Mini-Review of the Nokia 6620


The Nokia 6620 is a direct descendant of the 3650, about which I wrote a rave review. The 6620 is a more traditional-looking phone with all of the same screen and powerful features as the 3650. Virtually everything I said about the 3650 applies to the 6620, with a few minor exceptions that Iíll cover in this mini-review.

Last Updated: 16-Sep-2004

Before reading this review, please read Some Thoughts on Phone Reviewing.

General

The big problem for many people with the 3650 (and its sister phone the 3600) was that they couldnít stomach the round keypad. While most users of the 3600/3650 have reported that you get used to it over time, the keypad has proven to be a big turn-off for many potential buyers. The good news about the 6620 is that it sports a traditional keypad layout that shouldnít scare away anyone.

Unfortunately the phone does possess the other aspect that put people off of the 3650, and that is its size and weight. However, for a phone with such a powerful operating system and the ability to do so much, the size and weight are really not all bad. The phone is markedly smaller and lighter than a typical PDA-based phone, and if youíre in the market for that sort of hardware, then the 6620 should be a pleasant surprise.

Perhaps the biggest advantage to the 6620 over the 3600 and 3650 is that it supports EDGE. This allows you to take advantage of the faster data services offered via EDGE vs GPRS. I did some limited web surfing by going to THIS web page and downloading some of my large site maps. The speed of EDGE certainly seemed impressive.

The 6620 sports an excellent color display with the same resolution as the 3650 (208 pixels tall by 176 pixels wide). Color clarity and pixel sharpness are both really great, and the display is quite visible in direct sunlight. Itís a bit difficult to see in bright light without the backlight on, but itís among the better color displays in this regard.

The phone comes with 12 MB of internal memory, and it also has an included 32 MB MMC expansion card. Iím told that you can add up to 512 MB of MMC memory, which is an incredible amount of storage for what is essentially a cellphone.

I wonít go into any details concerning the features of the phone, since you can do pretty much anything you can get software for. Suffice it to say that gadget geeks will have hours of fun with this phone.

I wasnít really pleased with the ringer volume, however. The phoneís owner and I searched through all of the provided ring tones for one that was the loud, but we just couldnít find any. I remembered the 3650 having at least a decently-loud ringer, and so the performance of the 6620 in this matter was both surprising, and disappointing. Fortunately the phone does have a fairly strong vibrator, which should make up for its feeble ringer in many situations.

RF Performance and Audio Quality

What interested me the most was how well the 6620 stood up against other GSM phones on the market these days, and against the excellent 3650. I didnít have a 3650 with me to make comparisons, but I did have my pleasant memories of my friendís phone, which Iíd see and played with countless times before.

To test the RF capabilities of this phone I pitted against my unlocked Siemens A56. I couldnít really use the 6310i as a reference phone, as the 6310i doesnít support 850 MHz, while the 6620 does. From the lower level of Sears at Square One (an excellent place to test 850 MHz on Rogers) the 6620 was marginally better than the A56. Thatís a good thing though, as the A56 is an excellent RF performer. The Hall of Shame near the food court was used to test 1900 MHz, and the 6620 performed similarly against the A56.

When it came to incoming audio quality, I was expecting to be blown away by the 6620, just as I had with the 3650. I was therefore rather surprised when I heard a distinct background hiss on the 6620 that I just couldnít remember hearing on the 3650. The hiss isnít so bad as to be super-annoying, and you may learn to live with it. However, I found its presence a bit disconcerting. I was also surprised to find that audio reproduction on the 6620 wasnít quite as crisp and concise as the A56. It wasnít bad mind you, but it wasnít as super-terrific as Iíd been expecting.

Maximum audio volume in quiet environments was barely greater than the A56. The A56 isnít exactly known for its volume levels, and that didnít bode well for the 6620. However, to its credit the 6620 is endowed with Nokiaís Audio Booth feature that jacks up the audio level when it senses background noise. With the boost kicked in the 6620 was plenty loud, even on Rogers.

Outgoing audio quality is quite nice, but itís really only mid-pack in quality. However, the phone does do a very credible job of masking background noise without damaging the quality of the outgoing audio.

So in conclusion then, the 6620 is a great alternative to the 3650 for those that just canít imagine themselves using a round keypad, or for those who want the added speed of EDGE. There seems to be a few weaknesses compared to the 3650, but otherwise the 6620 is just as worthy of your consideration.

I apply the same warning to the 6620 as I do to the 3650 however. If you buy one of these phones, be prepared to spend a lot of money on packet data services. This phone really comes alive when itís hooked up to the Internet, and only an unlimited usage package will do.

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