The 2-megapixel camera takes JPEG pictures in seven resolutions, from 1,600x1,200 down to 160x120. Other editing options include three quality settings, a self-timer, a digital zoom, a multishot mode, a night mode, five color effects, and an adjustable white balance. There's also a flash, which you can set to "always on," "always off," and auto modes. The camcorder shoots MPEG4 clips in two resolutions (176x144 and 128x96) and three quality settings. Clips meant for multimedia messages are capped at 10 seconds, but you can shoot for longer in normal mode.
The 6500 Classic had decent photo quality, though we'd expect better from a 2-megapixel shooter. Colors were bright, but images were grainy, with a lot of noise. What's more, the flash tends to drown things out. Videos were about the same: good but not great. On the upside, the 6500 offers 1GB of internal storage. It doesn't have an external memory card slot, but you shouldn't really need one.
The music player on the 6500 is functional. Features include playlists, shuffle and repeat modes, stereo widening, and an equalizer with four settings and two customizable settings. The interface is simple and intuitive and you can choose from four themes. Getting music on the phone was easy. You can transfer tracks via a USB cable or Bluetooth. You also can play songs on a speaker or stereo headset via Bluetooth. The player supports MP3, MP4, eAAC+, AAC, and WMA files.
You can personalize the 6500 with a variety of screensavers, wallpapers, themes, and alert tones. You can download additional options and more ringtones with the Opera Mini browser. Gamers can select from four titles: Backgammon, Golf Tour, Snake III, and Sudoku. You can buy additional games if you wish.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Nokia 6500 Classic in San Francisco using T-Mobile service. Call quality was quite good on the whole. Conversations were loud and clear and voices sounded natural. We could hear well even when we were in noisy environments, and the signal was relatively strong and had no static or interference. Our only complaint is that we had to use the toggle to change the volume level.
On their end, callers said we sounded fine; a few couldn't even tell that we were using a cell phone. A couple of our friends mentioned a fair amount of wind noise, but they said it was a minor problem. We encountered no issues when speaking to automated-calling systems. Speaker-phone calls were quite decent: we had enough volume on our end and the sound wasn't muffled. Callers could hear us, provided we spoke relatively close to the phone.
As mentioned previously, the 6500 accommodates both the 850 and 2100 UMTS 3G bands. That means that you'll be able to get a wireless broadband connection both in North America and Europe. Yet, since T-Mobile uses its own AWS 3G network, we weren't able to test the 6500's 3G connection. The GPRS and EDGE coverage was satisfactory, however.
The 6500's music quality was satisfactory. Like most music phones, the external speaker is a tad tinny and the audio lacks warmth. We recommend using a headset for the best experience.
The 6500 has a rated battery life of 3.5 hours talk time and nine days standby time. In our tests, the 6500 lasted 4 hours and 3 minutes of talk time on a single charge. According to FCC radiation tests, the 6500 has a