Though Nokia has long been partial to GSM carriers, it hasn't entirely left out Sprint PCS. Its latest camera phone, the Nokia 6225, has the same design as the Nokia 6200 for AT&T Wireless and offers similar features. But while this handset adds a camera, it doesn't offer many of the bells and whistles you'll find in other camera phones. Sprint currently sells the 6225 for as low as $79 with new service, which is a decent price for a phone of this caliber; however, some users may expect more from both Sprint and Nokia. The candy bar-style Nokia 6225 measures 4.21 by 1.81 by 0.83 inches and weighs 3.46 ounces. That's slightly larger than the Nokia 6200, most likely due to the integrated camera. The silver-and-maroon casing isn't eye popping, but it's not gaudy either. The earpiece volume control is the only button on the side of the handset, and it requires such a firm touch that you won't find yourself accidentally pushing it while talking. Another plus is that the signature Nokia power button on the top of the handset is more responsive than that of similar models. The camera lens, sans a flash or a mirror for self-portraits, is on the mobile's reverse side.
The graphical menus are easy to navigate, helped along by a large, four-way navigation button that provides one-touch access to the camera, the Web browser, and the messaging and phone-book features. You can also program one of the two soft keys with a user-defined shortcut. The keypad buttons are well sized, with the middle keys (2, 5, 8, and 0) set slightly lower for more comfortable operation with your thumb. The white backlighting is clear and bright enough for dim environments, as is the 4,096-color display. Also, we were glad to see that this phone supports headsets that connect to a standard 2.5mm jack as well as more traditional Nokia models that use the Pop-Port at the bottom of the unit. The Nokia 6225 includes a 500-name phone book that can handle up to five phone numbers per contact. You can establish up to five caller groups (family, business, and so forth) and include in each entry such details as street, e-mail and Web addresses, and extra notes. For caller ID, you can attach a picture or one of the 30 polyphonic (16-chord) ring tones; there's also a vibrate mode. Though the 6225 provides a call log, we wish it also included a data counter. Whereas the Nokia 6200's call log maintains a GPRS data counter so that you can keep up with your wireless Internet usage, the 6225 doesn't do the same for Sprint's PCS Vision service. The phone's organizational features include an alarm clock, a to-do list, a calculator, a timer/stopwatch, a calorie counter, and a calendar that can be synced (along with the phone book) to your PC. You also get text and multimedia messaging, a WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser, a three-minute voice recorder, and a speakerphone, which can be activated only after a call is made.
The 6225's integrated VGA camera isn't as feature rich as those on other recent camera phone models. It takes all pictures at three resolutions: Basic (160x120), Normal (320x240), and High (640x480). The camera has a self-timer, but you don't get a zoom or a multishot feature. Nor does it offer the ability to take pictures with special effects, such as black-and-white or sepia tones, and since you can't adjust the brightness/contrast or white-balance settings, there's no way to adjust for lighting conditions. You can save pictures as wallpaper and add captions, and if you subscribe to PCS Vision, you can use the carrier's excellent Picture Mail site to send shots to your friends or store and maintain your photo collection. Curiously, though the 6225 features an infrared port for transferring data, such as contact items and calendar notes, it doesn't have an option in the photo menu to transfer a picture to another infrared-capable device.
As for extras, if you purchase the optional stereo headset ($29.95 from Nokia), you can tune in to the 6225's FM radio. The phone comes with four Java (J2ME)-enabled games: Water Raids, Bounce, TriplePop, and Beach Rally. You can download more titles, ring tones, and applications from Sprint's 1xRTT data network. The 6225's personalization options include a selection of wallpapers and color schemes, with more available for download. We tested the triband (CDMA 800/1900; AMPS 800) Nokia 6225 using Sprint's service in the Chicago area. The phone's call quality was spotty in our tests. We encountered frequent static, and although callers said they had little trouble hearing us, they could tell we were using a cell phone. The volume is sufficiently loud enough, however, to hold a conversation in a noisy environment. The speakerphone's volume is also sufficiently loud, though callers may have trouble hearing you unless the phone is close to your face.
As for battery life, we got 3 hours of talk time from the lithium-ion battery. That beat the rated time of 2.3 hours but was significantly less than what we're used to seeing from Nokia phones. We matched the rated standby time of seven days.