Nokia 6680, 6681: First look

David Polesnı, 21 February 2005. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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Tags: Nokia

February 14th was a great day both for mobile phones manufacturers and users. Most of the prestigious phone manufacturers presented several dozens of new mobile phones at the 3GSM congress at Cannes.

Nokia 6680 and 6681: smart mobiles, just as expected

There is no point in talking about the 6680 and 6681 models separately for they are nearly identical. The 6680 Nokia is a bit better equipped - it works pretty well in third-generation networks and hence has an extra VGA photo camera placed on its front side. As widely known, video talks are already a common feature of these nets.

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The new heroes presented next to each other

Regarding the specifics of these two phones, they are slightly different in terms of weight and height. However, without any measuring devices, one would hardly recognize the difference of not even three grams in the weight and some one millimeter in height. Although their size and weight are somewhat higher in comparison to other common phones, they perfectly fit into the extended family of smart mobile phones. Holding the phones is very comfortable - the slightly bigger size and weight of these phones being only an asset.

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Comparison with the 6630 model - the design is more traditional now

Nokia has confessed - even not directly - that apart from the praising coming form the fans and style users concerning its previous smart phones, it has also received a plenty of complaints. In particular, users, who are interested in phone's work features and functionality, and therefore expect a rather modest and representative design, which does not suppress functionality, happened not to accept the Nokia stylish cries ala Nokia 7610. Nokia has made an effort to satisfy this group of clients and has made a successful step with launching the 6680 and 6681 models. The telephone is easy to manage, it does not provoke unnecessarily, nor does it lose its unusual character, originality and a doze of peculiarity.

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Nokia 6680 with a front built-in camera • Nokia 6681 without 3G support

Even though the phones we obtained for a closer look were not final versions of the new model and they had by that moment happened to pass through plenty of journalist hands, the covers did not give out any irregular sound. The level of the mounting work was very good. What drew my attention were the metal elements - the side-stripes and the camera lens margin are made of stainless steel.

Handling, keypad

Judging from to the pictures I could guess the keypad would be configured in the mode of the 6670 model. And I was not mistaken. I found the same transparent plastic material, which is moreover quite hard and not too slippery. It gives a solid impression and the transparent keys are quite spectacular as far as the design is concerned.

The main control panel is a five-way navigation button. It is big enough, so one's thumb could easily lay into its slightly deepened hollow. One feels sure when managing the device, also due to the fact that the confirm-button does not tend to default aside. Compared to the 7610, 6670 and 6630 models, I consider the navigation button of the 6680/6681 the most comfortable of all. I felt to be a bit at a loss regarding the sideways context buttons. Why are they so unnecessarily big? Why not, though, at least this makes them easy to deal with.

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The keypad is well made, a disadvantage could be considered only the smallish functional keys in the right bottom corner

The chromium-plated functional keys placed on the sides of the numeral block, however, seemed to me relatively narrow. On the other side they are raised from the cover surface a bit, so I did not have a single problem when pressing them. An exception are the small correcting keys in the right bottom part of the keypad, which I had to always aim at very carefully. That holds true for the pressing of the C key, in particular, for I happened to often press the nearby key as well.

Thanks to the cascade-like configuration of the lines the numeral part is easily recognizable at a touch. I noticed a certain degree of resistance when pressing the keys, but this does not have an impact on their effortless functionality. They are big enough and provide a proper feedback supported by a muffled click. Only at pressing the key 2 I would sometimes brush against the down arrow of the navigating button.

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The cascade-like key configuration provides a better touch orientation

I noticed the lack of the volume buttons on the phone sides immediately. Instead, you will find the Push to talk button on the left side of the phone. It is relatively small and a bit hidden. Nevertheless it is easy to push for it is not so highly raised from the surface. I was given a similar impression by the turn-off button placed on the opposite side.

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Click to zoom. Nokia 6680, 6681, 6101 Click to zoom. Nokia 6680, 6681, 6101
The phone sides are decorated with metal stripes

On the right side, under the turn-off button there is a slot for the memory card. If you do not happen to have longer nails, your chances to open it will be miserable. It really is a hard thing to manage.

Click to zoom. Nokia 6680, 6681, 6101 Inserting the memory card, official photo

The last moveable item on the phone is its back cover. It has a shunting part, which covers the camera lens. It takes a certain effort to slide, but, on the other side, this does not allow the cover to spontaneously open itself. The cover does not resist at all and it is firmly mounted. An impressive design accessory is the small metal round sector with a Nokia logo, placed at the upper edge of the sliding cover. When the phone is opened it harmonizes with the frame of the camera lens. Next to the camera the flash diode can be found.

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Connector Pop-Port • upper part • open door of the memory card slot

262K colors but don't expect miracles

I was quite anxious to test the display. Will 262 thousand colors have an impact onto the image quality in comparison with the older Nokia models, which had 65 thousand colors? Fortunately, I had the opportunity to directly compare the new Nokia with the 6630 model. After a long investigation and examining I started considering a visit to the eye doctor's - why do I see nothing? I could not find any remarkable difference and my final evaluation was to a big extent based on my subjective feeling, which was in favor of the new model.

Note: A Nokia representative admitted that the bigger amount of colors is to attract more customers rather than improve the image quality of the display.

The future belongs to the photo mobiles

Nokia believes in the promising future of the camera phones and therefore has put more efforts into improving the picture quality and options. Due to that with the new 6680/6681 model we can finally set brightness levels or adjust the color balance when shooting. We are to count with further improving of the picture quality in the future, but we should expect no run after mega pixels, says Nokia. Its strategy lies in offering the customers the most faithful and best quality photographs a mobile phone is able to take. However, the 1.3 mega pixels resolution is to be kept.

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Camera lens is ingeniously hidden in the slide cover

Some testing photographs of 10x15 cm size were taken and then viewed in a Kodak photo lab to proof the quality level. Without going into details I have to confess was really pleased with the quality of the result. With some exceptions the focusing was satisfying as well as the colors. At a closer look, however, the insufficient amount of pixels was noticeable. Nevertheless, it was a practical illustration of the fact that shooting with such a mobile phone makes sense

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Back cover is easy to remove • a Bluetooth printing proof of our own

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Print presentation through a USB cable on various printers

Nokia went further and implemented the XpressPrint function in its new models. It allows for a direct picture printing from a connected printer. Moreover, you could print items from the address book as well as e-mails. By using Bluetooth or USB cable it is possible to send pictures to any printer, which has an implemented Pictbridge, and print them. In addition, Nokia is currently taking part in the construction of a net of self-service kiosks (in Kodak offices), which will allow for this type of printing. The option of sending pictures to the photo lab directly from a mobile phone by using mobile internet services is also expected to become possible in the future.

Sample pictures (full resolution)

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What's new in the menu?

Traditionally, there is little new in the offer of new smart mobile phones with Symbian Series 60. With some exceptions this holds true for the new 6680/6681 model, as well. There is one change, however, which will please the majority of the users. On the main display now you can see information similar to the "today screen" on the Microsoft Windows Mobile OS. It allows for an immediate overview of all news or events in the calendar. There is a line of functional icons, as well.

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Overview on the main display • review of several displays in the official pictures

We have also been offered an improved version of the email client, which - apart from its other functions - allows for automatic message downloading. For example, you can set an exact day and frequency of the email downloading. You can receive emails with attachments, which are possible to open right in the phone. It manages Office documents including PowerPoint as well as PDF formats, or even ZIP files. The multimedia formats JPEG, MP3, AAC or 3GP can also be opened of course.

In this phone you will also find a music files player, yet, not a radio. You can surf the net in WAP or through the fully equipped HTML browser. You will also dispose of a detailed address book, calendar and all other traditional functions. There is an additional option to work offline with a turned-off GSM module.

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Blue and white versions of the new Nokia 6681

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Color versions in the official photos

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The election of the color modes underlines the new 6680 model's exclusivity

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Color versions in the official photos

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