Bluetooth
  8. Performance
  9. Camera
  10. Themes, applications
  11. Nokia 6500 Classic versus Nokia 6300
  12. Competition
  13. Impressions

Sales package:

  • Handset
  • Wired stereo-headset (HS-82)
  • Charger (AC-6)
  • Li-Pol battery (BL-6P)
  • Micro USB data cable (CA-101)
  • User Guide
  • Software CD


The story of this model is very remarkable and has much to do with how the companys vision of its product line-ups development changed over time and what expectations the company had for its future phones. By summer 2005, over at Nokia they had grown unhappy with the way their product design had been going, and this resulted in Frank Nuovo resignation. This event was followed by, if not dramatic, but still a substantial revision of the product creation approach, which allowed the line of slim devices to emerge - the development of these solutions commenced in the middle of 2005. Back then, the company, already lagging behind both Samsung and Motorola, the trailblazer in slim phones, began looking into the ways of rolling out similar offerings.

They started off with a bunch of models, one of them was codenamed Lynn (today known as the Nokia 6500 Classic). Christian Riise managed the product, whose development kicked off in August 2005. First results and a rough spec sheet had shaped up even before September 2005 ended, after this point they engaged themselves in the development of the hardware department, as well as design.

The image of the device was finalized by December, and its first designs employed plastic. In February 2006 this device was tested out on a focus group in Moscow and several other cities. Apart from this model, they also showcased designs of the Nokia 6300 and a couple of other handsets. Curiously, when the users put Nokia 6300 and Nokia 6500 Classic head to head, it was the latter that came out victorious, as it seems a tad classier.

The Nokia 6500 Classic was originally issued in silver, but some focus-group members noticed that this color doesnt belong on handset. Thats why in March they rolled out a black-colored model and only then the one in bronze.

The hardware department of Nokia 6500 Classic has become the foundation for a whole array of Nokia-branded solutions that is, the market has already seen the Nokia 5310.

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Design, materials

The Nokia 6300 is positioned as a designer solution, but at the same time it belongs to the Connect Contemporary category in Nokias books, like the Nokia 6500 classic. While the former device has been pushed under the motto Simply Beautiful, the latter has had a couple of aspects highlighted, with materials, rather than design, being the centerpiece of the ad campaign. The maker doesnt trick us, claming that the device is made of metal indeed, the top part is made of anodized aluminum. And, no matter how you look at it, on the top, metal is everywhere. At the same time they claim every device has unique front polishing to it, there are no two models that look alike. I readily believe in this as well, but in real life conditions, you can barely spot the difference in metal polishing, all 6500 Classic look resembling.

VIdeo, handset's looks (37,9 mb, wmv)

The entire underside is a kind of a shoe dressing up the handsets innards. This solution has already been used for rugged Nokias phones, for example, the Nokia 5100 and its successors. This part of the casing enjoys only moderately thick plastic. The antennas are also located here, even though such lay-out doesnt seem normal, it is successfully utilized in many other phones, for example, from Motorola.

If we draw parallels between this one and the Nokia 6300, there is no stainless steel here, and moreover the casing itself doesnt seem like something ultra-hard or packed with metal. The Sony Ericsson W880i feels the same way to a certain extent you dont get the solid feel with all that metal it houses, and it is very inconspicuous.

The handset measures 109.8x45x9.5, weights 94 grams. Both parameters are more than satisfactory for carrying the handset even in slim-fit jeans. One of our readers recently complained that it was next to impossible to have the Nokia 8800 in shirts pocket it kept weighing it down. I really cant comment on this my shirts dont let themselves do such things, probably, thats because of their bigger size.

The model comes in two color schemes black and bronze. Either looks fetching, on top of that very model ships with a color-keyed theme, which adds certain chic to it.

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The handsets buttons are made of plastic and lit in white, which is well-visible in various environments. The keys are average in size and employ terraced layout, but more importantly, the 6500 Classic does well on the ergonomics front, the buttons are easy to tap and very responsive.

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The Nokia 6500 Classic utilizes a QVGA display, powered by the TFT technology (16 mln colors, which are all bright and vibrant) with the resolution of 240x320 pixels (2-inch diagonal, 31x41 mm). The manufacturer hasnt included any type of backlighting adjustment, i.e. the screen is always evenly backlit, which allows saving a bit of battery charge. Nevertheless the user is enabled to choose standby screensaver and backlighting mode (on/off) in the latter case the information will remain visible while indoors but only at certain angles. Apart from that you can turn off the screen, so that it will turn black with no information being displayed on it. In light of the display having a mirror layer, it doesnt fade in the sun and ensures that all data will remain readable.

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The handset comes with no memory card slot the manufacturer has deemed the 1Gb storage found in the 6500 Classic by default enough for most consumers. While it cant match the most popular high-capacity cards (around 2 Gb), but it is a decent solution for the average user.

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The handset ships with a 830 mAh Li-Pol battery (BL-6P). As the manufacturer puts it, this cell can keep the phone up and running for 215 hours in standby or provide 9 hours of talk time. In Moscow the battery time averaged 2 days at 2 hours of calls and up to 5 hours of music. It takes the battery about 2 hours to charge up from empty to full.

In terms of battery life, this handset is pretty much in line with the Nokia 6300.

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USB, Bluetooth

USB. The Nokia 6500 classic makes use of the microUSB slot placed on the top end. This socket kicks in when you connect data cable, headset or charger. As long as the data cable is connected, the battery will be recharging automatically.

The vendor says that the handset supports USB 2.0, and it does indeed, in the USB Mass Storage mode the USB cable connection offers medium data transfer speed which tops out at 500-600 Kb/s. This is slower than the Motorola RAZR2 V8, which also comes installed with the microUSB-socket.

Upon a successful connection you can pick USB Mass Storage, PC Studio or the modem mode. Depending on your choice, the handset starts recharging the cell. It has no support for MTP, though, so you will have to upload all your tunes manually. The selection of folders, where music gets identified is limited to a couple of pre-installed directories.

Bluetooth. The 6500 Classic comes equipped with EDR-enabled version 2.0. The device supports the following profiles:

  • Dial-Up Networking Profile
  • Generic Access Profile
  • Generic Object Exchange Profile
  • Object Push Profile
  • Serial Port Profile
  • Handsfree Profile
  • Headset Profile
  • Synchronization Profile
  • Basic Image Profile
  • File Transfer Profile
  • HID (host) Profile
  • Stereo Advanced Audio Distribution Profile
  • Advanced Audio/Video Remote Conference Profile

The Bluetooth implementation is, as always though, nothing to complain about, we encountered no issues with handling this type of connections. The stereo-headset also works fine with the 6500 Classic.

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The phone is a typical offering for its generation no revelations here.

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The model has received a camera model absolutely identical to that of the Nokia 6300 with no substantial changes. Thats why we are taking the camera review and sample shots from the respective write-up. This handset has a 2mpx camera (CMOS) which is not that much by todays standards, but it is still pretty enough for a mid-range model. Nokia has decided not to bank on the camera department, so as far as the 6500 Classic is concerned, it is more of an optional feature. Thats why the camera module that was selected for 6500 Classic is one of the cheapest out there, and provides average quality, if not to say meager. In poor light conditions, this camera wont snap good photos, thats for sure its exposure time increases and every movement of your hand leads to a blurry image in the end.

The following resolutions are supported:

  • 1600x1200;
  • 1280x960;
  • 800x600;
  • 640x480;
  • 320x240;
  • 160x120.

Two lower 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 go for the top quality, it wont get any worse after all.

The shutter sound can be disabled, also there is a 8x digital zoom, but there is no reason to use it. You can save photos in the internal memory or on the memory card.

Some effects can be applied to the 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.

(+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG (+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG (+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG (+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG (+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG (+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG (+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG (+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG (+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG (+) maximize, 1200x1600, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG (+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG (+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG (+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG (+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG (+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG

For those who love to shoot a lot of photos at once, there is special mode for you camera makes up to 3 shots at a time, all settings remain similar to those selected for the single shot mode, including the resolution. There is an auto-timer for self-shots.

Video. The handset allows recording video in 3GP format, available resolution 128x96 pixels, or 176x144 pixels. There are three recording quality settings available. You can limit a recordings length, but it also can be unlimited, so you will keep recording until the memory runs out (memory card or internal memory). Effects can be applied for video just as they can be applied for photos, they are all the same.

Video sample 1 (3gp, 336 Kb)>>>
Video sample 2 (3gp, 224 Kb)>>>
Video sample 3 (3gp, 300 Kb)>>>

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Themes, applications

The handset comes pre-installed with a number of themes that do make the difference in terms of how the menu looks; all themes are well-designed and match the phones image.

The standard suite of applications includes Unit Converter, Nokia Sensor. Select markets might also get some other games and applications. Java can be uploaded over the air or directly into the memory bank, no caps on file size.

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Nokia 6500 Classic versus Nokia 6300

Two members of Nokias slim range, both have own pros and cons. Lets take a closer look at either phones traits, hopefully, somebody might find this useful.

  Nokia 6500 classic Nokia 6300
Size, weight (mm, g) 109.8x45x9.5, 94 106.4x43.6x11.7, 91
Display QVGA, 2 inches, 16 mln colors, TFT QVGA, 2 inches, 16 mln colors, TFT
Battery Li-Pol, 830 mAh BL-4C, 760 mAh
Memory 1 Gb built-in 9 Mb built-in, microSD uo to 2 Gb
OS version S40 5th Edition S40 3rd Edition FP2
Camera 2-Mpix CMOS. Video recording at 176x144 pixels 2-Mpix CMOS. Video recording at 176x144 pixels
Sockets microUSB for all connection types miniUSB, 2.5 mm, charger socket
Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, A2DP support 2.0 + EDR
Player Enhanced Standard
Materials Anodized aluminum, plastic Stainless steel, plastic
Price 320 Euro 250 Euro when released

Obviously, the Nokia 6500 Classic has improved over the predecessor functionality-wise. On balance, the only drawbacks to it are fixed memory volume and slightly shorter standby battery life. Its higher price is the result of the enhanced features and different price segments chosen for these models.

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The market hasnt seen to many devices housed in the candy-bar form-factor that sport wafer-thin profile. Technically, the Samsung U100 is one of these, but this is the slimmest solution around with no big storage or memory expansion slot onboard, thats why it is pretty much pointless to include it into this face-off. The Sony Ericsson W880i seems to be a direct competitor; however it does have a somewhat different positioning. On top of that, the Motorola SLVR L9 also qualifies as an indirect rival.

      Nokia 6500 classic Sony Ericsson W880i Motorola SLVR L9
Size, weight (mm, g) 109.8x45x9.5, 94 103x479.4, 73 113.5x49x11.5, 98
Display QVGA, 2 inches, 16 mln colors, TFT QVGA, 1.8 inches, TFT, 262000 colors   176x220, TFT, 262000 colors
Battery Li-Pol, 830 mAh Li-Pol, 950 mAh Li-Ion, 880 mAh
Memory 1 Gb built-in 40 Mb, MS M2 memory card (comes with 1Gb)  20 Mb built-in, microSD card
OS version S40 5th Edition SE A100 P2K
UMTS Yes Yes No
Camera 2-Mpix CMOS. Video recording at 176x144 pixels 2-Mpix CMOS. Video recording at 176x144 pixels 2-Mpix CMOS. Video recording at 176x144 pixels
Sockets microUSB for all connection types Fast Port, 3.5 mm on headset miniUSB
Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, A2DP support 2.0 + EDR, A2DP support 2.0 + EDR, A2DP support
Player Enhanced Walkman 2.0 Java-player, default solution
Materials Anodized aluminum, plastic Plastic, metal plates Anodized aluminum, plastic
FM-Radio No No Yes
Price 320 Euro 400 Euro 300 Euro

If we compare the Nokia 6500 classic with the Motorola L9, the Nokias offspring comes out on top in terms of size, screen quality, default memory size and player implementation. The only saving grace for Motorolas offering is the fact that its price tag of 300 Euro wont last longer than a short period of time after the release day.

The Nokias model shares much in common with the Sony Ericsson W880i really resembling retail packages, in both cases the user gets 1 Gb of storage right out of the box. Functionality-wise, the players in these two are top-notch, but the Sony Ericssons solution outputs a tad better sound (thanks to its superior bundled headset). However this product feels somewhat overpriced, as these two handsets should have equally hefty price tags, although by the time the 6500 Classic comes out, the Sony Ericsson W880i will have long since been rolled out. If you face the dilemma of choosing between them, you would be better off going with your personal feelings; either of the solutions is pretty decent. Speaking of the 6500 Classics edge, I cant overlook its conventional keypad whose ergonomics trump that of the Sony Ericsson W880i.

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The volume of 72-tone polyphony is enough for almost all environments. The 6500 Classic also does fine on the reception front, as it stands up to all other phones of the current generation. The vibro alert is average strength-wise, but can be still felt while the handset is in pocket.

This is the key offering for Nokia, so the makers substantial marketing activities come as no surprise. In the vast majority of European regions, it retails for around 320-350 Euro, whereas in Russia it sells for 650 USD or more. The phone has been positioned as a fashion-savvy solution in the first place its target audience is not really into mobile powerhouses.

Over the month of our quality time with a commercial unit, we couldnt a reason to fault its coating or performance. However, our handset had some problems with the shoe which didnt fit the upper part of the casing very well in fact, there is no one else to blame for this but us, and we couldnt fix this, regrettably. Short of that problem, we didnt notice any other flaws with the 6500 Classic.

The 6500 Classic is an pleasant phone to use. It doesnt really qualify as a music-minded solution, even though it does okay on the music front. The list of its direct competitors has only the Sony Ericsson W880i, but the latter has been around for a while now, whereas the Nokia 6500 Classic has the momentum behind it.

The SAR level for the 6500 Classic 0.87 W/kg

Related links:

Software features of Nokia S40 5th Edition

Review of GSM/UMTS-handset Nokia 6500 slide

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Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Oleg Kononosov (oleg.kononosov@mobile-review.com)

Published — 06 December 2007

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



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