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Nokia 6600 smart phone

Time to ditch your PDA?

Yes, the 6600's second major flaw is its poor battery life. The colour screen's backlight gobbles up power, as does Bluetooth and the handset's processor. The backlight quickly fades to save power, but sometimes does so too quickly, usually, forcing you to keep pressing buttons in order to see whether all your email has downloaded yet, for example. Nokia should make the fade time user-definable.

With everything turned off, and keeping my calls brief, we managed to get two working days' worth of charge out the battery. By contrast, my old Nokia 6310i goes seems to go on forever and the screen is clear even when the backlight's off. The P900 ran for a lot longer, I found.

I've seen better results quoted for the 6600's 850mAh power supply, and it has to be said that the review model I tried had at least one previous user who may not have performed the obligatory 16-hour first charge. Even taking that into account, the handset doesn't strike us as a long runner. Nokia quotes two to four hours' talk time and 150-250 hours on standby.

The 6600 ships with a reasonable 6MB of on-board memory, backed by a memory card slot containing a 32MB card - an old-style MMC job, you'll note, not an SD. Fortunately, the 6MB proved sufficient for our hefty contacts book, which was just as well since 19MB of the memory card were used up already. Much of that is held in a hidden System directory, which holds many of the phone's apps - the very ones you can't delete. Popping the card into my Palm allowed me to remove them, freeing up memory card space and ridding the 6600 of all those unwanted demo apps.


The Nokia 6600 is one of the best attempts I've seen to bring together the ease of use of a mobile phone with the display and memory requirements of a PDA. It's comfortable to use as a handset, yet provides enough screen real estate to operate as a mobile personal data carrier. The screen itself looks great, and once again shows how good Nokia's Series 60 UI is.

For some, all that might be recommendation enough. For others, the design of the keypad along with that type of input device's inherent unsuitability for email work will count against it. For us, the relatively poor battery life was the barrier. If Nokia can crack that and the speed issue - though, as I said, the two are intimately related - it will have a winner on its hands. It needs to redesign the keypad too.

Nokia 6600
Rating 75%
Pros — Big enough screen for email, PIM applications
— Comfortable to use as a phone
— Five-way joystick navigator
Cons — Weak battery
— It's slow
— Keypad fiddly to use
More info The Nokia 6600 web site

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