Nokia's smart phones never scored major points for style, and the Nokia 6600 for T-Mobile service is no exception. Armed with Bluetooth, Symbian OS, a quality camera, and an MMC memory-expansion slot, the 6600 offers a feature list similar to that of thebut in a smaller package. Overall, it's a solid addition to the carrier's lineup, and at $149.99 with service, it's fairly priced. Deviating slightly from the standard Nokia candy bar shape, the gray-and-black Nokia 6600 is relatively nondescript--don't expect passersby to point and stare. With its curved, bulging sides, the handset is short and squat, only slightly smaller (4.3 by 2.3 by 1 inches; 4.4 ounces) than most other smart phones in its class. That said, the 6600 felt comfortable in our hands, and it fit snugly in a jeans pocket.
Nokia wisely took advantage of the 6600's spacious real estate, giving the mobile a generous 65,000-color, 2.25-inch (diagonal) display that's roomy and easy to read, even in direct sunlight. Our thumbs didn't have much trouble with the five-way toggle or the keypad, but we had to press pretty hard to register a keystroke; we prefer a lighter touch. A clever addition is the dedicated Edit key to the left of the keypad, which provides one-button access to editing options such as symbols, numbers, and word-predicting text. It did take us a few seconds to get used to the Talk and End buttons, which are placed on either side of the screen rather than below it. Also, there are no dedicated speakerphone or camera-shutter keys. Instead, those features are activated by the soft keys.
The icon-driven menu was easy to navigate (you can scroll sideways through selections), if lacking in eye-catching animations. We did notice that the Symbian OS 7.0 was a little sluggish; it sometimes took a few seconds for menus to load or for pages to redraw. We also had a complaint with the placement of the MMC media slot. As with the as well as the music phone, you have to remove the 6600's battery to change the card. Also, since there are no volume-control buttons on the side of the mobile, you'll need to remove the Nokia from your ear to adjust the sound level in the middle of a conversation. The camera lens is located on the upper half of the back of the handset, almost giving the 6600 the look of a real camera from behind. The size of the Nokia 6600's phone book depends on how much of the shared 6MB of memory is available. For each contact, you can store three numbers and associated information such as an e-mail address and a job title. For caller-ID purposes, you can pair contacts with a picture and one of 24 polyphonic (24-chord) or 18 monophonic ring tones; there's also a vibrate mode. The phone also comes with a full complement of features, including a calendar with week and month views, a to-do list, text and multimedia messaging, voice memo, a currency converter, a calculator, and six-way conference calling. Bluetooth and infrared ports let the handset connect with other devices, and you can sync to your desktop PIM, though you'll need to download Nokia's free PC Suite software first. If you're tired of talking, you can surf the Web over the GPRS-enabled XHTML browser or set up support for SMTP, POP3, and IMAP4 e-mail accounts. We had one grumble with the duplex speakerphone, though: you can activate it only after placing a call, and it sometimes took a few seconds to turn on.