Friday, April 14, 2006

Nokia 6230 Review (missing photos)

Having had trouble selling phones with funky keypad designs like the 3200, 3650, and 3595, Nokia needed something to target the high end business user. It needed something with lots of functions packed into a classic Nokia bar design. Welcome to the 6230. This phone came out nearly 2 years ago but you will still see many people using it.

I waited for the firmware to stabilize and picked up my Cingular Nokia 6230b last year. The firmware on it is V 04.43 24-08-04 RH-28. The box contains the phone, charger, 64MB multimedia card (MMC). I went out and bought myself a stereo headset and 512 ATP MMC.

Quick facts:
Name: Nokia 6230
Network: GSM 850/1800/1900
Weight: 96 g
Dimensions: 103 x 44 x 20 mm
Battery life (stand by): 225 hours
Battery life (talk): 240 minutes

My phone was manufactured in: (your phone's country of manufacture could vary) China

The 6230 is a bit thicker but feels a bit thinner than a T616. The 6230 is light coming from a 6682. The 6230 feels solid but the Xpress cover makes it creek a bit.

It's a classic design that uses a standard key layout, rectangular design, and conservative colours. The use of plastic and Xpress cover makes the phone feel hollow in your hands and feels light. Another drawback to the Xpress cover is dirty and dust easily gets under the screen so you'll need to open it from time to time to clean it. The phone does not smudge. There really isn't anything outstanding about the construction of the phone.

The keypad light fairly even. The middle column of keys is brighter than the outside column of keys.

The screen resolution is 128 x 128 and can display up to 64,000 colors. It's not an amazing screen but at the time Nokia was still using STN screens, it was a very good change to get a TFT screen. The screen on my unit is from Seiko so it is a bit yellowy compared to new versions of the 6230 or early releases of the 6230. The 6230's display washes out in direct sunlight so you'll need to tilt it in various directions to see.

The 5way D-pad on the 6230 is one of the first Nokias to use the center button to confirm in the S40 OS. It's also very difficult to push down on the 6230's D-pad and it usually gets interpreted as something else like left or right. It takes a bit of time to get a hang of the technique to pressing down for the center key. The keys are raised a lot higher than the base of the phone and wiggle. You can tell the different between the keys by feeling your way around the keypad. The * and # are much more stiff compared to other keys on the phone. They are also the hardest to press in games because of their placement so low on the phone.

So how is the 6230 keypad for gaming? I can comfortably play Splintered Cell, Tetris, and Solitaire. Any fast paced games requiring you to use the center key will be difficult to play. Actually any fast paced game will be difficult to play as the outer columns of keys are so small (1-4-7, 3-6-9) and so close together. From a phone perspective, you can easily use the 6230 with one hand. The keys at the far side of the phone are a bit trickier to hit as they're small and wiggle.

External Memory
The memory card lies just under the battery of the phone. So there's no easy way to change it without turning off the phone first. Although it fits Secure Digital (SD) cards, they don't work. You need to get a multimedia card (MMC). I find myself rarely popping it out since I stick to Bluetooth or USB cable to transfer songs to the phone. This isn't a S60 phone so all games and apps get installed to the phone's memory.

Menu setup

Phonebook & scrolling speed
The 6230 is fast. It quickly scrolls through the contacts. Unlike the S710a, it will always scroll at a normal rate. The search function is very quick pulling up matching names instantaneously. Unlike Windows Mobile phones it will not match phone numbers - just the names, and just the first name at that.

Also worth noting, you can set up different default numbers for calling, texting, MMS, and e-mail address for each contact.

The standard S60 profiles included: Normal, Silent, Meeting, and Outdoor.
For each profile you can set Ringing time, Ringing type, Ringing volume, Vibrating alert, Message Alert Tone, vibrating alert, keypad tones, and warning tones.

call listings
You have the option of looking at Dialer Numbers, Received Calls, and Missing Calls. You can't access a "mess of a call list where everything is thrown into one window". I really like that huge list.

File manager
You can browse both the phone contents and memory card contents through the Gallery. The built-in Gallery is adequate for casual users. It will not reveal system directories.

The 6230 doesn't support themes. There is a colour scheme you can choose from. This is the old S40 so don't expect much.

Included Office tools
Standard S40 tools are included.

Alarm clock - you can set a one time alarm or have it repeat.
Calendar - calendar to find out today's date and important bdays
To-Do - remind yourself to do something (like remember to buy the bday present for important bday to noted in the calendar)
Notes - write down some information. It's dated too!
Sync - Allows server or PC synchronization. I didn't figure out how to use either. The server sync asks you to contact your service provider
Calculator - just a basic calculator
Stop Watch - split and lap timing
Countdown timer
Wallet - allows you to save passwords and such on the 6682 behind a protected area requiring a password
Converter - currency converter so you can see how much that thing on EBay will really cost you in CDN.

You can connect the 6682 to your computer using Bluetooth, infrared, or data cable. You can install Nokia PC Suite to synchronize the 6682 with your computer. You also need to install Nokia PC Suite to install any Java applications/games onto the 6230. You can also use PC Suite to download pictures, ringtones and games/programs to the 6682. The e-mail client handles some attachments, MMS.

Nokia's bluetooth is pretty good.
You can pair devices, you can send images/files/ringtones/themes and virtually any content via bluetooth to another device. There are not as many BT profiles as SE phones. If your BT is off you can still send media, the phone prompts you to turn on BT but you'll need to manually turn it off after transfer.

Pairing the 6682 with a PC gives you these features in the included OBEX profiles:
Dial up networking
HS Audio gateway
OBEX Object Push
OBEX File Transfer

It pales in comparison to the S710a but what other manufacturer can match SE?

The Nokia Suite makes syncing with Outlook a breeze.


The 6230b was the phone to beat in reception back when it was released. Compared to phones release now, the Z520a and W600i are able to hold reception better in weak locations compared to the 6230b.

Sound Quality
The phone sounds good. It's much clearer than the T616.

The Speakerphone works well on the 6230b. Voices come out clear. Not as loud as the 6682.

Headset use
I haven't tested this.

Multimedia Features

If you've read my previous reviews, you will know that the 6230 VGA CMOS camera is my reference camera phone. It produces the best VGA pictures compared to any other camera phone. Night mode requires you to have a fairly still hand to make the shots effective. Don't expect the Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) format from this phone. EXIF is a variation on the JPEG that includes extra interchange information such as shutter speed, focal length, and lens aperture.

Like the S40 camera phones before this, the UI is the same so you can refer to Like the S60 cameras phones before this, the UI is the same so you can refer to a 6620 review.

Shoot mode
Allows normal and self-timer.
A normal shot dependant on other settings of the phone. The sequence mode will take 6 quick shots and the self-timer allows a shot to be taken 10, 20, or 30 seconds after setting it.

there are 2 pic sizes
Standard Photo 640 * 480
Portrait 320 * 240

there are 3 quality settings for each pic size

Normal mode
The 3 second shutter lag will annoy some people looking for a quick shooting camera phone. But shutter speed in daylight is very fast.



The 6230 has keeps more faithful to the actual colours. The 6101 is blurry and pretty yellowy.

More pics:

6230 (missing photo)


night mode
There's a night mode as well, but it's fairly hard to use as it requires you to be completely still.



6230 (missing photo)

The 6230 has a really good night mode considering it doesn't have flash.

self timer
Self descriptive, it allows you to set up a timer and get into the shot

Allows you to adjust the brightness of the image being taken by pushing left or right in the camera mode.

The phone also does Video, which is your standard QCIF 174 x 144 pixels or Sub-QCIF 128 x 96 pixel sizing. About the only thing good from the standard video recording app from Nokia is you can record directly to the memory card.

A number of people have reported memory card issues on the older firmware of the 6230 so you may have issues reading or writing to large memory cards.

I've downloaded a few java games for the 6230. With a 128 x 128 TFT 64k screen, the standard size for all S40 phones at around this time, Java games look good. I downloaded and played Splintered Cell, Gem Jam, and Solitaire. Since most games were designed for older less powerful S40 phones, the games played very fast on the 6230.

Music Player
The phone has 8MB of internal phone memory so that's best left for ringtones and apps. At least there's the MMC option where current cards are up to 2GB support. The 6230 can use stereo headsets. Sound quality from the headset is good but won't take out any real quality stereo headphones. The Music Player supports playlists but it can't make play lists. When you upload an MP3 on to your phone, you will need to "Refresh all tracks" for the song to appear.

It uses the same battery as the Nokia 6682 (BL-5C: Extended 850 mAh). I get four days with medium to light usage - you'll need to recharge a bit over a day under heavy usage. Something of very little use, but I find nice, is the Velcro on the battery charger so you can wrap it up while traveling. It's nice not to need one of those twisties or rubber band.

Build quality...........9
Features for $.........9
Software................6, really dated S40 OS
Camera..................7, still only a VGA
Battery life.............8


*Strong RF
*Excellent build quality
*Camera. For a VGA it's good
*class 10 EDGE
*Great sound/clarity
*Amazing phonebook organization
*traditional phone design
*support for large 2GB MMC memory cards
*really fast navigating menus
*lots of existing Java apps/games
*cheap these days in the used market ~150-180CDN

*small screen
*dated S40 OS
*really deep menu structure. Changing the photo quality is not in Camera but in the Settings section
*3 second delay on pictures captured
*wiggly keys, difficult to hit middle key

Thanks to Treatz for lending me his stylz for this review

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