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Nokia’s 6600, the company’s third Symbian smartphone, is based on the Series 60 platform. It succeeds the 3650 with its quirky circular keypad, which in turn replaced the 7650 -- Nokia’s first camera phone.
First impressions of the tri-band, GPRS/HSCSD-compliant Nokia 6600 are of a wide-bodied, two-tone handset that thankfully dispenses with the circular keypad seen in the 3650. At 58.2mm, the 6600 is 9.5mm wider than Orange’s SPV E200 Microsoft smartphone and also 1.2mm wider than the Symbian-based P900. Nevertheless, the 6600 weighs in at a manageable 122g. The blue backlit keypad still has some idiosyncrasies that take a bit of getting used to: for example, you can end up playing ‘hunt the power button’ if you miss its position in a thin black rubber strip along the top. Another design peculiarity is the menu key’s placement on the left-hand side beneath the green call key -- you would expect such a commonly used key to be placed centrally. Even odder is the positioning of the two soft keys: these are usually placed directly beneath the screen, but on the 6600 they have been lowered so that you find yourself ineffectually pressing the blank border under the screen where you expect the soft keys to be. The five-way joystick works well enough, although it has a stiff action. Top marks go to the 6600’s large, bright 2.1in. TFT display, which delivers 176 by 208 pixels and 65,536 colours. If you are ‘inactive’ for 10 seconds, the screen goes dark to preserve battery power. Themes play a big role in the 6600’s display, and Nokia now offers a 22.6MB download that allows you edit and create your own themes with the Series 60 Theme Studio. For anyone with the time or inclination to create personalised mobile graphic interfaces, this is an ideal opportunity. The 88-page PDF guide will help.
The back of the 6600 is home to a VGA-resolution camera with a 2X digital zoom, plus night mode and time delay settings. In video mode you get about nine seconds of recording, with audio and zoom options. An embedded RealOne Player provides video streaming and playback. In the settings panel you can specify whether to save the camera’s output to the phone’s 6MB of internal memory or to the removable 32MB MMC card supplied. To play video clips on your desktop or notebook PC, you need to install the bundled PC Suite application and connect the 6600 via Bluetooth. PC Suite backs up your contacts and calendar, as well as synchronising and transferring files. Also bundled is the Nokia Multimedia Player that plays .3gp video files from the 6600 on the desktop. Although the Nokia 6600 is described as a smartphone for business users, both Word and Excel are lacking as standard features. However, PowerPoint can be remotely controlled via Bluetooth using Nokia Wireless Presenter on the 6600 -- after you’ve paid 39 euros for the software download. Nokia Wireless Presenter lets you browse slides, read speaker notes and manage PowerPoint presentations wirelessly. Other business benefits are that the xHTML browser supports secure email access via 128-bit SSL encryption and a mobile VPN, using permanent TCP/IP currently on O2 and Vodafone networks. A Nokia wallet application stores encrypted personal information. You can record calls or make voice recordings; another nice touch is that when you set the alarm, a message appears stating the length of time remaining before it goes off. You get a full version of the Opera 6.1 microbrowser, which uses Small-Screen Rendering (SSR) technology to reformat Web sites to fit on diminutive phone screens. You can’t use a WAP gateway as your Internet access point with the Opera browser; instead, you’ll need to specify an 0845 ISP and your password. A ‘Try & Buy’ folder has nine third-party programs that give you three tryouts each. Included is Wayfinder Mobile Navigator, Photographer, video utilities, a Word converter, a multi-lingual text translator, plus a Zip file compression program. It’s a shame that these mostly useful programs come at an additional cost. Other items of interest in the menu are a Bluetooth print program and support for Java MIDP 2.0 downloads. According to Nokia, the only printer currently compatible with the Nokia 6600 is the HP Deskjet 450wbt, which uses the BPP protocol (Basic Print Profile). The Nokia 6600 is available on O2, Orange and Vodafone networks at prices ranging from free to around £480 (inc. VAT), depending on your chosen tariff. If you require a tri-band GPRS Bluetooth phone with a bright screen, versatile camera, removable memory, and calendar and contact syncing with your desktop, then the Nokia 6600 is definitely worth considering. Good points also include eight Bluetooth profiles that work faultlessly, video clips with sound, and support for the Opera browser. The downside is the lack of USB connectivity and desktop email syncing, and having the MMC card located underneath the battery.