Nokia 6101 review: The Asian way

David Polesnύ, 19 June 2005. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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Tags: Nokia

That's the type of keypad we have longed for

Silver-black atmosphere reigns inside the device. The big display mounted in the phone's top part is imbedded into a silver surface surrounded by a black frame. Even more interesting is the keypad in the phone's bottom part, and particularly its functional block. All four standard functional keys have been united to create a compact frame surrounding the control button. In order to create yourself a better idea of the design effect reached by using a suitable combination of silver and black color tones, please see the following pictures.

Nokia 6101. Click to zoom Nokia 6101. Click to zoom Nokia 6101. Click to zoom
Keypad is brilliant in terms of both design and functional equipment

Despite the designers' non-traditional solution, all functional keys are easy to access and are operated with absolute certainty. Pressing is low, its contra reaction is reasonable. Fortunately, the typical clicks are not so loud to disturb the ones around. The same holds true for the keys of the numeric part of the keypad. Thanks to their size and slight embossment the risk of error pressing is extremely low.

What is praiseworthy indeed is the four-way control button with its central confirming part. It is not only big enough, but also all four ways are easily and unmistakably selected even if your thumb is not one the smallest. The central confirming button is slightly punched out, which facilitates its pressing. The only thing the confirming button lacks is sufficient backlighting. The rest of the keys are enlightened in rich blue.

Nokia 6101. Click to zoom Nokia 6101. Click to zoom Nokia 6101. Click to zoom Nokia 6101. Click to zoom
Keys are slightly bulged • backlighting is blue, but is missing under the area of the control button

The keypad of Nokia 6101 is one of the best I have ever held in my hand. I did not even need time to become used to writing SMS for with this phone it turned to be an easy and high-speed activity.

A right clamshell has two displays

Nokia 6101 has two color displays, which seem to be utterly identical with those of the 6170 and 7270 models. This means the outer one is passive and able to show 4K colors in a resolution of 96 Χ 65 pixels. The inside display is of a notably higher quality, offering a resolution of 128 Χ 160 pixels, a support of 65K colors and the TFT technology.

Nokia 6101. Click to zoom Nokia 6101. Click to zoom Nokia 6101. Click to zoom
Main menu in an off mode... • ... in an on mode, under a strong stream of light... •
...and in the dark, when its quality can be enjoyed the best

The outer display alerts you about all missed events. Praiseworthy is also the fact that it never goes out completely. After a certain period of inactivity a clock, which is clearly readable even without the help of the back lights, shows up. Somewhat worse is the situation with reading the display at a direct daylight.

Feel free to place any kind of wallpaper or screen saver on the display. What's more, you can pick up a color scheme at your will. The font however stays always black. I do not know what lead Nokia to designing the numbers, which show the time, in a way that they reach the upper margin of the display when the latter is lid up. It looks very unaesthetic.

Nokia 6101. Click to zoom Nokia 6101. Click to zoom
A daylight view at the outer display with the clock... • ...a night mode view at the same display

As expected, the outer display shows the name of the caller as well as mini images. It also works as a view finder when the process of creating self-portraits is on.


Different types of background of the outer display (the background displayed in the last picture includes an alternation of the color of the state indicators)


Sample views at the outer display

No more boring grayness

The way data are arranged on the inside display has remained unchanged and is identical to the one of the rest of Nokia models. The phone offers an interesting option for setting the font color of the characters on the stand-by display. Such an option is still offered by very few Nokia mobile phones. Most mobile phones of the Series 40 do not offer a dark background option for the display for the font used on it is almost always black.


Main menu with various types of background and font color • there are plenty of colors to choose from

There are several changes waiting for you in the menu, as well. Once again, following the example of Nokia 6230i, menu's icons are colored and cutely animated. Still, they are quite far from the coloring books typical for most Samsung mobiles, for example. There are two menus to choose between: the classic matrix menu or the line menu with smaller icons. To quicken your selection, use the numeric option for choosing the right item.


Main menu with various graphic themes

The most frequently used functions can be sorted into a list that is accessible by pressing the left context key. As for the right context key as well as all the ways of the control key, it is up to you to decide which functions they will be assigned. For the most frequently used functions the phone offers the voice control of numerous functions option, which is very helpful if you spend a lot of time driving.

Surprisingly, when I got into deeper levels of the menu I found not only the text legends of the items, but a graphic icon at the beginning of each line, as well. Although this element looks nice, apparently it is also the main cause of the notable slow-down of the phone (when compared to its less colorful forerunners). Nokia 6101 offers an option for changing the color of the menu as well as several schemes for a short-cut change of the current wallpaper, screen saver and melody.


The icons from the main menu are to be found in deeper levels too • take the chance to choose your menu color at your will

Phone calls and phonebook

One of the lures of the new Nokia is the option for creating ringing melodies in a MP3 format. As a result, the 24-voice polyphonic melodies become somewhat marginal. Unfortunately, the quality of the sound performance is lamentable. Not only does the sound lack the bass element, but the heights are much distorted. When the volume is set at its maximum, listening becomes extremely unpleasant, not to say annoying, with the speaker giving out shrill croaky sounds. There is no doubt the quality of the sound depends on the type of music that is being listened to. Yet, even rock fans will be left disappointed for the sound of the electric guitars performed by Nokia 6101 is murderous for one's ears.

The lack of the bass elements can be noticed during any loud playing. As for pronounced words alone, they are easy to hear even at the highest volume levels. The sound performance of the ear-phones is much better and can be hardly pointed out for something.

When the phone is ringing you can turn down the conversation sound by pressing one of the volume buttons on the phone's sides. To deny a call you will need to open the phone and quickly press the red button. The obligatory opening of the device is also the reason any phone call to be received with a delay of approximately two seconds.

The phonebook takes in up to 500 names, each of which can be assigned 5 types of phone numbers, an identification for the Push to talk function, an email, a web and a street address, a note or a picture. A matter of course are the options for sorting all contacts into groups, for searching the contact list by gradual entering the initial letters of each name, for a quick choice and voice dialing. It is not possible to assign melodies to individual names. This option is reserved for organized groups of contacts only.


Phonebook • view at a name with an attached picture • searching in the phonebook • view at a contact details

The phonebook itself can show all contacts available at a time, no matter whether they were saved in the phone or on the SIM card, or display them separately. You can choose out of 4 types of presentation: a standard list of names distributed on 6 lines, a list with numbers or pictures on 3 lines and a list displayed in a bigger font created with the objective of simplifying the work of users with sight difficulties.


Records, which can be assigned to a name • sorting into groups, a quick choice option and voice dialing are also present in the menu • a picture show up when a call is coming in

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