Nokia may no longer be the all-powerful king of the mobile world it once was, but its not about to throw in the towel any time soon, if the seemingly endless torrent of mid-range mobiles it releases is anything to go by. Next off the production line is the Nokia 6700 Slide -- priced at £170, it's a next-gen device for those opposed to touchscreens.
We were pretty fond of the Nokia 6700 Classic when we first got our clammy mitts on it way back in July of last year -- this is very similar, but with hinges.
We like the small, yet chunky shape -- at just 4.6cm wide and 9.5cm long it won't be busting the seams of your favourite jeans, and the phone is well laid-out, with the 2.2-inch screen taking up a goodly amount of mobile real-estate.
That screen has a resolution of 320x240 pixels, which makes for a perfectly clear display -- any higher and icons and text would quickly become too tiny to read without a powerful telescope (which would significantly decrease the 6700 Slide's portability). A really nice addition is an ambient light sensor on the phone's front, which will increase or decrease the screen's brightness dependent on how bright it judges your surroundings to be. We found it worked well -- we never found the screen to be underlit, or battery-chompingly bright either.
Sliding out the alpha-numeric keyboard, we're a little disappointed with the small size of the keys -- they're by no means unusable, but we found some of the higher-up keys a little tricky to reach, which meant texting at speed was quite awkward.
The 6700 Slide is running Nokia's own Symbian operating system, which means you'll have access to the the Ovi app store. The interface itself is well designed -- anyone who's used a Nokia phone in the last few years will be familiar with the layout, with a dock along the bottom of the screen for popular tools like email and the Ovi store, and a more detailed menu accessible via a click of the left 'menu' key.
Our only complaint is that the interface is loaded with pop-up warnings and tips, especially when browsing the web, which slightly ruins the experience. The button layout too could be better. As well as a five-way central button, two context-aware menu keys, call and end buttons, there are also 'cancel' and 'home' buttons, which seem slightly superfluous. No task seems to require more than the usual five buttons, so we're slightly baffled as to why these extra keys were included.
Often on these sorts of mobiles, we find there's little consistency from screen to screen in terms of what the buttons do. Luckily that's not the case here -- you won't be stuck hunting for on-screen prompts at every stage. If the right key means 'back' on one screen it's likely to mean 'back' on other screens too.
The 6700 Slide features a five-megapixel camera with an LED flash mounted attractively on its rear plating. The camera software is quick to load, and the menus aren't as dense or complicated as some we've seen, but we found that it was very easy to accidentally blur photos with even the slightest wrist tremor. If you do manage to grab a non-blurry image, photo quality is far from superb. Shooting video is similarly quick and easy, but again, the quality isn't great, and recorded video is quite stuttery.
The 6700 Slide won't steer you wrong if your priorities are to capture quick and dirty snaps, but if your reason for checking out this phone is because much-touted camera capabilities, we suggest you look elsewhere.
Connectivity is reasonable -- there's no Wi-Fi support which is a little irksome, but thanks to 3G and Edge support you'll soon be frittering away your money on overpriced data like nobody's business. The built-in browser is easy to use, though bear in mind that because there's nary a touchscreen in sight, you'll have to be content with navigating web pages using the four-direction central button. Battery-life is pretty decent considering that many new phones won't even last a single day -- expect the 6700 Slide to last you somewhere between two and three days on a full charge.
There's a Facebook app pre-loaded which worked well when we tried it out, and the mobile version of Twitter works well when you visit it in the browser. Call quality is good, though we wouldn't have minded some dedicated volume keys on the side of the phone.
As far as music goes, the on-board player is functional, but infuriatingly, Nokia is still building phones with 2.5mm headphone sockets, rather than the industry-standard 3.5mm sockets you find on laptops, MP3 players, and just about everything else in existence. A pair of 2.5 headphones are included in the box, though as with all bundled headphones they're quite uncomfortable to have in your ears and don't sound great.
On the plus side, there's a call-answer and microphone attached to the cord, which will let you take calls without having to take your phone out your pocket, but if you have dreams of plugging in a set of high-quality cans, you'll have to buy either an adaptor to make them fit, or hunt around for some decent 2.5mm headphones, which are rare things indeed.
We like this phone. It is solidly built and the features are, for the most part well implemented. The camera is a little disappointing, but the 6700 Slide offers slick Facebooking and basic web browsing within an intuitive interface.
It's worth bearing in mind though, that for £150 you could pick up a decent touchscreen phone with many of the same features. Unless you're particualrly averse to touchscreens, check out the Samsung Monte before committing to a purchase.