Not too long ago, I managed to get my hands on a Nokia 6310 to do a review upon (if you’re interested in having a read at that first,
here). Two months down the track, the “i” version comes along boasting a list of upgrades that most 6000-series phone users (until today that is) will find appealing. But for those who have already acquired the 6310, you may be sadly disappointed at Nokia’s decision in not offering these changes in what you already have.
Nothing is ever too late - although Nokia’s decision to offer a tri-band GSM model has come long after the choices that both Ericsson and Motorola have already given us potential users. Although the 1900 MHz GSM band hasn’t been all that popular, people in those markets are starting to see the benefits of this system - especially when it comes to communicating on a global scale.
Probably the most important feature of all offered by the 6310i is the tri-band compatibility - meaning that users of the phone will be able to access GSM networks across the five continents of the world that supports GSM. For people outside of North America who wanted to take their existing GSM mobile phone and roam seamlessly with their SIM card intact, this was not possible as the GSM frequency used in both the US and Canada is different to the rest of the world. Tri-band makes this possible by supporting all three GSM bands available.
Another major change from the 6310 is the addition of Java support using J2ME. This feature allows users to load mini Java applications (called MIDlets) into the phone, which can range from being an application which keeps you up-to-date with stock prices whilst on the move or just a little game that you can’t keep your hands off when you have that time to waste.
Apart from that, the 6310i comes with all the features offered by its 6310 predecessor - including Bluetooth, dynamic phonebook, and WAP over GPRS. Oh, the backlight colour on the 6310i is now white - which somewhat improves visibility for both the LCD screen and keypad area (replacing the very-dull green backlight on the 6310).
Not much to comment here. Physically, the 6310i is exactly the same as the 6310 and slightly different to the 6210. One exception I found was that the keys on the 6310i’s keypad are slightly easier and more comfortable to use - even though they are physically the same. This was apparent when you started to use the keypad with greater speed - especially when you’re someone who is getting good at typing SMS messages with T9 :)
The white backlight definitely improves the phone’s looks. Gone is the old and very-boring green backlight that we all have taken for granted many years back.
User Interface (UI)
A standard Nokia 6xxx-series interface is maintained physically (for example, two soft keys, answer & reject keys, up & down keys, and the standard 12-digit keypad). As for the software part, the phone uses what’s offered in the 6310 - with the addition of extra menu items supporting Bluetooth and Java. Easy-to-use and not difficult to get accustomed to if you’re a first-time Nokia user.
Making and receiving calls
Call handling and quality is virtually the same as the 6310. The user-friendly UI allows for easy handling of multiple calls (for example, call waiting and conferencing), while and improved audio quality allows calls to be taken with less “what?” and “I didn’t quite hear that” phrases used. A choice of either using the handset, car kit, wired or wireless Bluetooth headset is available for conducting phone conversations.
Remote activation of voice dialling is available through the wired headset, and on the upcoming Nokia Bluetooth headset (unfortunately, out of all the Bluetooth headsets that I’ve come to try with Nokia phones, none have been able to activate voice dialling from the actual headset itself).
The 6310i offers one of the better interfaces to type SMS messages on. Thanks to a well laid-out keypad, a large-enough screen and a responsive messaging system with an option to add words that may not be in the built-in T9 dictionary, a user can seamlessly type their message without having to think about anything else but what he/she wants to say. E-mails can also be sent using the 6310i, but support is limited to servers that supports the e-mail service over GSM networks (that is, POP3 and SMTP is not directly supported).
The 6310i is probably one of the only Nokia phones that have outstanding battery times for both usage and standby. Using the provided lithium-polymer (Li-Polymer) battery provided in the sales package, I was able to get a standby time of up to 14-15 days on its first charge (no usage, just purely standby). On using the phone, I managed to get around the same figures as the 6310 - around 4-5 hours’ talking time and 4 days’ standby. If you’re a heavy user of Bluetooth accessories, this phone will probably give you better battery times than the 8910.