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Nokia 6131 review

Nokia 6131 review
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Retail Price: RM 770
AP Price: N/A
Nokia 6131 comes with a brilliant 16.7 million "true color" main display and 262,144 color outer display, 1.3 megapixel camera, MP3 player and FM radio
Review On : Nokia 6131
Reviewed by JP Mobility
By the time I got halfway, I was tired of doing this review. I stopped using the phone as in the end, no matter how much of a punch this phone packed, it just couldn't replace my w810i.....the phone that has single-handedly become my MP3 player for the GO Train trips, my Camera w/macro mode for those snap and send moments or the fun factor with interesting themes and games.

I will put a lot of comparisons because that helps put things in a relative perspective. The unit I have is made in Hungary.
Nokia 6131
v 03.50

No problems noticed so far. One thing I can comment on is that this phone doesn't drop calls on the GO train ride from Union to Mississauga as my w810i has. In fact, for a 30 second period around Mimico GO Station, while the Rogers branded w810i was not getting ANY reception, my 6131 and Blackberry 8700r were both able to make and receive calls (to each other albeit). All 3 phones were within a 1 meter radius.
Speakers (Sound Quality)
The Ear Speaker is louder and clearer than a Nokia 6682 (which is loud and clear). It is comparable to an unbranded Sony Ericsson w810i. Calls are clear and crisp. One weird thing is that the phone made a hiss noise in an 850mhz only zone for 2 out of 4 outbound calls. (Hartom can attest to this as Carsmovies, Hartom and I were trying the phone out in Carsmovies basement.....1900mhz-only phones don't work down there)
I haven't noticed the hiss since, during regular usage. It's a subtle hiss though, not as audible as the 3120b or 3220b.
The Loudspeaker is extremely loud and clear. The Mic is very receptive and clear. When the loudspeaker is activated, callers can hear you fine even though you may be several feet away.
At first, after touching the phone for like 30 seconds, I had maintained to Hartom and Carsmovies that the 6170 had a better keypad. After using the phone for a few days, I have to concede that the 6131 has the best keypad I've ever used. Text messaging without looking is so easy it's not even funny.
The buttons recede about half a millimeter or so and while make a nice click you feel, make virtually no audible sound. The w810i makes a slightly louder click.

The side buttons are well recessed and very accessible. Motorola can take a tip from Nokia on this one. The buttons wont be pushed accidentally while you're holding the unit as they are flush with the phone's frame. However, unlike a w810i, which has braille-like dots to identify it's side keys, you wont be able to find these buttons while the phone is in your pocket.
Battery Life
Unfortunately, battery life will not survive a day of use. The phone must be charged every day (if you use the phone daily). I recommend getting a car charger and/or an extra battery for this unit. The BL-5C will not fit into this and I can't be bothered to chip and chisel off pieces of a battery just to force a fit. I don't even think the back cover will slide over a modified BL-5C anyways. The battery will fully charge from empty to full in less than 2 hours.

Ergonomics (The Feel)
This phone is fun to hold. It's comfortable, ergonomic, lightweight, and compact in the hand and against the ear. The back can get a little hot though during a long conversation. The flip hinge can extend back a little if you press the phone to your head.
I wish I had a razr to compare it with but I don't so too bad....The RAZR is a little thinner though. This phone is about as thick as a w810i when closed.
Display Screens
Both display on the Nokia 6131 is phenomenal. They're definitely one of the best in terms of phones with 850mhz. The quality of the Internal display is laptop-like with 16 million colours packed in the internal display. Images are sharp and well defined on it as it make photographs look like photographs. I've never been so impressed. The external display boasts 262K colours but isn't as bright as it could be. I wish you could adjust the brightness here as it's a nice display as well. The display is as bright as the w810i but much sharper. The difference is crystal clear in this comparison.

Camera Quality
I'm not impressed with the camera here. There is no flash, pictures are grainy indoors and pictures always darker than reality. The camera is set to the finest quality and all appropriate settings are on. Night mode should be renamed "Indoor mode" as you almost always need it to capture a clear image when indoors. Coming from a 2 megapixel w810i or even a 1 megapixel 6682, this camera just doesn't make the cut.
Here is a pic of an overcast day outdoors.

Here are some comparison shots of the same object. All cameras were set to the finest/highest quality, set to automatic lighting mode (if applicable) and taken from the same distance indoors under an incandescant office lamp:
Nokia 6131 (1.3 Megapixel)
Nokia 6682 (1.23mp)
Motorola v635 (1.23mp)
Sony Ericsson w810i (2.0mp)

(I don't even know why there's a black bar on the side in the 6131 shot) You can draw your own Conclusions.
Ringtones, MP3s & Music Player Applications
The Loudspeaker is extremely loud on this phone and plays back ringtones, voice and music very well. It's about as loud as the w600i believe it or not.
Music through the headphones sounds clear. I have no complaints here. Unfortunately there's no "MEGA BASS" option on this phone so I can't go crazy with DJ headphones or anything.
While it has expandable memory the ability to playback MP3's, I would not consider this to be a MP3 phone. The music player application is not very efficient when it comes to sorting music and playlists.

There is no option to sort by ID3 tag (ie. Genre, Artist, Album, etc). In fact, the only time ID3 tags are used is to show the name and artist. I'll have to do a Series 40, version 3 review for a more thorough description of the Music Player
Sony Ericsson, and even Motorola has a far better MP3 Player application with more options, an easier interface and dedicated music keys (Featured in phones from the "Walkman" portfolio)
The 6131 however, plays through your Bluetooth headset, unlike Motorola and Sony Ericsson...
This phone is loaded with fast Bluetooth, IrDA (Infrared), EDGE and USB cable connectivity. It also uses Micro SD cards (aka. TransFlash) that, coupled with an adaptor, is cross-compatible with tons of electronic products from most popular brand names. Huge plus here.
The Micro SD is hot-swappable which means you can insert it or remove it while the phone is on. If you save your wallpapers on your memory card, you'll lose it if you remove the memory card and have to manually reset it once you put the card back in.

I find the 512mb card slows down the phone's Performance. The unit has already reset twice while I was playing music and using the phone's menus. Looking through your picture gallery can also be a frustrating experience with a 512mb card in...
Bluetooth transfer is fast and works well. It automatically connects to Nokia's PC Suite when in range but this is ok as it'll stay connected to your headset as well if it's on or you turn it on. I believe that's one advantage of Bluetooth 2.0.
Other features like Organizer, PhoneBook, Active Standby, Menu & Interface customization can be found in my Series 40, version III review here:
For the v03.50 firmware that I have, here are some issues that I've noticed during my use with the phone:
  • phone has reset a couple times while listening to music and operating the phone's menus. It happened twice to me while listening to MP3s, once I tried to open a pic and the 2nd time I tried to open an SMS from my inbox. The phone starts up very quick so it isn't as bad as restarting on a 6682 or other Symbian models.
  • just discovered that black bar on my picture above of the Gummies. No idea how that got there and it didn't happen with any of my other phones
  • everytime you type 'it's' or 'what's', the T9 defaults to capitalizing the first letter so that it's like 'It's'. this is annoying and shouldn't override the previous capitalization precursor on the phone. I don't think you can save this into the T9 dictionary either since you can't save punctuation, numbers or spaces in a word...
  • the picture caller ID feature, while improved over previous Nokias, is still lacking. the picture will appear as a thumbnail when you're dialing out but as an almost full-sized image when receiving a call. The full-sized image seems to be magnified version of the thumbnail so the picture is so blurry, it's not even worth looking at.
  • unlike other phones, if your wallpaper(s) is saved on the memory card, you will lose your wallpaper when you take the card out. you'll have to reset your wallpapers when you re-insert your memory card
    If you're looking for an excellent quality phone with high-end features, don't care about the camera, and are well-equipped with extra chargers & batteries for the home, office and/or car then this is for you. This phone, it's opening mechanism and screen quality is a refreshing change for Nokia. It's too bad it's lacking in the music playback and imaging departments.....
    If you care about MP3's, look at Sony Ericsson's new lineup.
    If you're interested in camera quality, look at Nokia's Carl Zeiss Optical cameras (N90, N93, etc) or Sony Ericsson's w810i or k790i/K800i.

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