09 November 2007

Nokia 6260 review 4 years late! Part 1: hardware

Well, I finally took delivery of a second-hand Nokia 6260 two days ago, and have been toying with it over the last 48 hours. I'm not going to comment on the software until I've had a chance to properly tinker with it, but this is a look at the hardware on a phone which was released in June 2004 which makes it, by my reckoing, nearly 3 years old now!

Generally I have difficulty believing in reviews of phones when they first come out, mainly because it is hard to assess just how durable they are in the short term. That said, two of the best reviews of the 6260 came up with a short list of hardware issues, even back then. These include:

  • Camera not in center of aperture.

  • LCD screen not aligned with frame.

  • Soft buttons located on flip, away from number pad.

  • All these are found on my phone, but to be honest are not causing me any problems at all. The camera is black, and the aperture around it is also black, meaning that unless you are a real stickler for perfection, the lack of alignment is barely noticeable. Of course, the fact that I paid around £40 all in for the phone, rather than its original retail proce means that I am less fimicky about things like that. The same goes for the slightly diagonal tilt to the LCD screen in the frame.

    I can understand why people would be annoyed with the sot keys being located on the upper part of the flip, rather than with the main keypad. It can get somewhat annoying when you are using the phone as a phone as, ergonomically, it presents a bit of a hurdle for your thumb. That said, it also means that the important navigation keys are available to you when you flip the phone into its "tablet" mode, as with most modern slider phones. This is particularly great for me because I don't really intend to use the phone as a phone, but more of a PDA, and I find I am using it more in this conformation than any other.

    In fact, this ability to flip into three different positions, as a regular phone, as a tablet and as a camcorder, is one of the appeals of this phone. The mechanics which enables the transformer-like ability is still working well after four years, and the screen rotation and flip are both quite tight still, and the electronics work well. Chalk one up for Nokia build quality! What is great is that if you want to watch a video in landscape mode, it is possible to lie it on its side on the table with the screen slightly rotated upwards for easy viewing. Not many phones which can do that!

    What I will say though, is that the rest of the phone has not worn well at all. The plastics used for the phone fascia are pretty durable, but have worn down with time, particularly on the edges where two pices come together. I am willing to give it leeway because this phone is, after all, four years old, but I must also say that i wish there wasn't quite so much plastic all over the phone. In closed clamshell mode you have a vast swathe of plastic on the top, then when open, under the keys is another field of plastic , and of course the back is basically an ocean of the material. This phone is not small, and picking it up, the first thing you do notice is the plasticky-ness of it. It just feels cheap (and it was cheap, but you get the picture).

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