Nokia 6170 review: A new generation clamshell

Marek Lutonský, 07 October 2004. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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Tags: Nokia, S40

What's the golden contact for?

On the left side of the phone there are two buttons for volume control and voice dialing. On the right there is a switch button and push to talk service activation button. The infrared port is hidden between them.

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Buttons on the left and on the right side (an infrared port inbetween)

Nokia is using a normal Li-Ion BL-4C battery with capacity of 760 mAh. Producer claims that it should last for up to 270 hours on standby, eventually 240 minutes of speech. I found one interesting thing after removing the back cover: a golden contact in the upper part, which is touching the metal sheet of the cover. I have only one idea what is the purpose of the golden contact is - it's the "extension" of the antenna, which can't otherwise touch the metal cover. Update 24 Jan 2005 - The purpose of this part is to ensure a tight fit of battery cover towards the lower block cover.

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After you click on the picture, take notice of the golden spike in the upper part of the phone • frame of the cover is plastic, but covered by a metal label • there is a visible strap slot in the corner

An eye for a wrist strap is partially hidden under the cover; we can only see a hole in the upper part, right beside the solid hinge. The hinge looks to be made of plastic but there could be a metal axis inside. To increase solidity of the construction the hinge is divided in five parts. Both side positions are secured by a spring; the user has to overcome the power of the spring if he would like to open the phone. With some effort it's possible to open the phone just by one hand but it's more comfortable by using both hands. Pop-Port connector is placed in the bottom part and we can find the charger slot right beside it.

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Details of the hinge, connecting both parts of the clamshell

A really large display

As for outer metal labels Nokia has chosen semi matte appearance, inner metalized surfaces are shiny; therefore fingerprints remain on them. It's concerning the filling around the display and around the keypad - silver plastic decorated with small black dots.

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Inner surfaces of the phone are plastic; but again decorated with dots

The first Nokia clamshell phone, 7200, was criticize for its small display - and fair - for a square with resolution of 128 x 128 is really not enough for this kind of phone. The new Nokia 6170 is featuring a bigger display, which we've seen for the first time (and for the last time so far) with the eccentric 7600 3G phone. The display size is 31 x 39 mm, it's active and with resolution of 128 x 160 pixels it displays 65K colors. Although there are phones with bigger and finer displays, we can't reproach Nokia; its display is of high quality now. Just to get it in a model with Nokia 6230 style...

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Main display

The new display comes with an innovated graphical interface. It derives from new Series 40 models but it can furnish more information arranged in a different way. In the main menu you can choose between icons matrix style and a text list with pictures (four items per page). Next menu levels are in text form only.


Main menu in a list and matrix form • text form in the next level

As with mini display, you can also choose a color wallpaper (can be animated), screensaver and time lag also for the main display. It's also possible to change the environment color. But similarly as with i.e. Nokia 6230 it's not suitable to use too dark pictures otherwise you won't see the text on the display. When receiving incoming calls the background gets much lighter and the number or the name of the caller is well visible.


Various color wallpapers • font remains the same and unfortunately it's not visible on dark pictures

An innovation I haven't seen with previous Nokia models is the support of graphical themes. It's a package (file with NTH extension), in which wallpaper for mini and main displays and ringing tone are packed. All these details can be applied at once.


NTH files with the graphical themes • packages content

Strictly rectangular keypad

The Nokia 6170 keypad is of rectangle form and all numeric keys have the same size. They are really large, each of them has size of 11 x 9 mm, but they are placed without marked borders to help better orientation. I would appreciate more noticeable feeling by pressing. Anyway, the keys are very accurate.

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Keypad is nearly flat

The functional part of the keypad follows the typical order: four-directional button with a confirmation key in the middle, keys with green and red phone, two function keys. Keys with phone and the function keys are put together on a common double key.

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Main control button • the keys are really large

Functions are assigned to all four directions of the control button with no possibility to change them. Address book, messages editor and camera are functions that we already know but Push to talk groups on the right arrow are something new - with some previous models it was the calendar. It's possible to assign one of twelve functions to the right function key under the display, the left one runs Go to user menu and you can choose from thirty-seven functions.

Keys are distinctly illuminated in blue. Illumination of keypad edges looks also very attractive.

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Display and keypad illumination

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