The smaller of Nokia's slider phone models (the other being the 3G-enabled 6280), the 6111 is a compact unit that will easily slip into most pockets. Shorter but slightly thicker than the Samsung D600, the Nokia 6111 has a pleasing black and silver design with a minimalist bent. As with all slider phones, the front of the phone is dominated by a display (in this case, a bright 35x29mm one), with navigation buttons arrayed below the screen. A metallic silver square acts as the phone's four-way navigation button, with four other colour coded buttons flanking on either side. The back of the phone is clutter-free, with the only things interrupting the reflective black plastic being the phone's camera lens and flash situated in the top right corner. But with so much spare real estate, the back of the phone tends to become a fingerprint magnet -- you'll have to wipe it regularly to keep the phone looking at its best.
The phone's front slides up with the push of a thumb, but it does seem to require more force to open than the similar Samsung D600. The sliding action itself doesn't feel as smooth as the Samsung's, although it's by no means annoying or unusable. The keypad features rounded keys, with the buttons themselves a little on the small side (which can be expected due to the phone's dinkiness, measuring in at 84x47x23mm and weighing only 92g).
This tri-band GSM phone (EGSM 900, GSM 1800/1900) has better than average features for a phone in its price range. It's relatively beefy when it comes to connectivity, featuring Bluetooth, infrared, a USB port and push-to-talk capabilities. When it comes to email, it supports SMTP, POP3 and IMAP4 protocols. The 6111's screen is also quite impressive -- it's bright and colourful, and can display 262K colours on its 128x160 pixel display.
When it comes to multimedia features, the 6111 isn't lacking for a phone in its range. The phone features a 1-megapixel camera with 6x digital zoom -- better than some of its equally priced peers such as the more attractive Motorola SLVR L7 and the Sony Ericsson Z520i. The phone can take stills and short videos (depending on memory), and can be used with the unit held horizontally and with the slide closed -- making it look like a small digital camera. A silver camera button on the 6111's side acts as the shutter release when held horizontally. The phone can also act as a media player -- with music, it can play MP3, MP4 or AAC files, and with video it can view 3GPP, H.264 video, MPEG-4 and AMR. Unfortunately, its usefulness as a media device is limited by its small 23MB onboard memory. And sadly, the 6111's memory is not expandable. On the plus side, it also features a radio, voice recorder, Java-capabilities (to allow you to download new applications) and some decent pre-loaded games (Champ Rally 3D, Golf Tour, Backgammon and Solitaire).
When it comes to ergonomics, the 6111's petite size limits its attractiveness to those with big paws -- your reviewer included, who found the keypad fiendishly difficult to text on (not to mention the small camera button on the side of the unit). Handing the 6111 to those with smaller hands, however, proved the problem was limited to yours truly. Our advice is to track down the 6111 at a phone shop and hold it for yourself before you buy -- some may find its size restrictive, while others may feel at ease.
The Nokia 6111 functions well as a phone - we had no hassles with usage during our extended review period, with our only concern being battery life. Nokia rates the 6111 as having talk time of up to 3 hours and 20 minutes (with a standby time of 12.5 days). In real world usage, we found the battery to drain rather quickly - a day and a half worth of higher than average conversation times typically sent us back to the recharge cable. And, as with all slider phones, users have to be careful when taking out the phone from pockets or purses in case they accidentally move the slider up and down (as that terminates a call).
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the Nokia 6111 is its low onboard memory. The phone packs some decent multimedia features, but having only 23MB of memory severely limits its usefulness. It's a pity Nokia didn't include the option for expandable memory, such as having an SD or other memory card slot in the phone.
But in other ways the Nokia 6111 serves its users well. It's an attractive, small phone that boasts plenty of punch under the hood.