A few weeks ago we brought you a review of the Nokia 9300, another Smartphone with similar goals to the 6682, but an entirely different approach. The 6682 is distinctly more consumer oriented, from its fashion-friendly candy bar style pearl case to the 1.3 megapixel camera that can also shoot video. It’s not all looks and camera though; the Nokia 6682 is full of productivity features like email, web access and office document management.
The Nokia 6682 is a typical candy bar type design. Nokia frequently tries new designs in an effort to spruce up the old classic, but the 6682 is very traditional. That’s not to say it’s ugly though. Our review unit is a soft pearl color with silver accents. The rounded edges make it less brick-like, something that’s important in a larger phone like this. The size is an important concern. As companies strive to jam larger screens and more functionality into their Smartphones, often times form factor suffers. The 6682 is very comfortable in-hand and doesn’t feel out of place in the least when holding up to your ear during a call. It also fits well into a pocket and at 4.7 ounces it’s not terribly heavy for a device of this nature.
The front features the 176 x 208 pixel display, light sensor (more on that in the display section), earpiece, keypad, function buttons and 5-way d-pad. The numeric keypad is done well, the buttons are responsive and easy to find by touch. Above the keypad are two large action buttons, used in navigating the menus or to launch the messaging and camera applications. Between those lie the d-pad, which is ridged on the edges and fits a thumb perfectly. It’s easy to use; I rarely made any accidental inputs with it. Flanking these buttons on both sides are two rows of chrome plated buttons. The left side has the call and menu launch button. The right side has the call end, clear, and edit keys. These sets of keys are very narrow and take some getting used to. The clear key is very small and difficult for my large thumbs to hit accurately. In the end though, I found the keypad to be well done, complemented by a great d-pad.
The left side of the phone houses the voice key. The key serves as a hot button to switch between the earpiece and loudspeaker. Pressing and holding the voice key will load an application to manage voice dialing. It’s only a 7-day trial though, so if you like this additional feature you have to pay for it.
The right side has the power button along with a door to house the MMC memory card slot. In addition to powering the phone on, the power button is used to lock keys and quickly change profiles to something like silent, should you be going into a meeting. When you open the door to remove the memory card, the phone pops up a message that lets users close all applications before pulling the card. Nokia wants to be sure nothing needing the memory card will be affected by an improper removal.
On top of the 6682 is the lanyard hook and the loudspeaker. I know people are going to try jamming their memory cards into the speaker slot, I just know it. The slit is about the right size and the memory door isn’t totally obvious. The speaker is great though, nice and loud, something that’s a problem for speakers mounted on the back of the unit.
The bottom houses the AC input, microphone and port for sync cable or accessories. I find the separate sync and power cords to be a nicety, some prefer an integrated option. Since the phone has Bluetooth, I never used the cable other than to make sure it worked and the connection with the phone was secure. So I enjoy being able to choose just the power cable to tote around, which incidentally has a small brick.
The back of the 6682 is nicely designed. The camera lens is protected by a slide cover, which moves down a little over a centimeter to reveal the lens and LED flash. The 1.3 megapixel camera is quite respectable; we’ll go more in-depth later in the review. The cover seems solid, though the mechanism is a little weak, I had it open several times in my pocket or while on the phone.
A major shortcoming in this design is the lack of a stereo headphone hack. The 6682 does support stereo out, but only though the connector on the bottom. The phone does ship with a pair of headphones, but they’re not that great when compared to other options.
The 6682’s 176 x 208 pixel display is small for a PDA, but at 2.2″ average or above for a Smartphone. The active matrix display is capable of showing 262,000 colors. The display is bright and clear, with even backlighting. The best feature though is the light sensor embedded in the upper left corner of the front. The sensor actually detects light levels, adjusting the display accordingly. So in a dark room, the screen will dim while the keypad backlight will engage. In the sun, it’s just the opposite. This level of power management makes it much easier on the user, since the changes are quick and accurate for the lighting conditions. The settings are completely customizable though, should you desire a more personalized configuration.
The Nokia 6682 only comes with 10MB RAM built-in, but the included 64MB MMC card is somewhat of a saving grace. If you want to store a lot of media files, MMC is a little problematic, as larger sizes run more expensive than comparable media. The 10MB base RAM though is enough for PIM data; just be sure to only use it for critical data, not a bunch of photos.
The unit is powered by a 220 MHz CPU, more than enough from what I found. Applications loaded quickly, and switching was fluid. I’m always impressed by the lightweight Symbian OS and how much less power is needed for it to run well.
The Nokia 6682 supports GSM/GPRS/EDGE. While it does not have WiFi or Infrared, it does include Bluetooth v1.2. I tested our review unit with T-Mobile’s service. While they don’t yet support EDGE in my area, the GPRS connection was actually relatively speedy and very easy to set up.
The Bluetooth is very reliable on this unit. I used Bluetooth almost exclusively to sync the 6682 with my computer, transfer images, etc. I was also able to pair with my Sony Ericsson headset with little trouble. Nokia also has a system of giving paired devices either authorized or not authorized status. For paired devices set to the latter, user approval is required for a connection to be formed. I find this extra layer of security to be a nicety and something we’ll probably see more of in the future.
The 6682 runs Symbian 8.0 (Series 60) and comes with an assortment of applications. The web browser is Nokia’s WAP 2.0 that does a fine job for a Smartphone. The email application supports POP and IMAP accounts, complete with attachments. Nokia needs to come up with an Exchange license to get this unit into more corporations, but as it is the email client is quite capable. While it doesn’t support push email, it does let the user specify a schedule of which to check for new messages.
The unit also comes with Quickoffice, which handles Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. The version of the software that comes with the phone is read only though; the full version is required to edit files. I’m not sure how valuable the latter is; T9 input isn’t desirable for document editing. Nokia does offer an optional small keyboard that could extend the usefulness of software like this.
Overall, the included software suite is comprehensive enough to get up and running, from a productivity standpoint. Of course, users can add games and other applications as needed. It’s important to set expectations though with this type of Smartphone. Since there’s not a full sized keyboard, working with email is a bit cumbersome, communications are better suited to the SMS software than creating full-blown emails. That also goes for the office software, which as noted comes in a read only version.
The 6682 comes with a 1.3 megapixel (1280 x 960 pixels) camera. Most cameras in devices like this are total garbage, but this one is definitely better than that. When compared to like devices it’s certainly above average, serviceable for taking quick shots on the go. You’ll probably not want to print any of these pictures for your family scrapbook, but they look fine on a computer or sent to a friend’s phone.
The camera also has an LED light that helps illuminate poorly lit subjects. It has a fairly short range though and the camera software doesn’t remember flash settings, so it’s a nice to have, but not a great feature. The camera also features a few shooting modes including night mode and sequence, which shoots 6 shots in succession.
The camera is also suitable for recording video clips. The video clips are nice, but generally too small to be anything more than a fun thing to email a friend when an impromptu moment strikes.
The battery life of the 6682 is actually pretty good. While many Smartphones struggle to get past day two, I routinely got 3-4 days with moderate use. I could see a heavy user getting 2-3 with a light user almost a week.
- Nice design
- Easy to access memory card slot
- Above average camera
- Reliable and secure Bluetooth deployment
- Great user interface
- Good reception, voice quality and loudspeaker
- Would prefer a more mainstream memory card, like Secure Digital or mini-SD
- No support for Exchange or other groupware
- No standard headphone jack
After several weeks with the 6682 as my primary phone and sometimes PDA, I enjoy it. It’s small enough to be pocketable, but has enough functionality to let me put out fires when they occur. I don’t feel comfortable living on the 6682 as a PDA for an extended period of time, but that’s largely due to the input issues, lack of Exchange connection and a few software limitations. I feel like this device serves well as a notebook compliment, for someone who doesn’t really need the features of a full-fledged PDA, but needs more than what a typical mobile phone can deliver.