There is a growing demand for something other than standard form factor phones. They’re getting old really quickly, and the next best thing with every market is the clam shell form factor handset. It’s usually the same size as the standard form factor handset when closed but when opened has much more space to work with and they are very stylish.
Nokia haven’t really been in with the clam shell market until recently they released several handsets like the Nokia 7270, and 2650. The Finnish giant’s first clamshell handset didn’t do as well as other clamshell handsets, so Nokia are back bigger and better.
Rated by some as the best Symbian operating system on the market today, the Nokia 6260 has some big boots to fill! I’ll give you a little teaser about the handset overall – it’s fantastic.
The clamshell form factor was once thought of as more of a stylish device rather than one with a heap of power inside. The Nokia 6260 squashes that stereotype in so many ways – to start off with it runs a Symbian 7.0s operating system on Nokia’s Series 60 Second Edition interface. The handset also has RS-MMC card (hot swappable!!) support, a VGA still and video digital camera, 65,536 colour rotating TFT LCD, high speed data and all the ‘office’ features you need to stay productive when you’re out and about.
The Symbian 7.0s operating system is used in almost every high-end handset because of its stability and ease of use, and expandability. It is the best choice for business-market handsets (Microsoft probably disagree) at the moment and is used with different manufacturers the world over. The Series 60 Second Edition interface that the 6260 also has is used in other Nokia handsets like the 6600 and 7610. Using this interface is just the same as using those interfaces, except for the little change of keypad layout.
The display on this sleek clamshell from Nokia is 65,536 colours at a resolution of 176 x 208 pixels. The top flip section of the handset which houses the display and the navigational keys is 270-degree rotational, you can even close the handset when the top flip has been fully rotated – putting it in “Browser” mode. Twisting the display is also great for taking pictures, especially self portraits. For more detailed information on both the display and user interface, check the appropriate section a few headings down this page.
But what about imaging is a question you may be asking? Well, the Nokia 6260 has an
integrated (in the left side of the handset) digital VGA camera which can capture images and video. With internal memory and an RS-MMC card slot (32mB supplied), you’ve got enough memory for all your images and video. I had one little issue with the camera on the 6260, which can be found in the Problems/Issues section. The 6260 has the RealPlayer application for playback of video, and a full featured gallery gives you access to all your files on the internal and memory card memory.
When it comes to data transfer the Nokia 6260 has every corner covered. Three data pipes are offered – GPRS (mostly used and the only one supported in Australia as yet), HSCSD, and CSD data. With the inbuilt Nokia (not Opera anymore) WAP browser you have access to information wherever you are. The handset also has the ability to playback streaming video and audio with the mentioned RealPlayer application. Bluetooth and infrared connectivity are also offered, and there is a Pop-Port™ interface at the top of the handset.
Being a handset designed with the business user in mind, the Nokia 6260 has the ability to open Word and PowerPoint files. You read right, on the handset you can view these files. If you’ve got e-mail set up on the handset (it’s supported along with SMS/EMS, and MMS) you could receive your e-mail with attachments straight to the handset and then open the files and reply straight away. Other applications can be downloaded to perform many other functions, like opening PDF files, compressing/uncompressing ZIP files etc. Both Symbian and Java applications are supported.
The Nokia 6260 comes in two different colour variations – silver or black. I received the silver trial unit as you can see from the images around this review! There are several changes in the 6260 from other clamshell handsets; for example the swivel mechanism in the hinge, and the location of the interface ports (charging & Pop-Port™ on this model). The design of this new handset is a perfect example of Nokia at their best. Slightly rounded edges, smooth colours and a definite theme to the handset all leave a lasting impression.
Unlike most clamshell mobile phones the 6260 doesn’t have an external display. This may be a down side for some, but for others it’s great because the price of the handset is kept reasonably low. The 6260 has a single LED on the front which is activated at different times – when charging this light it steady on, when a call is coming through the light flashes, etc. Below the light is the NOKIA stamp, all this contained in a grey “island” in the rest of the front of the handset. For the most part the front of the 6260 is silver, but there is a section with tiny holes, and underneath little grey dots. This is a stylish finish to a handset which would otherwise be very boring.
The top and about ¼ of the left and right sides of the handset are black, like an extended infrared window. On the left side you will find the VGA camera lens and below it is the infrared window, although you can’t tell where it starts and where it finishes. On the right side is the volume up and down buttons, and the dedicated camera button. The rest of the 6260 is silver – or black depending on which colour variation you receive.
Open this baby up and the display springs to life… but that’s not what this section is about is it! The first thing anyone notices upon opening of the 6260 is the key arrangement. Sure, the numerical keys are on the bottom flip, that’s normal – but what are the navigational keys doing up there! They are now located below the display on the top flip for very good reason; they allow the used to put the handset into “Browsing” mode and still make use of some functions.
The handset can be closed in two ways; one with the display facing inwards, and the other with the display facing outwards. Of course the latter will mean excessive wear and wear of the display and isn’t recommended. The display can also be rotated for photo taking mode but it can’t close like this. The display can perform a rotation of 270° in total.
The little on/off button is on the top right hand corner of the top flip, and it’s deep inside the handset when it has no need to be, it doesn’t hit anything when closed.
The display and navigational keys are surrounded by a thin chrome plate, and same goes with the numerical keys. The pick-up/hang-up keys on the bottom flip make up some of the chrome plating also. The rest of the keys (except for the menu key on the top flip which is chrome) are silver. Below the last row of numerical keys is a little plastic plate with holes in it, similar to that on the front of the handset.
The back cover of the 6260 is easy to remove by just pushing up the little tab and hitting the handset at the top a little, the whole portion will release a little and you can grab a hold of it. There is a small sensor in the back cover which detects (when the phone is on) if you’re removing the back cover and warns you about closing applications if removing the memory card.
User Interface & display
The Nokia 6260 uses one of the most familiar operating systems in Nokia phones – Symbian 7.0s. Being a Series 60 Second Edition device, the user interface is very similar to handsets such as the 7610, and 6600. Users of these devices, or even First Edition Series 60 devices will have no problems making the move to the second edition, the basic functionality is the same. The 6260 uses a 65,536 colour TFT LCD @ 176 x 208 pixels, the largest size found mass market on mobile handsets these days. Also related to the display is some way is the rotating ability of the Nokia 6260.
Most of the time the 6260 will be in the closed mode, for obvious reasons being a clam shell handset. Once you open the handset you are greeted by the same “screen” as, for example, the 7610 once you have unlocked the keypad. Because of the swivel design of the 6260 the navigational/soft keys are located on the top flip below the display. Being a Series 60 device you will see the familiar main menu button on the left hand side of the top flip, in between the left soft key and input button. Pressing this will launch the main menu – but before even doing this you can jump to quick functions by using the two soft keys which can be programmed in the menu. Unfortunately navigation keys (up, down, left, and right) can’t be linked to special functions. The “Select” or navigational-in key is located in the centre of the navigational key.
The 3x3 on a single screen menu system is back in the 6260, and pressing the navigational keys will move between more menu icons, depending on what you have installed on the handset. From the sales package and inserting the RS-MMC card which is loaded with some applications, you will have around 27 icons. As you install more applications their icon will be placed in the menu.
Messaging is the first icon selected when you open the menu. We’ll use this as an example for explaining the user interface of the 6260. Selecting the messaging icon will open a list of things you can do, from new messages to opening folders. New message is at the top for easy access. This is a stereotypical “screen” on the 6260, a list of functions. The next is shown when you open the Inbox or any other folder – you will see tabs up in the top right hand corner of the display which you can change to and from with the left and right navigational keys. This is also stereotypical of the 6260, with almost every function having a tabbed system. The two soft keys always have labelled functions above them, and the select key (in the centre of the navigational key) is used to open, accept, or perform a similar function.
As you would know by now the 6260’s display rotates. Each “rotation” has a specific function. When you rotate the display north-east until it clicks into place horizontally the camera application is automatically launched and the text rotated. This is the best rotation to use for capturing images where the person taking the photo isn’t in the photo. The camera lens is located on the side of the handset so there is no obstruction. A silly thing here is that if you press the red hang-up button the handset goes back to the idle screen – but you can hardly perform any functions because of how the display is rotated. There’s more on that in the Problems/Issues section of this article though.
The display also rotated south-west which is ideal for capturing self-portraits, because the display is facing the same way as the camera lens. The dedicated camera button is used best in these two rotated modes because it’s the easiest to press without getting in the way of the lens.
The third rotation is all the way around! Twisty! The 6260’s display, when fully rotated at 270° (it can only go all the way around when you push it north-east, not south-east) can then be placed back down on the numerical keys so that the handset is “closed” but the display is facing up. This is the so-called “browsing” mode of the 6260 because you don’t necessarily have to have the numerical keys accessible to browse WAP pages – you’ve got navigational/selection keys below the display.
The UI of the 6260 can be altered with themes downloadable from WAP sites or transferred to the handset. These drastically change the look of the UI and sometimes come with wallpapers, but you can use your own captured/transferred image files as wallpapers if you wish.
The choice of display is ideal for the 6260’s needs. You may feel that the display is too far away, for lack of better words – and if you look closely at the 6260’s display it is sunk quite far into the top flip. This is probably because it is a clam-shell device and can’t risk the display hitting the bottom flip and getting damaged – displays are the worst thing to fix.
I found the UI of the 6260 very friendly to use and with everything laid out clearly I didn’t have any problems finding the function I needed without delay. The only thing I can think of which people might have troubles with is getting used to the placement of the navigational and soft/selection keys which are now below the display. After a few days of using the handset it becomes second nature and anything other than this lay-out is weird! :) Some users with smaller hands have said that they needed to use two hands at all times because they couldn’t reach the navigations/soft keys.
Making and receiving calls
Clamshells offer the best quality audio thanks to the physical design, they’re curved and wrap around the users face to pick up every word. The 6260’s microphone is placed inside the hinge. The quality of audio I experienced with this model from Nokia was great and even if I had to adjust volume I could just use the two volume buttons on the right side without having to ask the person on the other end to hold while I was fiddling with the volume. There’s another feature one wouldn’t expect the 6260 to have – push-to-talk capabilities!
The 6260 has a loudspeaker built into the handset for conference/hands free calls which can be turned on and off at any time from the in-call menu. The loudspeaker is located on the top flip in the right hand top corner – what looks like a wrist strap slot is it. Once again volume is adjusted using the two keys or the navigational keys below the display.
Bluetooth is one of the connectivity methods offered in the Nokia 6260, which means wireless freedom! Car kits and hands free headsets can all be connected and used for making and receiving calls with Bluetooth on the Nokia 6260 once the devices have been paired and a connection established. The sales package of the 6260 comes with a stereo FM Pop-Port™ wired headset for hands free conversations.
Being a clamshell with hang-up/pick-up buttons on the inside, the 6260 has the ability to turn off flip-answer, that is opening the flip will not pick up when the handset is ringing. A photo phonebook feature is included also so if you turn this function off and someone in your contacts calls with a photo attached you can see their photo before you accept or reject their call.
Push-to-talk is being quickly integrated into Australian networks with some of the major telecommunications networks already supporting the service. Check with your service provider for more information and all the small details. The PPT function on the 6260 can be found in the main menu, the very last icon. This function allows you to communicate in close-to real time with groups or a single person, much like a walkie-talkie. Your audio is immediately played through the recipients (generally, but not always) loudspeaker, so there is no need for calling and accepting the call. This service has a virtually unlimited reception area as it uses a data pipe to transmit voice in a cellular network. Think of it as walkie-talkies for the technology minded!
The 6260 has a full set of messaging capabilities, from the simplest to one of the most advanced and widely used formats to date. SMS/EMS, MMS and e-mail are the four formats supported and the ever-so-friendly Symbian messaging interface is back! T9 predictive text can be used along with the old multi-tap method, and a special enhancement for the 6260 can be purchased separately, the SU-8W wireless keyboard (how cool would it have been if this was in the sales pack!). The full QWERTY keyboard connects to a compatible handset (the 6260 is one) via Bluetooth and allows you to compose messages and input other text as quick as possible! It also folds up so you can take it virtually anywhere.
The messaging icon on the main menu is preselected when you launch the main menu, just beckoning for you to select it :P. Once you do a list of functions are displayed where you can make a quick selection from. On selecting a new message you are prompted with the type of message – Text, Multimedia, or E-mail. The messaging input window is basically the same for all formats. A small box at the top contains the recipient(s), be it a phone number, name, or e-mail address. If you push the directional key button in you will open the contacts list where you can mark your recipient(s).
Once you’ve figured out who your message is to and inserted that information you can press the down button and start typing on your message. Lines are drawn in case you’re messy and tend to write in places other than between the lines :P. All finished? Press the green pick-up button to send your message straight away or press the left soft key for a list of options.
When creating an MMS message the left soft key needs to be pressed to bring up the menu where you can insert images, video, animations, sounds, and text. The
integrated VGA camera can be used to capture images and video for your MMS messages and T9 predictive text ensures there’s no delay in keeping in touch with friends all around the globe.
Presence enhanced contacts are also supported on the 6260; you can find that under its own special icon in the main menu.
Connections can be established for data transfer on the 6260 with wires or wirelessly. Wired you have the following to choose from: Pop-Port™ USB data-cable or Infrared (its short range wireless... close enough!), and true wireless you have Bluetooth, GPRS, HSCSD and CSD. The Nokia 6260 supports heaps of file formats including office documents, MPEG4 video and MP3’s, so connecting to a PC and transferring files should be something you do often!
The Pop-Port™ interface of the 6260 is located on the top of the handset instead of the usual spot at the bottom. In my opinion this looks much better when plugged in and charging or connected to a PC with a Pop-Port™ data-cable. Wherever it is it works the same though. There is no USB data-cable in the sales package for you to connect straight away with, so you’ll have to purchase one separately.
Other ways of connecting to a PC/laptop are with Bluetooth or Infrared. These two connectivity options can be accessed from the options menu of a file, where you can select “Send via Bluetooth” or “Send via Infrared”. Infrared is probably the easiest if you’re just sending a file one-off because you don’t have to establish connections and such. If you have an infrared port on your laptop or a USB dongle you can use that to connect the handset to your computer. There is no software in the sales package either so you’ll have to obtain that from Nokia’s website.
Clam shell form factor handsets can really put people off if they’re not made to the best standards, because of the moving parts. The 6260 has even more moving parts than just the regular clam shell handset so it has even more barriers to overcome to ensure it’s not going to fall to pieces with a little bit of wear and tear. The moving parts of the Nokia 6260 are the rotating display and the flip mechanism.
The first thing I noticed about the 6260 which can be mentioned here was the absence of stoppers at the top of the display to absorb shock. Second was the sunken-in display, and third was the plastic feel that the handset had at some times. More on the shock absorbers can be found in the Problems/Issues section; and the display in the User Interface/Display section on page one.
By plastic I mean that the handset feels almost hollow. This is noticeable when rotating the display around or when the handset is closed and you can move the top flip slightly to the left and right. Other than that the build quality of the 6260 was pristine.
The top flip clicks into place in several positions – when the handset is closed, open to half-way, and fully open at 157°. Also when you rotate the display for camera usage and when you rotate it fully and close it back down on itself (270°). The 6260 also has some sensor mechanisms which I haven’t seen on many devices. The back cover is probably the best example – when you start to remove it the handset will inform you that removing the memory card will close all open applications. Smart-phone? I think so!
Oh, one other thing. If you’re having trouble removing the SIM card – push the little red tab up. It’s the only way.
The battery life of the Nokia 6260 was most impressive, Nokia don’t have many problems with power management in any of their handsets. Unfortunately I didn’t have the services available to try PTT and see how that affected battery life, but using functions like the camera and games quite steadily didn’t seem to worry the 6260 very much. Of course battery life decreases when you use these kinds of functions, it’s to be expected.
The handset uses one 760mAh lithium ion battery pack which charges reasonably quickly. Around 2-4 hours of talk time and 100-150 hours of standby time are estimated over at Nokia with the single battery.