The phone is equipped with two brilliant displays. The main one features a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels on a surface of 34 x 44 m and a color scale including 16 millions color nuances. As you can suppose, it is an active TFT display.
The external display is even more interesting because, unlike other manufacturers, here Nokia has not been thrifty at all. The external display is also a TFT active one. It offers a resolution of 128 x 160 pixels on a surface of 21 x 27 mm, which is a combination that guarantees an incomparable detailed visualization. The external display shows 262K colors.
Nokia deserves a compliment for having made a full use of the external display. In many other clamshell phones the external display is usually looked upon as a rather decorative element, with practical application being more or less a marginal feature. In Nokia 6131 its potential has been put to good use. The external display is comfortably legible even when not illuminated, which means that no missed call or received message remains unnoticed. When in stand-by mode, the display shows time, carrier name, profile name, a bar with state icons and signal & battery indicators. When music is being played, the display shows the name of the current song. When the phone is ringing, caller's picture (of course, if such has been assigned to the respective contact) appears in full-screen mode as well as their name and number. Feel free to place a favorite picture as background.
External display on stand-by • Unsuitable wallpaper may make reading difficult • ringing profile is selected on the smaller display using the On/Off button
Minimized MP3 player • setting volume levels • Jitulka was calling... • ... but I did not pick up
The only element I see in need of further improvement is the screensaver mode, which gets activated after a minute or so of display inactivity. It shows a digital clock and/or icons of missed events. I would have appreciated a larger font and bigger icons here. Even though the display turns black & white in energy-saving mode, it is perfectly legible, even when non-illuminated. The drawback is that you need to look at it from a close distance as the small font is difficult to read.
Clamshell constructions are one of Nokia's strengths. The 6131 model is no exception to the rule. The top part features a large display, while the bottom one is occupied by a spacious keypad with big keys.
Keys distribution is standard. The four-way navigation key with its confirming central area is surrounded by four functional keys: two context ones, and the classical green and red receivers. The navigation key has been elaborated very well. Its chromium-plated frame stands out above the surrounding surface making touch orientation smooth and easy. The oval middle area of the control key is no harder to control either. Functional keys are not physically separated, but they are large enough not to complicate finger control.
The numeric part of the keypad constitutes of large keys with slight plastic projection. They have a soft, sure, all in all excellent reaction. Keys legends are illuminated in white; backlight intensity is optimal.
Let me now pass from compliments to critics, the latter being directed mainly at the battery durability. If the device is not switched off at night, the battery needs charging every second day. In my case I would spend daily about 15 minutes in talking, I write a few messages, connect to Internet, listen to music for about half an hour, activate Bluetooth and synchronize twice.
Nokia 6131's interface is identical to the interface applied in the slider Nokia 6280, which has a similar display and also features a last-generation Series 40 platform. That is why I am going to use several paragraphs from the original review of Nokia 6280.
The main menu can be organized in four different ways, of which the most interesting is the one including the active stand-by mode, where all favorite applications' icons, music functions, upcoming events from the calendar, and notes appear on the display. Press the vertical ways of the navigation key to roll into visualized items and access fast your favorite functions, the MP3 player, the radio or the calendar (both ways could be assigned a different configuration too).
The icon bar with legend is fully user-configurable. Preferred functions could also be grouped into a standard "Go to" menu or assigned to the four ways of the navigation key and the context keys beneath the display. Additionally, Nokia 6131 is equipped with a voice recognition system and thus allows for assigning voice orders to particular functions without having to provide preliminary records of function names. To activate the voice system press down the button located in the bottom of the left phone side.
Let's now get back to the main display. The active stand-by mode is practical, but has one crucial drawback: the font has a white contour in order to be visible regardless to background, but at the same time this makes it difficult to read. To my opinion, framing is not that necessary since font color is user-configurable. I eventually managed to get used to Nokia 6131's visualization, so I left the active stand-by function on.
If you do not like it, stick to the standard display, which shows a clock, the operator name, the active profile, and the icon bar. In its very bottom you will see the names of the functions assigned to context keys. You may also want to place a cross with the icons of the functions assigned to the fours ways of the navigation key in the middle of the display. Customizng the menu with graphic themes is of course available. Nokia 6131 offers 7 graphic themes. Additional ones can be downloaded from the Internet.
Font size is subject of configuration. Inside the phonebook there are two font options, while in the message application and the Internet browser you can choose out of three. The largest font is truly large; on the other hand the smallest one permits you to see an entire SMS en bloc.
As you can see, Nokia 6131 is perfectly user-configurable including the structure of the main menu, which can be organized in four ways: as a list, as a table, as a table with legends, and as horizontal tabs. The second option, a plain table without legends, permits the visualization of 12 icons en bloc, and is probably the most space-saving one. Icons can be additionally modified, just like in any other of the other three options. The icons in the main menu are elaborated well, but loose details and sharpness when they are about to get animated.
Nokia 6131 is an exceptionally fast device. Reactions are instant. What's more, you can switch it on without having to insert a SIM card. If you do so, you will be able to use all functions not requiring the presence of a SIM card, like the MP3 player, for example.