Editors' note: after we'd finished reviewing the 6110 we discovered a AU$50 hole in our pockets. In our eagerness to test this phone we'd unwittingly enabled its assisted GPS feature, which requires access to the Internet to work.to find what assisted GPS is, whether it's any good and how to turn it on or off.
In case you've missed the barrage of TV, Internet and bus advertising, the AU$759 6110 Navigator is Nokia's new hero phone. With every phone wielding a camera like a hungry paparazzo, this new Nokia launches itself into the mobile phone fray with the next must-have item: GPS.
It's a pretty sleek looking device, the 6110, with its shiny jet-black body and splashings of metal-look trim -- it also comes in a rather less pleasing white, which is conspicuously absent in all of Nokia's advertising material. To touch, though, the Nokia is a bit of a mixed bag. We could imagine Homer Simpson playing with its Samsung-esque spring-loaded slide mechanism all day -- "slide goes up, slide goes down, slide goes up, slide goes down," he'd say. Yet the 101mm by 49mm by 20mm plastic body is creaky and smudge prone -- especially the screen, which is used to open and close the phone. The keypad buttons have a rather cheap feel to them and initially, it's hard to tell whether you've pressed a key.
On the front there's the usual Nokia array of buttons: two context sensitive, one each for call and hanging up, as well as a five-way controller. Below them are buttons for the main menu, the GPS navigator and cancel. We all too frequently hit the navigator button when aiming for down on the five-way controller. Along the sides are buttons to adjust the volume, take photos and read your messages, as well as covers hiding the mini-USB connector and the bundled 512MB micro-SD card.
There are two cameras on the 6110: a pretty redundant 320x240 unit on the front and a 2-megapixel unit with flash on the back, hidden by a cover which slides open to turn the camera on. There's no mechanical switch for the cover, though, and we accidentally activated the camera when sliding the phone open on several occasions. Photos were acceptable for a phone camera but nothing to really to sing about. Mounted above the front camera is a light sensor which adjusts the screen's brightness level according to current lighting conditions.
The 320x240, 2.2-inch screen on the 6110 was a pleasure to behold: bright, clear and crisp. There's little of the system lag we experienced in earlier Symbian-based Nokias. So, common tasks, like flicking through the phonebook or perusing the SMS inbox is no longer a will-sapping experience.
There's a built-in music player which handles the most popular formats, including MP3, AAC and WMA. A copy of RealPlayer is also bundled to handle MP4 movies. The 6110 ships with a hands-free-kit-cum-stereo-headphones, so if you're inclined to use it as your MP3 player you can. Sound quality was fine for casual or commuter listening, although we couldn't make a definitive call as we were unable to plug in a better set of headphones because the 6110 has a 2.5mm stereo jack -- not the more common 3.5mm variety.
While there's a Web browser on-board, you'll be paying your mobile carrier for the privilege of surfing the Web, as there's no Wi-Fi on-board. The 6110 is capable of both 3G and HSDPA -- so, in theory, it can achieve speeds of up to 3.6Mbps. Bluetooth pairing was pain free, although we were unable to test it with any Bluetooth 2.0 devices (our set of stereo Bluetooth headphones are on the fritz). Given that it moonlights as a navigation device, the 6110 has a decent loudspeaker.
In the spurious feature ledger is the 6110's text-to-speech function; the phone can read out your SMSes but, oddly, not your notes or calendar items, nor street names when in GPS navigation mode. Irrespective of whether you've selected an English or Indian voice, your messages are completely incomprehensible and if you decide to up the reading-rate, comically amusing.