The Nokia 6215i is one of the first collaborations between the Finnish giant Nokia and Pantech, a Taiwan-based cell phone company, to make it to U.S. shores. The 6215i is a simple entry-level VGA camera phone offered exclusively from Verizon Wireless. It is also the first phone in North America to have a full-color OLED main display, as well as an OLED external display--an OLED is brighter and uses less power than traditional LCDs. The phone's simple and sleek design and basic feature set make this a great midtier choice for Verizon customers. The 6215i retails for $99.99, but you can get it for $49.99 with a 2-year Verizon service agreement.
While devoid of glitz and glamour, the Nokia 6215i is still quite attractive. Decked out in glossy black, the 6215i is rectangular, has slightly rounded corners, and a stubby, extendable antenna. It feels great in the hand and very comfortable when cradled next to the ear. On the front flap are the camera lens and flash, plus a bright but tiny 65,000-color OLED external display that measures 1-inch diagonally. The display shows the phone's signal strength, the battery life, the date and time, and caller ID. It also acts as a self-portrait viewfinder in camera mode, thus eliminating the need for a self-portrait mirror. The left spine is home to the headset jack, volume rocker, and a dedicated camera button.
Flip the phone open and you will be greeted with a bright OLED main display. The 262,144-color screen was quite stunning--colors popped and the blacks are deep and dark, almost blending into the phone itself. It's too bad the screen is so tiny, measuring only 1.5-inches diagonally. It's so small that we found ourselves scrolling through the menu navigation much more than usual. You can adjust the backlight timer, the screen's contrast, the font size of the numbers that appear when you dial, the display theme, and the clock format.
The navigation array underneath the display is pretty standard. There are two soft keys, a five-way navigation toggle that consists of four programmable shortcuts and a center confirmation key, and a Clear key below the toggle. A dedicated speakerphone button and dedicated camera button flank the toggle on either side, as well as the Send and End/Power keys. The alphanumeric keypad is well-spaced and has a bright, blue backlight when the phone is activated. While all the keys have a slightly noticeable texture, they are flush to the surface. Each key sinks underneath the surface when pressed, making it a little tricky to dial and navigate by feel.
Each entry in the 6215i's address book can hold up to five numbers, be assigned to a group, a photo caller ID, or one of 25 polyphonic ring tones. Features include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a speakerphone, a calculator, a calendar, an alarm clock, a world clock, a notepad, a stop watch, voice dialing, and a wireless Web browser. You can turn on the speakerphone prior to dialing.
The 6215i comes with a VGA camera with flash. Of course, it isn't as good as a megapixel camera, but we were pleased with the options this basic camera provides. Camera settings include three different resolutions (640-by-480, 320-by-240, and 160-by-120 pixel), a self-timer, a brightness setting, a white balance setting, three shutter sounds plus a silent option, color effects, and a capture mode of either portrait or display. As with most VGA cameras, the resulting images were disappointingly blurry and grainy. It seems worse than other VGA camera images we've seen.
You can personalize the 6215i with a variety of wallpapers, colors, themes, and message alert tones. Downloading more options is easy with Verizon's Get It Now service, which is easily accessible from the phone's menu system. Though you can play Brew games on the phone, you'll have to buy and download them yourself as the phone doesn't come with any games included.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 850/1900) 6215i handset in San Francisco using Verizon's service. Call quality was stellar, with little to no difference when compared to a regular landline phone. Callers reported the same results on their end. The speakerphone didn't fare as well, and we found ourselves having to speak up to be heard.
The Nokia 6215i has a rated talk time of 3.92 hours and a rated standby time of 10 days. Our tests showed a talk time of 4 hours. According to FCC radiation tests, the 6215i has a digital SAR rating of 0.83 watt per kilogram.