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Nokia 6016i review: Nokia 6016i

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The Good Decent call quality; simple design; analog roaming; speakerphone.

The Bad Low-resolution screen; talk-time battery life is a bit short.

The Bottom Line The Nokia 6016i is an ideal choice for Sprint customers who want an uncomplicated cell phone for making calls.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.6 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 7

Review Sections

Intro

While Sprint customers have always had a broad array of Samsung and Sanyo cell phones from which to choose, they haven't always benefited from a strong selection of Nokias. But fear not, Sprint fans, for while Nokia produces mostly GSM handsets, the folks from Finland haven't forgotten you. Enter the Nokia 6016i, a simple and practical mobile in the standard Nokia tradition. While other cell phones boast a plethora of details and style elements, the 6016i eschews them all for a no-frills design and feature set. It's fairly priced at $149, but you should be able to find it for less with service. Rocking your standard candy-bar shape, the Nokia 6016i looks like most other handsets from the company. It's roughly the same size as many of its siblings, measuring 4.3 by 1.9 by 0.9 inches and weighing 3.9 ounces. Though it's a bit on the bulky side, the handset feels surprisingly light, considering its size. But while we felt comfortable holding it against our ear to talk, flip-phone fans may want to give it a trial run first. The black-and-silver coloring is eye-catching (the 6015i is silver only), and the extendable antenna is a surprise, given that most of the current Nokias have an internal antenna. We're not sure it was entirely useful--calls sounded about the same with or without it--but its construction wasn't as flimsy as that of other extendable antennas we're seen. Next to the antenna is the dedicated power key, a certified Nokia trademark


No frills: The 6016i is attractive, though it won't stand out in a crowd.

The 1.5-inch screen is bright enough, but it supports only 4,096 colors. Though we're used to that from Nokia, it would be nice to see more displays in the 65,000-color range. On the upside, you can change the font size and the backlighting time-out length. Below the screen are the average-size navigation keys for scrolling through the standard Nokia menus. You get a four-way toggle with shortcuts to the phone book, the calendar, profiles, and messaging; two soft keys; and the traditional Talk and End buttons. While we normally prefer a five-way toggle (the left soft key functions as the OK button in this case), the uncluttered arrangement results in few misdials. Conversely, on the Nokia 3220, the five-way toggle is so small that we frequently punched the wrong key. Still another bonus is the rubberized texture that makes the controls very tactile and easy to dial by feel. The same goes for the rubberized keypad buttons. Though they aren't huge, they are plenty big, and we like that they are raised above the surface of the phone.

The feature set of the Nokia 6016i, while limited, does hold a few surprises. The 250-name phone book holds five phone numbers, three addresses, and notes for each entry. You also can assign contacts to caller groups and pair them with any of 10 monophonic or 20 polyphonic, 16-chord ring tones. You can easily send your contact information via a "business card" text message, but entering new contacts is a bit of a hassle. After entering a contact name and number, you first have to save that information as the default number, then return to the contact list to add extra details such as Web and e-mail addresses or call groups. It would be easier to enter all of this information at once.

Other features included a vibrate mode, text messaging, an alarm clock, a calendar, a voice recorder, a calculator, a countdown timer, a stopwatch, and three-way calling. Sadly, you don't get true multimedia messaging other than sending the simple graphics that come on the mobile, nor is there a WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. Also, while Nokia says the handset is instant-messaging-capable, the company didn't include it on the mobile. We were pleased, however, to see two unexpected offerings. Not only do you get a speakerphone (which can be activated after a call is placed), but voice dialing is included as well.

You can personalize the 6016i with a variety of wallpaper, color schemes, banners, and tones. You also get three Java (J2ME)-enabled games: Air Glide, Bowling, and Sky Diver. Mobile gamers beware, however: since you can't go online, there's no way to get more titles.

We tested the triband (CDMA 800/1900; AMPS 800) Nokia 6016i in San Francisco using Sprint PCS service. Call quality was great. We enjoyed clear reception with ample volume, and we had no problem getting a signal. The speakerphone quality was slightly more muffled, but it wasn't particularly bothersome.

Battery life was fine but still less than what we're used to with Nokia phones. We managed 4 hours of talk time on a single charge, missing the rated talk time by 30 minutes. Our standby time was 10 days, compared with the promised time of 12 days. According to the FCC, the Nokia 6016i has a digital SAR rating of 1.14 watts per kilogram and an analog SAR rating of 1.28 watts per kilogram.

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