Nokia C6 Review

Introduction and Design
This is a global GSM phone, it can be used with AT&T's 3G network and T-Mobile USA's 2G network.


The Cseries portfolio represents the core line of Nokia phones. Devices in it can come in a variety of form factors, and range in numbering from 1 to 9, depending on the price and features. The highest-end handset in the series so far is the 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.

Nokia C6 360 Degrees View:

Interface and Phonebook:

There is not much to review regarding the Nokia C6-00's interface, considering it is the same Symbian S60 v5 version that we find in all of the company's touchscreen phones. Nokia used to say way back in the first iPhone days that they are not interested in producing touchscreen devices as its focus groups revealed customers didn't want them. Espoo was forced to rethink that position, and, for 20 months now, they have been making touchscreen phones with the old Symbian OS slightly retooled for being finger-friendly.

An interface walkthrough of S60 v5 can be found in our Nokia 5800 and N97 reviews. In the C6-00 we find the same homescreen with up to five widgets, which can be swept out of view with a stroke of the finger, same phonebook and the same calendar. The C6 is with the Nokia White theme as default, which makes things way more appealing than the gloomy dark theme found on the above-mentioned phones. Actually the interface looks like on all touchscreen Nokia handsets after their latest firmware updates gave them a tight integration with the Ovi ecosystem (Contacts, Maps, Store, Ovi Mail, Nokia Messaging). Still no smart dialing from the dialpad, though, you have to go through contacts search for that.

Honestly, if you set it right and know where to look for things, Symbian is a functional, but dated platform. The same 434MHz CPU that is in the Nokia 5800, the N97 and the N97 mini can also be found in the C6-00, with the same 128MB RAM. The handset is no speed racer with those specs, and what usually bothers us with Symbian are the icons and the other graphical elements that have been the same for years now, the slow opening of media files, the unnecessary confirmations, and the excessive options in the menus that no one really uses.


Text messaging is the same tried and true application you are used to, but for threaded view you have to download, nay, buy additional software, which is a bummer by any measure. Nokia Messaging takes care of the email accounts on the C6 - setting up all popular services is easy, but it can only download up to 250 messages from your account memory lane to the phone's inbox. Not a difference compared to the other Nokia touchscreen phones here.

As we mentioned before, for typing those many SMS's you are restricted solely to the physical keyboard in landscape mode, since there is no on-screen QWERTY. The slide-out keyboard is not that bad, but could use a chicklet-style button layout, which would greatly enhance typing speeds.


Plenty of useful software apps come included with the handset. QuickOffice and Adobe PDF take care of document viewing, but for editing you have to upgrade to the paid version. Dictionary, Converter, Zip and Active Notes round up the Office folder contents. Other worthy additions are Recorder, Podcasting, Traveler, Drawing, ScreenSnap and Shazam. Facebook and MySpace are taken care of in the form of widgets, and you can download a Twitter client off the store. When you quickly pull in a few indispensable free apps from Ovi Store like the flaky YouTube client, Skype, Qik or Fring, and Opera Mobile, the phone becomes a decent all-around package without having to shell out a dime on top of the handset price.

Internet and Connectivity:

The default browser has kinetic scrolling and double-tap-to-zoom, as well as support for Flash Lite, so it does visualize things true to their nature, but is somewhat slow due to the weak hardware. Flash Lite is not what it is cracked up to be here, although Nokia has been in bed with Adobe for a while now, boasting the ability over the Android 2.1/iOS 4 competition. It works great for ads and even some video, but complex Flash-based sites and interactive graphics like, say, the simple charts on Google Finance, choke it up.

For Internet connection the Nokia C6 uses its quad-band 3G radio, or the Wi-Fi chip. There is also stereo Bluetooth 2.0, and FM radio with RDS via the supplied headset. For PC connection you have to install Ovi Suite and connect the phone with the short microUSB cable, which doesn't charge the C6. That is the easiest way to sync or download countries and guidance voices for Ovi Maps.

Camera and Multimedia:

The default 5MP camera on Nokia C6-00 has a nice range of shooting options in its interface, which is the one found in all Nokia touchscreen devices. Besides the usual scene modes, white balance and self-timer adjustments, the phone's camera is boasting manual exposure and ISO setups, as well as a multiple shots mode. When we add the LED flash, it should be a good performer on paper, despite not having the renowned Carl-Zeiss optics. Let's go grab those samples and check this out for ourselves.

We observed pale colors, which the phone tends to oversaturate under bright sunlight, and resolution and detail were somewhat lacking at places. Indoor performance is passable with the LED flash on, but noisy without it, and more so under low lighting conditions.

The video capture mode shoots in VGA resolution at 30fps, which makes for a nice smooth show with good colors, but a tad noisy.

Nokia C6 sample video at 640x480 pixels resolution.

The photo and video gallery grid work rather slowly. Uploading pictures and video has to go through Ovi, instead of having Facebook and YouTube options. For that matter, some light video editing like merging, cutting and adding text to clips is possible straight from the gallery.

The music player doesn't stray from the standard interface and functionality found since the 5800 Xpress Music. The loudspeaker of the Nokia C6 is of average strength and quality, slight distortion is heard towards the high volume end, and the sound is flat. The headset, for that matter, pumps out very deep base sound, and clear high octaves.

The Nokia C6 plays nice with MPEG-4 videos in VGA resolution, and with the RealPlayer format, but that's all, no DivX/XviD support as it is.


The sound strength in the ear speaker was adequate, and the voices - clear enough. On the receiving end we were being heard with an average volume, while our voices were coming out a bit subdued.

Battery life of the 1200mAh juice box is rated for 5 hours of talk time in 3G mode, and 17 days of standby, which is below average.


The Nokia C6-00 left an average impression at the reviewing afterparty. Everything about it is run-of-the-mill for a Nokia touchscreen handset, and we can't think of a feature that will distinguish it much from the N97 mini, for example, even by price. If it falls way down in price, the Nokia C6 might make a worthy alternative to the 5800 XpressMusic for people who are dying for the physical keyboard and the 5MP camera. And Symbian. (Don't look at us!)

For now, the N97 mini is offered  at the same price, with nicer design and larger internal memory. If you are prepared to pay more for a Symbian handset, but gain a pretty and slim phone with a way better keyboard and HD video capture, go for the Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro, unless you need the complete and free navigation package of Ovi Maps. If you are abandoning Symbian altogether for the sake of the more contemporary smartphone platforms out there (we're not blaming you), you might want to check the Motorola MILESTONE Android phone.

Nokia C6-00 Video Review:


  • Browser is Adobe Flash Lite-enabled


  • Thick
  • Resistive screen
  • The keyboard feels cramped
  • No DivX/XviD video support

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