Nokia’s first CDMA phone for the Australian market, the 6385, aims to capture the attention of those who are looking for a reliable, rock-solid phone that is both easy to use and jam-packed with practical features. It’s not anything new for people who’ve used Nokia GSM models - but when it comes to CDMA, I don’t think you can get something here like this quite yet…
Out of the many CDMA phones that I’ve reviewed so far, the 6385 has to be the one that tops the list on practical features. While it has all the basic features found on the 6310 GSM-based model (caller groups, profiles with timed feature, dynamic phonebook, message storage, custom ringtones), the 6385 is one of the first CDMA phones available in Australia to offer CDMA2000 1X technology - allowing Internet connections speeds to be up to around three times faster than a landline dial-up modem.
Having said all that, if you are a “Nokia” user and have become fed up with poor reception on GSM networks, the 6385 gives you the option of moving over to the CDMA network without compromising choice of brand and, most importantly, usability.
The 6385 is not only just similar to the 6310 on the inside. Its external appearance actually very much resembles the 6310 - with the exception of the retractable external antenna and layout of several buttons on the keypad. You may also notice that the 6385 uses an internal battery instead of the traditional slide-on version.
Two antennas have been installed on the 6385 - an internal, located at the top end of the phone’s back where the “Nokia” symbol is, and an external retractable version. If you are in an area where the network has good reception quality, the internal antenna will suffice. Otherwise, you can extend the retractable antenna where it will then disable the operation of the internal one - and vice versa.
There were a few other things that I found to be of interest.
Firstly, the 6385 is approximately 16 grams heavier - at 127 grams - than the 6310, which is at 111 grams. After all, it’s not a GSM handset - but you can immediately feel the difference in weight when you pick it up.
The second thing is the location of the side volume buttons. They have been moved to a slightly lower location on the left side, while they have also been physically made easier to press than the rubber-coated ones on the 6310.
And last of all, I found the numeric keypad buttons to be slightly stiffer (or physically harder to press) than those of either 6310 or 6310i. If you were to use the 6385 to type messages, for example, you may need to press a bit harder than you would usually.
User Interface & display
No, you’re not going to find much difference here. The 6385 practically adopts the black-and-white user interface (UI) used on most Nokia GSM models that we’ve seen come and go.
A high-resolution LCD display, also found on the 6310/6310i, is used for the 6385 and having the capability of displaying up to six lines of text that can be comfortably read. For features that use the small sizing font (for example, messages), you can choose to have it slightly bigger by enabling the “large font” function.
Making and receiving calls
The 6385 does come with some nifty features that other current CDMA models don’t include.
Starting off with the dynamic phonebook feature, the 6385 allows multiple number and text entries under a single name entry. An example would be the ability to put in a person’s mobile, home and work numbers, and also their home and email addresses - all under the one phone book entry. Up to 500 name entries can be entered into the 6385’s memory.
A complete set of voice functionality is another thing that has yet to be made popular on CDMA handsets here in Australia. The 6385 gives the user the ability to dial and execute commands via voice, as well as record voice memos of up to three minutes in total - similar to such offerings found on a selected number of current Nokia GSM models.
As for sound quality, voice calls on the 6385 very much resembles the audio performance found on its GSM counterparts. No complaints here!
Again, there doesn’t seem to be much difference in how messages are written and sent on the 6385 as compared to Nokia GSM models. Of course, the T9 predictive text input system is included to make writing messages an enjoyable experience instead of it being gruesome.
It also supports the same messaging standards (basic SMS and picture messages) and the ability to send/receive business cards and receive ringtones and logos as well.
An SMS distribution list feature is offered on the 6385. This allows users to send the same message to multiple recipients according to the people that appear in a particular list. You can simply add people from your phone book, or possibly enter the recipient’s number in manually.
The 6385 also comes with the “My Folders” facility, which allows users to create individual folders where text messages can be filed properly.
I found the 6385 to be surprisingly solid, feeling even slightly more solid than the 6310. Probably the weight of the phone has a part to play in it - but if you’re looking for a phone that can handle the pressure, look no further!
On average use, the 6385 was able to provide for up to 3 hours of talk time and 4-5 days worth of standby. As the review unit we received had a new battery, these times may increase on subsequent battery charges.