Nokia's 6680 is a 3G handset –- quite a rarity for the company. It updates the lacklustre 6630, which fell down for us because it lacked a front camera for video calls and because we weren't happy with either its quirky shape or its poor keypad and navigator.
Fortunately for Nokia, the 6680 addresses all those points. In all departments it's a better 3G handset than its predecessor, and capable of giving the currently available range a run for their money.
We got our review unit operator-free, and so without any operator software tweaks. This means some of the features we mention might not come with your handset. Check with your operator if there are features you specifically want.
Operator-free, we found the Nokia 6680 online for around £360. At the low end of the price range we found it for free on Vodafone's Anytime 350 and Anytime 500, both of which are £40 per month (for 18 months). We also found it for £80 on a £20 per month contract from 3.
The Nokia 6680 has an encouragingly normal look about it. Nokia has, in the recent past, sometimes gone over the top with handset design, occasionally leaving us wondering if the company ever talks to its users (read our reviews of the idiosyncratic 7280 and 7710 if you need evidence).
So it is encouraging for us to find that the 6680 is a very phone-like phone. Perhaps slightly too wide, too tall and too heavy, but then Nokia has had to squeeze cameras on the front and back and a slot for a Reduced Size MultiMedia Card, as well as 3G capability, so we are inclined to forgive that.
The back camera shoots at 1.3 megapixels and has its own flash unit. There is a somewhat tacky cover for the lens and flash that occupies the full width of the back of the casing and about half its height. You slide this down and the camera software starts to run, with the handset's navigation pad providing for zoom, image capture and switching between video and stills mode. It's just the kind of quick, easy system you want from a handset.
On the downside, the back camera lacks a mirror, so pics of yourself need to be taken with the front camera, whose resolution is a less-than-impressive VGA (640x480 pixels).
The screen shows off your shots to good advantage -– where this handset's predecessor offered only 64K colours, the 6680 has 262K and the improved quality is welcome.
We weren't happy with the curved numberpad on the 6630. This time around there is still some curve, but it is less pronounced, and consequently the buttons are easier to hit. The softkeys are very large, and the navigator feels firm under the thumb. It's not all good news, though. The vertically arranged buttons for Call and End as well as access to Nokia's Menu, Clear and Edit keys are rather fiddly.