The Nokia 6101 has a respectable range of features that offer a broad range of functionality without getting too complicated. You get a 500-name phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers, three addresses (e-mail, Web, and street), and miscellaneous notes; the SIM card holds an additional 250 names. The 6101 lets you organize contacts into groups and pair them with a photo for caller ID. The phone supports MP3 ring tones, but it comes with just eight polyphonic tones that can be matched only with caller groups and not individual callers. Other options include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, voice dialing, an alarm clock, notes, a calculator, a calendar, a to-do list, a stopwatch, a countdown timer, and PC syncing for your calendar and contacts. A great feature included is the ability to send voicemails in a multimedia message; you can simply record a message and zap it to a friend in a few seconds. We're also pleased to see a speakerphone and an infrared port, and although there's no Bluetooth, we wouldn't normally expect it on a midrange phone.
The Nokia's 6101's VGA camera took subpar shots compared with other low-end camera phones. Colors looked washed out and fuzzy, and editing options are slim. You can take photos in only two resolutions (640x480 and 80x96) and from three quality settings, with additional features limited to a night mode and a self-timer; there's no zoom, flash, or color effects. The video recorder takes clips with sound at either 15 seconds in length or whatever will fit on the available 4.4MB of memory.
An additional multimedia feature on the Nokia 6101 is its FM radio. You need a headset to act as an antenna, but the phone doesn't include one. You can personalize that handset with a variety of screensavers, wallpaper, color themes, alert sounds, and ringer profiles. If you want more options and ring tones, you can download them through the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser and T-Mobile's T-zones Internet service. The 6101 comes with a demo version of three games--Canal Control, Solitaire Deluxe, and Tetris--but you can always get more titles if you want them. In comparison, T-Mobile usually gives you at least one full game.We tested the triband (GSM 850/1800/1900) Nokia 6101 in San Francisco using T-Mobile's service. Call quality was up to usual Nokia standards with admirable clarity and volume, and we encountered little static from other electronic equipment. Callers could tell we were using a cell phone, but they didn't report any serious problems. Although speakerphone calls suffered from diminished quality, they still were loud enough to hear clearly. Be advised, however, that you can activate the speaker only after you've made a call.
The Nokia 6101's batteries lasted a long time; we coaxed 7.5 hours of talk time on a single charge, almost double the rated time of 4 hours. Standby time was also excellent: We fell short of the promised 14 days but still got a respectable 8. According to FCC radiation tests, the Nokia 6101 has a digital SAR rating of 0.68 watts per kilogram.