Nokia 6790 Surge Review
AT&T customers received a good dose of Nokia's Symbian S60 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 2 on the AT&T branded E71x. The Nokia 6790 Surge slightly jumps up to version 9.3 which looks no different from the previous version. Regrettably with this go around, it's a bit outdated with the low resolution icons and text. We were hoping to see some kind of light shed on this aging platform – especially after encountering the great amount of new goodies in the 6700 classic’s non-smart interface. Personalizing the interface and home screen can be modified to an extent in the options menu. During certain intervals, we experienced some lag when we tried executing a command or application – almost looking like the phone has froze. Luckily the accelerometer quickly adjusts the display according to the orientation; even when opening the QWERTY. One has to keep in mind that the Nokia Surge is a smartphone; so multiple applications can be running simultaneously.
At it's core, the Nokia 6790 Surge has all the elements of a smart phone – plenty of useful information can be stored for each contact. One would think the amount it can retain is dependent on how well you manage the phone's memory, but it's in fact limited to only 1000 contacts.
No doubt that the Surge is geared with the text messenger in mind – the dedicated messaging button quickly gives you access to various functions. It's simple to send both SMS and MMS without all the hassle.
Nothing really special with the Instant Messaging application powered by Oz. Users will have their choice of AIM, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger to choose from. If you plan on using the Surge for emails, you'll be pleased to find the application to be extensive and useful. Similar to other smart phones, just about any email provider can be used to retrieve email. Popular ones like Yahoo will ask you for your email address and password – then it'll automatically punch in the settings. If you decide to use an alternate obscure one, it'll simply ask you to input the incoming and outgoing server addresses. This is definitely a plus for anyone who wishes to keep up-to-date with their email.
The usual AT&T set of software can be found – XM Radio, Music ID, Yellowpages to name a few. The smart phone aspect is evident with Adobe PDF and Quickoffice allowing those business users some flexibility of taking their work on the go. Finally, location based services are offered such as AT&T Navigator and Where.
It may be a bit underpowered, but the 2-megapixel camera produced good detail; no muddy look when zooming in. We can't say the same for the color reproduction – shots taken outdoors in good lighting looked washed out. It takes 3 seconds to get the photo taking application up and running with shots taken almost instantaneously as you press the dedicated button. The interface is free from clutter to give you as much viewing room for the image you want to take. You can capture photos in either 640 x 480 or 1600 x 1200 resolution with minor options to change like white balance. To say the least, images were not bad with the exception of how colors look.
Video recording was a dismal experience with it being pixelated and choppy at the same time. Even when capturing at the maximum resolution of 320x240, the Surge just struggled with its video performance. Even the audio sounded a bit muted and best used for strictly MMS.
We like the presentation of the music player – it offered a bunch of options like equalizer settings and visualizations. It'll display the artist, album art, track name, and time remaining. The icons for reverse, pause/play, and forward corresponds to the navigational pad. Exiting back to the home screen will allow the song to continue playing with a bar indicator now displaying the music status. Sound quality from the speaker phone was lacking with crackling heard when placed on the loudest volume. Even changing the equalizer settings to “bass booster” did not remedy the poor performance. Fortunately, we liked how the visualization tools (album art or spectrum) added some spice to the interface.
Video playback is powered by RealPlayer – which produced some good results with the videos we used. We managed to load up two movie trailers in MPEG4 320x240 and H.264 320x136 without any hiccups. They played smoothly, no lag whatsoever, and the screen was adequately sized. You can play it in either orientation with a two second delay whenever switching views. Nonetheless, the Surge does a decent job being used for viewing all sorts of videos on the go.
Going on a trip overseas? The Nokia 6790 Surge is a quad-band GSM phone (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) with dual-band UMTS capability (850/1900 MHz). Just don't expect 3G speeds when you take it outside of the United States.
The web browser is just the same one that is found on the the E71x – except that it's a but sluggish when loading up complex pages and scrolling. We recommend waiting until a site has been completely downloaded before venturing off – or else you'll find it slowing down extensively as you try to scroll. There is a mini-map that displays when you scroll for a while; we just wished there was a button to have it open at will. Fortunately there is a page overview option to display the entire site – making it relatively quick to scroll. Flash is supported, but found it not implemented well due to the amount of slowdown occurring whenever we attempted viewing a YouTube video.
If you plan on using the Nokia Surge as a media hub, you'll probably want to use a microSD card – which can support cards up to 8GB in capacity.