This touchscreen Symbian slider has a secret QWERTY keyboard. But is it any better than the N97 Mini?
With Android serving up fresh platters of dessert-themed updates (up next is Gingerbread 3.0 in late 2010) for mouth-watering handsets like the upcoming HTC Desire HD, Nokia’s Symbian phones are starting to look a bit stale.
That’s not to say there isn’t still an appetite for mid-range S60 handsets, so the Finns have made the C6 – a QWERTY, touchscreen slider that’s essentially a more affordable version of the N97.
Slide the screen across and you’ll reveal the decent keyboard underneath, which is big and spacious enough to be easy to use. The screen is colourful and bright, with a decent if not mind-blowing resolution of 360x640.
The other standout features visible on the outside are the reliable 5MP camera with LED flash and dedicated hardware key to launch it, plus the thankfully now very common 3.5mm headphone jack. There’s also a screen lock slider button to prevent those awkward accidental calls.
Home, sweet home
We were big fans of the N97’s home screen, and the C6’s is similarly configurable. You can display shortcuts to programs like Ovi Maps, Nokia’s excellent free mapping software.
Because Ovi Maps downloads and stores maps, the only data charges you’ll incur are when you use assisted GPS, but you can turn this off and there are maps for over 70 countries for you to download.
You can also show emails, the music player and more on the main screen plus shortcuts to another eight apps. It’s an easy-to-use, efficient system.
Impossible to resist
Sadly, it’s not all plain sailing for the C6. Unfortunately, the touchscreen is of the cheaper resistive kind, rather than the pricier capacitive sort found on most self-respecting smartphones. You need to press it harder to get a response, and often have to wait for it to respond.
And while Nokia has done a good job making the S60 operating system react to finger presses, it isn’t natively a touchscreen system and it shows. Sometimes you need to press a menu once, at other points, twice. Thankfully, the touchscreen is supplemented by a keyboard so you don’t have to jab at the screen to type.
The Symbian browser also isn’t the fastest or most enjoyable to use. It feels clunky and slow. Mind you, the fundamentals of a phone have always been something Nokia excels at: call quality, signal strength and battery life are all superb here.
In all, this is an efficient enough phone but despite the decent styling and plentiful features (it has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, natch), the C6 feels a little bit like yesterday’s news.
Nokia C6 review
A solid messaging smartphone that nails the essentials, but that’s no longer enough to keep up with the competition