Nokia 6790 Surge Review

Introduction and Design

Rarely we come across a decent Nokia device sneaking its way onto AT&T's lineup that turns heads. For the longest of times, they've been offering basic flip handsets that really doesn't do justice to the world's number one phone maker. Fortunately enough they've been graced with a magnificent smart phone like the Nokia E71x recently with its business oriented push. On the other hand, they've just released the Nokia 6790 Surge which is aiming to be a middle of the road device that focuses on messaging with features of a smart phone. It's not just that Nokia's name is on there, but hopefully it'll continue their push back into the mainstream with AT&T customers.

The package contains:
•    Nokia 6790 Surge
•    Charger
•    Users Manual
•    Getting Started CD


Before seeing it in person, the Nokia 6790 Surge just had a look that made it stand out and enticing. Those feelings quickly subsided as we noticed the almost cheap feel of the design. It's kind of hard gauging which way to hold the phone at first – we wonder which orientation the designers built the phone around. The glossy plastic used throughout just attracts finger prints and leaves us with a sense of inferior materials. The top portion of the phone with the screen is relatively thin while the body housing the QWERTY is almost three times as thick. It's wider (2.28”) when comparing it to similar side-sliding devices. Luckily it won't drag you down because of the lightweight (4.38 oz) feel in the pockets – the plastic casing is responsible for that. We're definitely afraid of even slightly dropping the device because it feels a bit on the fragile side.

You can compare the Nokia 6790 Surge with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

For the most part, the 2.4” LCD screen dominates the front with it's ability to display 16 million colors. Although it has a resolution of 240x320 pixels, it just does not look quite as sharp as we hoped for. Even the colors seemed a bit of the drab side and doesn't jump out enough to make it stand out. The outdated look of the interface is partly to blame for the Surge's screen quality taking a dive. Placing the brightness to the highest setting will still pose a problem when attempting to view it in direct sunlight – making it difficult to see what you're doing.

It's sometime confusing trying to comprehend which orientation Nokia had in mind when designing the Surge. The Nokia and AT&T logos near the speaker in the front make it more apparent that it's built with landscape in mind. The navigational pad is a bit small – frequently pressing the wrong button while the center select key is somewhat easier to push. All the other face buttons are almost flush with dedicated buttons for messaging, main menu, and Media Net browser. The volume rocker is appropriately sized as well as the camera key next to it. Nokia makes it easier to transfer data with the microUSB port on the left side. On the top edge, you'll find the speaker phone, 3.5 mm headset jack, and charging port. The 2-megapixel camera is by itself on the back – no flash or self portrait mirror to be found. Removing the back cover reveals the battery, SIM card slot, and spring loading microSD slot tucked away on the edge of the phone.

Sliding the phone left to right will allow you access to the spacious four row QWERTY keyboard. All the buttons are next to one another with no spacing in between – they're large enough for your thumbs to feel out and quite tactile to our taste. Dialing a phone number is annoying because it can be accomplished only by using the numeric pad on the QWERTY. Thankfully you can bypass all of that by just accessing your address book and selecting the person you want to call. The bottom row of keys could've been effectively turned into additional buttons – you find the space bar and two shift buttons taking up excessive space. The backlighting is adequate with most of the illumination emanating from the center. The QWERTY was the stand out great feature – typing away becomes natural on it. 

Nokia 6790 Surge 360 Degrees View:

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