CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. How we test phones

Nokia 6600 Fold review: Nokia 6600 Fold

It's been a long time since we last saw a Nokia that failed to do the basics well, but the 6600 Fold fits this description. It looks great but, with poor call quality, the Fold is a dismal under-achiever.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
3 min read

When this reviewer was a young boy he owned a pop-up watch, a plastic wrist watch with a spring-loaded screen that was released by pressing a button on the side. His favourite time of day was the when someone asked him for the time, giving him an opportunity to show off his cool low-tech gadget. So as a disclaimer, this reviewer has a strong bias towards any product that snaps open at the press of a button, like switchblades and Nokia's 6600 Fold.


Nokia 6600 Fold

The Good

Sleek design. Metal construction. One-touch flip open. 512MB included memory.

The Bad

Poor call quality. Secondary display not visible in sunlight. No external volume controls. 2-megapixel camera is woeful.

The Bottom Line

It's been a long time since we last saw a Nokia that failed to do the basics well, but the 6600 Fold fits this description. It looks great but, with poor call quality, the Fold is a dismal under-achiever.

There's no denying that Nokia's 6600 Fold is eye-catching. Its glossy metal surface and two-tone colouring are bound to stand out on the wall of a mobile phone store amongst the masses of cloned black-plastic handsets. Our review unit featured Nokia's "sophisticated purple" colour scheme, the front of the phone appearing like petrol floating on water with a dark, almost-black purple running through from rose to silver. The plastic elements of the handset, the battery cover and the areas surrounding the screen and the keypad, are coloured in a rich, chocolate-like mauve.

Unlike many flip phones, the Fold is spring loaded and held in place by magnets. On the left side is a 'one-touch' opening key that disengages the magnets and flings the top half of the phone upwards. As ridiculous as this sounds there is something genuinely satisfying about answering a call this way.

The internal QVGA OLED display is excellent, with strong contrast and sharp rendering of the menus. On the outside, concealed under the top half of the flip Nokia have included a secondary display for showing the time and a few key notices such as unread messages. This screen remains unseen until you double-tap on the lid to activate it. It is a very classy touch but we have noticed it is completely invisible when viewed under sunlight.

The numeric keypad is usable without being outstanding; its flat, shapeless design is easier to navigate than those on other recent Nokias, particularly the N96. Like its 6600 sibling, the Slide, the Fold features a front-facing camera for 3G video-calling, and a rear-mounted 2-megapixel camera with an LED flash.

The 6600 is primarily a fashion phone, and so it does without the laundry-list of features of some of the 'smartphones' we've seen recently. The Fold is a 3G handset and comes with the Opera Mini web browser pre-installed, but its design certainly doesn't suggest a a strong mobile web browsing experience. Wi-fi browsing is sadly not available.

Strangely, the Fold comes with Nokia Maps installed, but doesn't have a GPS receiver onboard. The Maps can be used to browse locations without navigation, or the Fold can connect to an external GPS receiver via Bluetooth if you decide you want directions later.

With its slick design and short-list of features, the 6600 Fold is trading on basic phone functionality, and being a Nokia we expected a high quality of calling and messaging. We were wrong.

Firstly, the Fold's call quality is below par. People we have spoken with seem to hear us fine, but the earpiece speaker is too quiet and bassy to be clearly audible. Also, and this seems very strange, there is no in-call volume control on the phone. The only external key is the one-touch flip button, so as we struggled to listen to our conversations we had no way to adjust the audio. Under the in-call menu we found a 'voice clarity' option, and while this helps a little, activating this acted like a gain boost and produced an element of quiet static. We struggled to make calls in quiet rooms, let alone on busy streets where we found calling was nearly impossible.

We were also disappointed with the quality of pictures taken by the onboard camera. In truth, we weren't expecting much from the 2-megapixel shooter, but even these meagre hopes were dashed by uniformly dreadful images. In all of the pics we took we saw over-saturated colours, loads of noise, and jagged edges, and the lack of auto-focus ruined at least half of the photos.

Nokia's 6600 Fold is a lesson in never trusting first impressions. It's a tidy package, and we love the one-touch opening mechanism, but its below average performance and keypad make it very difficult to recommend. It is one of the more attractive handsets we've seen lately, and for some people that might be enough to overlook its various shortcomings.