April 19, 2007

Nokia 6131 review

Cool gadgets

I posted this on Amazon, but few days ago they somehow managed to delete all the reviews for the phone (they seem to be back now). To prevent against such things, I'm reposting it here. Click below for the review.

This is a great everyday use phone. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the newer Nokia phones, like integrated WiFi (with VoIP integration) and GPS, but it does very well what is designed to do. I use this phone with T-Mobile with their unlimited Internet plan (using EDGE).

Pros:

The build quality and materials chosen are top notch. The plastic cover doesn't look and feel cheap, like many other (some expensive) phones out there. I like the fine leathery touch of the battery cover, which provides a good grip of the phone in the hand.

The internal screen is large, with plenty of pixels and colors. Most of the apps look very well. With Google Maps for example it's very easy to read and discern the details.

The phone' sound quality is superb. The earpiece is very clear, and the microphone and voice processing hardware inside the phone makes the other side hear you clearly. The loudspeaker is fairly good too, although I'm not using it very often.

The Bluetooth software stack is perfectly compatible. My car's Bluetooth implementation is very picky and works only a handful of selected phones. The Nokia 6131 phone is not listed as a compatible phone for BMW M3, but it works just fine with it, while the fancier and more expensive Nokia N80ie phone does not.

The included radio is pretty cool when you're bored, although it requires the included proprietary headset to work (it uses it as antena).

Google Maps and GMail work excellent on this phone. They don't come with the device, but they're just a download away from Google.

The phone's camera does a fairly decent job with well lit shots. It also takes videos, which is pretty cool for a phone. Just don't expect the camera to replace your point and shoot or DSLR.

The ability to use MP3s as regular ring tones is a huge bonus. No more buying ridiculously expensive ring tones from your phone company, when you already own the music. Just take the song you want, edit out a 30 second portion of it that is suitable as a ring tone, convert it to MP3 and upload it on your phone. You could assign different ring tones to different people, so you can recognize who's calling you.

The phone now has MacOS X compatibility, with the latest 10.4.9 release. It synchronizes your address book over Bluetooth without any problems, including the people's pictures. When somebody calls you, his/her picture appears on the external display. The picture is scaled up however, making it look a bit ugly. I guess Apple needs to allow for higher resolution pictures to be set in AddressBook.

Cons:

As many other Nokia phones, the phone cannot use a regular headset, it only works with the proprietary Nokia headset. This is understandable, as the headset is stereo, and doubles as an antenna. It would be nice however to have an extra plug for regular headsets.

The package does not include a MicroSD card. Not too bad, they are quite cheap, but you should be aware of this if you decide to buy the phone.

The camera shutter button is on a side, and it's very easy to press it accidentally while the phone is in your pocket.

Setting up T-mobile Internet on the phone could be a pain. You could find instructions online by googling a bit, but it's not the same smooth "just works" experience as on the N80ie.

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Overall, I think this a great phone for everyday use. It is replacing an aging Motorola phone, and so far it's been a refreshing change. I highly recommend this phone.

Posted by ovidiu at April 19, 2007 08:19 PM |
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