Telstra recently picked the Nokia 6820 handset for the integration of its BlackBerry solution or "always on" access to e-mails when in a Telstra GSM coverage area. Recent studies have also shown that full or QWERTY keyboards are the most popular input mechanism for text -- preferred by 53 percent of users.
Although the 6820 is 22 grams lighter than 6800's 122g, it shares the same average 4,096 colour screen and 128x128 pixels, which Nokia has strangely not done anything to improve.
The phone has a solid feel to it and Nokia was definitely successful in integrating the QWERTY keypad in the design with the movable pieces fitting firmly into place. Once you spread the keypad open, the screen immediately rotates 90o to accomodate the keyboard's horizontal positioning.
Let's discuss the QWERTY keypad further, which is pretty much the fancy feature for this phone. It is relatively easy to type given that the buttons are small and very close to each other. But if you are not used to typing with two hands or fingers, it will get very confusing. You might find yourself needing to look at each side of the keypad just to make sure you are pushing the right key.
The space bar has been separated, with one on each side. However, the right hand space bar is next to the 'Close' button and, well, accidents can happen. Sometimes, you might end up closing the message instead of pressing space which is very annoying but, hey, we warned you. Keep an eye on what buttons you are pressing.
This design makes it easier to type punctuations and comes with a little light bulb button at the side for lighting up the keypad.
The normal keypad is easy to use and the joystick responds to all four directions and reacts to pressing. The joystick looks pretty cool as well especially with the white backlight. The size doesn't get in the way but it still has its quirks. The user has to be very accurate when trying to push it down since it sometimes goes in another direction instead (very annoying indeed).
In order to test Telstra's BlackBerry solution, our Nokia 6820 model came with a Telstra SIM card for full e-mail capability, SMS and WAP browsing. However, since the GSM voice was disabled, we had to place another SIM in to test out its call quality.
A warning came in with the phone saying the hosted Exchange and BlackBerry server are "not guaranteed to be available at all times" so users have to check the icon on the phone for availability.
We tested it using several e-mail addresses and the device was able to send and receive e-mails almost instantly (even from a phone in Tokyo, Japan). Attachments, however, are not possible.
Nokia 6820 is also a video-capable phone but the 128x96 video clip is not really ideal for anything. It's hard to recognize the people in the video plus the sound is not good, to put it mildly.
Reception and voice quality were not an issue with the 6820, but the battery life was a bit average and didn't last very long (just three days max).
The 6820 has the basic Nokia menu but contacts in the phonebook can now have images attached to them among other details like e-mail address, Web address, Postal address and more, plus a place for 1,000 of your friends, family and harem (if you know that many people). There is enough space for this especially with the 3.5MB internal shared memory for contacts, text messages, multimedia messages, ring tones, images, video clips, calendar notes, to-do list, and applications.
There is nothing special about the camera. It has the same standard photo, portrait photo and night mode options and the same average outcome, so nothing new there.
The only reason someone would want this model is if he/she is interested in the BlackBerry solution or really bad at typing mobile phone messages without a QWERTY keypad. It's a good model, no question about that but it's not for everyone. The Nokia 6820 will have its own niche in the Australian market. But if Vodafone and Optus take up BlackBerry solution with other mobile handsets, the 6820 might find itself facing tough competition.
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