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A LOT of mobile phone manufacturers today try to strike a balance between style and usability in their designs. Some succeed while others are a bit off the mark.
Nokia, which has had its fair share of hits and misses, once again steps up to the plate – this time its offering is the 6170 clamshell.
This midrange model has a polished stainless steel body that looks not just stylish, but tough as well.
The fold mechanism is not as flimsy as those found on some competing phones. In fact, the small hinge closes and opens with a resoundingly firm click.
The look and feel of the phone got the attention of family and friends when I showed it to them.
Smooth as steel
Everyone who had a good look at the 6170 liked its full metal build, inside and outside.
On the outside, there is the external LCD (liquid-crystal display) and a VGA camera which is recessed and shielded by a protective Plexiglas-like material.
Inside, there is the main LCD screen and a flat metallic keypad embedded into the bottom half of the clamshell. The result is an inside surface that feels as smooth as it looks.
There are also shortcut buttons on the left (volume control) and right (on/off and Push-to-Talk over Cellular or PoC) of the bottom half of the phone. These are also embedded to give the phone a smooth feel.
A nice striking contrast to all that stainless steel is the black plastic material that frames the internal LCD as well as the keypad.
As nice and classy as it looks, the polished steel does pose one problem – after a while of handling the phone, you will notice oil smudges from your hands on the surface.
Be prepared to spend a bit of time wiping the smudges off.
As expected of any newly-released phone, there are a great number of features. However, noticeably missing are an MP3 player and Bluetooth connectivity. At this price, you would expect the phone to have an MP3 player, at least. But then again, you would not be able to store many songs on the measly 2MB memory.
The VGA camera snaps clear images up close, but at a distance, the 0.3-megapixel lens captured blurry photos with a bit of noise.
Video recording quality is above average with refresh rates being near real-time with no lags in audio/video during recording or playback.
Sound-wise, the 6170 offers good performance. Voices were crisp and clear over the handset speaker as well as the built-in loudspeaker when the speakerphone was enabled.
It was no problem hearing the phone ring even in crowded and noisy areas like on the LRT (light-rail transit). Ringtones were clearly audible and helped ensure I didn’t miss any important calls or messages.
Considering I’ve never had a Nokia phone before, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was easy to use. The five-way navigation pad gets a thumbs-up from me for easy access to frequently-used applications.
I found the navigation pad and keypad easy to use with sufficient tactile feedback. As a heavy SMS user, I have encountered problems in the past with tactile feedback on other phones. No such problems here.
Battery life was average. The phone managed to last for two days before I had to recharge it.
Overall, the Nokia 6170 manages to strike a balance between style and usability.
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batman05Posted On : December 12, 2010
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