Nokia 6500 classic is the living proof that the Finnish giant manufacturer sacked its old design team or at least refreshed it with new members. I got used with Nokia's new handsets that are full of good features, but lack a modern design. Lately, the company has changed its policy and mobile phones like Nokia 5310 XpressMusic and Nokia 6500 classic have brought a breeze of fresh air. There are few users that haven't experienced software and hardware issues, or at least strange behavior, with their Nokia handsets. These users will now have one more reason to stick with the brand, even if they have encountered various problems with their Nokia handsets. Design has become one of the most important aspects for a newly launched device. These days, design matters more than the device's technical features. This is where Nokia could lose, as most of its handsets are only relying on S60 or S40 interfaces, which are the most user-friendly on the market, leaving apart the 'wow' factor. Unfortunately, the S60 operating system is not even as stable as it should be, at least not compared with Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS. Nokia 6500 classic is definitely a success in terms of looks, but seems to present a few software faults.
Announced in May 2007, Nokia 6500 classic was launched on the market a little bit late, in October 2007. The phone's price seems to be a little bit high for what it has too offer, but those that are looking for a stylish slim device will have no problem in getting it for $360 USD. The candy-bar is available in black color and, starting from February 2008, in bronze. Design
Together with its namesake, Nokia 6500 slide, the candy-bar version is having a huge success on the market thanks to its blowing design. Slimness was not something that I would normally expect from a Nokia handset and that is the main advantage of 6500 classic. It takes you by surprise and will never let you go; it hooks your eyes and washes your brain, so that you will not want any other phone but this. This is one of the few candy-bar phones manufactured by Nokia that features the 'wow' factor. Both sides of the device are rounded, so obviously, it doesn't feature any external controls. The phone has been manufactured using two kinds of materials: aluminum and plastic. Sadly, the plastic part on the back of the phone looks a little bit cheap, but the metallic one looks great.
I have also noticed that the small display hasn't been covered by any protection glass, so it can be easily damaged. This is one of the few phones that I had to leave it with the foil on the screen, so it can have some protection. There's only one universal microUSB port placed on top of the phone that can be used for multiple purposes (charge, headset, USB cable). Above the small display there's the in-call speaker. Below, a gnomish keypad has been embedded, which is hard to use in case you have big thumbs. The keys are separated for each other by a thick silver plastic. If these were a little bit thinner, texting would've been easier. The big D-pad in the middle is made of cheap plastic and rounded by a thin silver frame.
Again, this is a little bit hard to use if you have bulky fingers, as you have to press on the thin silver frame to actually control the D-pad. The 2 Megapixel camera on the back of the handset is flanked by a flash on the left and the loudspeaker on the right. Most of the owners of the phone are complaining that the back cover is hard to pull out. It's true until you understand the method. To open the back cover, you need to hold the top end with one hand and the bottom with the other. Then gently pull apart. After repeating the process a few times, it will be pretty easy. What I found trickier is putting it back. Overall, Nokia 6500 classic looks and feels like a 'show-off' mobile phone that will not let you down if you want to impress someone with it. Display and Camera
There's no doubt that Nokia mobile displays are among the best and the 6500 classic proves it. The screen is simply amazing and its only drawback is the small size (only 2 inches).
The image quality makes Nokia's 6500 classic display one of the best on the market as it supports 16 Million colors and 240x320 pixels resolution.
The screen is visible in any light conditions, but cannot be set to higher or lower brightness. The only things customizable are the Sleep mode (which can make the screen go out completely) and the Power saver mode (On/Off). Included in the phone's firmware are some cool themes, as well as some animated screensavers that can change the look of the phone completely.
The 2 Megapixel camera is nowhere near average in quality. Only good light conditions offer a chance to the user to get mediocre snapshots. The level of noise is way over the top, especially on parts of images that lack any detail. As the phone doesn't feature autofocus ability, images of close objects will be blurred. Another annoying thing I have noticed is the low speed of the camera. It looks like this is one of the slowest module camera, as it takes forever to save a picture. Furthermore, the lack of a dedicated camera button makes the landscape mode almost unbearable to use.
The maximum resolution for camera is 1600x1200 pixels, while clips can be recorded by using a maximum resolution of 176x144 pixels. When using video camera full preview is available only in landscape mode. Movies can be recorded in QCIF standard and saved in 3GP file format. Settings for the camera are the usual for a standard S40 Edition mobile phone: White balance (Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Horizon), Effects (False colors, Greyscale, Sepia, Negative, Solarise). You can also mute the shutter sound or zoom in when taking a picture or shooting a clip. Overall, Nokia 6500 classic module camera is below average and cannot be compared with other devices in its range. Menu and Software
Nokia 6500 classic runs on a S40 5th Edition interface, which is the latest user-interface coming from Nokia. If you owned a Nokia handset before that didn't have a Symbian OS, then this candy-bar will probably feel the same. One of the most user-friendly interfaces on the market, the S40 seems unchanged on the surface and offers the Nokia 6500 classic user an excellent experience. Nothing has really changed and you'll notice the same menus, submenus and icons, even the same animation.
Nokia's Series 40 5th Edition UI enables users to experience streaming videos, image rendering, mobile 3D graphics and scalable 2D Vector graphics. The Series 40 5th Edition also supports the latest version of Adobe's Flash Lite 2.1, the interoperable platform that enables the accelerated development and delivery of rich graphical mobile content, and includes audio file playback and streaming capabilities that provide audio and music enhancements to both mobile gaming and multimedia experience.
The handset also includes some useful applications such as: Search, Alarm clock, Calendar, To-do list, Notes, Calculator, Countdown timer, World Clock and Stopwatch. The menu is fully customizable and you can designate any MP3, MIDI or AAC file as ringtone. Nokia's integrated browser didn't change also, but you might want to use Opera Mini for faster and smoother browsing.
The phonebook can store up to 1000 contacts; each one can be filled with up to five different phone numbers. The fonts can be customized, but only those that are showing when opening Contacts, Web browser and messaging sections.
There are also five Java games preinstalled: Sudoku, Snake III, Highroller Coast, Golf Tour and Backgammon. There is a limit to the size of any application that you might want to install on the phone and that's the usual 300KB. This might be the case for most of the Java compatible applications, but I have noticed that I could run some files that were around 700-800KB in size. Nevertheless, I couldn't install any application that surpassed 1 MB in size, so you might try it yourself. Communications
Nokia 6500 classic has been gifted with 3G technology for faster data transfer speed. Unfortunately, those that are expecting to get videocalls also will be disappointed, as the device lacks a secondary camera for this purpose. It could be a major drawback for some, but not an important inconvenience for others. Nokia 6500 classic characteristics sheet says that the device is fully compatible with GPRS Class 32 (53.6 kbps), EDGE Class 32 (296 / 177.6 kbits) and 3G (384 kbps), but as benchmarks revealed, the device attained below average scores in terms of data transfer speed (EDGE only 84 Kbit/s download and 56 Kbit/s, while 3G only 120 Kbit/s download and 41 Kbit/s).
The phone also features Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support for those that intend to use a wireless headset to listen to music. Synchronization with PC is possible through the proprietary microUSB port, but don't forget to install the software that comes with the phone before. I had some problems synchronizing contacts with an older firmware, but after upgrading to the latest version (v06.61), I didn't have any problems.
In terms of messaging, the phone accepts standard text messages, MMS (300 KB attachments), flash and sound messages, as well as emails. The message client works with POP3, SMTP, and IMAP4 protocols and supports more than one email accounts.
The quad-band (GSM 850 / GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900) network compatible candybar has a mediocre GSM signal reception. The UMTS signal reception is simply awful and I don't recommend accessing it unless you intend to use the phone to browse the Internet or make data transfers. The sound is above average in quality at both ends, and pretty loud, but only if you activate the Voice clarity setting. The vibration alert is somewhat mediocre in intensity and cannot be set to higher levels. Processor and Memory
Starting with this review, we will give up benchmarks like JBenchmark 1.0, 2.0, 3D and HD, as current devices over optimized against many of these old tests. We will be using JBenchmark Pro instead, which contains and overrides most of these tests. JBenchmark Pro also contains a lot of additional tests divided into groups, these tests form a group score and group scores forms the overall score which is much more balanced than previous benchmark results.
Nokia 6500 classic is powered by an ARM9 family processor running at speeds of up to 199 Mhz. This is pretty solid for a mid tier device like Nokia 6500 classic. I haven't experienced any lags when using Java applications.
The candybar embeds 1GB user free internal memory, which cannot be expanded as the phone lacks a microSD slot card. This may be a little annoying, but 1GB for a mid-level phone is pretty cool to have, especially if you won't be using it to store too many pictures, clips or music. Multimedia
The integrated MP3 player looks very cool and is compatible with MP3, MIDI, AAC, AAC+ and WMA formats. The included Stereo headset HS-82 enables users to take advantage of the average sound quality offered by the device. Don't expect too much from the headset or phone, as this is not a music device. The MP player's interface looks much the same as Nokia's 7500 Prism player. Nothing fancy and only few settings that can be used such as: Equalizer, Stereo widening, Shuffle and Repeat. Equalizer can be customized or you can use the predefined settings: Normal, Pop, Rock, Jazz and Classical.
Unfortunately, the multimedia experience is limited as the microUSB port doesn't let you use another set of headphones. Unless you find a suitable adapter, which is not that easy at all. Nokia 6500 classic features a loudspeaker on the back cover, right near the camera. Another option can be a Bluetooth headset, as the phone supports the A2DP profile. The sound is very loud, but lacks clarity. Videos can be played with the help of the integrated video player. This can also be used to watch movies in full screen. The only thing that is missing is the FM radio, which makes me believe that Nokia didn't intend to target music lovers with this handset in the first place.Battery
The 830 mAh Li-Ion (BL-6P) battery has an officially stated life expectancy of 300 hours in standby and about 5 hours and 30 minutes in talk time mode. What we got was 3 days of use: 40 minutes calls per day, 10 minutes Internet navigation everyday. First time I used the device my battery went from full to half-way depleted after only 45-50 minutes of calling in only 1 day. After updating to the last firmware, I didn't have any problems. Still, the battery heats the phone and after 10 minutes of talking, your ear will be burned. There's another serious issues that I have noticed. If you let the battery dry, immediately after putting it to charge, nothing will happen. Only after about 10-15 minutes, the phone will actually starts charging. Fortunately, this will only happen if you let the battery to fully deplete.Impressions
Nokia 6500 classic features one of the few designs that attracted me. The sleek, stylish, compact and solid look makes the candybar of the best choice for a mid tier mobile phone. Either you're a man or a woman, this device can make you stand out from the crowd. But for how long? Not being a Premium handset has its disadvantages and a low price will probably make the phone so wide spread that no one will want to own it. The Good
Nokia 6500 classic excels through its marvelous design and small sizes. This is a nearly perfect S40 5th Edition handset that will probably have a sequel pretty soon.
Unfortunately, there's nothing more to add to the positive aspects, as the features of the phone and below average performance in various tests make it just a simply mid-level device.The Bad
Before getting a Nokia 6500 classic, you should ask yourself what you truly expect from this device. If you are one of the people that prefer looks over functionality, then go ahead and buy the Nokia 6500 classic. Otherwise, you can get much better mobile phones for half the price of this handset. I believe it's a matter of taste. Nokia 6500 classic is not the worst phone on the market, but surely is not the best. The bad camera, the heating problem, low benchmark results and the high price make it a little bit hard to come by. Sales package
Nokia 6500 classic handset
Nokia Stereo Headset HS-82
Nokia Charger AC-6
Nokia Battery BL-6P
MicroUSB Connectivity Cable CA-101
CD-ROMPhoto: Tudor Raiciu for Softpedia.com