The VGA camera takes pictures in three resolutions (640x480, 320x240, and 160x120) and three quality settings. Other features include a digital zoom, a night mode, a self-timer, and a multishot option. It's a slim assortment of offerings, to be sure, but appropriate for a handset with a VGA camera. Photo quality is good for a VGA camera. Colors were relatively bright and there was minimal noise. On the other hand, you'll need adequate light since the 2600 doesn't offer a flash.
The camcorder is as basic as can be. It doesn't offer any editing options beyond a choice of clip length. Videos meant for multimedia messages are capped at 9 seconds; otherwise, you can shoot for longer periods in normal mode. Video was about what you'd expect from a VGA camera, which is to say pretty bad. The 2600 has about 10MB of user-accessible memory.
You can personalize the 2600 with a variety of wallpaper, screensavers, and themes. You can download more options and additional ringtones, from AT&T. The 2600 comes with demo versions of three games--Bubble Bash, Tetris, and Ms. Pac Man--but you can buy the full versions and additional titles.
We tested the dual-band (GSM 850/1900; GPRS) Nokia 2600 in San Francisco using AT&T service. Please note that as a dual-band phone, the 2600 will not work outside of North America. Call quality was decent--not spectacular but not bad either. The signal was clear and strong, and voices sounded relatively natural. The volume could be a bit louder, but the phone performed well for what it is.
On their end, callers said we sounded fine, though a few reported that the 2600 picked up an excessive amount of background noise. Even on our end, we had some trouble hearing the phone conversation in very noise environments. Similarly, automated calling systems could understand only when we spoke in a quiet place. Speakerphone calls were just OK. Since the speaker faces the rear of the phone, you should place the phone upside down for the best experience. But even then, the audio is muffled at the highest volume levels. Bluetooth headset calls were satisfactory.
Yet, we had more issues with the phone's painfully slow menu interface. When opening the main menu and when selecting certain features, we had to wait as long as 3 seconds for something to happen. It was not something we were expecting on such a basic phone and it definitely diminished our experience. Before we got used to it, we impatiently would press the OK button several times.
The 2600 has a rated battery life of 3 hours talk and 16 days standby time. We were quite impressed with the tested talk time of 11 hours and 54 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the 2600 has a digital SAR of 1.43 per kilogram.