A clamshell phone is something of a rarity from Nokia, so it's interesting to see the 6650 sporting a design that's not a million miles away from that of Motorola's Razr range. Some of Nokia's previous clamshell offerings, such as the N76, have been rather clumsy affairs, but with slimmer styling and onboard GPS, the 6650 looks to be a much more tempting proposition. It's currently exclusive to T-Mobile and available for free on most contracts.
There's no mistaking where the inspiration for the design of the 6650 came from. The phone looks so similar to the Razr you'd be forgiven for mumbling "knockoff" under your breath when you clap eyes on it. The 6650 may be slightly thicker than most of Moto's Razr models, but its metallic finish is very similar and when you flick it open it even has the same distinctive lip jutting out at the bottom of the keypad. Nokia's designers have added some of their own touches, however. One of the coolest is the keypad backlight, which can be changed between seven different colours, ranging from ruby red to sophisticated teal.
Because the 6650 runs Nokia's Series 60 operating system, you get plenty of applications, including RealPlayer for watching video files and Nokia's Flash Player for viewing Flash files. The phone supports HSDPA and can cope with download speeds of up to 3.6Mbps. It certainly feels very nippy when using the onboard Web browser.
That HSDPA connection also comes into play when you start making use of the phone's GPS features. Like most Nokia handsets, the 6650 doesn't store maps locally. Instead its Nokia Maps software uses the data connection to download maps on the fly as you need them. We found that the phone was a little slow when initially finding a lock on our position, but once it had the location established it was good at holding on to the signal -- even indoors, surprisingly. The Nokia Maps software is pretty easy to get to grips with and very handy when you're lost in a city. It also has a good Points of Interest database for looking up hotels, restaurants, car parks and public transport.
The 6650 doesn't shun entertainment features either. It uses proprietary headphones, but you can use them to either listen to MP3s, WMAs or AACs via the rather good music player application, or to tune into radio via the FM tuner.
The 6650's camera is one of its weak points. We're getting used to seeing increasingly high megapixel counts on the latest phones, but the 6650's snapper has a resolution of just 2 megapixels. Its fine for taking the odd spur of the moment snap, but the res is so low the shots look smudgy when you transfer them to a PC screen. And although the camera does have a flash, it's a simple LED affair. The other issue is that Nokia hasn't kitted this handset out with a secondary camera, so you can't use it to make video calls, despite its 3G support.
Apart from the multicoloured keypad backlight, the 6650's design is also rather dull. It might have been heavily influenced by the Razr range, but it doesn't feel as well put together as those handsets and isn't as pretty to look at. The plasticky keypad is especially disappointing.
The 6650 is certainly packed with great features. The onboard GPS functionality works well and is a real boon when you're out and about. Download speeds are also speedy, thanks to the HSDPA support, and the onboard music player is first-rate. The poor camera and lacklustre styling are the only elements to let it down.
Edited by Nick Hide