Cell phone bills can definitely add up, which is why a prepaid plan option can be an attractive alternative, especially if you don't make calls or need the mobile Web very often. For AT&T Wireless customers, the carrier offers its GoPhone plan with a handful of handsets, including the Nokia 2680 that's largely similar to the Nokia 2600 except it offers a slider design. The feature set is basic, though it does throw in Bluetooth, and sound quality on regular voice calls was acceptable. Unfortunately, similar to the 2600, the Nokia 2680 suffers from a sluggish menu interface and has a sub-par speakerphone. That said, as a prepaid phone for occasional use, the handset can get the main job of making calls done. The Nokia 2680 costs $79.99 and offers several prepaid plan rate options.
The Nokia 2680 is a compact slider phone that measures just 3.89 inches tall by 1.89 inches wide by 0.61 inch deep and weighs 3.3 ounces. Though nothing fancy, the handset is quite attractive with a nice metallic, charcoal gray finish and rounded edges. It also has a fairly solid construction and its sliding mechanism was smooth.
On its front, you get a 1-inch TFT display with a 128x160-pixel resolution. The low resolution is poor for looking at graphics and images, but we realize the Nokia 2680 is a basic phone, so it's not as if we're surprised by the fact. That said, we wish the screen were a tad bigger to make it easier to read and compose text messages. The phone's main menu system is easy to understand, but when digging into the submenus, the interface can be just a bit confusing and clunky. You can customize the home screen with different themes and wallpaper and adjust the font size and color.
Below the display, there's a spacious navigation array of two soft keys, Talk and End buttons, and a four-way navigation toggle with a center select key. While roomy, we found them a bit stiff and there's a bit of a delay from the time we pressed a button to the time the phone registered the command. We also missed having a dedicated clear button for backing out of menus (the right soft key takes the place of it).
To access the alphanumeric keypad, simply push the screen upward. As we mentioned earlier, the sliding mechanism is smooth and the screen securely locks into the place. The dialpad buttons are wide but slightly narrow in height, but we didn't have too many mispresses when dialing numbers.
There isn't much else to the phone. There's a power connector, a USB port, and a 2.5-millimeter headset jack on the right side and the camera and self-portrait mirror are located on the back. AT&T packages the Nokia 2680 with an AC adapter, a SIM card, and reference material. For more add-ons, please check out our cell phone accessories, ringtones, and help page.
The Nokia 2680 has a 1,000-contact phone book (the SIM card holds an additional 250 contacts) with room in each entry for five numbers, e-mail address, job title, birthday, and more. For caller ID purposes, you can assign a photo but you can only assign a custom ringtone to groups. Though quite basic, the 2680 does offer integrated Bluetooth for use with wireless headsets, hands-free kits, file transfer, object push, and SIM access. Other voice features include a speakerphone, speed dial, and text and multimedia messaging.
The handset also offers mobile e-mail and instant messaging for popular clients, such as Yahoo, AOL, and Hotmail. However, be aware that messaging charges will apply and the combination of the smaller display and alphanumeric keypad isn't ideal, so we can't imagine using the phone to e-mail and IM too much. Still, if you desire the messaging features, it's there. There is also a WAP browser as well as a some trial games and apps and a handful of personal organization tools, including a calendar, an alarm clock, a to-do list, a calculator, and more.
For multimedia, the Nokia 2680 offers a VGA camera with 4x zoom and video recording capabilities. You can shoot photos and videos in one of three image qualities and three sizes. There's also a night mode and a self-timer. Media can be saved to the phone's internal memory (4GB) and you can share them with friends via multimedia message or Bluetooth. You can also use them for caller ID or wallpaper. Picture quality was subpar. While we could make out the objects in the photo, the image was blurry overall and colors looked very dull.
We tested the dual-band Nokia 2680 (GSM 850/1,900) in San Francisco using AT&T service and call quality was OK. Callers sounded a bit hollow on our side of the conversation, though there was plenty of volume and we had no problems carrying on with conversation. Friends reported really good results and had no complaints about sound quality. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the speakerphone. There was a noticeable background hiss for us while callers had several complaints, including an echo and fading audio. On a brighter note, we had no problems pairing the Nokia 2680 with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset.
The Nokia 2680 features an 860mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 3 hours and up to 17 days of standby time. We were impressed with the talk time of 8 hours and 44 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the 2680 has a digital SAR rating of 0.64 watt per kilogram.