It may seem like Nokia has forgotten about its simpler handsets and focused on the feature-packed Nseries, but in actual fact it has been working hard to make sure the rest of the range doesn't go neglected. The Nokia 6233 is part of a very successful series of phones that started with the Nokia 6230, one of the company's most popular handsets, which was then followed by the equally favoured 6230i.
In terms of design, the 6233 is a classic Nokia phone with a simple candybar form factor. There's a stylish combination of curved edges and smooth surfaces, reminiscent of a glazed bun. The handset is completely black aside from a few silver details around the navigation button, sides and back of the phone, adding an elegant look.
The front section is glossy and features a colour screen and keypad. The screen measures 30mm by 40mm and displays 262,000 colours. The keypad underneath it is well laid out featuring large keys that are easy to press. The navigation button at the top is also very easy to operate -- it has a raised lip around the edges that guides your thumb around it and a separate 'OK' button in the middle.
On the top-right side of the phone there's a volume rocker that doubles up as a zoom button when you're using the 2-megapixel camera on the back. The camera doesn't feature a flash or LED photo light. Further down the right side of the phone there's a speaker, which, along with another identical one found on the other side of the phone, makes up part of an in-built stereo speaker system. At the bottom-right side of the phone is a dedicated shutter button, which automatically accesses the camera application when you press it.
On the top-left side of the handset there's a dedicated push-to-talk button, and at the bottom-left there's an expandable microSD slot with a small flap over it to protect it. The back of the phone is matte and minimalist, aside from the camera section, which is glossy like the front. At the bottom of the 6233 there's a charging port and a USB port that doubles up as the headphone port.
The Nokia 6233 runs on the Series 40 Third Edition user interface, making it most similar to the old style Nokia menus that kept things simple. For example, when you press the OK key in the centre of the navigation button, you go straight into the menu without the need to press a dedicated menu button like on the Nseries.
Indeed, using the 6233 is very straightforward and you don't get the feeling that Nokia has added anything unnecessary or overcomplicated. At the same time, you don't feel like it's particularly lacking in the features department.
It has Bluetooth, infrared and 3G connectivity. There's an FM radio and MP3 player that supports MP3, MP4, eAAC+ and AAC files, and a video player that supports 3GPP, H.263 video, MPEG-4 and AMR files. The stereo speakers mean you can annoy people on your bus ride home or, more sensibly, use the speakerphone mode when you're driving your car.
The expandable memory slot means you can add more memory if you choose to, and the 6233 comes bundled with a 64MB card. You'll also find a Web browser so you can check out your favourite WAP sites, but don't expect the same level of Web browsing as on an HTC TyTN. There's also an email client so you can access your SMTP, POP3 or IMAP4 email accounts at the press of a button.
Other features include polyphonic ringtones, a voice recorder, a notepad, a world clock, a currency converter, voice dialling and Java games and applications.
Our only niggle with the 6233's feature set is the 2-megapixel camera, which aside from not having any light source for low light shots, or autofocus, is a little lacklustre compared with the cameras on phones like the Sony Ericsson K800i or Nokia's own N73. Another camera related problem is that there's no VGA camera on the front, meaning that you can't see the person you're talking to while making video calls.
We're also disappointed that there's only 6MB of internal memory, which means most of the data has to be stored on the memory card and not on the handset.
The audio quality on calls is clear and we didn't experience any sound distortions or muffling during calls. We could hear people clearly and we could have a conversation without raising our voices.
The 2-megapixel camera performs as expected and while it's acceptable for MMS messages or wallpaper images, it really doesn't make a mark compared to higher resolution cameras that are starting to appear on other phones.
The battery life is quoted at 4 hours of talk time, or just over 3 hours if you're using 3G. Standby time is quoted at 340 hours.
Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Kate Macefield