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.
Even though the Nokia 6086 has a few multimedia features such as a camera and a music player, they're pretty bare-bones. It has a VGA camera with only three resolution settings (640x480, 320x240, 160x120), three quality settings, several color effects, and a self-timer. The built-in camcorder has pretty much the same settings, with two different lengths--30 seconds or so for video mail, and as much as the available memory. Photo quality was pretty disappointing, and video quality was mediocre as well, with a lot of blurry and overcast images. The phone's music player is also pretty basic, and has the standard play, pause, and track shuttle controls. There is an equalizer with six different presets, however. You can upload songs from your PC via a microSD card.
There are quite a few personalization options with the Nokia 6086. You can customize your wallpaper, screensavers, themes, sound alerts, and ringtones, plus you have the option to buy and download more from T-Mobile. A few games are included in the phone--Brain Challenge, Golf Tour, Highroller, Sudoku, and World Poker Tour--and you can always download more as well.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Nokia 6086 in San Francisco using the T-Mobile service plus with a few wireless networks thanks to the T-Mobile HotSpot @Home service. Call quality was surprisingly good--voices sounded natural and clear, even when in speakerphone mode. This was the same with both GSM cellular airwaves and when using Wi-Fi. The signal strength also improves remarkably when using the 6086 within a wireless network, which makes us think the HotSpot @Home service is definitely a great feature. We also paired the Nokia 6086 with the Cardo S-640 Bluetooth headset without any problems. Sound quality of the music player was OK but rather subpar. Music sounded tinny, with not a lot of bass at all.
The Nokia 6086 has a rated talk time of five hours and a rated standby time of four days. The tested talk time matched the rated time at 4 hours, 57 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Nokia 6086 has a digital SAR rating of 1.15 watts per kilogram.