The Nokia 6086 is one of two cell phones that T-Mobile has rolled out in conjunction with its new HotSpot @Home service--the other one being the Samsung SGH-T409. The HotSpot @Home service lets you make calls via Wi-Fi without taking up any of your plan's minutes, plus it greatly enhances the phone's reception. Because the Nokia 6086 is a UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) phone, it is able to automatically switch calls between regular GSM cellular airwaves and preconfigured wireless networks. Other than that, the Nokia 6086 has a decent set of features--it has a VGA camera, a music player, Bluetooth, a speakerphone, and not much else. It has a very solid design with one of the best keypads we've seen, and is a pretty good option for those who want to try out the HotSpot @Home service. It's available for $49.99 with a two-year contract.
Even though it's a tad bulky at 1.8 inches wide by 3.6 inches tall by 0.9 inch thick, the Nokia 6086 has a pretty attractive design. Covered in a coat of faux brushed aluminum, the 6086 has smooth clean lines and curved edges, making it nice to hold in the hand. It weighs around 2.9 ounces, which isn't too heavy, and can be pocketed easily without weighing you down. On the front of the phone is a tiny 1-inch diagonal monochrome external display that shows all the essentials like time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID. The tiny LCD doesn't support photo caller ID, and you won't be able to use it as a camera viewfinder for self-portraits. The left spine is home to a volume rocker plus a dedicated camera key, while there's a microSD card slot on the right.
Flip open the phone and you'll see a very lackluster 1.75-inch diagonal display. Even though it supports 262,000 colors, it only has up to 128x160 pixel resolution, so images and menu icons ended up looking washed out and blurry. You can't change the brightness or backlight time, but you can change the font size for messaging, the contacts list, and the Web browser. The Nokia 6086 supports T-Mobile's MyFaves, so you'll be presented with five contact thumbnails to scroll through directly on the main display if you so choose.
Underneath the main display is the navigation array that consists of two soft keys, a four-way toggle with a middle OK key, and the Talk and End/Power buttons. The four-way toggle also doubles as four user-defined shortcuts. A dedicated speakerphone key is unfortunately missing. Overall, the keypad on the Nokia 6080 is one of the best keypads we've ever had the pleasure to use. All the keys from the navigation array to the alphanumeric keypad are large, spacious, and have a bubbled texture that makes it impossible to press a key by mistake.
Other than the HotSpot @Home support, the Nokia 6086 is a pretty basic camera phone. It has a 500-contact phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers, an e-mail address, notes, a birthday, and a Web and street address. They can also be categorized into groups, paired with any of 17 polyphonic ringtones, or a photo for caller ID (although do remember that they won't show up on the external screen). You can also select up to five entries to be your MyFaves contacts. Other features include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, instant messaging (with support for Windows Live, AIM, ICQ, and Yahoo), an alarm clock, a calendar, a task list, a voice recorder, a calculator, a timer, a stopwatch, Bluetooth, and a wireless web browser via T-Mobile's t-Zones.
Of course, the most important feature in the Nokia 6086 is its support for T-Mobile's HotSpot @Home service. The service lets you connect to any wireless network to make, answer, and receive calls. Additionally, calls made via Wi-Fi will not be deducted from your plan's minutes. You can read more about HotSpot @Home in our review of the service.