An Ode to Nokia 6620

6620.jpgEver since Paul Boutin made it cool to write about retro-phones (read his review of Nokia 6600 in Slate magazine) we thought, perhaps it is time to offer some solid advice to phone shoppers. With four days to go, both I and Matt Maier, the fearless wireless guru at Business 2.0 are confident in recommending Nokia 6620 as a stocking stuffer. Matt has been using his brand new 6620 on a Cingular Network and I have been using it on T-Mobile. Well, despite lower speeds, I find the phone excellent at most basic tasks, and good at high end applications like music playback, video playback and web-surfing using the excellent Opera browser. The 6620 is Symbian powered, and does an excellent job of syncing with a PC. (Alas it has no love for a Mac, though you can send and receive files using a program called Nokia Collector.) I am hopeful the next upgrade of ISync is going to fix this problem. I have installed few applications such as Agile Messenger, and OggPlay music player at the urging of all mighty Russell Beattie. Any other recommendations are welcome. Matt’s brilliant review of the phone continues after the turn.

It’s been two weeks since I purchased my Nokia 6620, and now its clear why in every group of Nokia execs I interviewed over the last year, there was always at least one carrying a version of this spartan–yet exceptionally powerful–smartphone. Feature-laden and inexpensive, it’s arguably the best value Nokia phone on the market.
Most importantly, the 6620 is affordable. At just around $200 from Cingular (after rebate), the 6620 is a fraction of higher-priced data devices like the Treo or the Audiovox 6601. That doesn’t mean it skimps on features. In addition to functioning on Cingular’s snappy EDGE network, the 6620 also features built-in Bluetooth and infrared. And unlike Verizon, Cingular doesn’t force phone makers to cripple Bluetooth, meaning you can use the 6620 to synch data between your phone and any Bluetooth-packing laptop, which is especially useful for downloading apps onto the 6620 while circumventing your carriers network (saving a few cents in data fees in the process).
But versatility is what makes this Nokia shine. While the VGA camera and voice dialing features are nice, I was particularly interested in data options, and the 6620 doesn’t disappoint. The phone doubles as a modem–to connect a PC to the Internet either via infrared or Bluetooth–which becomes useful when there’s no hotspot nearby. While I was never able to reach anything approaching 150 kbs–which is about where EDGE tops out–I still managed speeds in excess of 80 kbps, which for basic Internet surfing was adequate. There’s also room to store stuff you find along the way. The 6620 comes with 32MB of removable storage, as well as a few additional MBs on board, to save pictures, messages and MP3s. Like the N-Gage, the 6620’s storage card sits behind the SIM card–which is inexplicable–but its there, and its nice to have some storage space.
While support for IMAP and POP3 email accounts is included, its painful. Its often difficult to tell whether the built-in email client
if working or not. I went ahead and purchased ProfiMail and, though I’m still getting used to it, its a MUCH easier email client to use.
But, if email usage is your primary concern, you’re better off with a Blackberry–without a keyboard, the 6620 is not the ideal email
device. However, for everything else, from MMS and SMS to instant messaging, the 6620 is more than adequate. (Think Outside offers a Bluetooth-enabled portable keyboard that works with the 6620 if you want to facilitate messaging.)
In the end, the 6620 transcends the sum of its parts. In addition to all the aforementioned features, the 6620 also sports a beautiful
color 2 inch screen, a MP3 player, and the ability to shoot ten-second video clips and record several minutes of voice recordings.
Stylish–yet affordable–it’s a great alternative to some of the far pricier, and less powerful (hello Moto RazR), options currently on
sale. To get the most out of your Nokia, check out these
from a Nokia exec.
Review by Matt Maier, Wireless guru at Business 2.0. He is off caffeine this week.