Fashion or features? That’s the choice you’re making with Nokia’s classy new 6500 Series Duo. Do you plump for the size zero Classic candybar, cutting an incredibly slender 9.5mm thick figure or make a beeline for the more feature potent Slider handset?

It seems an obvious choice when you consider the 3G-roving 6500 Slider packs a 3.2MP snapper and is just as refined as its Slim Jim partner.

Smooth operator

Taking the design of the 6288 handset as its starting point, Nokia has hewn the Slide out of brushed stainless steel, giving it a finish almost as luxurious as the 8600 Luna and 8800 Sirocco. This metallic overcoat also gives it a nice heft but is not so weighty its provokes pocket sag.

The slider action is smooth, gliding open firmly but fluently to reveal an overly glossy keypad. Still, it’s spacious and geared nicely for speed texters.

The 2.2in QVGA display is similar to other high-end Nokias we’ve played with recently, brightly brimming with 16-million colours and crisp detail. Nokia has decided on the Symbian Series 40 OS for the 6500 Series and this is naturally imbued with the Finnish manufacturer’s intuitive and friendly outlook.

It’s a booty Carl

Apart from the expertly crafted metal torso, the 3.2MP shutterbug is the main draw here and the Slide takes the honour of being the first non-Nseries member to be fitted with a Carl Zeiss lens.

The picture quality leg up compared to common-in-law optics is apparent with autofocus and an accomplished power LED flash to help out. Focus is keen apart from some occasional blur on the picture perimeter and colour rendering is vivid. We’re impressed, but picture definition is still not as slick as the Sony Ericsson K810i.

Video capture is also impressive, despite only filming at 15fps. The maximum VGA-quality gives the footage a little polish, despite the appearance of judder and drag, but for YouTube shenanigans, the quality is well up to the job.

Mod music

Eagle-eyed Nokia fans will notice the music player interface has been graphically spruced, along with some quality audio mods to boost the sound.

Disappointingly, the Slide only harbours a 2.5mm headphone jack but the sound is still pretty dynamic through the supplied earphones. Plug in your quality cans via an adapter and you’ll receive more low-end thump. Stereo Bluetooth is also ready to serve should you go wireless.

The Slide isn’t short on the internet and email extras either with the peerless Opera Mini web browser and the Yahoo! Go apps embedded to make surfing and email access painless over the 3G connection. Setting up your web-based or home email account directly on the handset is also just as easy-peasy BlackBerry squeezy.

The 6500 Slide is a classy number, taking a dash of the 8600 Luna’s hi-grade steely glint and instilling it with top-notch features. Highly recommended.

Stuff says... 

Nokia 6500 Classic review

The 6500 Slide has the high calibre metallic build of the 8600 Luna, the impressive feature set of the N73 and lashings of Nokia’s famed user-friendliness. What’s not to like?