It's not often that you see a CDMA Nokia phone. As a European company, it makes perfect sense that Nokia concentrates on GSM and its variants, which might be why Nokia's CDMA strategy has always been hard to follow. Take, for example, the Nokia Mirage 2605 for Verizon Wireless. Not only is its call quality barely passable, but the Mirage also has a flimsy design and a low-resolution VGA camera. Of course, we get the need for a simple phone for making calls, but we don't think that the Nokia Mirage is it. Rather, if you need just a basic phone and can do without the camera, try the Samsung Knack, instead. The Mirage is $49 with service.
In a durable-phone contest, the Mirage 2605 would probably come last (or at least close to last). Indeed, within the first 5 minutes of getting it out of the box, we broke one of the replaceable "Xpress-on snaps." Though they're meant to offer a token amount of personalization, the snaps are nothing more than tiny plastic rectangles that cover a space around the camera lens, plus a similar area on the battery cover. The Mirage comes with silver snaps installed but snaps in a blue camouflage design are included in the box. Not only are they gimmicky, but the snaps are much too flimsy. We broke one of the silver snaps when we tried to take it off.
Unfortunately, the phone's overall construction is about the same. The plastic skin feels cheap in the hand, and we were terrified about dropping it on a hard surface. The phone is compact (3.29 inches by 2.33 inches by 1.65 inch) but it is almost too light (2.33 ounces) in the hand. The hinge is pretty solid, but we still weren't impressed.
The postage stamp external display supports 65,000 colors (128x128 pixels). It shows the date, time, battery life, signal strength, and photo caller ID. The volume rocker, Micro-USB/charger port and 2.5mm headset jack sit on the left spine, while a voice-dialing control and a tiny speaker sit on the right spine. The controls are easy to use, but the USB port's cover is flimsy. Also, we'd prefer a 3.5mm headset jack.
The internal display measures 2 inches diagonally. It's a bit small for the phone's size, but it displays 262,000 colors. You can change the backlighting time, the dialing font size, and the clock format. The display is relatively bright and vibrant--not the greatest we've seen but perfectly fine for a phone of this caliber. You can choose from three menu designs, all of which are relatively intuitive.
The navigation array consists of a four-way toggle with a central OK button, two soft keys, a speakerphone control, a camera shortcut, a clear key, and the Talk and End/power buttons. The array is spacious, but the keys are flat and rather slippery. You can set the toggle to act as a shortcut to four user-defined functions.
The backlit keypad is spacious with large numbers, but the keys are flush and have a cheap feeling when pressed. We didn't have any problems when dialing or texting during our review period, but we'd worry about the keypad's long-term durability.
The Mirage has a 500-contact phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers and two e-mail addresses. You can save callers to groups and pair them with a photos and one of 11 polyphonic ringtones.
Other essentials include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a calculator, a calendar, an alarm clock, a stopwatch, a world clock, and a notepad. You'll also find Bluetooth, voice commands and dialing, Web-based e-mail, instant messaging, and support for Verizon's VZ Navigator GPS service.
The VGA camera takes pictures in three resolutions (640x480, 320x240, and 160x120). Other editing options include a self-timer, adjustable white balance and brightness settings, five color effects and three shutter sounds, plus a silent option. There's no flash, which is typical for a VGA camera phone, and you should be able to use the silver snap as a self-portrait mirror. The Mirage doesn't record video, and user-accessible memory is limited to 18MB.
You can personalize the Mirage with a variety of wallpaper, display themes, and banners. You can download more options with the WAP 2.0 Web browser. The Mirage doesn't offer any games but gamers can buy titles from Verizon.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900; 1xRTT) Nokia Mirage 2605 in San Francisco using Verizon service. Call quality was just passable. Though the volume was loud and the signal was clear, some of our callers had an echoed effect. It didn't ruin our conversations completely, but it was distracting when it was there.
On their end callers weren't impressed either. They could hear and understand us, but most of our friends said the Mirage picked up a lot of background noise. Indeed, holding a conversation was difficult when we were in noisy situations. The voice dialing performed well and automated calling systems could hear us, but the speakerphone was almost unusable. Not only was the volume rather low, but also the echoed effect was more prominent.
The Mirage has a rated battery life of 3.5 hours talk time and 10 days standby time. Our tests revealed a longer talk time of 5 hours and 4 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Mirage has a digital