Nokia 6800 Review

Nokia 6800

“The Nokia 6800 is a workhorse of a phone, which savvy business travelers will fall in love with.”
  • Excellent keyboard implementation
  • solid and reliable reception
  • No Bluetooth
  • buggy e-mail software

Summary

The Nokia 6800 is a workhorse of a phone, which savvy business travelers will fall in love with. If you read a lot of cell phone reviews, you will find that Bluetooth connectivity is almost a must in most phones to get top praise, but we have to ask if it is really necessary. Sure we would like to have seen Bluetooth implementation in the Nokia 6800, but it is not a requirement. What is important is that the 6800 gets strong reception, is reliable when in use and offers a very clever and intuitive keyboard and feature list. Hopefully Nokia will offer a software update to fix the e-mail problems we encountered. In any case, you should put the Nokia 6800 at the top of your list if you are looking for a new phone as you will be very pleased with what it has to offer.

Introduction

With most wireless providers pushing text messaging and e-mail functionality in their mobile plans, there are many cell phones to choose from when considering your purchase.  Nokia has come up with an ingenious way to incorporate a hidden keyboard in their 6800 model, without contributing to the overall size of the phone. And while we love the implementation and ease of use associated with the keypad, unfortunately the software side of the phone could use some tweaking to help create a better overall experience.

Features and Design

So far there are a few different ways to send text messages and e-mail using current mobile phones or PDA hybrids. We have seen phones with hand writing technology, integrated QWERTY keyboards, and phones where you have to use the number keypad to enter text. While a PDA/phone hybrid might be best for those business users that constantly need to keep connected to their calendar and e-mail, the units themselves are typically larger than today’s standard cell phone. The Nokia 6800 is a good compromise if you want the most basic office and calendar features found in a PDA or laptop without carrying around multiple devices. The Nokia 6800 is considerably smaller than the Handspring Treo 300 and T-Mobile Sidekick cell phones, but larger than the Sony Ericsson T68i or Siemens S55 mobile phones.

The Nokia 6800 features a reflective STN screen with a resolution of 128×128 pixels and can display up to 4096 colors (12-bit display).  Where areas the Nokia 5100 has a rugged outdoors looks to it, the 6800 has a very tenacious appearance to it that tech savvy users will find appealing. Navigation is controlled using the integrated joystick and 4 accompanying buttons located on either side.  The 6800 features e-mail support with either POP3, IMAP or mMode mailbox options, PC Synchronization, Java support, an integrated FM Radio tuner, speakerphone, polyphonic ring tones and more.  There is even the ability to record up to 3 minutes of calls or voice memos, but because there is no memory card slot on the phone you can quickly fill the phones memory. The Nokia 6800 operates on the GSM 850/1900 network. 

Performance and use

The integrated keyboard swings open and sturdily snaps into place when in use and the hinges are very strong with no inclination of wearing out. Once the keypad is locked into place the screen rotates 90 degrees counterclockwise from a vertical to horizontal view.

The QWERTY keyboard is incredibly easy to type on; the keys have considerable travel and there is a split space bar key which is easy to find. In the dark, the 52 key QWERTY keyboard is easy to see for those with sharp eyes and gives off a blue backlit luminescence. With the notepad program, the keyboard comes in handy when you want to jot down a quick note or e-mail message. It might take you a while to get use to the split keyboard, but we would prefer this over hand writing recognition software any day.

Our previous favorite phone in regards to features was the Sony Ericsson T68i because it has Bluetooth connectivity and a sweet PC Synchronization package, so we were anxious to try this out on the Nokia 6800. If you prefer to use your infrared port to transfer data between the 6800 and your PC, all you need to do to get running is download Nokia’s free 25MB PC Suite. If you do not have infrared capabilities on your PC you will have to purchase a data cable from Nokia. Unfortunately Mac users are left out in the cold once again as there is no Mac synchronization support with the 6800. Synchronizing your calendar, to-do-list and inbox is very easy to do using Nokia’s software. Nokia’s PC Suite is required if you want to transfer JPG pictures or midi files between your PC and the 6800.

The menu system on the 6800 is very fast and intuitive when compared to the Sony Ericsson T68i. We have found that a lot of phones create a sort of lag as more data is stored in its memory. We did not find that this was the case with the 6800. The screen is very bright and easy to look at in both light and dark environments. In bright sunlight, it is hard to distinguish colors on the display but the characters and icons were still easy to see nonetheless.

Performance and Use Continued…

If you are looking for fun and games, the Nokia 6800 is not for you. There are only 2 games that come preinstalled on the phone and a handful of themes to choose from. Fortunately, there are several polyphonic ring tones available, as well as an integrated FM tuner. The FM tuner works very well and the signal reception is good, but you are forced to use the Nokia headset to listen to it.  One thing we found weird was that the headset was required to listen to the FM tuner, whether you were listening through the speakerphone or through the headset.  You could not just playback through the speakerphone without the headset plugged in.

E-mail functionality on the 6800 was a little on the poor side. Message retrieval was slow overall and we found that the phone was not capable of downloading more than 10 e-mails at a time before disconnecting from the system. And as with other cell phones you cannot talk on the phone and browse your e-mail or WAP sites at the same time.

Signal reception with the Nokia 6800 is nothing short of magnificent, at least in the Portland, Oregon area. Even in houses or building with thick walls, the 6800 was able to get a solid signal and we encountered no dropped calls. Clarity on the other hand could have been improved. One thing we liked about the Sony Ericsson T68i was how clear the calls sounded on both ends. In contrast the Nokia 6800 often sounded like it was on a TDMA network as there was a faint hiss present on most calls and at high volumes. Overall, the reception and clarity are well above average.

The Nokia 6800 comes with a huge 1000mAh battery that Nokia claims is capable of 4.5 hours of talk time and 10 hours of standby.  In our tests, we were able to squeeze out just under 4 hours of talk time and 9 hours of standby time; a very impressive performance.

Conclusion

The Nokia 6800 is a workhorse of a phone, which savvy business travelers will fall in love with. If you read a lot of cell phone reviews, you will find that Bluetooth connectivity is almost a must in most phones to get top praise, but we have to ask if it is really necessary. Sure we would like to have seen Bluetooth implementation in the Nokia 6800, but it is not a requirement. What is important is that the 6800 gets strong reception, is reliable when in use and offers a very clever and intuitive keyboard and feature list. Hopefully Nokia will offer a software update to fix the e-mail problems we encountered. In any case, you should put the Nokia 6800 at the top of your list if you are looking for a new phone as you will be very pleased with what it has to offer.

Editors' Recommendations