When Nokia’s 6110 Navigator slider arrived this time last year, it kept very exclusive company. With only the Nokia N95 and a handful of Windows Mobile smartphones packing built-in GPS, it proved a leading contender.
Now with practically every Nseries and Eseries phone and rival flagship devices arriving with onboard navigation as standard, its successor, the 6210, faces far stiffer competition.
Apart from a design overhaul, the most noticeable upgrade is the sat-nav software and maps. The 6110 hit the road with the accomplished Route 66 set-up but Nokia has plied this follow-up with its own equally skilful Maps 2.0. The camera has also been hiked to 3.2megapixels and video recording to VGA resolution at 15fps, while the display is a tad larger at 2.4-inches.
The streamlined 6210 definitely looks better for its design revamp. It’s trimmer and lighter than its more prosaic predecessor but its glossy noir façade does feel overly plastic. For a close comparison, think the 6120 Classic but in slider form.
A blue cross adorning the front controls is the only clue to its sat nav ambitions (well, that and the Navigator badge) and this dedicated key fires up the software and flashes until a satellite signal is successfully located. With the help of A-GPS and an HSDPA data connection, the 6210 took an amazing 10 to 20 seconds to sniff out a sputnik fix, not once dropping the signal throughout our journey.
With Nokia Maps 2.0 now sharpened with pedestrian mode, satellite view and a compass function, this software sports all the standard navigation features and trimmings.
Turn-by-turn voice instructions come through clear over the built-in speaker, despite dumping the 6110’s loud stereo arrangement.
Our one main concern is the size of the screen. While bigger at 2.4 inches, it proves a little too pokey for a seamless in-car workout. If you don’t tend to glance at the screen while behind-the wheel, then it’s no major problem but the 6210 is definitely better geared for pedestrian use.
To entice the sat-navers, Nokia is offering six months free trial and licence and in selected deals throw in an in-car mount for gratis. Should you want to continue being guided by voice and dynamic routing, prices start from £4.50 for a week subscription through to £52.80 for a three year license.
Off road, the 6210 is a rather capable Symbian Series 60 smartphone with decent multimedia moves. The 3.2MP snapper with autofocus is surprisingly sharp at this level, although the accompanying LED flash proved a little limited.
More disappointing is the lack of lens cap that graced the original 6110 and the camera is open to grime attack. Also, by not including Wi-Fi, the more compelling reasons to upgrade wear thin.
The 6210 remains a great sat nav smartphone but, apart from a six months free trial to sweeten the deal, you could argue Nokia stablemates like the N95 8GB, N82, N78, E71 E66 and 6120 Classic offer similar GPS performances, but with more mouth-watering features.