The phone runs on Symbian 6.0 OS, and navigation may take some getting used to if you're not familiar with it. The default main display is known as Standby mode, and you can easily customize it with shortcuts to all your favorite applications and appointments for the day. Unlike other Symbian smart phones, the 3250 doesn't have a way to view and edit office documents. But that's OK, as the 3250 is more of a multimedia phone anyway.
Speaking of which, the phone comes with a 2-megapixel camera that also acts as a video recorder. Camera options include image-quality settings (High, Normal, Basic), image resolution (640x480, 1,152x864, 1,600x1,200), night and sequence modes, a self-timer, white balance, and color tones. As for MPEG-4 video, you can record for a maximum length to make full use of available memory, or a short length for MMS. There are also two video-resolution settings (128x96 and 176x144), and you can choose to mute the sound or not. We were quite pleased with the quality of images, though video quality was a little choppy and didn't perform well in low light.
The music player on the 3250 supports MP3, eAAC+, AAC+, M4A, MPEG-4 ACC LC, LTP, MP3, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, MIDI, RealAudio, and WMA formats. You can transfer music from your PC via Nokia's Audio Manager software, Windows Media Player, or third-party software. We found the music player interface very user-friendly, making it easy for us to switch from one track to the next in just a few clicks. There are also a few enhanced music features such as an equalizer, bass boost, and reverb, to improve how the music sounds. You can also make your own ring tones via a Tunes Studio, and listen to the radio. These enhanced features make this a step up from other music phones that simply play music.
Along with music, you can download video clips to the phone for viewing on the go. A Streaming Links folder is available for you to save URLs to music or video you find on the Web. The phone has an internal memory of 10MB, but the phone's Micro SD card slot ups the potential storage capacity to 1GB, which is good for such a multimedia-heavy handset.
You can personalize the Nokia 3250 with a variety of wallpaper, themes, and alert tones, and if you're not satisfied with the phone's selections, you can always download more. The phone supports J2ME applications and comes with a Snakes game preinstalled.
We tested the triband (GSM 850/1800/1900; EDGE) Nokia 3250 in San Francisco on the Cingular network. Calls sounded loud and clear, and we were surprised by the quality of the speakerphone as well. Callers did note that we sounded a little faded and could tell we were on a cell phone with the occasional crackles. Audio quality of the speaker is great, as is the quality of the sound from the music player. We managed to pair the Nokia 3250 successfully with the Nokia BH-800 Bluetooth headset.
The Nokia 3250 has a rated talk time of three hours and a rated standby time of 10 days. According to FCC radiation tests, the Nokia 3250 has a SAR rating of 0.88 watts per kilogram.