Nokia 6500 Slide

The Slide offers some good features in a sleek design, but lags when it comes to music and radio.

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Nokia 6500 Slide


I like a handset that looks like a traditional mobile. Nothing too fancy in terms of looks; just the relevant features in keeping with its price. Anything extra is just a bonus. The Nokia 6500 Slide just might make the grade if your tastes are in sync with mine, but before you make a purchase decision, allow me to clue you in on the 6500 Slide's features and performance.

Form Factor
The name pretty much gives a clue to the handset's form factor. The Slide is available in two colors – black and steel. Although I prefer the black, the steel is in no way bad-looking. The handset itself is rather simple in design. Nothing fancy, yet it's quite chic.

The display is a 2.2 inch TFT job sporting a 240 x 320 pixel resolution with 16 million colors. The slider is smooth initially, but it'll inevitably get a bit sticky with use. The five way nav-pad, two open keys, and call and end keys are neatly arranged and large enough. The same goes for the keypad; Nokia has made utilized space well. The handset has a scratch-resistant stainless steel shell.

 Nokia 6500 Slide

On one side you'll find the dedicated camera key and the volume/zoom keys. All the connectors are located on the top of the handset. It has a 2.5mm earphone socket that also doubles as a TV-out and a microUSB port, along with the charging port and a small key that can be used to pop open the rear panel. Unfortunately there's no exterior hot swap slot for the microSD card; you'll have to open up the rear panel – but no, you won't need to remove the battery.

The 3.2 megapixel autofocus camera with flash is located at the back, and the brushed stainless steel finish makes it look a bit like a sleek digicam. A secondary camera is located in the front in the same area as the earpiece. The handset has a simple rectangular shape with smooth edges, that gives a very stylish feel.

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Connectivity
The 6500 Slide runs on Symbian OS with a Series 40 UI. I'm not too big a fan of the S40 interface, especially when it comes to setting up your email accounts or basic internet/WAP connections. It's rather complicated if you don't know your way around – or if you happen to be a BPL subscriber. On the plus side, BPL has a setup page online with detailed instructions. Follow these and you can't go wrong.

The 3G-enabled Slide supports not only WAP/GPRS and EDGE, but also HSDPA. Other connectivity options include Stereo Bluetooth and USB. For internet connectivity the 6500 comes preloaded with the usual WAP 2.0 browser as well as OperaMini. Widsets give you access to all your favorite widgets. The Download section gives users access to Nokia Catalogs for downloading content such as applications, games etc.

The Slide supports push email. You can set up your email account from the Messaging menu itself by typing in your email address, and the phone downloads the details and settings. It's that simple.

Some of the other connectivity features that the 6500 Slide comes with include a Bluetooth Wireless Presenter application that works like Sony Ericsson’s Bluetooth Remote. The application will come in handy for business professionals who frequently make presentations. Nokia has included a Search feature so you can easily look for content on the internet through Yahoo! or Live Search. Oddly, it doesn't seem to allow you to locate data on the handset itself, unlike the S60 version.

Another preloaded application is Yahoo! Go, which uses widgets to help you keep track of the latest news in entertainment, sports or the weather. You can also access and check your Yahoo! Mail account and use the Navigation widget that works like a slower version of Google maps. Push-to-Talk is also supported.
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Media and Entertainment
The 6500 Slide comes equipped with an integrated Stereo FM radio with RDS that also has support for Visual Radio. Unfortunately, the reception is not too great. While commuting it's nonexistent – all you’ll get is plenty of static. Another problem with the radio while commuting is that it seems to take forever to locate any frequency, and manual tuning also tends to do the same.

Another annoyance is that the radio refuses to shut down unless you remove the headset or switch on the music player. If you’re in an area that has good reception the handset will likely end up presetting only 4-5 out of the seven stations available, even if the reception quality is the same for all. Go figure. I'd have dismissed this as a one-off glitch but I faced the same problem with two handsets. Hopefully, none of you already using it will have any issues.

Video playback is quite good but when connected to a TV the playback is highly pixellated and tends to drag a lot. Music playback though the TV is not something I’d recommend, as the volume sounds tinny and unimpressive. Using the Slide when hooked up to the TV in any other format is quite a lot of fun though, from surfing the Net to playing preloaded games like Rally 3D, Backgammon or Pro Golf.

Having used a Nokia Symbian S40 enabled handset for quite a long time and being familiar with the music player's capabilities, I’m curious to know why the 6500’s music player falls short on audio quality and volume. I always held the S40 music player in high regard compared to the S60’s, but the 6500 is something of an exception.

When stereo widening is activated, increasing the bass level in the customizable EQ setting will distort the sound. On the other hand, without it the audio quality is just about okay. The good thing is that you can simply copy-paste your files on to the memory card and into folders of your choice, and play files from there without having to create playlists. There's also a voice recorder for storing voice memos.

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Other Features
The 6500 Slide comes with all the basic features – a calendar to store schedules and appointments, to-do list, notes, calculator, world clock, countdown timer and stopwatch. All these work perfectly, as they do in other handsets across the board. I especially liked the customizable home screen menus. You can move favorite applications to various positions for easy access.

Messaging in the 6500 is easy, considering the S40 UI allows you to select and create Favorites or select from the contacts you’ve recently used. The messaging screen itself has a section below that lets users simply insert data such as images, songs or videos, and convert the SMS to MMS. I also notice that the ringer is usually low – again, I tested this on two handsets. It's so muted that you may not even realize that you’ve received a message.

Camera
The 3.2 megapixel autofocus camera uses Carl Zeiss optics, like most Nokia handsets. It has two LEDs for flash and performs well on the whole. The images appear crisp and clear, unless you view them in native resolution (then you’ll notice slight noise and grain).

The camera doesn’t have too many settings but what’s there will help immensely if you’re looking to achieve that near-perfect shot. It offers white balance settings, a few effects, and a night mode. Closeups are quite clear, with the focus staying where it should be. It can record video in VGA (352 x 288 resolution) at 15fps, which is not bad at all.

Battery
Battery life proved to be quite impressive. To extract the best out of it, however, I'd suggest that you lower the brightness level a bit, deactivate unnecessary sounds such as keypad tones, and avoid animated screensavers. As it stands, the Slide will easily give users about four hours and 40 minutes of talktime before dying. It may not meet Nokia's claims, but it’s pretty darn great in my book. On an average a full charge should see you through two days, perhaps even three. That includes messages, calls, and some games and images.

The Bottomline
I feel the 6500 Slide falls short with regard to some of its features, if only a little. The camera, battery, and elegant design stand out as strong pluses. The price tag of Rs 13,200 doesn't make it that expensive, but there are plenty of other handsets in the market that offer as much in the same price range. However, if you’re more into style and basic functionality, the Slide is worth considering.

Specs

Nokia 6500 Slide
Network

GSM 850/900/1800/1900, EDGE, 3G

Physical 96.5 x 46.5 x 16.4 mm, 125g
Display 240 x 320, 16m colors, TFT, 2.2 inch
Memory 20MB internal, MicroSD for external
Media AAC+, MP3, 3GP, Voice Recorder, FM radio with RDS (Visual radio), TV Out
Camera 3.2 megapixel, auto-focus, LED flash, secondary camera for video calling
Connectivity USB v2.0, Bluetooth with A2DP
Battery 310 hrs standby, 4 hrs 40 mins talktime
Street Price
Rs 13,200

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