The Nokia C6-01 is the second of the two Nokia C6 phones that’ve been released this year (the other was the Nokia C6-00). This one comes with an 8-megapixel camera, dual LED flash, and runs on the more recent Symbian^3 operating system.
What we like
The Nokia C6-01 comes with that durable, reliable feel that only Nokia phones can exude. The phone is covered in a matt metal jacket and the battery cover is a single piece of metal that gracefully slides off and clicks back into place. The volume rocker, unlocker and camera shutter key on the right hand side perform their respective functions well and feel like they’re built to last.
There’s three homescreens which can be customised with a variety of widgets and app shortcuts. This means you can have quick access to the features you use the most without having to dive in and out of millions of menus.
The screen itself is a 3.2-inch AMOLED; pictures, menus, homescreens and webpages all look crisp, hi-res and vibrant. It features Nokia's ClearBlack Technology which apparently makes for greater visibility in direct sunlight. It being gloomy and wintery at the moment made it difficult for us to test this out. But it's safe to say that the Nokia C6-01's display is very easy on the eyes indeed.
Wi-Fi and 3G is supported, which makes checking Facebook and Twitter and downloading apps from the Ovi Store (Nokia’s app store) a speedy affair. Ovi Maps comes installed which allows you to pinpoint your location using the phone’s GPS as well as get directions. We were pleased to see this particular app working well even in low signal areas.
Other basic utility apps like a File Manager, Voice recorder, QuickOffice (which lets you view Office 2007 documents) come included. There’s an amusing message reader app too, which dictates texts and emails in your inbox back at you in a computerised voice which reminded us of the Xtranormal bears.
The 8-megapixel camera is really worth writing home about. We were really impressed with the quality of both the pictures and the videos we took. You get a range of useful settings and features like the grid, which helps you to line pictures up, white balance, contrast, and face detection. There’s 9 levels of exposure and some fun effects like sepia, black and white and a ‘vivid’ option which saturates colours.
What we don’t like
Our main gripes with the Nokia C6-01 correlate with problems we’ve had with other recent Nokia phones. The build quality of the Nokia C6-01 itself is great. It feels solid, reliable and is nice looking. But the reverse is true of the software; it’s often slow to respond to commands, slow to load menus and both looks and feels really clunky.
There’s often a real noticeable lag between you pressing a menu option or on screen shortcut and the phone actually processing your command. This lag can occasionally lead to things such as typos and you opening a different menu or app by accident. We also noticed that when panning between the three homescreens, app icons wouldn’t always display immediately; sometimes they'd pop into existence a few seconds later. This looks messy.
Simple things like replying to a text message feel needlessly complicated. When a message from someone arrives in your inbox, you have to go to Options, choose ‘Reply’, then choose the ‘Via Message’ option before you start start composing a reply. Something simple like just having a single ‘Reply’ button instead of having to go through three different menus would cut corners and save time.
We’re not enamoured with the default virtual keypad. It uses a an old-school numeric pad-style interface when the Nokia C6-01 is held in portrait mode. T9-style predictive texting makes sense on a phone with a physical numeric pad but not on a touchscreen display, where there's room for a Qwerty-style interface. Perhaps it would have been better if there was a choice between this and a more modern Qwerty layout.
Hoping for a solution, we downloaded Swype from the Ovi Store. After we’d installed it we had to reboot the C6-01 before we could start using it. And after all that fuss we found that Swype only works in landscape mode on the C6-01. It seems like Nokia don’t want people to use Qwerty keypads when holding their phones in portrait.
It took us a good twenty minutes to log in to the Ovi Store, even over a strong Wi-Fi connection. Bear in mind that most of those twenty minutes were spent staring at a loading animation waiting for something to happen.
The Nokia C6-01 is a solid-looking phone with a good camera that has an exhaustive range of settings. However we feel that, as with the Nokia N8, good hardware is let down by unresponsive software and slow loading times.