The Nokia 3650 is more than just the phone with the funny-looking keypad — a lot more. In addition to being an excellent tri-band phone with most of the features found in today’s high-end cell phones, including integrated contacts, calendar and to-do, the 3650 keeps you connected to the world of the Internet, with built-in web browsing and email access. And for more adventurous users, it can run Java applications, too. Not only that, it’s a digital camera, capable of capturing and displaying both still and moving pictures, and mailing them off to a friend or relative in a flash.
With all that going for it, it’s no wonder the Nokia 3650 is one of the hottest gadgets on the market today.
The Nokia 3650 is larger than most of today’s cell phones. It measures 2.2″ wide, 5.1″ tall, and 0.9″ thick, but weighs just 4.7 ounces. Still, when you consider it has a much larger display than most cell phones (2″ measured diagonally) and a built-in digital camera, it’s reasonably sized. And it’s comfortable to hold, although slightly top-heavy, and easily fits in a jacket pocket.
The most striking feature of the Nokia 3650 is its distinctive circular keypad. The blue backlit numbers curve around the cream-colored dial from eleven o’clock to one o’clock. At the midnight position there’s a 5-way navigational pad and at six o’clock there’s a small menu button. There are eight additional buttons: left and right selection buttons under the display, Star and Pound keys at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock, Edit and Clear keys, and Send and End keys. It may seem like a lot of buttons but it eliminates the need for any buttons on the sides or top (with the except of the Power button on top). And it makes one-handed dialing a breeze.
Also on the front of the 3650 is its display, a 2″ color LCD capable of displaying more than four thousand colors. It’s backlit and works well in a variety of lighting situations, from complete darkness to direct sunlight — and everything in between.
The Nokia 3650’s somewhat busy face does have an upside; it leaves the top, bottom and sides relatively unencumbered. The sides are smooth and feature-free, with the exception of a large infrared (IR) port on the left side. The only thing found on the bottom of the 3650 is its charging port, and on top there’s nothing but a small Power button.
The lens for the digital camera is located three-quarters of the way up the back of the device, flush with its casing. This makes it perfectly positioned for one-handed operation, and it couldn’t be easier to use. The left selection button invokes the camera function, with the LCD functioning as the viewfinder and the center of the navigation pad as the Shutter button.
Overall, the styling is hip, appealing to everyone from sophisticated baby-boomers to Gen Y teenagers, who can easily add a touch of personality by swapping faceplates.
Speed. The Nokia 3650 runs the Symbian OS on an ARM-based processor. While we weren’t able to determine the exact make or model of processor, or even the megahertz it runs at, we can state that it’s quite up to the task. Screens render quickly and video plays back smoothly at 16 frames per second. We experienced no noticeable delays and no lockups.
Memory. 3.4 megabytes of internal RAM.
Expansion. Tucked away in the inner recesses of the phone is a MultiMediaCard slot, and it comes loaded with a 16MB memory card to get you started. It’s not so easy to get to (you’ve got to remove the battery to get to it) but it’s easy to use. Storing pictures, videos and applications on the card is as simple as storing them in internal memory.
Display. The 3650’s screen is one of its strong points. It’s a 170 x 208 backlit color LCD that measures 2″ diagonally, relatively large for a cell phone. It’s a 12-bit color display so it’s capable of 4,096 color variations, enough to produce adequate images.
Multimedia. The Nokia 3650’s camera captures still images at a resolution of 640×480 pixels and with three pre-defined settings: standard, profile and night. It also records video in .3GP format with sound support and RealOne Player software is included to play back .3GP and .MP4 videos.
Communications. The Nokia 3650 is a tri-band GSM phone, so it can be used in much of the United States and throughout Europe. It delivers reasonably good sound through its standard earpiece, its hands-free earbud, an optional Bluetooth headset (if it uses Bluetooth’s hands-free rather than headset profile), and its built-in speakerphone.
The speakerphone, which Nokia calls a loudspeaker, is an interesting hands-free alternative to a headset. Unlike many speakerphones, the 3650’s speakerphone provides decent range and works well to cancel out background noise. It’s also simple to activate, just press the right selection button during any call.
In addition to its voice features (which also include voice dialing and conference calling), the 3650 has built-in Bluetooth and infrared, and you can use it as a modem to connect to the Internet or send and receive faxes. Bluetooth and infrared are important because they’re the only means for synchronizing the 3650 with a desktop computer — no cables allowed. The included Nokia PC Suite software supports Windows only but we were able to connect and sync with an Apple iBook using iSync. Nokia PC Suite can be used to synchronize contacts, calendar entries, and tasks, or to-do’s, between the 3650 and Outlook or Lotus Notes.
Power. The Nokia 3650 is powered by an 850 mAh lithium ion rechargeable battery, which provides 2-4 hours talk time and between 150-200 hours of standby time. It charges in about one and a half hours and Nokia recommends that you fully charge and discharge the battery three times to achieve full performance.
Applications. The Nokia 3650 runs on Nokia’s Series 60 platform, which is based on Symbian OS. It can run Symbian OS and Java applications. It comes with several built-in applications and several preview applications found on the memory card.
You can get a Nokia 3650 phone in the United States through AT&T Wireless or T-Mobile for $150 with activation. To use the Wireless Data functions you’ll have to also sign up for a GPRS data plan.
The Nokia 3650 phone has a lot to offer. Not only is it cool looking, its performance matches its style.
As a phone, it’s a joy. Its large LCD is easy-to-read, and the Symbian OS is relatively simple to navigate. Sure, there’s a bit of a learning curve, but that has more to do with the shear volume of features than the complexity of the software. And, sure, it’s a bit larger than most cell phones, but it does so much more. Whether making a call to a friend, accessing your email, or snapping an impromptu photo — or video! — the 3650 keeps you connected in so many ways.