Nokia 6500 slide Mobile Phone - Review

Nokia 6500 slide Mobile Phone - Review

Nokia 6500 slide Mobile Phone - ReviewToward the end of May 2007, Nokia launched two 6500 handsets: 6500 classic and 6500 slide which we're reviewing. At a glance, it may seem like they are replacements for the popular 6300 and 6288. The 6500 classic retains that familiar slim and eye-catching candy-bar form factor of the 6300, while the 6500 slide has a more futuristic look with its stainless steel body and clean outline compared with the 6288.

The 6288 was a very popular handset and it has been on our top 10 charts for many months. With the arrival of the 6500 slide, it seems the latter is positioned as the flagship model for the Finnish company. The new slider brings with it not just the latest Series 40 5th Edition with Feature Pack 1, but also a decent Carl Zeiss camera, superb build quality and cutting-edge design.

Design of the Nokia 6500 slide Mobile Phone

There's nothing we don't like about the design and build quality of the 6500 slide. In fact, this Nokia is one of the best sliders we've handled so far. Stainless steel wraps around most of the 6500 slide and even the battery cover and soft touch keys are crafted from the same material. There are still parts that are plastic, though, such as the bottom edge where the phone's antenna is and the top end that caps the handset.

Nokia 6500 slide Mobile Phone - Front & Side (Slider Open)The 6500 slide is a very solid device. Pick it up and you'll feel the substantial weight with an assuring metallic feel, but not to the point of being too heavy. A two-way spring-loaded mechanism completes the sliding of the handset, while a thin rubber strip below the 2.2-inch LCD screen adds more traction for the thumb.

There are no signs of any loose parts on the device. It slides with ease and what's not supposed to budge stays absolutely still. Both the control keys and alphanumeric keypad are well-spaced, reasonably large and provide excellent tactile feedback. Frankly, there's really nothing to complain about here.

Nokia 6500 slide Mobile Phone - Back CameraAt the top, you'll find a micro-USB port, 2.5mm audio connector, charging port and a release catch for the battery cover. With the micro-USB port, this means the mini-USB cable you've been using to sync with all your various devices is rendered obsolete with the 6500 handsets. The microSD expansion card slot hides underneath the battery cover, but fortunately there's no need to remove the battery to swap cards.

Features of the Nokia 6500 slide Mobile Phone

Although the 6500 runs on the 5th Edition of the S40 platform with Feature Pack 1, there isn't a huge leap in terms of the features offered. The platform still doesn't allow for multitasking of Java applications. You'll have to exit one in order to open another. Currently, devices on the same platform include the 6500 classic, 7900 Prism, 5310 XpressMusic and 5610 XpressMusic.

Other changes introduced include the unified message editor and multimedia player. Attaching pictures, calendar entries or music are all done within the message editor and the system will recognize it as a text or a multimedia message. The home screen also went through some minor interface upgrades. Now there are more shortcuts displayed, although there's still an option to disable these for a "cleaner" screen.

What baffled us was the music player which is also a video player. Nokia could have called it a multimedia player for obvious reasons. The music player is still pretty much the standard app available. Playback options include shuffling or repeating tracks, stereo widening and customizing the equalizer (Normal, Pop, Rock, Jazz and Classical). It is also possible to change the player's skin independent of the phone's theme and songs are sorted by artists, albums, genres and playlists. There's also an FM radio with RDS, though it requires the user to plug in a headset which acts as an aerial.

Traditionally, the Nseries lineup gets the "preferential" treatment when it comes to camera modules, so it is surprising that Nokia has decided to use Carl Zeiss optics on the basic 6500 slide. Maximum camera resolution is 2,048 x 1,536 pixels for still images (3.2 megapixels) and 640 x 480 pixels for videos. In use, it was a little awkward zooming using the volume keys. While the 6500 slide is still a decent camera-phone overall complete with autofocus (AF doesn't work when in video mode) and LED flashlight, it still doesn't quite match up to the Sony Ericsson Cyber-shots with their array of dedicated camera function keys. An example is the recent K770i with eight buttons for quick changing of various camera-related settings.

One of the things missing on the 6500 slide is the backlight adjustment feature. Instead, this is left to the ambient light sensor found above the phone's LCD, sharing the same space as the front-facing camera. Although this wasn't a problem when we were using the phone indoors, outdoors it was a different story. The screen was washed-out slightly under the afternoon sun and, without the option to increase the brightness level, we had to resort to using our hands to shade the LCD from the light.

Another peeve we had with the phone was that it doesn't auto keylock after closing the slider, which was the same situation we experienced with the Series60 E65. While that wan't a big issue since we could set the phone to lock automatically after 5 seconds, it just irked us somehow.

In terms of connectivity, the 6500 slide is rather well-equipped with a quadband GSM/EDGE radio, dual-band UMTS, Bluetooth with A2DP support and TV-out option (cables are supplied with the commercial unit). What would have been a great complement to this Nokia is WLAN connectivity.

Performance of the Nokia 6500 slide Mobile Phone

The 6500 slide uses a 900mAh Lithium-ion cell which is rated for up to 13 days on standby and talktime of 6 hours. With average use of sending text messages, making calls and listening to music, our review unit kept us entertained for slightly over two days which was within our expectations.

Picture quality was decent overall, though the camera tended to expose for the highlights resulting in blown-out images. Shutter lag was about 0.6 seconds from the time we hit the shutter till the picture was recorded. The AF mechanism is disabled in video mode, so there's a higher chance you end up with blurry videos if you use the digital zoom a lot. It could be just our unit, but the camera makes a "click click click" sound after an image is recorded. We suspect it's due to some moving internal parts and we're still waiting for Nokia to get back regarding this issue.

Call audio quality was acceptable when handholding the unit, as well as on speakerphone. Because the onboard speakers are on the back, placing the unit on its back had a tendency to muffle sounds a little. We found opening the phone's menu and programs sluggish even though it wasn't a major cause of alarm. What concerned us was the lag between sliding up the handset to answer a call and the time the call was put through.