By now, we're no longer surprised to see Nokia churn out another flip phone, although we still largely associate the company with candy bar models. We've reviewed both the and the , and while they're far from perfect, both phones are a nice change, despite the fact they haven't been picked up by the major carriers. With the Nokia 6170, we encountered a similar situation. The phone has some worthy features, but the design can use some tweaks. Also, at the time of this writing, the only carrier that has picked up the phone is the regional Centennial Wireless. The phone also comes with a sky-high $389 price tag, but you'll find it cheaper with service.
Nokia uses the phrase steel appeal when describing the 6170, and for once, a marketing slogan matches reality. Both the front and rear flaps of the mobile are encased in stainless steel, and the material extends to the inside of the phone as well. The steel itself is attractive, but we weren't too impressed with the overall look of the handset. Like the 7270, it's much too boxy, and the oversize hinge is somewhat unsightly. You also have to deal with its hefty stature of 3.5 by 1.8 by 0.9 inches; plus, all that steel gives the 6170 a lot of weight at 4.3 ounces. On the upside, the construction is quite sturdy.
We did like the 1.25-inch-diagonal external display. It supports 4,096 colors, but that was more than adequate for viewing the usual information--the date, the time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID where available--and you can set the screen to show wallpapers. Below the display are a small speaker and the camera lens. There's no flash, but the external display acts as a viewfinder for self-portraits. On the left side of the phone is a pair of too-small volume buttons, while the infrared port and a voice-tag key are on the right side. The power button has been moved from its usual Nokia position on the top of the handset to the right side. The relocation wasn't a big deal, but we did find the button hard to press.