Over the years, mobile phone technology has tended to not only increase the quality and quantity of multimedia applications but of the connectivity options as well. Case in point: the Nokia 6120 Classic. This deceptively simple and elegant looking handset contains plenty of features such as 2 digital cameras (one for taking photos/video, one for video calls), a 16.7 million colour TFT screen, a music player, PIM applications, polyphonic/MP3/AAC ring-tones, a video player, games, calculator, calendar, speakerphone as well as Bluetooth and Mini-USB connectivity. On top of this, the handset is capable of effectively accessing 3G networks and web browsers. The particular handset I have assessed is one that was set with Vodafone Live features.
Read on for the verdict.
The Nokia 6120 Classic is priced at under $500 and is regarded as a mid-tier smart phone. Having said this, the amount of inclusions is decent but is also expected for handsets in this range. The phone has a sophisticated, no-nonsense, slim candybar design dominated by a reflective black or silver casing. Its weight is light enough for easy transport and use.
As far as Nokia phones go, the 6120 Classic’s biggest innovation is the fact that it is a moderately priced 3G phone that also supports HSDPA networks. While it is difficult to substantiate the statement that the handset offers download speeds of “up to 10 times faster than usual WCDMA networks”, it can be said that the download time on the web browser is reasonably fast. Other than its connectivity, there are no exceptional attributes that would bring it to par with more expensive models. On the interface front, the handset utilises the user-friendly Nokia Series 60 software on Symbian OS. The phone does not have the best camera (lesser resolution to the cams of N73 and N93i) and is not the first Nokia to incorporate a forward-facing digital cam for video calling (see the N70). Nevertheless, both of these, along with its other features, are represented very well in a tight little package.
There is nothing unique about the 6120 Classic’s appearance. As the name implies, it has a classical shape of a candybar model. Its dimensions are, however, not so traditional. Measuring at just 105mm (length) x 46mm (width) x 15mm (max thickness) and weighing in at a mere 89g, the phone is one of the smallest, thinnest and lightest around. The 6120 Classic is smartly dressed in a primarily black or silver body bordered and finished with chrome lines, making the dual schemes neutral for both genders and appear more professional for the business-minded. The front is composed of a keypad at the bottom (about 40%), a screen on top (about 50%) and the secondary cam at the upper left hand side. The back of the phone is where the cover of the battery and the digital camera and flashlight is located. The back looks great but is slightly slippery and like a number of models, has left the camera exposed to dirt and damage. The thing to note is the ergonomic shape of the cover which enables comfortable usage.
The 6120 Classic’s keys are hard, smooth and set in a simple grid arrangement. Most of the time, the material of the keypad is non-intrusive. A four way-button is used for navigation rather than a joystick. This works quite well. It took some time getting used to the menu button on the far left hand side of the phone instead of pressing the central navigation button (like the Sony Ericsson and Motorola interfaces). The biggest qualm is the separation and flatness of the keys. This aspect meant that using some of the phone’s functions requires a little more effort. Initially, messaging proved to be a tedious task. The camera button, found on the right-hand side, can be used both to enter the camera function immediately and to shoot imagery. The volume switch (found above the camera button) adjusts volumes and zooms with ease. The speaker for music and speakerphone and the SD Card slot is located on the left-hand side.
User interface & display
The Nokia 6120 Classic utilises the Nokia Series 60 user interface. Menus and programs are presented with clarity and great polish. The user can also choose to vary visuals by altering the themes (4 themes available), menu views (4 views available), wallpaper and screensaver. Everything that needs to be shown is exhibited (for instance, icons for time, date, reception level bars and battery life, new message and missed call icons). There is a good reliance on tabs, though, unlike the Sony Ericsson models, pressing the call cancel button will automatically get the user back to the standby frame. Pressing the menu button again will get the user back to the menu but highlights the last selection made. It was noticeable that the grid and list views were faster to navigate compared to the others. Number shortcuts and voice commands can also be used to access functions. These options were not used to full advantage as conventional navigation seemed much easier. A very nice inclusion is the set of available shortcuts found on the starting frame and can be reached without pressing the menu button. The Bluetooth and messaging shortcut is particularly convenient. The calendar even displays events from the start, keeping the user better informed of tasks, meetings, etc. The fonts used are identical to recent Nokia phones. Seven lines of text can be displayed in menus and when writing/reading a message.
The phone presents its graphics through an excellent and relatively bright 2.0 inch TFT QVGA screen that has enough resolution to beautifully display images.
Making and receiving calls
There are very few complications when creating and taking calls. Voice clarity is very good and the user may find that he/she does not need to turn up the volume. The same can be said when using the handsfree and the speakerphone. Calls were tested using the Optus network. Reception was very good, though at times, a little spotty in some areas. Equipped with good memory capacity, the 6120 Classic is able store many numbers. Each contact can be specified (eg. Mobile home, Mobile work, Work, etc) and given extra detail such as business name, email address, a web address, picture, a ringtone and voice command for voice-activated dialling. The phonebook supports speed dialling. While the phone is locked, emergency numbers can be dialled.
The reviewed handset came with a number of ringtones. Music files added by the user can also be used as ring tones. The phone comes with several profiles with separate settings for ring type, vibration, ring volume, message tone, etc. On any of these profiles, the silent mode can be toggled on/off from the starting screen by holding the hash (#) button down.
The 6120 Classic supports SMS, MMS, email from POP3/IMAP4 and instant messaging. It also supports Nokia Xpress audio messaging, which is simply voice clips sent via MMS. Text messages can be composed continuously and be tinted with symbols, pictures, sound effects, etc - although, the receiver might have issues receiving these if their phone is not a recent Nokia. MMS is supported but like most phones, will require resizing for large pictures due to the size limit. The good thing when composing any message is the composition interface makes it easy to read. It has 7 lines where text will be entered – dropping down line by line should the message extend further. It also has the ‘To:’ (like an e-mail interface) conveniently placed on top so the user can view where he/she will send it. The phone did not have any issues in creating or sending any form or size of message.
The 6120 Classic’s connectivity is one of its biggest assets. Compatible with 3G networks, HSDPA, EDGE, GPRS, Bluetooth and Mini-USB connection, the phone is backed by an excellent arsenal that should make it functional in most countries and adapt to most situations. The phone has a great web browser for viewing mobile and PC webpages that suit the screen size. Similar to a PC, the interface gives the user the option to store pages as bookmarks. The limited space means that the user might be less inclined to view pages for prolonged periods. The fast loading time helps in finding pages more efficiently.
Close range connectivity is facilitated by Bluetooth and Mini-USB. Bluetooth items such as handsfree kits, are supported. The 6120 Classic has three modes of PC connection – Data Transfer, PC Suite and Media Player. Data transfer allows the phone to be recognised by the PC as a Mass Storage USB. Files can be moved to the phone with a simple click, drag and drop procedure. The PC Suite mode is very easy to use and collates a number of the phone’s functions on the PC and also allows for data transfer. The Media Player synchronises the phone with Windows Media Player. For some reason, the Mini-USB connection does not appear to charge the phone. If it does, neither PC nor phone displays this fact.
The software package is the Nokia PC Suite software. There was no issue in downloading the software and connecting the phone via USB. The PC identifies connectivity almost instantly unlike the Sony Ericsson software. Desktops and laptops with Bluetooth can also receive files from the phone via Bluetooth.
Being a smartphone, the Nokia 6120 Classic has a load of multimedia applications that aim to match other handsets of its class. The music player is not quite to the same level as the one found in Sony Ericsson models, but it does its job admirably. It utilises the central navigation button to play, pause, skip, repeat and vary volumes. Two play modes, shuffle and loop, are found as well as a number of presets like ‘Hip-Hop’, ‘Rock’, etc – to suit various genres. Unfortunately, there is no manual equaliser setting. The player can be minimised with music playing while the user is doing other things such as writing a text message. The small speaker offered some distortion and as such is not good for playing sounds. The handsfree kit is the better choice although given the 2.5mm jack the user must buy an adapter to use a different set of earpieces. The provided earphones aren’t spectacular but will probably keep most commuters happy.
The Real Player software is perfectly fine as video player. The 3 included games (Marble, City Bloxx, Highroller Casino) are very fun and addictive, especially Marble.
The 6120 Classic contains a number of personal information management applications. It has a calendar and to do list that is suitably displayed in the standby screen. The alarm works fine as does the notepad. A calculator and a stopwatch completes the selection.
The biggest flaw, of the otherwise handsome and stylish design of the 6120 Classic is its durability. After accidentally dropping the phone from a ˝ m height on a wooden floor, the body received a few scratches. These were not major but I would shudder to imagine what would happen if it was dropped on asphalt from waist height.
Unlike phones of similar dimensions (namely the Sony Ericsson W610i and W880i), the 6120 Classic has a fragility that matches its thinness. Strangely, the phone has a solid feel to it. Thus, I would attribute its relative proneness to damage to the materials used for its body.
The 6120 Classic’s 890 mAh battery might be perfect for its size but for everyday use, not so. Upon assessment, I found half the battery had depleted on the second day during general use that consisted of listening to some MP3s, taking some photos, talking for about 30 minutes a day and sending about 4 SMS messages. I also used the alarm every morning. I guess the lesser capacity of the battery meant that the phone’s applications will severely reduce life. I found battery capacity to be particularly hampered when I browsed on the internet for about 4 sessions, lasting 5-10 minutes max or when I used the camera. If mainly on stand-by, the battery life should extend for another few days. The battery takes 2 hours to recharge completely.