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Nokia C6: Good middle of the road phone - 3 stars
on September 12, 2010
04/05/2012 UPDATE: I want to do a quick comparison between the Nokia C6-00 and Android phones, specifically Samsung Nexus S by Google. I've been using the Google android phone for the past 11 months and it did EVERYTHING I needed it to do from paying for Starbucks coffee using a Starbucks app so I didn't need to carry my Starbucks card around and accessing multiple MS Exchange accounts to the interface and OS being slick and nimble as well as Google directions/mapping/GPS; the MAJOR downside to smartphones such as Android and others is the fact that they are battery drainers because of the intense use of power for the OS and display especially. I could not last more than 6-8 hours on Android and this is with setting the Display to the lowest brightness at all times which is a pain when outdoors in bright sunlight. That was the ONLY issue with my Android. Anyway, it did everything I needed so I stuck with it. Until recently the sounds stopped working. So I sold it and now I am back with Nokia. The strength of Nokia is the battery lasts a good 14-15 hours on standby (not sure why this Amazon description states 16 days or so, no, 15 hours, so at the end of the day before going to bed, you need to charge it up again for the next day). I can only add ONE MS Exchange email account on Nokia and I also have Gmail installed. The OS is not as slick and fast as Android and there is a "white screen" lag, but you put up with it. The sounds, ringing, call quality and reliability of the Nokia as a PHONE first and foremost is second to none. The Android (Samsung) had low ringing volume even at maximum. Also Sprint service for the Android was weak in my area, so ATT under Nokia was better. The Nokia is a "workhorse" of a phone that is loud (volume, I like!) and does a barely ok job at being a 'smart phone.' I will keep using it for now because of long battery life and I can switch out the SIM card to my flip phone using the same data plan for traveling using a small flip phone, esp. overseas like Europe (ATT only charges $10 month for unlimited data since it is not considered a smart phone versus minimum $30 for smart phone). Will I eventually switch to a smart phone when something I like comes out, YES, of course, the Android experience (except for battery life) did EVERYTHING I needed a smartphone to do (rich apps for banking, Starbucks, etc) and my LIFESTYLE. What will I look for in a smart phone next time? STRONG BATTERY LIFE (EASILY LASTING 15 HOURS ON STANDBY OR BASICALLY WHAT I CALL A 'WHOLE DAY' BEFORE CHARGING AT NIGHT), LOUD RINGER AND VOLUME, 4G CAPABILITY, HANDLE MULTIPLE MS EXCHANGE EMAIL ACCOUNTS.
06/20/2011 UPDATE: Bought this phone in September 2010. There is still a slight lag (in the form of a "white screen") in between applications but other than this and the slight heft (weight) to the phone, it is a good sized pull out keyboard phone. For a while the Ovi maps and Ovi store apps did not work, I finally figured out I needed to delete the old files from apps manager and redownload Ovi maps and Ovi store. The trick is it is a Catch 22, you cannot download Ovi maps with Ovi store (the PC sync did not work for me in the first place), and you cannot if Ovi store did not work, I finally went to the browser and searched download ovi store and did it that way and once I go Ovi store working, downloaded Ovi maps and then everything works now. The music was a trick, you need to sync to your PC and copy and paste to the C6 after created a "Music" folder, then in the C6 press music and then library and then "Options" and then refresh the list and then your copied and pasted music will show up, otherwise you will be figuring out why it does not show up after a while, you need to manually refresh the music library!
I added somore more apps like a flashlight and games, etc. It is 100% working and a nice little phone. However, my main phone is a Samsung Nexus S 4G from Sprint because it is a PURE GOOGLE experience on android, it is faster and smoother, and because I rely on gmail and Google calendar and Google everything apps, it just works for me. This C6 is a travel phone for me, for example I also have a Motorola Ming A1200 flip phone I used in Europe and the C6 will also be a travel phone for me when I do not need to take my larger Nexus S 4G with me traveling. So the C6 is powered off, all set up, and stored away in my closet until my next travel trip (the last time I took it I went to Idaho and Oregon on business) because the battery life on the C6 lasts a whole day+, the flip phone Ming A1200 was even better, a few days battery. The Nexus S 4G I charge every night and can't beat the apps and user experience on nexus S.
Recommendation is 3 stars now from 2 stars. I would recommended it but would advise of the heft and the white screen. Everything works on it though, but with MS Exchange you can only add one email address so I have a MS Exchange address and a Gmail address, which is basically what I need for email.
11/1/2010 UPDATE: HAD THIS PHONE FOR A FEW WEEKS NOW, THE "WHITE SCREEN" BETWEEN SWITCHING SCREENS, ETC IS GETTING ANNOYING NOW, FOR $300+ OR SO I PAID FOR THIS PHONE I EXPECT A FASTER PROCESSOR. I AM CHANGING MY STARS FROM 4 TO 2; I WOULD NOT BUY THIS IF I KNEW HOW ANNOYINGLY THIS WHITE SCREEN WOULD BE.
I am reviewing Nokia C6 here first since I had time to play with it, I will review the N900 soon in a bit under the N900 product site on Amazon (I reviewed the N900 on 10/13/10 so look for it under my "Kingmonkey" ID). The C6 . . . I couldn't decide between Nokia N900 and C6 (did not want new N8 coming out end of September 2010 since there was no physical keyboard), so I bought both N900 and C6. Phones do not come with a case to hold, which is a disappointment considering how much each phone costs. For some reason Nokia only sells OEM cases for these phones to the European market, if you go to Amazon UK site or Nokia EU site you will see cases made for N900 and C6, so I had to go to Amazon UK site to order an OEM case for N900; the C6 on Nokia EU site has some nice ones but could not find them on Amazon UK and on Nokia EU site I cannot order them online being from the USA as you need to go to a retail location in Europe. Anyway got some generic case (more like a pouch) for the C6 from Amazon UK.
The C6 is a nice looking, stylish phone, good size phone, not too thick or long at all, it's fairly small and fits in your shirt pocket if you are a guy. Made of quality materials and feels like a quality product from the weight of the phone and also when you slide the keyboard out, it is stiff and not moving about. The top row keyboard key is a little close to the top half of the phone so when you type your thumb hits the top and gets in the way; not a deal breaker for me as I just learn to adapt. Those with bigger hands (fingers) may find the keyboard a little cramped but I wanted a smaller smart phone compared to the other ones out there such as Samsung Galaxy or Motorola Droid, so it is expected to be smaller overall as that is part of the appeal. Physically that was the only issue, again, Nokia is stylish, smart looking, and as always, love their Nokia ringtone theme. One last thing on the physical side, being a middle of the road phone (between N8 and lower end Nokia phones) it doe snot have al of the bells and whistles hence the lower price. One feature I wish it had, like the more higher end N900, is a camera lens cover, the camera is just exposed to dust, etc; the C6 does come with a factory "screen protector" and since this is a new phone and you can't buy a screen protector just yet I suggest leaving it on to protect the screen, since after I set up the C6, the screen protector is scratched from my use of the phone (normal use with fingers swiping back and forth, mind you, I take care of my nice things, gently putting it down, wrapping it in napkin until my pouch comes in the mail, wash my hands and dry them, no lotion, before I handled my phone), so even with all of this the screen still gets scratched slightly if you look at it at an angle. Anyway will need to buy a screen protector when they are available and hopefully the one that came with it will last.
On the software side, the 2GB microsd chip only holds the California map and voice navigation (street names + male voice both for US as two separate files); that's about 2GB total. If you want all of US and other countries, need to buy a 16GB microsd but even with this not sure if it can hold all the maps as you will need to delete some still as some maps are several gigs(I think 16GB additional gigs is the limit the C6 can handle for a microsd card). I don't travel a lot outside of California so it does the job and don't need to buy a bigger sized microsd card for now, I can wait until I need it and by then the microsd card price will go down.
The other major issue is I use Google calendar, right now you can use MS exchange to set up google mail, calendar and contacts but it imports ALL of my gmail contacts into my C6 even though I don't actively keep in touch with all of them, I suppose you can choose to update only calendar and gmail and skip the contacts, don't remember if this is an option. The calendar also only updates my main Calendar so others I created, including Holidays calendars, bill due date calendars, etc do NOT get imported. This was a deal breaker for me so I deleted this newly created/added gmail account and all of the contacts and email and calendar got deleted, which is what I wanted and it went back to how it was, being empty. By the way when you import this way, any contacts or information you had in the calendar gets overridden with the new import, so my one contact I created with a photo and all got overridden with the import. I had to reenter it. Anyway my workaround is to use instead of MS Exchange option on Nokia to add Google accounts like gmail and calendar, etc, I used the "Gmail" option via the email icon to set up the email account and it works well. As for Google calendar, there is a Google Mobile site and one bookmark webpage you can set up is for Google Calendar, so for my Internet application I set my default homepage as the Google calendar address so when I want to look at ALL (holidays, bills, color coded too) of my Google calendars I just open up that bookmarked web page homepage and it is there updated in real time by Google. As for the Ovi calendar, don't use it, maybe I'll look at it just to see what day it is every sooften. So I get my Google calendar but via a webpage site, not the Ovi calendar because like I said the MS Exchange way to sync gmail mail and calendar and contacts only gives you the main calendar, no other calendars created as discussed above.
I also downloaded OVI software to my PC and the linking between the C6 and Ovi software on my PC works well, this is how you sync the photos, maps, contacts, etc from your PC to the C6, also faster way to update your C6 with software updates since you download them from the PC first and then link your C6 to the PC via a USB cable and the data transfer is faster. Otherwise you would have to do it over airwaves on the C6, which is slower even using 3G but you can connect to wifi if available using the C6.
I customized my desktop icons, which is pretty cool, I added a couple rows of frequent contacts, then 3rd row from top Gmail, then a couple row of shortcuts below such as web access, a bookmarked web page, calc, camera, last row has messaging icon, then I downloaded an app for messaging, including google talk, from the Ovi app store by searching for "messaging"--it's called Nimbuzz and with this you choose your account type, Google talk, Yahoo messenger, whatever . . . at first I was lookign and looking for Google Talk app but it does not exist, you have to access Google talk through this 3rd party app Nimbuzz or something else equivalent (it was a free app) and it works perfectly fine. The C6 home screen icons,being Symbian software based, is a bit "cartoonish" when compared to more sophisticated phones like the N900 or Droid icons or Blackberry 9000 Bold, but it's fine and the learning curve is not steep to learn to master the C6 menu and navigation as discussed above.
Overall I am happy with the Nokia, good size, small bar type smart phone, good looking, quality materials. The C6 is Symbian based and my N900 is Maemo based so another reason I bought both to compare and see how I like them. C6 works with ATT 3G so since I have an existing ATT SIM card it works great, the N900 I signed up for a T-Mobile individual plan text+web+voice and the N900 3G only works with TMobile 3G, So I am set here; if I used the ATT SIM card the ATT 3G does not work with Nokia N900 and would have to settle for EDGE (non 3G). Email me at darian.chin at gmail dot com if you have questions.