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Nokia 6085 review: Nokia 6085

Nokia 6085

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kent German
5 min read


Nokia 6085

The Good

The Nokia 6085 has a down-to-earth design, a generous feature set, and excellent call quality.

The Bad

The Nokia 6085 has a basic VGA camera and low-quality displays. Also, music performance is unimpressive.

The Bottom Line

The Nokia 6085 works very well as a voice phone, but its multimedia performance is somewhat lacking.

Though AT&T's the Nokia 6085 looks identical to T-Mobile's Nokia 6086, in reality they're very different phones. While the Wi-Fi equipped Nokia 6086 is designed for T-Mobile's HotSpot @Home service, the 6085 is just another camera phone. And that's hardly a bad thing, as Nokia has a deserved reputation for making quality midrange handsets. Though its internal and external displays could use a makeover, the 6085 is a functional handset with decent call quality and a low-key design. Multimedia performance wasn't fantastic, but that's not really the point of the phone anyway. The 6085 is a reasonable $169, but at the time of this writing you should be able to get it free with service.

The Nokia 6085 takes its design cues straight from the 6086 (or is it the other way around?). Both have the same rectangular shape with rounded edges, but the 6086 is slightly taller (3.9 inches by 1.8 inches by 0.9 inch). Those dimensions make the 6085 a tad bulky for a flip phone, but it is relatively light and portable at 3.6 ounces. The handset comes in black, silver, pink, and gold--we reviewed the black version--so individualists can make a statement. The 1-inch exterior display is small (96x98 pixels) for the phone's size and the monochrome resolution means it won't function as a self-portrait viewfinder for the camera, which sits just above. The display shows the date, time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID, but the tiny text is unchangeable.

The 1.8-inch (128x160 pixels) internal display is equally disappointing. Though it supports 262,000 colors, you'd never know it. Graphics and photos were grainy and the colors were dim. Fortunately, the simple menus are easy to use, but on the whole it was a disappointing experience. You can't change the brightness or the backlight time, but you can change the font color and the font size.

On the upside, the 6086's navigation array and keypad are well-designed and easy to use. There's no dedicated Clear button or speakerphone shortcut, but we approve anyway. For a full analysis of the controls, see our Nokia 6086 review. Completing the exterior are a volume rocker and a camera shortcut on the left spine and a microSD card slot on the right spine. Both the charger port and the headset jack are on the bottom end of the Nokia 6085 while the speaker rests on the rear face. As we'll discuss in the Features section, that's not an ideal location.

As mentioned earlier, the 6085 lacks the integrated Wi-Fi on the 6086, but it retains a solid feature set that's short on imaging and long on music. The phone book holds 500 contacts with room in each entry for six phone numbers, an e-mail address, a company, a job title, a street address, a nickname, a birthday, and notes (the SIM card holds an additional 250 names). You can organize contacts into groups, and you can pair them with one of 11 polyphonic ringtones. You can use a photo for caller ID, but keep in mind it won't appear on the external display. Other essentials include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, instant messaging, an alarm clock, a calendar, a to-do list, a calculator, a timer, a stopwatch, and a notepad. Stereo Bluetooth is also aboard--it's great to see that feature continue to trickle down the cell phone food chain--as are POP3 e-mail access, PC syncing, USB mass storage, a speakerphone, and a voice recorder.

The Nokia 6085's camera lacks a flash and a self-portrait mirror.

The 6085 has a basic VGA camera that takes pictures in three resolutions (640x480, 320x240, and 160x120). Features aren't too extensive and picture quality was strictly average. For more details, see our review of the Nokia 6086's camera. The 6085 internal memory is a paltry 4MB of shared space so the microSD card slot is very welcome.

The 6085's photo quality was just average.

While the 6085's camera may be uninspiring, it offers a much bigger music package than we expected originally. The MP3 player lacks visual pizzazz, particularly when viewed on the low-res display, but it offers a respectable set of features including random and repeat modes, an equalizer, and stereo widening. There's also an FM radio (you'll need a wired headset to act as an antenna), and you can download music on the 6085 via Yahoo Music. The support for AT&T Music brings a host of other offerings, including a music ID tool, XM satellite radio, and a selection of community apps that include MobiTV, MobiRadio, and Billboard Mobile.

You can personalize the Nokia 6085 with a variety of wallpapers, color themes, screensavers, animations, and alert tones. You can get more options and more ringtones with the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. The 6085 comes with demo versions of four Java (V2ME) games: Galaxy Balls, Tetris, World Poker Tour and Platinum Sudoku.

We tested the quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; GPRS) Nokia 6085 world phone in San Francisco using AT&T's service. Call quality was quite acceptable with good clarity and little static or interference. Voices sounded natural and there was more than enough volume; users with hearing impairments should give this phone a try. On their end, callers said we sounded good and voice automated systems had no trouble hearing us. Our only voice complaint--and a very small one at that--concerned very infrequent cutouts during a conversation. It happened only a few times during our testing, so it wasn't a problem.

Speakerphone calls were decent, but the rear-facing speaker means that the sound output faces away from you when on a call. The phone is loud enough that it won't make a huge difference on your end, but it's worth noting just the same. When using the speakerphone, some callers had trouble understanding us unless we were in a quiet room. Bluetooth calls were very satisfactory with no issues on either end.

Music quality was just average for a music phone. Our tunes were tinny and, even though the volume was loud, the sole speaker still lacked in output. If you're looking for a high-class music phone, we suggest you look elsewhere.

The Nokia 6085 has a promised battery life of 3 hours talk time and 10 days standby time. Our tests matched up the rated time with a talk time of 3 hours and 3 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the 6085 has a digital SAR rating of 1.0 watts per kilogram.


Nokia 6085

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 8