The Nokia C6 promises to bring the Nseries experience of the N97 and N97 duo down market, but in order to do so and still shave a big sum off the asking price, some changes have had to be made. Are they smart moves or Chamberlain worthy compromises? Read on and find out in the keyboard and screen section of our Nokia C6 review.
At a glance, Nokia’s made the right moves to get the price down with the Nokia C6. Though it doesn’t have the 8GB of internal storage of the N97 Mini, the microSD slot means you can slap in up to 32GB with a memory card instead, so you won’t miss it. It’s hot swappable too, so you can chop and change without a hard reset. And keeping all the connectivity bobbins (Your 3G, your Wi-Fi for hotspot cruising, your GPS) while cutting back on the posh finish with a plain black plastic jobbie is a smart move if you value function over form.
Use the Nokia C6 for any length of time though, and you begin to notice that the Finns have made a few unfortunate, and even unnecessary mistakes, beyond the Symbian S60 software installed on the handset.
While we quite like the front face of the Nokia C6 when it’s shut – it’s smooth and unassuming with a front facing camera quietly tucked away in the top right hand corner – the screen is lackluster. It’s a reasonably sharp 3.2-inch 640×360 pixel panel, but being resistive (A technology which responds better to small points of pressure than wider ones, like fingertips) rather than capacitive, doesn’t bring many real advantages over, er, not being a touchscreen.
While most of the icons in Symbian S60 are big enough to pop with a finger prod on the Nokia C6, buttons, tabs and links on websites are not. And since there’s no multitouch support for fast zooming, it doesn’t bring any real benefits over a non-touchscreen and a trackpad or a D-pad – unless you watch a lot of videos, which look pleasant enough and play back smoothly.
The keyboard of course ought to rectify this. It’s a full QWERTY number and pops out with a satisfying slide that locks firmly into place, and feels sturdy enough to last the course of even a two year contract, knocks and all.
The problem is that though we actually prefer this type of pop out keyboard, Nokia’s sullied it with poor key layout on the Nokia C6. While it’s a four line effort, unlike the cramped N97 QWERTY, with nicely raised tops, it’s still wonky, with the space bar set off to the right, and a bizarre line down the middle separating the columns just for the sake of asymmetry. And more irritatingly, the top row of buttons is set too close to where the screen comes to a halt. Even those with dainty paws will find the screen blocks your thumbs at hitting the top row of keys.
Then there’s the creaking back panel on the Nokia C6, which rattles around loosely and uses a strange, inverse pull down peg to keep it in place – once you tug it down, it’s actually almost impossible to take off with the same hand, so you get yourself in a twist crossing over yourself.
Most unforgivable however, is the retention of Nokia’s proprietary charging hole, when there’s a micro USB port on the Nokia C6 too (Micro USB ports are used to charge most new phones today). It jars with Nokia’s commitment to universal chargers, wastes space on the phone, and may mean you have to buy extra chargers and leads to top the Nokia C6 at work or wherever.
All in all, the Nokia C6 is an unsatisfactory addition to the company’s mid-range line up – but then it’s easy to argue that with Symbian S60 5th edition on board, it was doomed from the start.