Nokia 6681 review: Extra style
Nokia 6681 has a perfect keypad. The keys are solid, with an optimal uplift and superb response when writing. The central four-way button is precise - not even once did I happen to mistake it for one of the four individual ways. This time Nokia has not hidden any keys into the corners, nor has it made experiments with the design of the keypad. An exception is the sagging of the lines with number keys.
Keys backlighting is not the best. Even though all legends are nicely clear-cut, the light of the white diodes comes out through the keys' plastic material and the effect does not look good at all. Keypad is locked in a standard manner; the phone asks you to insert a protection code every time you unlock the keypad.
On the right side part of the phone is the switch off button pooled with a selector of the ringing profiles. On the opposite side you will find a button for activating the voice control (in a stand-by mode) and a loud handsfree (during a phone call). The first one also serves the Push to talk function control. As this button is placed right opposite the switch-off button, while using the Push to talk of Nokia 6630 I repeatedly switched off the device with my other finger, which was going the direction opposite to the one of the pressing. The switch-off button also gets you to the offline mode, with transmitting part offline.
Under the slot mounted at the top side of the phone there is a hidden loud speaker; the eyelet next to it is made for a wrist strip. One strip for hanging the phone on your hand is to be found in the delivery box. I had it mounted to the phone for a while, but could not stand the way its silver ball kept hitting against the body of the phone. In the bottom part of the mobile is the Pop-Port connector and the outlet for plugging the charger. In the box you will also find a USB cable, which connects the phone to the computer. Nokia has left the infrared port out again.
Nokia has added a USB reader
On its right side Nokia 6681 has a special tiny door, which covers the slot for the memory card. When you open the metal plate, the phone understands you want to remove the card and closes all applications so you do not loose your data. Nokia 6681 uses the RS-MMC type of memory cards and - once again - the Dual Voltage type only. The phone can not work with common cards.
The phone's package contains a 64 MB memory card. It is delivered with an adapter, so that it can be used in readers designed for the standard MMC format. One such reader for a USB port is to be found in the delivery box.
The lens of the built-in camera is mounted under the sliding plate on the back cover and is surrounded by a glossy silver plate. On its right side there is a flash.
Nokia 6681 uses the same Lithium-Ion battery as the rest of the current phones of Series 60. A one-shot charging, which takes approximately hour and a half, is said to make it through up to 264 hours in a stand-by mode or 180 minutes of phone calls. I assume in reality these numbers will be somewhat different and will vary according to the purpose the mobile is used for. I believe you will not have to charge the phone daily; on the other hand, it will hardly make it for more than three days.
It freezes now and then…
Nokia 6681 is as fast as the forerunning 6630 model or the current 6680 one. From time to time I hear rumors claiming that the new device is equipped with a slower processor, but it is not true, the CPU ARM5 runs at 220 MHz. Although, according to Nokia's official statements, the phone has 8 MB of shared memory, the version we were testing showed 9.1 MB. Nokia did not give away any details about the RAM size; the TaskSpy program indicates about 7.5 MB.
I would rather leave the stability issue open-ended… During the tests the phone froze several times: once, while connecting to the Bluetooth handsfree, with which it would otherwise work very well, and twice, while working with graphic themes. It would also freeze at the start, but that problem was caused by an application I had previously installed.
As for the user environment, I did not find any other differences between Nokia 6681 and the older Nokia models, but the Today screen on the main display and the different graphic themes. The main menu consists of icons, as usual. They are organized in a 3 × 3 square. Icons' order can be freely modified; the icons themselves are possible to organize into folders.
Camera speed: typical for a digital camera
Apparently, the optical characteristics of the camera are identical with the ones of Nokia 6630. The only thing that has been slightly changed is the control software. The new model takes pictures in a resolution of 1280 × 960 pixels (1.23 MP). Best quality pictures, which are taken in the highest resolution possible, use about 350 KB. They files also contain an EXIF header, which contains details about the exposure.
Nokia 6681 is a brilliant photo mobile phone. Its one and only competitor at the moment is Sony Ericsson S700i. The same is true for the 6630 model. The pictures it makes are far from ideal. Nevertheless, you could obtains some surprisingly high-quality ones, provided the light conditions are good.
I appreciate camera's speed, as well. Using the measuring methods of DigiFoto magazine I checked phone's response time in several different situations. For the purpose, I set up the maximum resolution possible as well as the highest quality level.
- First picture (from removing the lens cover to the moment of taking the first picture): 2.67 s
- Response time after pressing the shutter: 0.29 s
- Shot to shot time (with a preview of the previous picture being on): 3.34 s
- Shot to shot time (without previewing the previous one): 0.80 s
- Continuous shooting: 0.49 s between two individual pictures (2.02 pictures per second, max. 6 in a line)
As you can see, some digital cameras could begrudge such response times. We are going to regularly make similar tests with newly launched photo mobiles and compare them afterwards.