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Nokia 3205 (Sprint) review: Nokia 3205 (Sprint)

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The Good Extensive personalization options; infrared port; integrated VGA camera; analog roaming.

The Bad Confusing keypad layout; low-resolution screen; poor speakerphone quality; short talk time and battery life.

The Bottom Line Though its features are nothing to scream about, the Nokia 3205 has a striking, dare-to-be-different look and feel.

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7.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7

Nokia 3205

When we first saw the Nokia 3200 (for AT&T Wireless and Cingular), we thought it looked like a cross between a cell phone and a coloring book. With a removable plastic casing and changeable paper covers, the handset took customization to a whole new level. In fact, it even came with blank covers for still more personal designs. Now CDMA users can get in on the fun with the Nokia 3205 for Sprint PCS. Looking much like the original model, the 3205 also offers many of the same features. But while the integrated camera was superior, battery life was remarkably shorter.

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Cover-up: With its colorful covers, the 3205 is anything but boring.

Designwise, the 3205 is nearly identical to its predecessor. It shares the same dimensions (4.2 by 1.8 by 0.8 inches), but at 3.4 ounces, it weighs slightly more. On the plus side, you get more cover choices than with the 3200, and the phone feels sturdier when held. Unfortunately, though, the new mobile carries over many of the distractions from the 3200. The 1.5-inch-diagonal 4,096-color screen is far from vibrant, and the power button isn't the most tactile. Similarly, while the navigation keys are mostly easy to use and give shortcuts to various functions, the confusing dial-pad keys--consisting of six oval buttons with two characters, each set in uneven rows--are equally off-putting. And remember: since the phone's entire cover is removable, there's no side volume rocker or camera key.

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Long shot: The rear-facing camera lens makes self-portraits a problem.

Though the organizer and phone-book features on the Nokia 3205 are largely the same as those on the 3200, there are some important differences elsewhere. The Sprint handset has no support for instant messaging, but the photo quality is somewhat better. Sporting a 640x480 VGA lens instead of the 3200's 352x288 CIF (common interface format) lens, the 3205 offers better photo quality as well as a shutter sound option. Advanced photo effects are still disappointingly slim, however, and the 3205 is missing a self-timer, a flash, and a mirror for taking self-portraits. For sending photos to others, multimedia messaging is included, but it has the same quirk that's found on the 3200: Only pre-existing sound clips can be attached when sending newly snapped photos. To add a new sound clip, you must save the photo, record the sound clip, then compose the message.

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