Looking to capitalise on the mid-range market, the Symbian^3-powered Nokia C6-01 offers a 3.2-inch capacitive touch screen experience without the slider keyboard of the C6. Whilst both phones have very similar names for reasons unbeknown to us, the handset on review is leagues apart in terms of functionality.
Whilst it lacks physical QWERTY keys which may be off putting, the C6-01 maintains Wi-Fi connectivity for all your internet needs, as well as HSDPA for faster downloads of media content like music and video. There is also a powerful 8-megapixel camera with a flash for your photography needs and the usual Nokia Ovi store support for apps and games.
Underneath the metal casing is a ARM 11 680MHz processor, 3D Graphics HW accelerator. In the numbers game it is not the fastest, especially compared with the 1GHz CPU found on the N8, but we found only the most intensive games and websites caused noticeable slowdown.
There is no use in having media if it can’t be stored, so the included 2GB microSD card is a welcome, albeit measly, addition. And on top of that is an even stingier 340MB of internal memory.
Thank god, then, for the microSD slot, which allows you to bulk up the C6-01’s storage to a much more impressive 32GB.
The 3.2-inch, 640×360 pixel, screen is made up of 16 million colours, and thanks to capacitive technology, button presses register nicely, and the display is suitably crisp, vivid and detailed.
Even with the capacitive touch screen, presses do not always register, though, and this is made worse by the need for double taps. Often, we would try to bring up the options and it would take a few attempts.
With that said, scrolling between screens may not prove as responsive as that of a more expensive smartphone, but it is still easily adequate, and a double click does have the advantage of minimising accidental presses of the wrong app or whatever.
In terms of the Internet, the browser coupled with the landscape mode ensures browsing the web is enjoyable. The display is clear, and websites are reasonably punchy to load. You can pinch to zoom, too, which is another feather in its cap.
However, certain websites we tested stopped the browser dead for over a second or two, as if it had crashed (it hadn’t). It wasn’t that much of a pain, though. Once fully loaded, scrolling down is just a bit jumpy, not completely unusable and as slow as you might think, and a small price for a significantly cheaper handset.
To improve your personal use, holding down on the screen lets you add custom widgets. They can be anything from messages, mail or the calendar to specific websites, apps and games.
The simplicity of simply holding down then clicking ‘Done’ when a selection is made is both simple and intuitive, and a highlight of the OS. Six entries can be added on each of the three pages, making a respectable 18 possible. Unless you really intend on book marking literally everything you use, the number should be more than sufficient.
For typing messages, the virtual keys are responsive, and large buttons make pressing them easy in portrait mode – a recognisable number / letter layout is presented. In landscape, the virtual QWERTY pops up, which is sensibly laid out but a tad annoying to use if you have large fingers.
Slight tactile feedback and practice lessens the issue, but we would still prefer plastic or metal keys to virtual ones, any day of the week.
One thing we do really like is the copy and paste function found when using the browser where you simply drag your finger over the text you wish to copy. For us, this more computer-like system is very welcome.
In fact, the whole OS is rather well thought out, as adding attachments to messages is just as intuitive. You can’t really get simpler than pressing a paper clip and then selecting the type of file you wish to include and this logical system presents itself throughout the latest version of the Symbian OS.
In terms of apps, the Ovi Store is not quite up there with Apple’s App Store, but Ovi Maps is great for your traveling needs and the amount of games available is increasing rapidly. Angry Birds is actually free, at least for the basic version, and there is other quality gaming fun to be had.
The store itself is actually better laid out than the clunky Android marketplace, which bodes well for the C6-01’s case if 3rd party apps and games are something you care about.
You can’t really ignore the camera, especially since the Nokia C6-01’s packs such a punch. Even though handsets are pushing into double figures in the megapixel department, 8-megapixels is not to be scoffed at.
And better than the race for numbers is the included flash for those low-light conditions. It may sound fairly sensible to include one, but so many smartphones seem to overlook the benefits.
Our pictures, whether indoors or out, were detailed, if a little off in colour from time to time – slightly yellowish to be precise. Still, the detail is there and only if you crave digital camera quality will you be disappointed.
Using the camera is a doddle. Pressing the dedicated camera button opens it up, and zooming in only requires you to slide the slider up and down. Should you wish to send the picture, a couple of presses are all that stand in your way.
You can even edit them with the included image editor (video can also be editided), which will not have Photoshop sleeping with one eye open, but for basic editing it comes up trumps. It also saves you having to find that pesky USB cable to attach the device to your computer.
Another luxury is using your handset as an MP3 player, and once again, the C6-01 provides that ability admirably. Sliding between albums is simple, each displayed with the album cover, and we found no negatives with the sound quality. We find it hard to not rate the built-in Symbian offering, to be honest.
With all the internals catered for, it is only really the looks left to pick apart. A Picasso it ain’t, but the metal black casing coupled with its pocket dimensions gives the C6-01 a unique quality. The trade-off for a smaller screen is portability and a very robust feel, which is great for those who know they are accident-prone. Some may find it ‘heavy’, but we like to know a phone is safely in our pockets and 130g or thereabouts is hardly like carrying an anvil.
The black plastic button in the middle does cheapen the look of the front somewhat, but apart from that, the C6-01 is not really going to offend unless you have a particular dislike for Candybar-style handsets.
Rounding off the package is Bluetooth connectivity, 720p Video and recording, FM Stereo Radio with RDS, a respectable battery life, video calling and the expected array of social networking feeds to keep you up to date with what your friends are doing. This is a phone that really does not skimp on useful additions.
It may not have the Carl Zeiss 12-megapixel camera, an HDMI port and be as blessed in the processor department, but its affordability combines nicely with Symbian^3.
If you want a Symbian phone but don’t wish to splash out for the N8 or the E7, you will be more than impressed with this excellent value handset. It embodies what Nokia does best: High quality hardware in an affordable device.
The Nokia C6-01 may lack the pizzazz of the N8 and physical keyboard the E7, but who really minds when it saves you a few hundred quid?