Nokia C6 Review
Nokia C6, which brings a touchscreen to the line, plus a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
It is intriguing to review the Nokia C6-00 as a new alternative to the not so successful flagship N97, and the first touchscreen phone from Nokia – the 5800 Xpress Music. The C6 seems to be heading for right smack in the middle of those two, as any self-respecting Cseries device should. It takes a little bit of both by stealing the run-of-the-mill screen, innards and appearances of the 5800, but upgrading the camera to 5MP; then adding the slide-out keyboard of the N97, but omitting the Carl-Zeiss lens and the generous built-in memory to keep the price in check. Is it combining the right ingredients to become a viable Cseries mid-range offering with the somewhat tired Symbian, considering the proliferation of modern touch-based mobile OS's? You'll have to read on to find out...
What's in the box:
- Nokia C6-00
- User manual and Quick guide
- Travel charger
- microUSB cable
- Stereo headset with microphone
- 2GB microSD card
The Nokia C6 is no lightweight at 5.29 oz (150 g). The handset is plump on account of the added physical keyboard, which fattens it up to 0.66 inches (16.8 mm). We've seen much svelter handsets with slide-out keyboards – the Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro, for example, or the Motorola MILESTONE. It is thicker not only than the N97 mini, but than the N97 itself as well. Thus the handset only approaches the outer appearance of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic at the front, but when you hold it, it feels chunky.
You can compare the Nokia C6 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
The 3.2” TFT screen that is present on the Nokia C6 has resistive technology, 16M colors, and the 360x640 pixels nHD resolution. The screen is fairly responsive for a resistive display, but it can in no way be compared to any capacitive offering. It does what it can for the technology used when in direct sunlight, which is not much, unless you set it on full brightness. The device is very easy to operate with one hand, since it is pretty narrow, due to the 16:9 aspect ratio of the screen. The only thing that bothers us about the display is its resistive nature.
Underneath the screen are three buttons in a row – the middle menu key, flanked by the send and end keys. Above it are the ear speaker, the front-facing cam and the sensors – proximity and ambient light. The screen half needs a solid push to open and close when you want to gain access to the physical keyboard. It doesn't tilt up like on the N97 series, but has a metal plate underneath it for added rigidity in an otherwise all plastic phone. We had the black version, but the phone is also offered in white.
Traveling around the Nokia C6 finds something on each side of the phone. The microSD slot cover on the left is pretty hard to open unless you have dragon fingernails, but the microUSB port flap on the top is fine in that respect. The top also houses the standard audio jack. The right hand side is reserved for the volume rocker, the lock slider, and the camera key. We finish the round trip at the bottom, where the charging port and the microphone are. There is no USB charging unfortunately, so anywhere you go, you have to bring the mains adapter with you, instead of the short and sweet microUSB cable.
The back of the phone hosts the 5MP camera, which has an LED flash, and the speaker grill. Nokia has used cheapo plastic for the back cover, which offers almost no traction when held, so you always have to grasp on the phone from both sides if you don't want it to slip between your fingers.
What's of real interest on the Nokia C6 is how good the physical keyboard is. For starters, it resembles the one we find on the Nokia E75, not a more expensive “chicklet” type, where keys are separated from one another. It spans on four rows, unlike the three rows on the N97 duet; on top of that it has a D-pad on the right in a shorter than the N97 package, so it feels pretty cramped to type on quickly. There is a numbered top row, but you still have to press “Fn” to switch modes, so the whole point is somewhat lost.
We should add that the screen doesn't tilt up, and there is almost no spacing for your thumbs on the first row as the screen half is too near. For that matter, the keys are domed, space bar is in the middle where it belongs, and tactile feedback of the letter buttons is plenty. All in all, it doesn't speed typing by much, compared to a good on-screen landscape QWERTY, which is missing by default on the Nokia C6. The portrait keypad actually does the job very decently when you don't feel like opening the keyboard for a quick text reply, for example
The design as a whole leaves a bit sub-standard impression. The phone looks and feels as if the department in charge has been roughly combining clues from previous Nokia touchscreen and physical keyboard handsets, without putting much thought and effort. CseriesMaybe if we had the white C6, we would be more in favor of the looks – for now it seems like an incest child of the N97, but without the nice screen tilt, and the 5800 without the slim waistline. Other than that, the construction is fine, and the spring-loading keyboard mechanism uses tight tracks.