It's odd that with all its other features, the 3555 has just a VGA camera. Perhaps Nokia was aiming to keep the cost down, but it's not what we were expecting. It takes pictures in just two resolutions (640x480 and 320x240), which is low even for a VGA shooter. You can choose from three quality modes, three color effects, and four white-balance settings. There's also a multishot mode, a brightness control, and a 4x digital zoom. Photo quality was pretty good. The shots were fuzzy, just as you would expect with a VGA camera, but colors were bright.
You can personalize the 3555 with a variety of wallpaper, color themes, and alert tones. You can download more options form T-Mobile's T-zones service with the WAP Internet browser. The handset comes with demo versions of four games: Petz, Tetris, Are you smarter than a 5th grader?, and Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man.
We tested the quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Nokia 3555 world phone in San Francisco using T-Mobile service. Call quality was on a par with the Nokia 3555. We enjoyed clear conversations and adequate volume. Voices sounded natural most of the time, and there was little static or interference. In a change form the AT&T handset, the 3555's sound quality was more mechanical, with a tinny quality to some conversations. Though the 6555 had a touch of this effect, it was more prevalent on the 3555.
On their end, callers said we sounded fine, but a few of our friends mentioned a bit of wind noise in the background. Also, our callers could tell we were using a cell phone. Speakerphone calls were satisfactory for the most part. The sound was a tad muffled, and we had to stand close to the phone to be heard, but that's hardly unusual on a cell phone speaker. We had the best performance when we used it in a quiet room.
Though T-Mobile doesn't say so on its Web site, Nokia's site shows that the 3555 does support 3G networks. At the time of this writing, T-Mobile is the only major carrier to lack a wireless broadband network, so it may seem strange that the carrier is offering a 3G-capable handset. No doubt, T-Mobile is preparing for its 3G launch, which could happen by the summer of 2008. And in any case, the 3555 is just one of a series of 3G handsets that T-Mobile has introduced. The first was the Samsung SGH-T639.
As you might expect, music quality is nothing special. It's not terrible by any means, but it's suitable only for short stints. As with most music phones, a headset provides the best experience.
The 3555 has a rated battery life of five hours talk time and 10 days standby time. In our tests, we fell short of the promised talk time by 10 minutes. That's about average, as GSM phones go, but it is much better than the 6555's tested talk time of just 2 hours. According to FCC radiation tests the 3555 has a digital SAR of 1.04 watts per kilogram.