Nokia 6280 review: High-class slider

Marek Lutonskύ, 05 March 2006. Read the original review at
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Tags: Nokia, S40, MobilMania

Display and keypad: no trade-offs

Pros: extremely fine display • good keypad

Cons: no timing option for backlighting • display is not protected • display makes writing somewhat uncomfortable when slid out

As a matter of fact, we have rarely had the chance to write about Nokia displays as of brilliant ones. It took a long time before Nokia discovered the TFT technology, while the era of the small displays with low resolution seemed never-ending. Let's hope that it won't be back anymore and that the QVGA (240 x 320 pixels) resolution will be adopted as a standard one.

To my opinion, any higher resolution in a common mobile phone is rather senseless as handset displays can hardly ever be bigger than 34 x 45 mm. In reality, any resolution higher than 5000 pixels on a cm2 is virtually imperceptible for the human eye anyway. Things look different in the case of smartphones and communicators where manufacturers could still consider implying VGA.

Nokia 6280 features a TFT display with 262K colors. The latter is very bright and does not loose any of its image characteristics when looked under sharp angles. It is visible in daylight as long as you do not try to reflect the sun in it. In this sense, it is quite a pity that the display of Nokia 6280 is not protected at all. Let's hope that the lug mounted below it may help. Unfortunately, the phone does not allow for setting up the duration of the backlighting, which is very short - approximately 10 seconds. In practice, 10 seconds are not sufficient to even read a longer message and it is necessary to press a random key so that the display lights up again.

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Keypad is comfortable. The bottom edge of the slid display feels somewhat unhandy

Keypad is good. Its keys are reasonably big and evenly distributed. You will also need to get used to working with the sliding display. I do not have any major remarks though. The keypad is back-lighted in white color, which goes weaker the more you move towards the bottom key line. It does not go out completely though...

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Keypad backlighting

Camera and video: the first phone to have video in 640 x 480

Pros: 2 megapixel resolution • landscape camera mode with a view finder across the entire screen • high quality • video resolution of 640 x 480 pixels

Cons: limited setup options • lower quality pictures in comparison with other 2 megapixel camera phones • extremely bad macro mode • low video frame rate

Nokia 6280 is a 2 megapixel photo mobile phone, working in a resolution of 1600 x 1200. You can also choose among other 4 lower resolution options. There are three quality options available. You may want to get an additional memory card as pictures taken in highest resolution may result to be bigger than 0.5 MB. The internal memory fills in just a few pictures.

Pictures are taken while holding the phone horizontally. I myself would use the main button more frequently than the rigid release button located on one of the sides of the phone. The first picture is exposed within approximately 3.32 s.

Nokia 6280's camera features new interface. Images are displayed across the entire screen.

All respective symbols and menu legends are visualized in the corners. If you decide to use zoom in your pictures, bear in mind that the digital zoom just makes crops from the full resolution. It is regrettable that Nokia 6180 does not offer user control for exposure compensation. For this function is extremely helpful every time a scene with proportion between lights and shades other than ideal is captured. Even though Nokia 6280 automatically adjusts pictures once they have been taken, this option cannot compensate manual exposure control.

Landscape mode: camera interface • settings (click on image to maximize) 

Btw, Nokia 6280's menu does not offer almost any setup options. The phone is equipped with a night mode, based on longer exposition, a LED flash to be activated in worse light conditions, a self-release button, and - newly - with a continuous shooting option. The rest of the options are not worth special attention. And that is all. Just consider - there is no option for user setup of the white balance, for example.


Nokia 6280 is one of the best camera phones on the current market (in competition with more than 80 other models). If we compare it with top-class phones equipped with 2 megapixel camera, however, it will not do so well. Nokia 6280 takes good, but much too sharp pictures. Besides, they get "crippled" by excessive compression, which deforms each edge and detail. And the macro mode is truly bad. Do not ever think of capturing text with Nokia 6280.

Video application is significantly better, mainly because of the excellent resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, which is an exclusive priority of Nokia 6280 and is not to be found in any other camera phone on the current market. Of course, one can always require more as far as image quality and frame frequency are concerned, but with Nokia 6180 it is finally possible to watch video with pleasure. The length of videos depends on free memory available at the moment of shooting, so the phone allows for truly long records. Each minute of video shot in highest quality mode eats about 15MB.

Sample photos

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Pictures taken outside are good. Any worsening of the light conditions makes the quality worse

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Zoom: the big picture is reduced to a cut

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Bad macro mode 

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Picture taking in night conditions: standard mode • night mode • standard mode with flash LED

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Night pictures: standard mode • night mode • standard mode once again (it is obvious that Nokia balances the white shade of the color spectrum in accordance with the corresponding plot, because in this particular case lighting in all three pictures was the same)

Saved pictures can be browsed in the gallery. If you hold the handset in a vertical position, pictures are displayed in a smaller size. However, you may want to see your pictures in full screen. If so, simply switch the display mode to landscape. The phone offers an automatic slide-show too. Pictures can be modified by a non-sophisticated editor and after that a print order can be given straight from the phone.

Pictures in the gallery • full-screen view • print option 

Tip: Look at the picture comparison of three 2 megapixel camera phones

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