The 6710 is the third phone in Nokia's Navigator series of handsets. It comes with a subscription to the Nokia Maps service, plus the cradle and cables needed to use it in your car. But can the 6710, which is priced at around £270 SIM-free, really be used to replace a dedicated sat-nav?
Bottom meets face
The 6710 is a slider handset with an interesting design. The bottom of the handset curves out slightly, rather like the lip on the bottom of the HTC Hero. Slide it open and you'll find this curve becomes even more pronounced, so, when you hold the handset up to your ear, the bottom of the phone pleasingly curves around to meet your mouth.
We can't fault the phone's build quality. Its strong case gives it a very sturdy feel, and even the smooth slider feels like it's built to last. The keypad is on the small side, though, so those with large fingers will find it tricky to text with.
Plight of the Navigator
As the 6710 is part of Nokia's Navigator range, it comes with everything you need to use it as an in-car sat-nav, including a suction cradle to mount it on your car's windscreen and an in-car charging lead.
There's a dedicated navigation button on the front of the phone. When you press it, the handset starts up the Nokia Maps 3.0 software. Nokia Maps has been improving over time and, although it's still not our favourite smart-phone navigation app, it's much more useable than it used to be. The handset comes with a subscription to the Nokia Maps Drive & Walk service, and you also get a 2-year subscription to the Traffic Info service, which means the mapping data will automatically be kept up-to-date.
We found the phone's GPS chip quick to lock onto satellites, and it did a good job of holding onto satellite signals even in built-up city areas -- something that the iPhone often struggles with.
The Nokia Maps software has a good range of points of interest in its database and you can save common destinations as favourites. As you drive, the voice prompts are easy to understand and the on-screen routing instructions are reasonably easy to follow. One neat addition to the 6710, which we haven't seen on previous Nokia phones, is the touch-sensitive zoom slider positioned just under the screen. You simply run your finger back and forth across it to zoom in and out of maps. It also works with other applications, like the picture viewer and Web browser.
Nevertheless, the 6710 has two major drawbacks as an in-car navigation device. Firstly, although the screen is good for a phone, it's just slightly too small for use in a car, especially as it can be rather reflective when sunlight catches it. Secondly, the external speaker isn't quite as loud as it needs to be, and can be drowned out by traffic and engine noise.
Otherwise, though, the phone performs well. It's got support for both HSDPA and Wi-Fi, so downloading music or video files is speedy, and it's also quick to load pages in its browser. Call quality is first-rate, as the earpiece is loud. Battery life is better than you might expect -- you'll get around 7 hours of talk time from the 6710. The 5-megapixel camera is also highly impressive. The shots it takes offer sharp detail and good colours, even when conditions aren't ideal. It's certainly a cut above the cameras you usually find on this type of phone.
The Nokia 6710 Navigator is an impressive phone, with good call quality, long battery life and a useful touch-sensitive zoom control. It's not a great in-car sat-nav device, though, because the screen's rather pokey and the speaker sometimes struggles to make itself heard.
Edited by Charles Kloet